on the last day of november....

just a few thoughts on a few things along with some pictures we took this weekend!
i just picked out a few of my favorites!

today, jaelyn and i went shopping with my mom and grandmother. they wanted to get a few presents for the kiddos! fun!! we shopped til we dropped!!

ok, so i am thinking that if november has gone by as fast as it has, december is going to go by just as fast, probably faster. i can't believe that tomorrow is december 1st! we sat down the other night and went over the calendar for the month of december. oh my goodness. we have so much going on. it is going to be a busy month. we have plans for several nights a week on most weeks and a lot of stuff on the weekends. i know i am going to have to be strategic on getting things done to prevent last minute stress outs! and at this point we don't have room to say yes to many more things!

i also want to be sure that in all the busyness of the season, that i am very strategic that this season doesn't go by and we have let the true meaning of the season slip us by. i started reading what God wants for Christmas with my kids last night. it is a great story. if you haven't heard of it. it has a nativity set that goes with it. you can read it all in one sitting or spread it over a seven days, reading one story at a time. each segment of the story has a gift box that you open and inside of the boxes are pieces to the nativity. there are seven boxes to open and read. the first six are the pieces to the nativity. the seventh box is the very best box ~ it has a mirror inside and is the answer to the question...what does God want for christmas ~ look in the mirror it is you! my kids love doing this. honestly, i think they forget each year what is in the seventh box! you should check it out! i received mine a few years ago, when i was a mops coordinator, the book publisher sent it to me. you can go here.

we have a lot of big things going on in the life of elevation this month! i am so excited to be a part of what God is doing through our church. i know i say that a lot, but it is so true. i believe so much in our church and could go on and on about how amazing it is. our lead staff traveled to africa a few weeks ago and yesterday, pastor's sermon was prerecorded from uganda. it was a lifechanging and a powerful message. it has forever changed who i am. i will need a separate post on that! i am also excited to be taking on a new volunteer position. once all the details are worked out i will share more!!

wow, it was hard to get back in the groove today. last night, as i realized the weekend was ending, i got kind of (ok a lot) grumpy. it really hit me that thanksgiving was over and the reality of another holiday being over. and i was actually sad to see my kids go back to school. only three weeks and they will have a two and a half week break. i am really looking forward to it. we have a few fun things planned in addition to all the holiday celebrating!

i am looking forward to this sweet girl's reactions to all the christmas festivities and decorations. i think she is going to love all the new things she will get to experience. she did pretty well eating thanksgiving dinner with us! it was weird to think that this year last time, she was only a few weeks old and not eating any kind of food - just strictly nursing around the clock! and only a year later she was sitting at the table eating mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey! jaelyn has been sleeping like a champ (shhh...i have to be quiet bc i am afraid if she knows i have said it, she might stop again :) i am soooo thankful for long nights of sleep! although sometimes i really do miss those late night feedings when the house was so quiet and it was just her and i.

this week, josh starts basketball practice. he will be playing at the ymca, where he played soccer. and guess who his coach is....it's his daddy! best coach ever! they are both looking forward to it! we have some great friends who work at the ymca where they play. this is the first year we have played at this ymca, and they have a fantastic sports program! and guess what....

our friend, jamie, who worked for the ymca and who we know from elevation, wants this little guy to play on her basketball team! so we are thinking about letting him play too! jamil and i had to laugh thinking about little buddy playing basketball. he says he wants to play and i think he will have a blast. for sure he will guarantee to make those watching him laugh! he is just naturally funny, he doesn't even try to be and he is a hoot! i can only imagine him playing basketball! should be good times!!

so, there, just a few things on my mind tonight! hope that everyone had a great monday!


ready or not...

....here it comes!

i am referring to the "c" word.
i know you guessed what it is
and it is probably on your mind too!

it's christmas

i love,love the christmas season! i just love everything about christmas. i love why we celebrate the season. i love the different traditions we have each year. and i love starting new traditions as the kids get older.

even though, i do wait until after thanksgiving to begin decorating and really preparing for the big holiday! i do begin thinking about it earlier than that. its on my mind, but i am not ready to do anything about it.

it is hard to believe it is that time already! we are almost at the end of november! so i can't put off christmas any longer! and that is ok, i am ready for it to come! i haven't gotten the christmas boxes down yet. but i will be working on cleaning and some decorating this week.

we start off our holiday tradition every year by getting our christmas tree. we get our tree the weekend after thanksgiving. this year, i have gone round and round on whether or not i wanted to get a tree and put it up and make it look beautifully perfect just to have my sweet busy baby pulling off all of the decorations. i thought of some different ideas that maybe we could do instead, but none of them felt right. so last minute, we decided we would get a tree and put it up next weekend. the bottom half may be a little bare, but i don't think it would feel like christmas without a tree!! did anyone else with a busy baby or toddler think twice on their decision?

even though the boxes have yet to be unpacked and the decorating has yet to be done. and i haven't even bought a gift. or put up the tree. i am not stressed. i am refusing to feel stress. and i don't want to see this season as a time for stress. i have been doing a lot of thinking about what i am going to truly celebrate this holiday season. and it doesn't have to do with buying lots of material things. it has nothing to do with spending money i don't have. it is going to have everything to do with how i live my life for the one who gave me life.

with that at the center of my mind this season, i can truly say...it is starting to feel a lot like christmas!

there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
ecclesiastes 3:1


a new perspective on thankfulness...

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God."
Thessalonians 5:18

i have been overdue for a check up. and i am not talking about a medical kind of check up. but a check up on where my heart is. i admit, even though its hard, i have found myself in a not so good place. for some reason, despite the thanksgiving season, i have lost sight of what i am truly thankful for. it is really hard to write this. and to think of my blog post being out there with all of the other warm fuzzy posts filled with really sweet thanksgiving stuff. it makes me shudder. but i am going to be honest and share where my heart has been. i promise that this post is one that may start negative but does turn positive!

i have taken some time to be quiet and reflect this week. and with God's prompting, i gave myself a heart check. i found that so many things that i was struggling with, had taken over who i am. i lost sight of where my focus should be. i let my struggles become who i am. my focus has shifted onto myself. and i allowed it to happen. i allowed myself to think only about myself and how bad things seemed. i had become selfish and saw my struggles as so much bigger than what they really were. i was allowing them to determine my mood and who i was becoming. i was throwing myself one huge pity party. yuck!

just because things don't go my way or don't seem perfect in my sight, i shouldn't allow them to to dictate my mood or my feelings. they are struggles, they are not who i am. God gives us struggles in life so that we can overcome them and learn from them. He doesn't want them to overcome us. and that is what my struggles have been doing to me. they have overcome me. i have allowed them to take a stronghold over me. i have allowed them to take over and they have hidden my true joy and my grateful heart.

a lot of my struggles were with situations that i do not see as perfect or something i deserve. i had developed these self inflicted struggles. i allowed things that were imperfect to become a struggle. just because things didn't go the way i had planned, or the way i wanted, i saw them as a struggle. and instead of wrestling with the struggles, and overcoming them. i let them stay in my heart, making me feel defeated.

so, i began to look at the perspective i was taking with the things in my life...

my marriage.
my kids.
my friendships.
my church.
my finances.
my vehicle.
my home.

and i realized instead of being thankful for them, finding the good in what i do have, i looked at them and saw imperfection. and that is what became my struggle. i struggle with the need for things to be perfect. i was looking for perfection in all areas of my life. and it wasn't there. i began trying to fix all the things that were not perfect. and i realized there is not perfection in any one of those things. not one single thing i listed above is perfect.

what i did lose sight of is the one thing in my life who is perfect.

my God, my Lord, my Savior.

i lost perspective of Him. of who He is. i lost sight of all of things that i should be rejoicing in because of Him.

i lost perspective that He is in control of the good things and the not so good things in my life. i am not in control. He knows the plan He has for me and it will not harm me. somehow, i had forgotten that and took it upon myself to be in control.

so this thanksgiving season, with a newly repaired heart, i choose to be grateful to Him for everything in my life. God has given me so much and i am truly blessed.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1


happy happy thanksgiving...

from our family to yours!

(insert photo of us here!)

i hope that you have a wonderful thanksgiving day !
i hope you are able to rejoice in each and every thing that you are thankful for!

i have so many things to be thankful for!

1. my family & friends
2. the fact that i only had to make a few deserts and a casserole today
3. my mom is hosting thanksgiving dinner and i am not!
4. that my family is extremely healthy, i do not take this for granted.
5. that i live in the united states and for those who continue to fight for our freedom.
6. our church and church family
7. God's love that is never ending
8. a strong & healthy marriage
9. technology and how it makes life so easy
10. four great kids who teach me something new every single day!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

the days are just racing by...

...and i feel so left behind!

i have these moments of panic, where i feel like the days are just racing by and i just can not catch up. i have come to realize that in a home with four kids, there is always something to do, something to clean up or put away. that does overwhelm me a lot. but i try to keep it in perspective, i realize it will never get completely done. and just as soon as the clothes are all washed, dried and put away. four little people will take off their clothes just before their baths and then i have another load that needs to be done. i have become ok with that. kind of.

what i have a hard time with, is i have all of these big ideas of things i want to do with my kids or for myself and they just don't get done. the daily workings of our home take so much time that there is barely time for anything else. i have lists of projects that need completed around the house. i have lists of crafts i want to do with the kids. i have different ideas for discipline or collecting allowance that i want to implement. i have thought of so many fun things to do throughout the holiday season. and so on and so on.... but these lists just collect in my head or are left on my list not checked off. when will i ever have time to do them?

i admit that i love the sense of accomplishment and get frustrated when i can't get things done. i just need more hours in the day!

and i wish the days would just slow down so i could take a breath and catch up to their pace. they are going by way too fast. and i can't keep up. as hard as i try, i am still running to catch up.

almost wordless wednesday...

outside talking & playing...

inside watching & wishing...


i dont know what happened...

i got on my laptop so i could write a few posts and hopefully get one posted today and have a few others saved to post over the next few days. and then i got really sidetracked and had to reply to some emails, some facebook messages, update my twitter and facebook status and creatd an evite for my ladies small group. and than just as i jumped on blogger, wouldn't you know it, jaelyn woke up from her nap crying. and that kind of cry said to me, she will not be content to be in her crib, come get me now!

so i am off to get my sweet baby girl and hope to be back soon! naptimes just go so quickly!!

hope you are all having a fabulous tuesday!!


this man...

apparently, i am not the only one who is so thankful for this man!

our family is blessed beyond belief to have a
such an amazing spiritual leader!

this man is my rock
words can not begin to express who this man is to me!

and it kind of looks like
this man is their super hero,
don't ya think?

photography by the beautiful mess


the waiting room...

after being sick with a cough and a cold for a few weeks, i decided it was time to go to the doctor's today. the yuckies just were not going away on their own. while i was in the waiting room, i sat in a corner away from everyone else in there. especially those patients wearing a mask. no way did i want to pick up any other kind of germs! i was lucky to be able to go without kiddos. my parents kept jesiah and jordyn while i went on my own. i certainly did not want to subject them to the germs.

as i was sitting in the corner all by myself, i sweet elderly man came over and sat right down next to me. and i mean in the chair right next to me. there were lots of other chairs and he chose the one beside me. at first, i got a little anxious thinking of his germs i might catch or perhaps giving him mine. as he sat down next to me, i noticed, he had a joel osteen book in his hand and a few pictures in a sandwhich bag. he began to share the pictures with me right away. while, i listened to him i turned my anxiousness into prayer. and asked God to bless me or let me be a blessing while i chatted with this sweet man.

he shared his pictures with me of his great grandchildren. he told me his wife was in with the doctor as was his daughter. the pictures were his daughter's grandchildren. the man was in great health and told me so many little stories while we sat together. he was full of history and even a few jokes. he put several smiles on my face. and i thought he was such a wonderful, Godly man. his daughter came out and said goodbye to him. he told her he met me and we were talking. she said, oh i bet you didn't get to say a word. she knew her father was a talker. but i really didn't mind and i told her that. she went on her way. we talked just a little more and then i was called back to see my doctor.

i truly enjoyed his company. and wondered why God had placed this man right next to me, in a waiting room full of other chairs. perhaps i will never know. but i do know was instead of checking my email or sending texts on my phone, or writing out my grocery list, or flipping through a magazine, i put all that stuff aside and just enjoyed conversation with a stranger. a sweet elderly man who had lots to tell and who definitely loved the Lord. i think i might have been the one who was blessed today!

(oh, and in case you were wondering, i have bronchitis - yuck! hopefully i will be good as new after a few days on the antibiotices!)


three little piggy tails...

what happens when you take these three pretty girls...




and you add a brush along with some little tiny elastic bands....

you get three pretty girls with some really cute pigtails...

it is so fun to be a mom (and an aunt) to these three girls!!

merideth and mallory are my best friend amy's twin girls,
they are 18 months old today!!

here are a few more pics of jaelyn with her pigtail!!!



it's hard to believe that about a year ago,
jaelyn looked like this...

one month old

i think back to holding her when she was this tiny. it takes me to such a sweet time in my life. i loved every single minute of being her mommy. and i still do! the days look a little different caring for her today. and she is a little bit (ok a lot) bigger now. but one thing is the same, the days went by just as fast then they are now. i long to cherish and capture every moment with her. i beg time to slow down. babies just don't stay little long enough for me!


thirteen months old...

my sweet baby girl is growing up so fast!
oh, if i could just get time to stand still...

so i could just love on her and eat her up
before she gets any older!

i am really enjoying this stage!
i do miss having a tiny baby around,
but it is so fun to watch her grow and learn new things!
she is communicating more and loves to play!!

jaelyn is one busy little girl.
she continues to be happy and so sweet!
she is starting to say more words and
she is trying to stand on her own a little more.
jaelyn is getting a little more daring by cruising
from one piece of furniture to another
and not holding on!

as for walking, she is quite content to crawl,
because she can get where she needs to go pretty fast!
and that is ok with me,
i know once she starts walking, life is really going to change!
i'm good with keeping her a baby just a little longer!!


it's wednesday already?

i realized it has been nearly a week since my last post, wow, how did that happen? life is flying by like the leaves i am watching outside the windows. i have all four kids home today. and all of them are in their beds for quiet time! somehow they didn't get the memo that today was a holiday and there was no school, and that means they are suppose to sleep in, right?? not so much here.

for some reason, it was someone's crazy idea to have a holiday in the middle of the week. don't get me wrong, i think our veteran's need to be celebrated and i am thankful for them. but couldn't we have backed this vacation day up to a weekend, on like a monday or a friday?

its a cold and rainy wednesday and it does look like fall has reached the carolinas! there are leaves blowing all over and the ones still on the trees are pretty colorful. it hit me this week that it is almost mid november. the holidays are quickly approaching. not so sure if i am ready or not. are you?

today, amy came over with her three kiddos and we started on our yearly tradition of making ornaments with the kids. every year we do some kind of crafy ornament with the kids. this year we did them way early! they are not completed, but they are started. we are way ahead of the game this year. my goal is to have them done by thanksgiving!

it has been an eventful beginning to the week and the next two days are going to be busy too. i have a to do list a mile long and haven't really touched any of it. but there is always tomorrow.

for now, i think i will just curl up on the couch and take a nap!

how are you spending your wednesday?


day 1 - 5 : thanks & giving...

i am participating in the 30 days of thanks & giving over at jeannette's blog!
i am going to post my thanks & giving every five days! so here are the first five days...
(you can click on the picture above to read about the experiment she is challenging us to do!)

day 1...
november 1, 2009

today is sunday and i can not help to be reminded how i am so very thankful for our church!
each and every time i think about elevation, i am so thankful that God has brought us to our church home. i consider it a true blessing to be a part of what God is doing in and through our church. i am amazed how He would chose us to be a part of this movement. He brought us to elevation two and a half years ago. we were so broken and God used every single aspect of elevation to heal us and to stretch and grow our faith in Him. i am so thankful for elevation church!!!

with four kids it is hard to find time to spend individual quality time with each of them.
tonight, i carved out some time in our busy evening to make pumpkin bread with jordyn.
i gave her my time and some undivided attention.
just a little bit goes a long way!!

day 2...
november 2, 2009

this monday morning, i am so thankful that i am able to be a stay at home mom! it was something that my heart always desired to be. and when we were pregnant with our first child, jamil and i agreed that was what we wanted our family to look like. i have been blessed to be at home with my kids since the first baby was born 9 years ago. i truly feel it is what God has called and continues to call me to do!

the way that i gave today goes along with exactly what i am thankful for. i love being a stay at home mom, but i will be honest and say that the days can get long and hard. jamil went from his work to church tonight to be with our pastor while he recorded a sermon. it was a long day for me, but i didn't complain. i was giving of my time by taking care of our family and our home.

day 3...
november 3, 2009


i am so thankful for my best friend, amy. amy and i have been friends since college, so almost 15 years. God has placed her strategically in my life. we talk on the phone atleast once a day. and sometimes for hours at a time! i am so thankful that God has given me a true friend who knows me and is there for me through all times!


tonight, i invited my sister to have dinner & desert with us! she was away this weekend, so i wanted to hear how her trip was. i love when she comes over to eat with us!!! she actually is a blessing to me because she helps with the kids and getting them settled at dinnertime!!

day 4...
november 4, 2009

tonight i got to have a girl's night out with four special friends. i am so thankful for their friendship. we all went through a tremendous amount of pain, loss and betrayal within the same year of each other. i am so thankful that each of us are walking on the other side of that mess. i am so thankful we are healed from the pain and that God has been faithful to each of us and is showering blessings on us!

jordyn spent a long time reading this afternoon. she did way past her daily assignment of 20 minutes. she is a fantastic reader! i gave her words of praise and encouragement today!

day 5...
november 5, 2009

i am giving thanks to God today for His provision over our family. He is an awesome God! He has begun to bless our finances in a way i couldn't have imagined. i am so thankful for His provision today.

today, i will be giving my time and caring for my best friend's kiddos while she is at a doctor's appointment. i will be taking care of her 5 year old son and almost 18 month old twin girls
in addition to jesiah and jaelyn. i will have 5 kids and then at 2:30 my older two will be home and i will have 7 kids! it will be a fun day!


plan b...

plan a...
one day last week our plans fell through. bummer. my friend, marybeth and i had planned to get together for coffee and pumpkin spice muffins (from dunkin donuts, ever had one? she loves them and i have never had one and dying to try one) but due to my cold and her daughter's cough we felt it was best to reschedule.

plan a...
it turned out to be a good day to be at home. it was overcast and rainy here. and it felt good to be at home! so i set out to conquer a few things on my to do list. only i chose to do something else that wasn't on the list. do you ever do that? (you can bet i will add it to the list just so i can cross it off ;)

my plasticware is stored in a cabinet underneath the island in my kitchen and it was a disaster, i could never find anything in there.

here is a peek:

what a mess, i know!

while i was thinking about how i could make this space a little more efficient and a lot less of a black hole full of plastic stuff. i remembered i had this out in the garage (empty):

i knew it would fit underneath, because i had used it there before to hold our collection of sippy cups and lids. so i retrieved it from the garage and began to organize my little heart out!!!

so this is what it looks like now:

so much better now!!!!

little miss busy playing with all of the odd pieces that i am going to get rid of!!

now. if i could just get this task completed!
remember that? well it looks even worse now,
and i would die before posting a picture of it!
it is still a work in progress and on the top of my to do list after all of these months!


lots & lots more halloween fun...

our weekend was busy with halloween festivities. we kicked off our halloween weekend on thursday with a party at elevation. on friday night, we went to a party hosted by my friend kirsten, who did a fabulous job! her party was amazing, she had games and stations set up all over her backyard and in the garage. kirsten had tons of food and drinks. she did a fabulous job hosting 60 (yes, sixty!) people in her home. over half of those were kiddos...

we had such a fun time! thank you again kirsten for a fabulous time!

on saturday we carved our pumpkins that we got from the pumpkin patch...

don't they look pretty cute?
yes, the last pumpkin is an elevation symbol (^)

on saturday evening as jamil headed off to church, i got the kids dressed up again to go visit their grandparents. and then we went to amy's house for our annual trick or treating!! we had such a great time, despite the rain pouring down as we started to go out. but thankfully, (and after the kids said a prayer!) it slowed down enough for us to go out! you will notice three of my kids did a costume change!

my girls...

jordyn is sleeping beauty this go around!

our four girls together...

merideth (pirate girl) mallory (lady bug)

the boys...

jesiah (as batman this time)
will (g.i. joe)

josh (as an army man this time!)

wow, a busy but fun weekend. it is hard to believe october has come and gone and now it is time to prepare for thanksgiving, and dare i say.... christmas!