Friday, September 12, 2014

Elli Turns One

It's true folks. Time flies! My baby had her 1st birthday! It was a great day that I will remember forever thanks to some great friends who helped us capture the memories.

On her birthday we did our last fabric photo shoot! Now I will send off the 12 months of fabric to my friend to make into a quilt.

{No pressure Libby! She just had a baby so I may not get it until next year, but that's okay! But go check out her beautiful work HERE}


23 lbs and 30 inches*loves her sweet potatoes and bananas (Na-Na)*eggs are her new thing*she crawls all over*pulls up on everything*climbs stairs*loves to do the "bobble head"*she says 'Da' for 'dog'*makes monkey noises*

I had always planned to make her cake and with her favorite fruit being bananas, I decided to make my banana bread recipe for her cake. A friend shared her favorite recipe for vanilla cupcakes so that's what I made for the guests and I also used the cream cheese frosting from the same blog. {HERE}

So my bestie and the family came down to visit for the big celebration and the girls helped me put the cupcakes together! It was so surreal throughout the day as I realized this was MY daughters birthday! For years I was the one to make sure every moment was captured through photography when attending my friends kids birthdays, but this time, it was MY baby girls big day. I feel like I waited so long for these precious moments and I treasured every single moment.

I pinned, and I googled. I made lists and put together a color scheme. But I quickly put on the brakes as I realized that a ton of decorations and intricate details would just create stress and take away from what this special day was all about. Not to mention, it would break the bank! So simple was the name of the game! I had a couple awesome friends give me some props or let me borrow things like the cupcake stand, and the rest just came together. 

The garland behind her is made from vintage fabrics from a shop I found on Instagram through an auction for a great cause. Did you know they have auctions on Instagram? I got slightly addicted to them. You can get great deals and find great new shop all while supporting someone in need! I also got the cupcake toppers through an auction! The candle was my idea, but I'm not a modge podge kind of girl, so I had a sweet friend execute it and she rocked it!

It wouldn't be a party without a little blood! Poor baby got her first busted lip in 3...2...1...

I promise we weren't laughing at her as she bit it. {that looks bad} There were tears and Mommy almost passed out. But a little frankincense to help with the pain and bleeding and an ice cube had her ready for cake in no time!

The fingers were in the icing before I even set down the plate! She LOVED it. Her favorite part was the birthday song though. I think I had sang it enough in the weeks leading up to this day that she recognized it and thought it was funny. I was so grateful for all the amazing people who came to celebrate our girl!

While under a sugar coma, E got to experience the fun of opening presents! She needed a lot of help.

We were so blessed by many friends and family who blessed sweet Elli with precious and thoughtful gifts. And I am SO thankful for Melanie who knew how important it was to capture all of these moments and grabbed the camera and went above and beyond to do just that. And I got to enjoy and relish in every memory made. The memories we had waited so many years to make. God is good.

Monday, August 4, 2014


"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" Song of Songs 6:3

That's my guy. We've been dating for over 14 years and he put a ring on it over 10 years ago. We've literally become adults together and have moved 8 times, between two countries, two states and 7 cities. And yes, I still swoon when I see him walk in the door from work each day. Call me a romantic, but he's my dream man and God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. God's cool like that. 

Last month we had the opportunity to help a photographer build her portfolio as she recently decided to shoot these 'Beloved' style shoots. {Check her out here!} I was super excited because we have never had a professional shoot before! The idea behind this style is that you create an experience by choosing a location that suits you, and then the photographer asks very personal questions without giving any styling or positioning advice and you just answer the questions and talk to each other. She brought up memories and stories that we hadn't thought about in years and we experienced moments that I'll never forget. 

I was so surprised at how natural it all felt and especially how Phil gave each question a lot of thought and shared from his heart. Did I cry? Yes, yes I did. Being forced to just stop and look into each others eyes without any distractions (besides the click of the shutter) was so good for our marriage. It made me think, why don't we do this weekly, even daily? Not the photo shoot part, but the looking into each others eyes part. Because we have an email to read? Or a status to update? Maybe it's because we have to catch up on the last 4 episodes of our favorite show or because we have to text 4 people at once, most of whom we haven't even had a face-to-face conversation with in weeks, maybe even months.

It's not worth it y'all. We need to call out the unnecessary distractions in our life and get rid of them. Those moments with my husband were worth far more than any TV show or social media website. The little moments with my daughter are more valuable than any phone call or email. What's wrong with our culture? We would rather text something to someone than hear their voice or see their face? Yet we are so lonely. 

We have to be intentional. If you're married, maybe each week you plan a little date where the phones are turned off. I've already decided I'm not bringing any distractions to the dinner table. It's been great! We talk. I know, right?! Or better yet, make dinner together! Phil and I watch a lot of cooking shows together so I was thinking that one night we should grab some random ingredients in our pantry and make dinner, since we're basically professionals after the hours of TV time we've invested!

And when it comes to friendships, we've got to make the time for each other. Even if it's short, with kids in tow. We need girl time! Maybe it's just a meet up at the park or lunch at your place! Just do it already! I just recently joined a community group through the Thrive Moms ministry. We've only met a few times but have already built relationships through the Facebook group. I've already been able to pray for and encourage women I have yet to even meet. That's definitely the good that comes from social media, but now I want to know their faces to put with their stories! So we are all trying to be intentional in getting our kiddos covered so we can have a night out every couple of weeks. 

The joy and love that comes from a true relationship, is so worth it. We just don't know how many days we have, so why waste even one of them? What do you do to make time for relationships? What are the things that distract you from investing in the people you love? How many blogs have you read on this subject that have made you say, "That's right, blog writer! I'm so motivated to make that change!", and then never even take the first step? A lot? Yeah, me too. Let's make a change! For reals. 

Love ya. Mean it!

Saturday, July 26, 2014


A while back I shared about how we became sponsors through Compassion. {Click HERE to read that post.} In the right side bar you can see the faces of our two precious children. Those two pictures sit directly across from where I sit each day on the couch. Their pictures humble me, motivate me and most importantly, they lead me to pray. It was through a time of worship that I was led (along with a handful of teenagers at a summer camp) to sponsor.

Reading their letters and seeing their drawings every couple of months inspired me to do more. So I became a Child Advocate. Since I've had opportunities to volunteer at events where hundreds of children get sponsored. It brings me to tears every single time. When setting up the table there are always a few faces that just tug at your heart. I just love it when those particular packets get snatched up by an enthusiastic new sponsor!

Here's the thing. Living in North America we can lose site of what poverty looks like. Even though it's in our very own neighborhoods. Check out these horrifying statistics. {Taken from Compassion's website HERE}

  • Worldwide 600 million children are living in extreme poverty.
  • The cost of eradicating world poverty is estimated at 1 percent of global income.
  • Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
  • 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
  • 6.9 million children under five years of age died in 2011, nearly 800 every hour.

  • It takes very little for us to make a huge difference in the life of a child. I love how Compassion actually goes to the local church and equips them to reach their community. Just $38 per month enrolls a child into the program in their local church where they are mentored, prayed for, and loved on regularly. They are given food and water and they will be able to stay in school or maybe even attend for the very first time. The child will then have basic healthcare and they will be taught proper hygiene. And the investment you make into their lives through the relationship you build will be forever life-changing. You may be the first person to tell them they are loved. To tell them you believe in them.

    Are you inspired yet? Well I have 8 beautiful little faces sitting next to me on the couch. I wish they were next to me in person, but they are pictures sitting in a packet. They need a sponsor. What is so cool is that the five children in Africa attend the same center as our two sponsored kids! I already have a handful of friends who sponsor in Ethiopia and Kenya as well so if one day any of us are able to go, we will be able to send things along with them!

    Look at these faces...

    Which one will you choose? I know, I made it really hard for you! You can also click HERE to look at other children needing sponsors if you want a specific country or even birthday! Maybe it's hard because you're just barely making ends meet. Well I can promise you, that we have been there and God always provides. Make the small sacrifice and sponsor today. You won't regret it! Please post a comment or email me to make your commit today!