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Ashley Wagner

Devotions

Reading Through The Bible Chronologically – Update!

Back in October, I shared my Mom’s story of reading through the Bible chronologically. Since then, she has finished her first journey from Genesis to Revelation. Here’s an update from her and the ministry that God has given her to share with others!


A few months ago, I wrote about my experience reading through my Bible in chronological order. I was nearly done, needing only to finish reading the New Testament, which I was able to finish reading, just before Christmas.

Then, God started to nudge me… I was impressed to do something, to share the idea of reading the Bible, in chronological order, with others.  To help make it interesting, to spark the curiosity in others and try something new.

In early December, after a long time of praying about it, thinking about it and mulling it over, I finally took the step, and set up a Facebook Group to be the “Home” for this reading project, where I can invite others to begin this reading journey.  It is called “From the Beginning to the End.”

There, I have posted some information about reading your Bible chronologically.  I posted a photo album of the bulletin board I made back in October for my church, to introduce the idea of reading chronologically.  I also added information about a very useful and informative website I found, that makes reading the Bible in chronological order a real adventure.  I plan to use it myself this year as I begin reading again!


Mom would like to invite you to join her on this chronological journey! If you would like to check out the Facebook group, and all of the resources she has gathered for this journey, you can find that here.

Mom has also set up an Instagram account, which you can find it here

Please join us on this journey through the Bible, from the beginning to the end!

(The Bible pictured above is my Mom’s antique family Bible. Isn’t it gorgeous?)

Relationships

Being Present During The Holidays

Our family has started a tradition of decorating our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. This year we had Thanksgiving early because that’s when family could be here, so we decorated early too!

This year was the first year that we let our girls hang most of the ornaments. That was definitely a test for this Mommy! Most of our ornaments are hanging on the front lower half of our tree, because that’s where the girls could reach. Some branches have more than one ornament!

Emma

I had planned to redistribute the ornaments after they went to bed. It was hard for me to really look at the tree! But those two girls had such a great time hanging ornaments and candy canes, they were so proud of their work! My husband convinced me to just let it be.

This year Christmas means something a little different to me. It’s not about having a perfectly decorated tree or exquisitely wrapped presents.

This year I want to watch my girls experience Christmas. I want to take them to every walk-through nativity we can, every fancy light display, I want to read them the story of Jesus’ birth as many times as we can… I want to pay attention and soak in every moment. I want to watch their faces light up a little more as Christmas gets closer.

Cora

Yesterday my girls asked my husband to read the story of Baby Jesus from The Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don’t have that book, I highly recommend it! I love how it’s written for children, but it’s not babyish. Anyways…

In the chapter called “The Light of the whole world” it tells the story of when the angels visited the shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus. The beginning of the chapter is so sweet…

“That same night, in amongst the other stars, suddenly a bright light appeared. Of all the stars in the dark vaulted heavens, this one shone clearer. It blazed in the night and made the other stars look pale beside it.

God put it there when his baby Son was born — to be like a spotlight. Shining on him. Lighting up the darkness. Showing people the way to him.

You see, God was like a new daddy — he couldn’t keep the good news to himself. He’d been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone.

So he pulled out all the stops. He’d sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He’d put a special star in the sky to show where his boy was. And now he was going to send a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world: He’s here! He’s come! Go and see him. My little Boy.” – The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, pg. 184-186

I’m not the only parent who gets excited at Christmas time because of their kids. I’ve only had to wait a year to share this with them. God waited thousands of years before His Son was born. The birth of that Baby meant the plan of salvation was in motion. All of Biblical history was leading up to that moment in a stable, and God wanted the world to know!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas and forget the story behind the season. There is so much joy to be had if we really watch for it!

So this year, I want to be more present. I encourage you to do the same!

Relationships

Angels in the Trenches

This week I reached a point where I just needed to talk to someone. This pregnancy has definitely not been the easiest for me. I’ve been tired, hormonal, emotional, and I’ve had the possibility of complications weighing heavy on me. It’s hard to feel excited about having a baby with all of that against you, even if 99% of it is all in your head.

So I decided to talk about it instead of bottle it all up. I have a group of women on FaceBook that has become quite close. We pray for each other, cry with each other, laugh with each other… We are all moms — some are first-timers, while others have been doing this for a while. We are spread all over the country, even the world! Several of them even live local to me.

This is the group that I went to with my fears and worries and concerns.

And these Angels in the trenches of motherhood wrapped me up, lifted me up, and reassured me that what I’ve been feeling is fine. That I’m not going through this alone. That I’ve got this.

“A” gave me permission to feel what I’ve been feeling, and frequently tells others in the group the same thing.

“J” wrote to me personally, she used to work with many of the doctors in this area, and knows my doctor well. She told me I was in good hands, that she experienced similar possible complications with one of her pregnancies, and that it all worked out.

“L” is in the same boat as I am, in her 3rd pregnancy, and facing some of the same insecurities that I am. Just hearing that I’m not crazy or alone in this was a huge comfort.

And these are just a few of the lovely ladies I call friends!

When I finally got to my doctor’s appointment, I shared my concerns with my doctor, and one of the first things he asked me was “Do you have a good support system?”

Yes! I do! Besides my lovely family and friends who I’ve known for years, this group of women, these angels in the trenches with me, are a wonderful support system. The things I have witnessed these women do for each other is amazing.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for my support system. I would be so lost in my own head right now if it weren’t for being able to share with them my worries.

So Ladies, you know who you are… Thank you.

Do you have a support system? It could be your family or friends. Near or far. It could be people you have met through church or school. It could be many people, or only one or two. Whoever your support system is, take a few moments today to tell them how much you appreciate them.

Maybe you are their support system too!

Devotions

Whatever Is Good…

This week our country elected our next president. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more electric election! There were so many strong feelings and opinions going into this election, and even more after the results came in.

As Christians, and even more as Adventists, we know this world is not going to last forever. We are in the last days before Christ returns. The state of our nation and our world should not surprise us, we’ve been told this was coming. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us.

It hurts to see friends and family spewing such hatred towards each other, towards strangers! It’s scary to see and hear about the violence and destruction in our world. It’s a struggle to know how to explain everything to my kids. I wonder how long I can protect my kids from the evil of this world.

No matter what side of this election you are on, I think we can all agree on one thing:

Jesus Christ is Lord and King!

As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about, a Bible passage started to swirl through my mind. I think this is one that we all need to write on our hearts, especially in the uncertain days to come. We don’t need to be anxious! I hope that brings you as much comfort as it has brought me.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9 ESV

Relationships

Trust

Yesterday morning we had another incident with Emma. Like I’ve mentioned before, she’s very much like me and gets in trouble easily. This time, Jordan and I were still in our room talking before starting our day, and both girls were down playing in the living room. Or so we thought.

When Jordan walked down the hall, he heard from the kitchen, “Daddy’s coming! Hurry, we have to close it and put it away!”

Uh oh.

Emma had instigated getting a bag of caramel corn with chocolate off the counter, and both girls were stuffing their faces as fast as they could before getting caught.

Emma knew she needed to ask permission before getting the caramel corn down, that had been the rule all week. But when she was alone she decided to do things her way, and it got her into trouble. And this time, she got her sister in trouble too.

This opened up a conversation about trust. We told her that because she kept doing things like this when we weren’t around, we didn’t trust her. We explained that trust is knowing she will stay out of trouble when we aren’t looking. And because she had broken our trust, her consequence yesterday was never leaving my sight. If I left the room for any reason, she had to come with me.

So I had a little redheaded shadow all day. We talked about trust some more during the day, and it got me thinking about trust in marriage.

Trust in marriage can be defined in the same simple manner as I explained to my 4-year-old. Trusting my husband means I believe he will stay out of trouble when I’m not around.

“Trouble” in a marriage can come in many forms. It can be spending money on a whim at the expense of paying bills, it can be looking at questionable things online, it can be a wandering eye, or even blatant infidelity. There are more examples, and each marriage has it’s own “trouble” that could hurt the trust between husband and wife.

Trust can even be affected by things in a person’s past, even if the spouse has never done anything to break trust themselves. Past relationships, abuse, or even just watching a close friend get hurt can all affect the trust in a relationship.

I struggled with trusting Jordan in the first couple years of our marriage. If he didn’t call me after work, I could quickly come to the conclusion that he was with someone else. One time his Facebook Messenger was hacked, and a fake conversation with one of his exes showed up that was very inappropriate. I happened to see it when I was using his phone to look something up (I promise, I wasn’t at the point of checking up on him!)

That incident opened up a conversation that helped us both. We were able to talk about why I was struggling with trusting him, and he was willing to take steps to reassure me.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Communication is key!! Jordan has never done anything to make me not trust him, it was only my insecurities that were causing problems. But if we hadn’t opened up and talked about it, we would probably still be struggling over trust.

If your spouse has done something to break your trust, you still need to talk. Maybe even find a counselor to mediate. Your marriage is worth it. Your spouse is worth it. You are worth it.

Devotions

Good Medicine

This week has been a doozy for my family. My uncle was visiting my parents and had a heart attack in their living room. My sister is fresh out of CPR training for summer camp, and was able to do CPR on my uncle for 10+ minutes until paramedics arrived and relieved her. My uncle had no pulse for about 12 minutes.

Tuesday evening he was moved out of the ICU and into a regular patient room, he’s been up walking the halls, and it’s likely he will be going home in a day or two. His recovery has been amazing! He still has a long way to go, but we are very thankful that he is alive and getting well!

The day it happened, my Dad texted my brother and I. At the time, Dad didn’t know anything, except that his brother had just collapsed on his living room floor and was on his way to the hospital. Dad was a wreck. As soon as he was able to, he FaceTime-d with us to give us as much of an update as he had. Jordan and our girls and I were in the car about to get breakfast, so my oldest daughter heard the conversation.

As any 4-year-old does, she had questions. We explained that Mommy’s uncle had a sick heart, and he was going to the hospital, and that we needed to pray for him. She accepted this, and we were able to go in for our breakfast.

While we were eating, this wise-beyond-her-years child said something that caught both Jordan and I off guard.

Did you catch that?

“A joyful heart is good medicine! Did you know that?”

This isn’t the first time this girl has surprised me with her wisdom. And what she said was just what my husband and I needed to hear. We were feeling very concerned for my uncle and family, we were distracted from the here-and-now. And then she popped out with that!

Kids tend to bounce all over the place, they never seem to listen when we want them to, and they can make us feel crazy much of the time. But they do listen. They are aware. And they are smart!

Both my girls are very compassionate, and get very concerned whenever someone gets hurt. I hope they never lose that quality.

And I hope they always keep their joyful hearts!


The cover photo for this post was taken by my Dad the day after my uncle’s heart attack. Dad had gone for a hike to help clear his mind, and this was the view he found! Talk about some good medicine! 

Relationships

She’s Just Like Me…

As a Mom, we all dread the day we open our mouths, and our own mother comes out. No matter how wonderful your Mom is, it’s very strange to hear yourself tell your kids the same things your Mom used to tell you.

The only thing that is harder to comprehend is when your daughter starts acting just like you.

I’ve been facing this a lot lately. My oldest, Emma, is 4 and a half going on 14. She is a sweet, happy, caring and generous kid. But she’s just like me.

That smile is infectious!

That smile is infectious!

My Mom can tell you, I got into trouble as a kid. It was never intentional, I just got curious about what would happen if that little area of peeling paint got bigger. This week my daughter got curious about what would happen if she colored on a chair. Both times we were unsupervised and our sense of judgement wasn’t quite mature.

Emma has also inherited my stubbornness and my temper. I fear for her teenage years! We butt heads frequently, and my pregnancy hormones definitely don’t help. My poor husband has to deal with two crying women (ok, one of us is 4) more often than he would like.

I’m still trying to navigate this motherhood thing. I’m about to do this for the 3rd time, and I still feel like I’m floundering. Just when I think I’ve read the Mom Handbook and I’ve got it all figured out, the rules change! We have our good days, and we have our “weeping and gnashing of teeth” days.

My Little Butterfly

But she’s still my girl. I can always count on her to stop whatever she’s doing to say, “Mommy? I love you!” She loves to take “silly pictures” on Snapchat to send to her Daddy. She adores her little sister, even though they bicker and fight, and she is so excited for her new baby brother or sister. She loves to sing songs about Jesus and she asks questions about Jesus a lot.

She’s a little ray of sunshine who will talk to anyone and leaves people smiling. She is quick to love, quick to forgive, quick to smile.

She’s my girl. And she’s just like me.

She's my Mini-Me!

She’s my Mini-Me!

Devotions

Out of Reach?

I’ve mentioned before about when I felt spiritually dehydrated, and how my Mom helped me get back on track. Well, she has her own incredible experience with the Bible! She wrote this a couple of weeks ago, and I knew as soon as I read it that I needed to share it here.

This is my Mom’s journey in reading the Bible, or rather experiencing the Bible. Her journey turned into so much more than just reading! 

But rather than tell you her story, I’ll let you read it for yourself. This is Sandy’s journey!


In March of this year (2016) I was invited by my daughter, Ashley, to read along with an online group, Good Morning Girls, hosted by the website ministry, Women Living Well, who were going to read the New Testament book of Mark. I said yes, and gathered my Bible and coloring pencils, because they color-code their Bibles and I wanted to try it.

They read one chapter a day, keeping it light and easy for busy mothers. I enjoyed the reading and the discussions and insights shared freely by other women who were reading along. It was nice, but what I didn’t know was that God had another plan for me.

When the book of Mark was complete, they announced what the next book would be, Deuteronomy. I thought, wow, I have never read that book before, and it’s the last book of the first five books of Moses, so…I probably should read the book that comes before it, so I understand where Deuteronomy is beginning. So I did, I read through Numbers.

I found that Numbers isn’t all about Numbers! The word Numbers means “in the dessert” in Hebrew! It tells about the Israelites journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab, on the border of the Promised Land. It is the “rest of the story” of the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness!  I had never read this before!

Back to reading Deuteronomy. By now, the group was ready to begin. I read the first chapter and found that I wanted to also read the second chapter and the third. I was finding it hard to be patient and read one a day. By the end of the first week, I had read the whole book!

Wow, what a book! It tells about the last opportunity for Moses to preach to the new generation of Israelites, before they entered the Promised Land. He had a lot of reminding to do.

I had come to the end of Deuteronomy, and got to thinking. I had never read (most of) my Bible before, including Leviticus, which came right before Numbers. If Numbers was about the wilderness years, there must be some interesting things happening in Leviticus. So I decided to read that next.  I was right!

So now, I had read three of the first five books of my Bible. I looked at Genesis and said to myself, “I know I have read this before, many times. It’s my favorite book. I don’t need to read it again.” Then I looked at Exodus. This was the story of Moses finally leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and into their future. I knew this story, everyone knows this story. I don’t need to read this….

So I read Genesis and Exodus! I had to laugh at myself, I read through all five books of Moses, in reverse order! Who is crazy enough to do that…? me.

This all happened in a matter of a couple of weeks, I was hooked, and excited to read most of it for the first time! I asked myself so many times, WHY didn’t I read all this before? The answer I gave myself was stubbornness and pride. ” I already know it, so I don’t need to read it.” What a fool I was.

Then my foolishness continued. On the Women Living Well website, they have materials you can print to aid in your studies. I found one that was a check list of all the books of the Bible, and each book had individual little boxes for each chapter! My motivation became a challenge to read all the books of the Bible in order to check off all the boxes.

It is said that Gods ways are not our ways, but He will use our silly challenges and selfish motivations to reach us, teach us and change us. Little did I know His plan was for me to finally READ MY Bible!

So there I was, ready to read the next book, Joshua. I had all the Israelite history, up to this point, fresh in my mind. I was ready to move forward and learn what I had been missing.

You see, I had come to realize I had missed an awful lot of the history in the first five books, between my negligence to read it, and depending on what I had been taught all my life in church.  They teach much of it, but over time, they become stories we take for granted, and in some cases, they get confusing. My own daughters told me recently that they never knew that Jacob who married Rachel and Leah was the same Jacob from the Jacob and Esau story. The two stories were never told together and seemed unrelated. 

There were many stories that, after reading these five books, I knew were connected, but I wanted to know it in order, so I could see the relationships and understand the history correctly. I knew what I needed to do.

Years ago, I bought the Tyndale One Year, New Living Translation Chronological Bible. It is awesome, in that the whole Bible is arranged in chronological order. I knew this would be a great Bible version to read, until I missed my NIV Archaeology Study Bible too much. I found at the back of the One Year Bible, the daily readings were listed on a few pages, so I photocopied them out and made myself a booklet. Now I had the organized daily readings, in chronological order. I found my book and chapter boxes check list, and checked it off. I had my chronological order booklet and checked it off too!  Now I was ready to read Joshua.

Judges and Ruth were next.  It didn’t take long before the chronological reading guide had me turning between two or three books to read the whole story. It was fun, and fascinating. I was happy when I made it through the book of Job, and enjoyed it! I had always figured it was beyond me, I have tried to read it before. Now I know better, it is no longer beyond my reach!

I decided to read the Bible in chronological order and realized it was ME that made it beyond my reach. It was always there, I just didn’t reach for it.

I proceeded to read through the Old and was finished by mid-July. I couldn’t believe I had read so much in so short a time.  I had always figured reading the Bible through, let alone in less than a year, was something I could never do. I was thrilled!

Next I wanted to read the New Testament. I was so looking forward to reading all four gospels IN ORDER, and I was not disappointed! What I did differently this time, was to also read through the Messiah by Jerry D. Thomas, an adaptation of Ellen G. White’s the Desire of Ages.  I did my best to read it in chronological order too, which was a little tricky, but it worked!

I finished reading the four Gospels, and am now reading the rest of the New Testament while following along in Mrs. White’s Acts of the Apostles.

The most important part of all my reading has been this: Always stop and pray before reading anything. I have tried to read so many times, without prayer, and it never meant anything to me. I didn’t remember what I read, I didn’t see how it was important, I couldn’t ‘apply it to my life.’ 

So many things now make sense to me. I don’t feel like I have to miss out on what the Bible says, I don’t have to rely on what others tell me it says, and I CAN understand it for myself.  God showed me that it is…

No Longer Beyond My Reach!


Have you ever felt that understanding the Bible was just something beyond your reach? Have you had trouble reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the Jesus of the New Testament?  

Mom has been impressed to share her experience reading through the Bible with others and is putting together a ministry of sorts. What she has so far is exciting! I’ll share more about what she’s putting together and how she’s wanting to share it with others in a future post. 

Would you be interested in a free reading plan to read through the Bible chronologically? 

Would you like more information about what Sandy is working on before I feature her next? 

Devotions

Sunday Traditions

We have a Sunday tradition in our home. Not every Sunday, but as often as possible. Schedules get in the way sometimes, bills happen, projects around the house have to get done, but we still try to make our tradition happen.

What is our tradition? Dunkin Donuts.

Cora was very excited to get her donut…

So was Emma!

So was Emma!

Sometimes we just get donuts, other times we are able to get a full breakfast, but we try to make it to Dunkins as many Sundays as possible. It has become important family time for us. We’ve been going since Emma was little, when she couldn’t even eat a donut. Now she’s able to tell us, quite matter-of-factly, exactly what donut she wants.

Daddy picked out their donuts...

Daddy picked out their donuts…

Strawberry frosted, with crushed Oreos... Wow...

Strawberry frosted, with crushed Oreos… Wow…

Both girls get sticky and bouncy from the sugar, but these are memories that we can share for a long time. We laugh, we share bites of our different donuts, we make plans for the rest of our day… We all look forward to it all week long.

Do you have any family traditions? Maybe weekly or monthly? Even yearly? How long have you had those traditions? Are they simple or extravagant? Mostly, what is your favorite part of sharing those traditions with your family?

Relationships

The Wall

Have you ever undertaken a home renovation project with your spouse? They will change your marriage, I promise you. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad, but home renovations do not leave you the same.

Last winter we redid our floors. Out with the super old and cruddy carpet and in with new hardwood. It took us almost 3 months, with help from both Jordan’s family and mine. If I could do it over again, I would do many things differently. It definitely put a strain on our marriage, with the living area completely torn apart, no room for the girls to play, and never being clean. I am SO glad that is in the past, and we really have very nice floors now!

It’s been a while since we attempted another home reno project. Until this past weekend. Jordan finally had a Friday off, and we just went for it.

Our entryway wall was floor to ceiling wallpaper. And not the good kind either. This was pink and gold and velvety. We called it our fuzzy wall. That paper HAD to go. We’ve been in this house for 4 years, it was time.

So Friday afternoon we started pulling the paper down. It came off easy enough at first… but then it started peeling away the top layer of sheetrock too. Some areas were really bad. Jordan spent a long time patching the bare spots on the wall so it would look even after we painted.

So much patching!

So much patching!

Saturday night we sanded the wall.

Here’s a tip: if you are going to be sanding joint compound, hang up plastic first. Or you will be vacuuming up dust forever. Seriously, there was dust from one end of the house to the other. We are still finding it!

Another tip: check and double check and triple check where you sand. Otherwise you’ll end up in a puddle of tears when Hubby starts painting and discovers an area that you missed with the sandpaper. Or maybe it was the pregnancy hormones that made me cry…. either way….

It looked like snow...

It looked like snow…

Sunday morning we cleaned up the dust and started to paint!

This was my favorite part. Our girls had been asking and asking to help paint this wall since we started taking down the paper. Emma was all set with her little craft paintbrushes, until I told her they were too little. But then we gave them the chance to leave their mark on the wall.

Dressed in old t-shirts, they took turns sitting on the stairs and Jordan helped them hold the brush and paint the wall. Then they got to paint without help. Jordan painted their first initials on the wall, so now they are both a part of the house!

They were so excited to be able to help us paint!

They were so excited to be able to help us paint!

The wall is painted now. It’s dry. But it is far from perfect. There’s the spot that was skipped over with sandpaper, there’s a few dings that didn’t get filled in, there’s a few thin spots with little specks of white showing through. But this is our wall.

I couldn’t really help much with laying the new flooring. But this wall was something I could get right in and do. I helped with every step, I didn’t have to just sit back and watch Jordan do all the work. This is OUR wall. The first of many of OUR projects, in OUR home. We made this happen together.

This wall reminds me of our marriage. We have put a lot of work into our marriage. We’ve learned some lessons along the way, what not to do, what to do more. We’ve made mistakes. Our marriage might look pretty from across the room, but if you look super close, its not perfect.

But it’s ours.

Our marriage is not something that someone else can do for us. Sure, we can get advice from parents or counselors or friends, but in the end, marriage is something we have to decide to do for ourselves.

And we can’t just go halfway or skip a step. Imagine if we hadn’t filled in the holes, and just painted over everything? That wall would look horrible, and would probably start to flake and peel in a couple of years. Or what if we did fill the holes, but never sanded the wall after? If we just painted over the rough ridges of repair? There were some really sharp points that would hurt to bump against, or would snap off and leave big gaping holes.

The finished wall.

The finished wall.

For our marriage to be it’s best, the small issues need to be fixed, mended, and smoothed over before the beauty can truly shine. It will still show the scars, like our wall does, but it’s something we can be proud of. We started this, and we are finishing this.

And now that our wall is painted and dried, it’s ready for it’s true purpose. To hold photos of our family, in living color, for us to look at even when the days get rough.

Marriage isn’t easy, but it can definitely be beautiful with a little work.

Relationships

Butterflies

Remember when you went on your first date with your husband? Maybe you felt nervous, excited, even a little terrified. If you were anything like me, you probably had a stupid grin plastered across your face the whole time, you couldn’t think of any intelligent conversation, and you felt like you could float away at any moment. Remember the butterflies?

Young love! Not much is sweeter than a new romance, especially one that you just have that feeling about… He’s the one! 

This picture was taken when we had only been dating for about 3 weeks!

This picture was taken when we had only been dating for about 3 weeks!

Yep, I knew pretty early that Jordan was my one. Even though we spent the first few months together several states apart, that helped keep the new romance feeling alive. When we did see each other, I had those same butterflies still!

We dated for 4 years before we got married. We went through some ups and downs, some real tests of our relationship. But we came out the other side still completely in love with each other.

The night Jordan proposed, those butterflies were back! I felt like I could walk on air! And a little over a year later, as I was walking down the aisle to meet him, I had to force myself to breathe because I could hardly believe my dream of marrying this man was coming true.

My favorite picture from our wedding!

My favorite picture from our wedding!

We’ve now been married for over 7 years, been together for 11, have 2 kids and we’re cooking a 3rd, we’ve lived in 3 homes, we’ve been through sickness, financial stress, uncertainty, disappointments, arguments… But we’ve come out the other side still smiling, still holding hands, even more in love than in the beginning.

Today a picture came across my Facebook feed that I couldn’t pass by without sharing.

butterflies

It’s true! And it doesn’t just happen on special occasions when he’s all dressed up. I’ll watch him play with our girls, and see the love he has for them. I’ll see him working behind the scenes at a work event, doing what he loves, making miracles happen (at least thats what it seems like, considering I have no idea how to do his job!). I’ll roll over in the middle of the night and see him sleeping on the pillow next to me.

Butterflies!

This man was chosen for me long before I even knew him. God knew I needed a husband who would balance me out, who would be the reason to my emotion, who would always try to make me laugh, who would continue to love me even at my lowest point.

This past weekend we took a family adventure to Cades Cove, Tennessee. We had a wonderful time, even saw a few bears! While we were there, I grabbed his phone, then I grabbed him and snapped a quick photo of the two of us. Selfies of the two of us don’t always turn out, but this one did.

Just us!

He still makes me smile.

He still gives me butterflies!

Devotions

One Heartbeat at a Time

This week has flown by. I forgot I had a post due today until Krystal texted me this morning. Is it really that time already?

I’ve tried to start this post a few times, but I have to keep setting my laptop down to help my girls with one crisis or another. Isn’t that how motherhood goes? The kids don’t need you until you sit down and look busy. Or need to make a phone call, or want to take a shower…..

Just one of the messes I've cleaned up this morning.

Just one of the messes I’ve cleaned up this morning.

And now my husband and I are adding a third child to our circus. Yes, I’m pregnant with Baby 3. We were surprised, we had been talking about another baby, but in a “Not right now” kind of way. But God has other plans, obviously!

I have several days when my kids are exceptionally needy or grumpy or overactive when I just sit on the couch and wonder, How am I going to do this with three? Three kids fighting over who gets to sit in my lap. Three kids arguing over which book to read at bedtime. Three kids with three different ideas on what they want for breakfast. Three kids running the loop between the living room and kitchen.

Just thinking about all that makes me tired.

I adopted the Mom Look a while ago. You know the one. Messy bun, hubby’s t-shirt, and comfy pants. Sometimes the same outfit for more than one day in a row. I tried getting out of the Mom Look rut by buying some nice shirts, new jeans, make-up… But then I got pregnant. Now none of it fits.

We are homeschooling, so mix that with being a stay-at-home-mom and we can go a week without leaving the house. That usually means my kids run around in last night’s pjs, or more likely just underwear. It saves on laundry, so that’s a plus…

I can only imagine what goes through my husbands mind when he discovers that we are all wearing the exact same thing we wore yesterday…

But.

We have colored and practiced writing letters and played hide and seek. Emma is learning how to read. Cora is learning how to draw more than scribbles. My kids have tea parties, dance parties, fancy hair parties. We are learning Bible stories and memory verses. My kids are both saying prayers at meals and bedtime. The endless cycle of dishes and laundry and picking up toys is interrupted often by two little girls wanting to help.

 

They started out using paint brushes...

They started out using paint brushes…

 

...but obviously using their fingers was much more fun!

…but obviously using their fingers was much more fun!

Even listing everything we do during a day, I still get to the end of the day and wonder if I really accomplished anything. There’s still dirty laundry and dishes. The floor is still covered with toys. The table it still covered with paperwork and mail and school worksheets. The couch is still covered with crumbs.

This morning I was making breakfast for my girls (read:pouring cereal into bowls) and wondering what on earth I had to write about. Then a line from a song started playing over and over in my head.

You are changing the world one little heartbeat at a time.

Some of you may recognize the song. It’s “One Heartbeat at a Time” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

For some reason, that line really hit me this morning. Maybe because just last week we were able to hear our baby’s heartbeat, so it’s fresh in my mind. We are bringing a third precious little heartbeat into our lives. Most of the care of that little heartbeat falls on me, along with the two other little heartbeats we already have.

I may feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in a day, but I’m changing the world.

So are you.

The video below was made for Mother’s Day, which today is not. But nonetheless, it’s a beautiful video. Enjoy the song, take it to heart. And try not to cry. Hopefully you accomplish that last one better than I did.