Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Letter to My Baby

Dear Baby,

I've been wanting to sit down and write this for months but each time I try to it seems that it's just too much to say.  Too many words.  Too many thoughts.  Too many free nuggets of wisdom that I want you to know and believe.  And so instead I sit still and I think them, hoping that somehow the thoughts in my head and the desires of my heart will seep deep into your soul while your little heart beats inside me.

It's a funny thing- this pregnancy.  This time that you are living inside of me, mooching off of me.  It tenders my heart to think how much you need me and how, already, I get to take care of you.  It's a funny thing how already I love you so much.  I hope that I have many, many years to tell you that I love you and to show you just how much that is true.  But I know firsthand that life is fragile and that the Good Lord never promises us a tomorrow here on earth.  So, I'll put pen to paper fingers to this keyboard and tell you some things now.

1)  You, my sweet boy, are loved.  First and foremost by God.  He's knitting you together with His powerful, Mighty, Tender hands and He is crazy about you!  And then you are loved by your father and myself.  I wish you could see the little glimmer in his eyes when he talks about you or when he puts his hand on my growing belly.  When he calls you by name and talks to you there is a sweetness in his voice.  It makes my heart smile. 

  I think about you all the time and pray for you.  I continually ask God what His desires and dreams are for your life and that He would prepare us for you.  I love you.  To pieces. 

And you have grandparents that are THRILLED that you are on your way!  I think they've been waiting to be grandparents ever since your father and I got married.  They are amazing parents and I have no doubt that they will love you like crazy and spoil you to no avail.  It's their job and I believe they are taking it very seriously.

2)  My number one desire for your life is not that you be happy.  Happiness is overrated.  It comes and goes.  It's fleeting and can fail you.  My number one desire for your life is that you know and believe God- He is so very worth it.  He's the God of the universe, who calls you by name.  I want you to be crazy, head-over-heels, radically in love with the One that knows your heart and can redeem your soul.  My prayer is that Jesus gets a hold of you and never lets go.  Baby, run hard after Him.  Nothing else will ever satisfy the cravings of your soul like the Lord can.  You may search elsewhere.  But the truth is, nothing else compares.  Never has.  Never will.

3)  I hope that you grow into the kind of boy that is strong and sensitive.  Thoughtful and fun.  The kind that respects others and looks people straight in the eye.  I hope that you are mindful that words can cut deep and even throughout the toughest years, the most awkward years, I hope that you are kind.  Kind to yourself.  Kind to your parents and family.  Kind to girls.  Kind to animals (especially the dog- we love the dog).

4)  You, Baby, are a miracle.  You are a reminder to me that God brings us full circle.  The works He starts in our lives He continues.  He doesn't forget.  He doesn't abandon.  He completes.  He finishes.  And His work is good.  Our lives will most likely be very different when compared next to each other.  And someday when you are older, if you take the time to listen, I will share with you the redeeming work God has done in my life.  And in my story you will hear just how you, my little love, fit into it.  How you are more than a life.  You are a testimony that God can take the most broken heart and make it whole and then bring it to a place where not only can it survive, but it can grow, and thrive and love to the fullest.  Oh, His grace amazes me.  I will never leave you.  I will never walk away from you.  When you hurt I will hurt.  When you need discipline, I will discipline and I will not tear you down.

I love you, my sweet child.

your Mom

p.s. I hope you love the dog as much as I do!  He really is just the sweetest!  It's ok if you don't like the cat. I understand.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Top 6 Bargain Beauty Picks

Good Morning!  It is a good morning- at least here in Buffalo in my tiny world it is.  We are closing on our house today!  And... the sun is shining.  Love that sun!  We often don't get enough of it here in good ol' Buffalo.

Today I thought I would switch it up and share with you my top 6 favorite bargain beauty picks.  You can find these products at drugstores and Target.  Love me a shopping trip to Target!  They are in no particular order and here goes!

1)  Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer w/ SPF 15
(Let me apologize for my photography- I am a) new at this and b) have a crappy camera that we've been talking about replacing for a while now).
So, back to this moisturizer.  I have sensitive skin.  Something that for the better part of 28 years I never knew until I worked with a girl who was an esthetician and diagnosed me right away.  It's ok, I've come to cope with my condition and Aveeno has helped.  It's thick and creamy and doesn't feel oily to me once it absorbs into my skin.  It would be nice if it had a higher SPF but here in Buffalo our summers and sun are short, so I throw on extra SPF during those months that I really need it because I will be outside.  It's also oil-free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic so it won't cause blocked pores.

2)  Physicians Formula Multi-Colored Pressed Powder in BUFF
I like to switch up my foundation.  But foundation can be expensive.  I tend to switch between Bare Minerals, Clinique Super Balanced liquid foundation and this pressed powder.  I apply with either a kabuki brush or the puff that comes with this compact.  Once you open it up the powder part swings up and underneath is a mirror and a powder puff.  It's light and provides just enough coverage.  I like to use it in the summer if I need just a light touching up.  

3)  Burt's Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter
Can anyone say chapstick obsessed?  I am chapstick obsessed.  I usually have anywhere from 3-6 chapsticks at a given time and they are stashed in my purse, jacket pocket, night stand, bathroom medicine cabinet and make up bag.  And this is by far my favorite!  It's smooth and really moisturizes my lips.  Plus, it's mango.  And I really love mango!

4)  L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Balm in Caring Coral

This smooth balm gives me just the tiniest hint of color while moisturizing my lips.  It's light and really the perfect spring color for me!  If you prefer bolder colors don't be shy because this color was a lot lighter than I anticipated.  Plus, take a risk!  It's only lip balm!

5)  Maybelline Shinesensational  Lip Gloss in Cherry Kiss
For the days when I am feeling a little bolder and have a little more bounce in my step I like to wear this really shiny lip gloss that has a tint of red.  Not too much red.  Just enough.  If you want bolder because you are a strong, independent and sassy woman Maybelline also makes a red lip liner that you can use to color your lips before applying this gloss.  And should you choose to do that, let me be the first to say,  You rock!

6)  Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara in Carbon Black
There's something I need to confess.  I am a mascara snob.  There I said it.  I don't like drug store mascaras.    I like Lancome and Clinique.  I like to layer mascara and try to get the longest, fullest lashes I can.  I have bad lash days like others have bad hair days.  So, please know that though this product doesn't rate up there with Lancome's mascara, for a drug store beauty pick, it's pretty darn good.  It's really thick, doesn't clump and I can easily layer it.  Hats off to you, Neutrogena, job well done.  I bought it on a whim one day when my really great mascara was drying up and I was feeling cheap and didn't want to make a trip to the mall.  And I have been impressed!  *** and a little free nugget of info for you, because I like you- a drop or two of pure saline solution into your favorite dying drying out mascara and a little swirl of the wand and it's almost as good as new!***

I should state that these are my opinions and no one paid me or endorsed me to say them.  I am also not affiliated with any of the above companies.

How about you?  I'd love to hear about your favorite beauty bargain product! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Little Things

There are moments in life, at least in my life, that I've known are big.  They are a big deal.  The week I spent at Young Life camp when I was 17 and heard about God, grace, sin and Jesus dying on the cross for me, for you.  The night I sat on the rocks in the Adirondacks during that week and finally took off the masks, revealed my scars and asked a Holy, loving, God to be Lord of my life.  That was big.  The day my husband proposed as we walked along the beach looking for sea glass.  Our wedding day and the look Ryan had on his face when he saw me for the first time in that white dress.  My first day at college, feeling like I was starting a new chapter.  The day my mom died and knowing somehow that life would never quite be the same.  And most recently the day I peed on the stick and two pink lines appeared- I was pregnant.  I walked into my kitchen, fell to my knees and cried and praised God.  What a gift.  A life changing gift.

I'm sure you have your big moments, too.  The ones that have somehow shaped and define you.  And I believe, that for the most part, they are few and far between.  But what we have daily are the little things.  Quiet moments, small gifts and sometimes we miss them.  Sometimes, I miss them.  And sometimes I just flat out don't recognize them. 

Coming home from work yesterday my feet were fat.  Not swollen. Fat.  Two fat, chunky blocks attached to my legs.  I walked in the door and my husband had set up the foot bath for me to soak my fat feet in.  Driving to work the other morning there was literally no traffic.  Work has been hectic and a bit stressful and my boss texted me after I had left the office that she appreciates all that I do.  Every night when I walk in the door my dog greets me like I am the best part of his day and in the morning he does the exact same thing when I wake up.  A sweet friend let me know that she's been praying for me. 

These are all small things.  Things that in the midst of a hectic and busy life I can miss as little gifts.  But they, just like the large moments, can define and shape me.  Do I take the time to acknowledge them and to thank God for them?  To live each day with a grateful heart- to be grateful even for the things that don't necessarily seem like they are small gifts because they are hard or challenging or push my buttons in the worst way.  But I can choose to be grateful that God will use those things for His good, to complete His purpose in me (patience, compassion, gentleness.... the road to these are not easy!). 

I haven't done the best job this week of recognizing it.  It took me until this morning during my devotional time to be convicted of that.  How about you?  What are some big moments that have shaped you and some little moments that you are grateful for?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Making a comeback

I'm back!  The two people that have read this blog before may have noticed that I went MIA for a while.  I'm not totally sure why other than life just happened.  So, before I settle myself back into this writing thing here are some updates:

1.  We bought a house!  A 3 bedroom, dutch colonial, in the city (bordering two suburbs), that needs a lot of love and wall paper torn down.  I'm in house love.  After a year and a half of looking, getting outbid three times, we finally walked into the house that was meant to be!

2.  I'm preggers!  Yep.  Who would have ever thought?  I sure didn't.  I don't remember ever really dreaming of being a mom.  Chalk that up to one fairly dysfunctional childhood, some abandonment issues, and the enjoyment of life revolving around my own schedule.  And then one day about two years ago I woke up from a dream in which I had given birth and suddenly I had this overwhelming desire to be a mom.  I waited for a couple weeks to actually talk to Ryan about it because I kept thinking that the feeling would just go away.  That it would fade.  But it never did.  And here I am.  22 weeks pregnant with a little boy. 

So, life happened and the blogging stopped.  But in my hiatus I have become really fond of a few blogs and learned some things, too, that I hope to apply here.  I'm hoping this blog will evolve and grow.  Maybe 2012 will be the year of 3 followers instead of 2!  Oh, the possibilities!

Now that the updates are all done and we're caught up to speed I wanted to share a challenge that I was given through a newsletter that I receive from Lori Miller of Developing Professionals.  Lori does professional training sessions and I have had the pleasure of taking part in a few of her courses.  She's engaging, fun and knowledgeable. Here's the challenge:  To journal every day in April about three things.

1.  What is 1 simple thing that made you happy?
2.  What is 1 thing you are thankful for?
3.  What is 1 relationship that made you smile?

So, I am taking the challenge and since today isn't over yet, here are my answers for Sunday, April 8th:

1.  The sun was shining as we drove to church for Easter service.
2.  My husband- he is loving, and sweet and makes me laugh.
3.  My relationship with Christ- He died and was separated from God so that we would never have to be and then he conquered sin and death by raising on the third day.  I am grateful it's not about a set of rules or trying to have my good outweigh my bad in this life to make it to heaven, but by choosing to put my hope and trust in Jesus.  It's the relationship with Christ and not the religion that allows me to be connected with the Lord.  What a good God He is!

How about you?  What would you answer to Lori's three questions above?