Gulf Shores

There are many things churning in my mind these days. The kind that have to brew long enough to come out the best strength (coffee analogy ;). I've almost been home for a week, and really want to at least get some pictures of the vacation time up. Simeon was insanely clingy and ended up having an ear infection by the time I got home. He slept great while we were gone, probably partly because of not feeling well. He was great at the beach though, completely content. He did chip his tooth a little diving in the pool. He really has no fear and would give me a..."you'd better be ready to catch me" look, whether or not I really was. Eliya did great and loved playing with her cousins. I'm still hearing about Papi's antics. Raisins become bugs and plain oatmeal porridge when Papi's in charge (video soon to follow). I also keep hearing from Eliya about the big fish that Papi cut with a knife. :)

Here are just a few pictures. My sister in law was much better about capturing some of these great moments. I am using some of her pictures here.

Love vacation, but I also love that I long for home when I'm gone for too long. I am so thankful for the difficult and wonderful places that I am in...the refiner's fire. I love the churning and yearning of the Spirit in me. I'm still processing, praying and leaning into what God is doing in me concerning the last post. I love learning, growing and dying... only to repeat!

Gulf Shores 2009

I love the beach!

I had the opportunity to go to Hilton Head, SC with a couple of friends for a few days. It was so great to be in creation, especially with friends who love the Lord and are becoming more like Him everyday. The time there was truly a blessing. I was a little overwhelmed with so much time without my kids, but as I write this I hear them playing in the background and know that I probably needed the respite more than I realize!

We got up at 5:45 to make it out for the sunrise, and we stayed out until 10:00 to see the sunset and moon come up. We spent a good amount of time just sitting on the beach contemplating the rhythm of His creation and how it displays His faithfulness.

Here are a few pictures of our time, on our way home we spent the afternoon in Savannah. By the way, I couldn't believe how kid and dog friendly Hilton Head is! It will definitely be a place to return with the kids one day. Here are a few pictures!

A few pictures from Easter

Here are a few of my favorites!

My mom gave "Simeon" pictures as a gift for his birthday. I met this photographer before I was pregnant with Simeon, and his daughter took some pictures of Eliya when she was 6 months old. I think that the whole family is extremely talented. if you want to check out some of his other work.

HERE is the link to more pictures that I didn't upload directly into the site. Children really are the gift of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. (Ps 127:3).


I really do have WONDERFUL children.
Simeon will be one in less than 3 weeks. He is my toothless wonder. :) He eats absolutely everything that Eliya does, just by gumming things. He is walking around things while holding on and standing unassisted, but only when he doesn't realize he is doing so. His sweet chubby cheeks and curly red hair are just fantastic. He is SUCH a blessing to me. He is my hugger and seems to know when I really need one.

Eliya is almost 2 1/2. She is so big... no really! She literally grew an inch and a half in the past two months. She wears mostly 3T pants already! She constantly surprises me with her comprehension. I love comparing her linguistic abilities to my students who are learning English as a second language. They have similar problems :) The other day she said "Mama, Oh my goodness!" I LOVE it when she uses these little sayings we have... and most of the time correctly. She also said "Yee-Haw" yesterday very loudly in the car. Apparently, one of her Backyardagin videos has a western theme! I hear a little southern drawl in her sometimes too... unbelievable! Eliya is obsessed with the alphabet song and has it down perfectly. She also loves to point out every stop sign she sees and can spell S T O P. She tries to spell her name, but most adults can't spell it either so that will come :)

They both love music and love to dance. They also both love videos, which I carefully moderate. I so don't want them to get sucked in... which literally, if it is on, Simeon stares with his mouth hanging open. He is really drawn to the remote too... are the male genes THAT strong?!?

Eliya is asking about Daddy a little less these days. She told me the other day that she missed Daddy, she followed with Daddy's in heaven with Jesus. Even though she can produce that, I know the thought is SO abstract for her. She then asked me if we could go see Jesus that day. It's really hard to have any idea what to do with that. I have been asking God to give her dreams so that she could have a level of understanding that maybe I don't even have. Daily I ask for His presence as a Father and His peace to fill their room especially when they are sleeping.

It is very comforting that God' s heart is for the fatherless.
Psalms 68:5 NIV A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
In fact, the term fatherless or orphan appears at least 41 times in the Bible! I know that my family is in the palm of His hand. I honestly never thought empathetically about the fatherless or the "single mom". I keep thinking how unimaginable the additional burden hurt from divorce would be to the pain and responsibility that are already in these circumstances. I still know, and often dwell on the verses in Psalm 145:14-... The Lord sustains all who fall and raises all who are bowed down, He is near to those who cry out to Him in truth!

I also can't help but think about pain far greater than mine that others have suffered and are suffering. In 2008, UNICEF estimated that there were over 132 million orphans in the world. Those are truly orphans with no mother, father or permanent family. My pain seems so minimal compared to those little girls in Thailand (AND ATLANTA) who are in the sex trade. UNICEF also estimates that 1 Million children are brought into the sex industry every year. My pain is small in comparison to those who lost their entire families in the Rwandan massacres in 1994. GOD BREAK MY HEART FOR THE THINGS THAT BREAK YOURS! The pain and sorrows are too great and numerous for me to count, let alone bear. Jesus Christ DID bear all of these pains for us on the cross. Please do not let the commonness of His name in our culture or the simplicity of the message keep you from knowing the reality and depth of what He has done.

Isaiah 53: 3-5
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried;Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Jesus knows the depths of pain. He understands anything that you could possibly have ever walked through. He loves you and has already completed what was necessary for you to walk without the burden of pain (His death on the cross).

He wants us to lay our burdens at His feet. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Malachi 4:2 says The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings for you people who fear my name. You will go out and leap like calves let out of a stall. Not too long ago, I saw a farmer enter his field with a hay bale... I could not believe how fast those cows could run and even leap! When I read this verse and God reminded me of that visual, I was overwhelmed with joy. No matter what your burden is, HE IS ENOUGH. He alone satisfies the desires of all men. He alone can heal the heart. A friend told me how she grows so much in the trials of life that she almost welcomes them!

1 Peter 1:6,7 "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ". The proof of your faith is more precious than gold which is perishable. OF COURSE, I wish that it hadn't cost so much for me to be laid bare before Him without any other props or hopes or helps in this world. I can with full conviction say that He really is enough. This world has nothing for me. I understand the futility of life. It is so short. My sufferings are so insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us through either death or His returning.

My heart really is that if you know Jesus, that you would pursue Him harder, the Word is living and active. It is the greatest way He speaks to us. If you feel Him drawing you, drop everything and respond. We, who are His, are passing through this world. Our citizenship isn't here... let's not live like it is. Let's be a living example of who Jesus is! He wants a pure bride who is mature and complete. Our rewards from sitting at His feet are immeasurable on this earth much less in heaven. Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy!

If you do not know Him... and this is how the Bible defines KNOWING (By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6) ...then please consider your own mortality. There is ONE guarantee for every man ever born. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. I am going to die. Most of us assume that will come late in life, and for the majority of people I know that is the case. Please seek Him out. Seek out His Word.

Acts 4:12 says there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

Romans 10:9-11 says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
I HONESTLY had no intent to go this direction with the post. I really was going to make it "all about the babies". I am trusting that this is where the Holy Spirit led it for a reason. If you hear His voice today... please do not harden your heart against Him. If you are having trouble understanding or believing... ask Him to open your eyes and heart so that you can trust. If you have any questions, I would have no greater honor on this earth than to help you in your spiritual journey. Many of the things God is doing in my life is a direct result from drawing near to Him in my pain from my husband's death. Scott's life was a testimony of God and to God, it is my prayer that his death will in part lead many to the foot of the cross.
Back to the kids... if you made it this far :) Here are a few pictures.

Snuggly Simeon

SIMEON. So very different than my firstborn. Eliya is independent and wants to do everything herself. She says, "I do it" at least 20 times a day. She likes to do as much as is possible all by herself. Simeon, on the other hand, loves to be held. He is a snuggler and hugger. He puts his arms around my neck and gets as close as is possible. It is difficult at times to have one so dependent. Often when he senses that I am going to put him down, he will wrap his hand around my hair to brace himself. He attempts to cling to me so that he can be held longer. It's very sweet, at times... It is great imagery for me though as God continues to speak parts of Psalm 63 over me. vs 8, My soul CLINGS to You; Your right hand upholds me. Oh that we would learn to CLING to HIM. I recognize my need for Him more in this season of life than ever, but I don't believe that my "need" is any greater now than it has ever been. I think I previously had false securities and distractions that made my perception of my need appear to be less.
Let Your fire burn, consuming me Let Your jealous flame come take away, everything,
Let your fire burn, consuming me Let Your jealous flame come and write your name upon my heart until all that remains, is the light of Your countenance. And I will be satisfied, when I awake as a lover of You!
Psalm 25:14 "The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant." The Lord has secrets, intimacy that He wants me and you to know! In 1Corinthians 13 it says that now we see as in a mirror, dimly, but THEN face to face. Now we know in part but then we will know fully as we are fully known. The Lord really does know every thing about us (and He still loves us!). Not only that, but it is His desire for us to know Him. To know His secret thoughts and His heart.
I am on the journey of learning that there is no greater, worthwhile pursuit in this life than seeking Him out. The rewards of finding Him last FOREVER. In this season of my life, I am less concerned with things that will pass away. That God would realign the focus of the eyes of our hearts to Him!
Psalm 65:4 "How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple."