10 Things I Want You to Know that I Can’t Teach You

The things I want to teach them during these years I’ve been given to raise them are countless. I actually have a pretty extensive list, but… priorities… and they’re 3 (almost 4 but I don’t want to hear that) and if I tried to write it all down, I’d never hit publish! So here are just 10 I’d like to focus on now, because it’s just never too early to raise them in truth. These crucial things, I can’t teach them – knowledge that will only come as a result of life experiences, creating a faith community around them, and doing my best to be their example. I won’t always do it right, but this is my hope and prayer…

 

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My precious girls, please know that:

* You are perfect and loved, not because of anything you’ve done, but because you were made that way.

* You can’t control how people treat you, but you can control how you react to it.

* You are amazing! There is no one like you. No one!

* True happiness is found in love – giving & receiving love, not things. Although, love can hurt, things will leave you empty.

* Bravery doesn’t mean doing something scary – it means standing up for yourself & for others.  Listening to your own voice over your peers and doing what you feel is right, for you.

* Failure is nothing to fear. If you let it, failure can show you how resilient you are and give you the chance to star in your very own comeback story.

* Being happy or not is up to you.

* If you’re going to take a big risk and bet on anything, bet on yourself.

* Your identity isn’t found in anyone or anything – through Christ, alone, you have been made whole.

* I love you.  You don’t have to do anything to deserve it – I just do, with all my heart.

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Easter: Celebrating Hope

I keep saying Easter is one of my favorite holidays, but the older I get (no doubt it has so much to do with being a mom now – realizing the importance of raising these little hearts with an eternal perspective) it’s really become my #1 favorite holiday.  No, it’s not because of the bunny or egg hunts and all the other activities, which are most definitely super fun without the stress & expectations of Christmas, or that with Easter comes spring… *Oh how I instantly feel a lift in my spirits when the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and we’re (all 4) riding down the road with our arms up singing “Hands in the air like we don’t care!”…

 

But no, that’s not it.  To me, Easter is the definition of Hope.  Easter is when God’s promise was fulfilled.  Just when darkness thought they won, they had been defeated in the biggest way… You know the feeling you get when you get to prove the naysayers wrong?!  That’s the victory Christians felt the moment Jesus had risen again and defeated death, proving He indeed was the Messiah, our Savior!

Because of the resurrection:
  • You & I can pray knowing God hears our prayers.
  • We can live knowing there is life beyond this life.
  • You can sacrifice knowing your faithfulness matters
  • He proved he was who he said he was… our Lord & Savior.
Explaining it to Little Ones
This can seem pretty difficult to talk to little ones about, talking about death and all, but it shouldn’t be… that’s not what we’re celebrating.  We’re celebrating that he conquered all and lived again.  So this is how I easily explain it to The Kraze: Easter reminds us of the day Jesus saved the entire world… and they excitedly ask, “Like a superhero?!”, to which I reply, “Jesus is the #1 Superhero!!!”
I leave you with this… and hope that you’ll take in each word:
Alone in my sorrow dead in my sin
Lost without hope with no place to begin
Your love Made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began

Ash was redeemed only beauty remains 
My orphan heart was given a name
My mourning grew quiet my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began

Oh your grace so free
Washes over me 
You have made me new
Now life begins with you
It’s your endless love
Pouring down on us
You have made us new
Now life begins with you

Released from my chains I’m a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom he faithfully bore
He cancelled my debt and he called me his friend
When death was arrested and my life began

Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began 
That’s when death was arrested and my life began 

Oh we’re free free
Forever we’re free
Come join the song
Of all the redeemed

Yes we’re free free
Forever amen
When death was arrested 
and my life began

 

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Valentine’s Day Party with a Purpose: Sharing the Love

I happen to love Valentines Day.  I LOVE love and the reminder to set time aside to show those we love the most. Of course, it’s easy to show our children how much we love them, but are we teaching them how to love others?  There are two things that 3-5 year olds totally understand: 1) Superheros and 2) wanting to feel loved. I’m a sucker for the children in children’s hospitals and their parents, and it was easy to explain that there are children in hospitals that have real battles that they bravely fight every day, which makes them REAL Superheroes… and we want them to know they’re not alone & they are loved.  We’re so thankful to Henri’s Bakery for hosting us and their ah-maz-ing treats.  Keep scrolling to find out what they were and see all the love-ly details and a couple free downloads at the end!
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Two Turning Two – What I Want You to Know

Your second year of life has been incredible to witness.  Rather than a year of milestones, it’s been a year of firsts. I’ve been able to take a step back and watch you take on life, form an opinion and see your imagination grow. Our bond has begun to bloom into a friendship. Every night my prayer is of complete gratitude for every moment we share and every memory we make together and humbly asking for many MANY more years of them.

The ways I love you, amount of love I have for you and what you bring to my life are infinite.  There are so many things I want to teach you as you get older, yet there are a few things I just want you to know now…
  • I’m so glad you happened to me.
  • You are my favorite work of art.  God is a masterful artist and you are His masterpiece.
    • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
  • Each day brings many moments that make me utterly grateful to have daughters.
    • Kara Rose, every night you stand on your stool and I brush your beautiful long hair is an intimate moment for me…
    • Every ‘Manicure Monday’ when you excitedly run to my nail polish drawer and pick out just the right color for me to paint your tiny toenails – I cherish these moments that can only happen bc I have daughters.
  • I hope you always look at yourself the way you do now, grinning from ear to ear the moment you see your reflection, knowing that’s the reflection of the perfect miracle you are.
    • “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full and well.” Pslam 139:14
  • I hope you always find joy in the little things like you do now.
    • Zoe Drew, the way you look up at the moon in amazement, think you see Tinkerbell in the stars and don’t pass by a flower without noticing, takes my breath away. Thank you for reminding me to revel in God’s creation.
  • I love witnessing you so confidently being you and not trying to be like your sister or anything other than who you are.
  • You are so incredibly blessed to have a twin sister who can walk through life right by your side! 
    • “Two are better than one… if either of them falls down, one can help the other up” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
  • I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day… What can make me feel this way? My girls!

A little look at a few of the firsts you experienced this year:

The day you took your first steps – one week apart!

You’re first 5K

First time you picked out your own shoes. This is that opinion I was talking about – I love it!

First day facing forward in your car seats – you were amazed!

First boat ride – You weren’t so sure at first, but “fast boat” became the topic of conversation for quite some time afterward

Your first firework show – Kara Rose, you weren’t too sure about this & no one could make you feel safe like Daddy

First trip to Legoland – Do you see how silly you are?!
Zoe’s first selfie – haha!
You love having your picture taken and taking pictures of others, always telling everyone, ‘Say cheese!’
First time berry picking

First Braves game

First experience body surfing – For weeks after, you’d both say, ‘Surf ocean!’

First day of preschool – I’m sure I cried more than you did. Just look at you – you’re growing up so fast!!
First mani/pedis at the salon. 
Kara Rose, you loved every moment and held your little feet and hands out so perfectly still!
Zoe, you loved having pretty nails, just not sitting still to have it done! 
Aaaand, I just want you to see how much you love your sister at this moment – you girls care for each other more than I would’ve imagined any 2 year old is capable of. 

I love you bigger than the whole world!


~ Your Mommy

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Happy MOM’s Day!

The definition of Mom: The woman who loves you unconditionally from birth, the one who puts her kids before herself and the one who you can always count on above everyone else. 

… Just telling her your problems makes you feel better because mom’s always know how to make it all go away.
Even if you fight, know that she’s just looking out for your best interests.
“Where would you be without your mom?”

-Urban Dictionary

… a bit of a contrast to the definition of Mother: a woman in relation to a child or children she has given birth to – don’t cha think?

Now, I struggle with ‘mommy guilt’ on the reg… I think most of us do – right?  I honestly thought the moment I became a mom, I would instantly never say another curse word & be the definition of love, kindness and patience, but I make mistakes constantly & question if I’m doing everything right.  This is rather exhausting to me because I’ve left my corporate job, that I worked very hard for, to devote my life to my family.  I put them first & myself last – I cut no corners when it comes to the girls’ development & nutrition and try my damnedest when it comes to their character and spiritual development by being a fantastic mom, but all too often, my saboteurs tell me it still wasn’t good enough.  This isn’t for a raise or even a pat on the back… Come on – no one’s here to see it! It’s because I want my girls to look at me like I look at my mom, who stayed after work to clean the office for years to pay for my dance lessons (which actually took me pretty far in life, getting me college scholarships & taught me more about self discipline and hard work than anything else), who taught me by example that you create your own opportunities and the list goes on… so thank you Mom.

  • Thank you for not letting me quit or give up on anything… ever.
  • Thank you for not rescuing me in some of my hardest times but standing by my side instead, even though I know you wanted to… so bad.
  • Thank you for seeing more in me than I ever saw/see in myself.
  • Thank you for your amazing banana bread and chocolate gravy (it’s ok to be jealous)
  • Thank you for all those Girl Nights of at-home mani/pedis, movie marathons and eating condensed milk straight out of the can or cake batter (again, it’s ok to be jealous – don’t judge us).
  • Most of all, thank you for being my friend… my best friend.
  • Oh wait!!… Most of all (x2), thank you, from both me and the KRaZe, for showing me what it takes be a great mom!
Also, thanks for willingly embarrassing yourself for my amusement! 🙂

All this said, I’m no longer trying to be a perfect mom.  Someone very special to me recently told me, “You don’t want them to look at you as perfect… they need to see you tired and resting in God.  They need to see you sinful and repenting.  They need to watch you fail and fall apart sometimes so that you can model for them how Jesus lifts you and strengthens you and meets your needs.” – Wow!

Kara Rose and Zoe,
I thank God every day for choosing me to be your mommy.  Being your mommy means I get to have a front row seat to your awesomeness, kiss your boo-boos, do Ring Around the Rosie 20 times a day, cheer you on when you give it your best shot to get that spoon from the plate to your mouths, and that you know how it feels to be loved unconditionally.

The day we brought The KRaZe home
So here’s to you Mom and all the wonderful Mom‘s out there that just love your babies and are giving it your best shot.  

My favorite line: “What if I told you there is someone that actually… currently… holds this position right now… billions of people actually… MOMS.”

I’d love some comments below on your fondest memories of your mom and/or of being a mom!

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30 More Years Please!

As I had Zach, my husband, proofread my first blog post, he said, “O no… don’t write about me… leave me out of it!”  We’re also talking about the person that would literally be angry if I told the waiter at the restaurant it was his birthday… “Just another day” he says. 
Well, sorry love… it’s not just another day to me.  If it weren’t for this day 30 years ago, I would not be who I am today & would most definitely not have the joy within me that gives me purpose.
I wrote Zach a letter and snuck it into his carry-on before he left today, because a card just wasn’t enough this year.  I thought I’d share a bit of it here – not to be sappy (from someone who does not partake in PDA – just sayin’) so don’t roll your eyes or gag for that matter – but to celebrate love. It’s something worth celebrating! So I am celebrating… our love and you my love…
First, you are loved… beyond measure.  Literally, there is no way to count or weigh my love for you and what you mean to our little family.  Life is hard, but it’s on our toughest days that I want you to know how loved you are.  Yes, we count on you, but that’s not meant to put pressure on you – it’s because you’re worth counting on.  You have 3 girls in your corner who believe in you.  Not everyone has that.
Second, thank you for loving me.  I know in the midst of the daily demands, I fall under pressure and am not the epitome of a loving, patient, supportive, optimistic wife, but please know I want to be… all the time.  I am so humbled in thankfulness when I try to take in how much you love and accept me anyway.
All that said, I want to take this moment (your birthday) to celebrate you.                                        You have graced this world for 30 now and it’s a better place for it…                                                You have blessed my life for over 10 years now & I am better for it.  When I think about the way we went from being two kids in love to becoming a family, I just love this life we’ve created together! 

Circa 2006 – One day I WILL find a photo from the beginning – 12/2003
12.3.08 – Once Like A Spark Photography
9.12.09 – Robby Followell Fotography
2012 – 6 months pregnant with our girls – Basically had to include my oldest child, Diesel
10.23.2013 – Once like A Spark Photography

You are an amazing Daddy – Man! Those little girls are definitely better because of you!  Especially if they get your sense of humor! 😉 They get to see what true love is because of what we have – it’s good for them to see us struggle, to watch how we persevere. 

Today is for you – a really awesome person – for the things you’ve done & what’s still to come – for how hard you work & how much you care – for all that you are & all that you do… “I love you through and through”.


Love always,
Your wife
Here’s to the next 30 years together… God only knows what my letter will say then, but I know it’ll be an amazing story with a happy ending!

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