A Beautiful Day in This Neighborhood

I have the most wonderful neighbors.

A couple days ago  (yikes, has it been that long since I've been blogging!?),  I had to make a run to the store and my lovely neighbor Miji watched my gang.  I haven't had much energy lately, and my house was a wreck.  A wreck.  I was so embarrassed, but the need for milk won and I called her.  Have I mentioned Miji before?  Well, let me introduce my darling baby-sitter.  I prayed for Miji.  Out of desperation, I asked God to send me someone I could trust to watch my kids when I had doctor's appointments, or wal-mart appointments, or whatever appointments and God sent me Miji.  Yep.  Right to my door step.  After all, she does live next door!  I will never forget the evening she told me that she would love to babysit for me.  (I'm sure she's wanted to take that back at least once or twice!)  I needed to hear that from someone because I am always afraid of asking people to do something they don't really want to do, but they cave anyway.

Miji has been a Godsend.  And that day was no exception.  When I came home from the store, I opened my door to find all of my neighbors cleaning my house!!  Miji had asked her mom and her aunt to come over and help her clean up for me.

I can't even begin to describe what that felt like.  No more waist high toys, or Mount Everest of laundry.  No more scattered cups in the cabinet inflicting injury on unsuspecting heads.  The relief and gratitude I felt was amazing.  I literally cried after everyone had left and I opened the door to my bedroom where the kids had recently built a fort (i.e. destroyed the room) and it was clean.  I could see the floor!  The burden that rolled off my shoulders in that instant was tangible.

I was so incredibly blessed.  Humbled, I remembered the scripture where Jesus tells us what the most important commandments are.

"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  There is no commandment greater than these."  Mark 12: 28-31
The Bible is not a book to be merely read.  It was intended to be lived out.  These scriptures are a testimony to that fact.  Loving God will look like loving people.  A love in action.

I am humbled.  What kind of a neighbor am I?  How often do I see a need and meet it?  When do I go out of my way to do something kind for someone else?

I pray that I can be a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer.  I pray that I will love my God more and in so doing, love others.

Dear Jesus,
Help me see the simple ways that I can love you and love people.  Open my eyes and open my heart.


My roses

Feeling a little absent...


Feeling a little sick...

morning sickness.

Feeling a little forgetful...


Feeling a lot tired...

but very thankful!

Life is always a blessing.

And thankfully we forget all the little inconveniences that come with it's creation.

With as much detail as God takes in creating roses that bless us today but are gone tomorrow,
it is no small wonder that he creates children in His image within the womb of a mother.


The Meaning of a Name

There is a beautiful ministry to grieving mothers.  One where we can walk together, hold each other up, and rejoice over the gift of our children, however short their lives may have been. Today at Walking With You we are sharing the story behind our heavenly children's names.  Names have always been important to me.  Maybe because they have always been important to God.  I love reading about the names God gives many of his servants in the Bible and the deep meaning behind them.  There is so much in a name.

I remember early in my second pregnancy, I felt drawn to one particular name.  I didn't even know the gender of my baby yet, but the name Titus just seemed to fit.  Joel loved the name, too, and it was then I sensed we would be having a boy.  The fifth month came and a regular doctor's visit revealed that Titus' heart had stopped beating.  Everything after that happened in a dark, intense fog of grief.  You can read more about it here.  There was a ray of light, though, and it was in my son's name.  While in the hospital a new name kept coming to me.  I felt that God wanted me to name my son Zaccheus Titus.  I would find out later how important that name would be to me in the days ahead.

When I came home from the hospital, I looked up the meaning of Zaccheus Titus.  In Hebrew Zaccheus litterally means "the Lord recalled".  Titus is a title of honor.  It was when I read these meanings that my heart felt hope.  My little Zaccheus Titus had been named by his Lord.  His life mattered, had purpose, and was received with joy by his Creator and Father.  

The second meaning of the name Zaccheus spoke to me the most.  Zaccheus commonly means "pure, clean, bright, and just".  God was healing my memories.   For when I held my son in the hospital, he was not clean or bright.  His heart had stopped beating several weeks before and his tiny body was discolored and gray.  My heart was broken when I saw my son for the first time. But my God has bathed my little boy in the light of His love.  His cold little body is now glowing with the warmth of the arms that cradle him forever.  One day I will see him as he was created to be, as his name describes, pure, clean, bright, and honorable.

Thank you, God, for loving and naming your children.
"But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43: 1


make your own bubbles

Has anyone else been just a little aggravated with bubbles lately?

I mean, they just don't make them like they used to.

Today Lil Man and I tried to blow bubbles, but we couldn't make a bubble to save our lives.  Grrrrrrrrrr.  What is up with that?  Okay, so the pregnancy hormones aren't helping the situation either, but bubbles should be easy, shouldn't they?  And fun!  

I love watching my kids giggle and run after them, trying to catch them, pop them, and sometimes even eat them.  But bubbles aren't just for kids.  They're for grown-ups too.  Imagine blowing all your cares into their shiny wet spheres and watching them float away.  I think we should blow bubbles every day! 

My Mother-in-Love has a great recipe for HUGE bubbles.  We're talking enormous, whatever size you wish for, bubbles.
Here's her Big Bubble recipe (that works!):

1 Cup Ivory Liquid (no degreaser)

12 cups water

3/4 Tablespoon glycerin (found in drug department of Walmart)

Stir together and leave uncovered overnight. It works better. 
Cut out wand from tops of old plastic containers, the larger, the better.

Have fun!

The best thing about making your own bubbles?  You can get totally creative and use just about anything as a bubble wand!  

It's fun, it's free, it's fabulous.

So go blow some bubbles.


The Great Risk

Shhhhhh.  I have a secret to tell.

Okay, so it's not really a secret anymore.

But it is wonderful.  It's a surprise present from my Abba Daddy.  He's doing something new.  He's doing what He does best.

Life into Being.

And this is His favorite thing to do.  Making children in His image, created for Him to love.

But it's also His greatest risk.

You see I don't believe life begins at conception.

No, it begins before that.

Deep in the heart of God, He labors over the pages of a very special book.

A book that holds His dreams for your life.

And then he begins to create.

With the most gentle hands, the hands of an artist, He skillfully forms His masterpiece.

He doesn't miss a single detail. 

His heart overflows with love, His eyes transfixed on His creation. 

He whispers His devotion, breathes His breath into His child.

His dream comes true.

But His heart is torn in two.

For now He must let His child enter a world of choice.

A world where those choices have left great sadness, deep pain, and injustice.

But where choices ultimately allow a Greater Love.

For the only true love is a love unforced.

Man's life is His masterpiece.  And it is His greatest risk.

Love returned is His only reason.

{After spending time with God and hearing Him tell me again how He wept at my birth and the risk He took, I knew I had to write this.}


"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!"
Psalm 139: 13-17


Letting Him Love Me

I have so much to tell.
Maybe that's why I've been a little absent lately  (sorry, folks!)

But I promise to tell all...soon.

For now, I just want to share what God has been speaking to my heart.
He's been relentless.
Over and over again, in more than a million ways that I might have missed if He wasn't softening my heart, He's been telling me He Loves Me.

I'm overwhelmed by His heart towards me.

Completely overwhelmed.

Lately, when I spend time with Him, that's all He wants to talk about.
I've even tried to change the conversation.
But then He gently urges me to just let Him love me.

I've always "known" God loves me.  Just look at the Cross--He's never been secretive about it!  But at the same time there have been pieces of me that I have labeled as "unloveable".  There have been moments in which I have allowed the enemy of my soul to mock me and my glaring failures and to provoke me into questioning the love of my God.

There have also been many moments captured in time where I have felt the arms of God wrap around my soul and I didn't doubt His love for a second.

But even this is different, this relentless love He is cloaking me with.  It's as if He's showing me that I was created for Him to love.

And he wants me to just let Him love me.
To sit and just BE with Him.
To LIVE continually in His presence.

A couple weeks ago I remember melting onto my couch, tired and exhausted, but knowing that I needed to let God speak to me during my devotions.

So I threw it out there,  "What do you want to say to me today, God?"  And I half-expected Him not to answer.  Because sometimes He is silent.  And it's usually in those times that He wants me to seek Him more diligently, to study His word for His answer, to wait on Him.  But most of the time I ask Him to speak to me, He does.

This is what I heard Him say to my heart in that still, small, voice that seekers hear.  And when I heard Him speak, there was an urgency to His voice, as if He'd been anxiously waiting for me all day.

"I wept at your birth."

My heart stood still and His words went on.

"I so carefully and lovingly created you in your mother's womb.

It was I who whispered your name in her ear.
My Joye.
My lovely Joye.
My darling daughter.
My treasure."

I was more than overwhelmed.

He wants to speak those words to your own heart today, confessions of His love for you. 
A love LIKE THAT can't be ignored.
How could we ever doubt our worth when He loves us LIKE THAT.

There's more.

Just the other day,  I was praying and storming heaven for a miracle.  I had spent every tear in my body.  Then I turned one of my favorite worship songs on and began to worship.  When the song was over, God told me to play it again, but THIS TIME

He wanted to sing the chorus to me.

And I've posted it here because you just may need to hear Him sing these words to your heart as well.  Don't doubt that he does.
This is for you.

God's heart yearns for you.

Can you feel him waiting for you?  Can you sense His arms aching to hold you?  Can you hear his heart calling you?

Let Him love you.


Bubble Blowing Boy

MckLinky Blog Hop

Ok, so I'm a little late jumping in on this, but it looks like fun!  I just realized that I'm always late on these linky thingys.  Just call me Pro.  Pro the Crastinator.  Yep.  That would be me!  I did get wind that a $100 prize is also being awarded to one fortunate Linker Upper.  Sounds great to me!  Let's do some hoppin'!

This week's theme is Favorite Photo Captioned.  I have three amazing kids that are all my favorites.  I have a gazillion pictures of each one.  How in the world do I ever pick just one favorite photo?  I was scrolling through my enormous photo app and this one made me laugh {again} so it'll do just dandy!

"Boston Blows Bubbles--Can you?"

This is only one of his many charming talents.  My beautiful friend Christah at Christah Cato Photography took this picture when he was all of six months old.  I love it.  Thanks, Christah!


Lightin' Up The Sky

FREEDOM + Family + Fun = Celebration!

Boss man + Cupcakes + A LOT of icing = Sugar Spazzed!

Star buttons + Needle 'n thread + Miss Sweetness = Positively as cute as can be!

Smoke bombs +  Sparklers = One very happy Lil Man!

Fireworks + "Special" Glasses = One HOT 4th of July!

Thank you to all who have kept America Free!

For more Freedom Fun:


Born to be a Queen

My Dear Miss Sweetness,

I never knew having a girl would be this much fun.
Of course I always imagined you would be beautiful, but you are even beyond my imagination!
Every little thing you do just squeezes my heart!
From the adorable way you scrunch up your nose when your happy, to the way you turn down your mouth and quiver your bottom lip when you're sad.  
Mommy and Daddy apologize for taking many videos and pictures of that protruding bottom lip.
We can't help but love it!

You are all softness and sweetness-- rolled into one cute little bundle.
There is a lovely spirit of grace about you and you are so forgiving and kind.
I've been amazed at how tough you are, my little girl!  Your brothers can be rough and rowdy at times but it doesn't faze you one bit!  {Don't tell them, but you are really my toughest child!} 
You hardly ever cry.
You are the most content little thing.
And so independent!
You love to play peek-a-boo and be chased and tickled too.
Your blankie has to be within your reach at all times. 
Your favorite toy is your baby doll  {Mimi gave you one of hers because we didn't have any dolls in the house and I had no idea that you would love dolls before you could even crawl!}  You carry "Baby" everywhere and wrap her in your blankie.
You are so easy-going, go with the flow, cool as a cucumber.
I love your curls, your long lashes, your creamy skin, your playful personality!

Before you were born, Little Love,  God spoke to me about your life.
Your name means "Esther" in persian and you will be God's Esther in your generation!  There are many verses God gave me for you:  Esther 2:9, 15, 17, 20, 4: 15-16, 5:4, 7:3, basically the entire book of Esther!
God has given you wisdom, humility, and strength of conviction.
You have the favor of the Lord and He delights in you!

I love you forever,



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