Sweet girl, we had such a good weekend. We hosted a big dinner party with great friends on Friday night, had lots of laughs on Saturday, your daddy and I had lots of great conversations and yesterday was full of all sorts of goodness: your first Easter basket, a wonderful church service, brunch at the Gifford’s and then we took you to Duke Gardens. It was a beautiful day. After Duke Gardens, we went to have dinner at Whole Foods. You made a giant mess, so you went “French” style in Whole Foods - ie your clothes were ruined and mommy didn’t have an extra in the diaper bag so you strolled around in just your diaper! Ha! But, as usual, you were so happy. You are really into playing with your feet lately. It’s pretty funny. Your legs are always up in the air! This week is going to be great. We are getting ready for your Grama Celia and Grampa David (who haven’t seen you since Christmas) and your Great Grama Bunny (who hasn’t met you yet) to visit on Wednesday. You have grown so much, so I can’t wait for them to see you. I didn’t write much last week, Sweet Pea, but I plan to change that. It was a rough week. But, I realized that no matter how hard things can be, there is always SO much to be grateful for and writing helps me focus on that. Right this second you are trying to eat your foot. You are so funny. I love you! Love, Mommy

Sweet girl, we had such a good weekend. We hosted a big dinner party with great friends on Friday night, had lots of laughs on Saturday, your daddy and I had lots of great conversations and yesterday was full of all sorts of goodness: your first Easter basket, a wonderful church service, brunch at the Gifford’s and then we took you to Duke Gardens. It was a beautiful day. After Duke Gardens, we went to have dinner at Whole Foods. You made a giant mess, so you went “French” style in Whole Foods - ie your clothes were ruined and mommy didn’t have an extra in the diaper bag so you strolled around in just your diaper! Ha! But, as usual, you were so happy. You are really into playing with your feet lately. It’s pretty funny. Your legs are always up in the air! This week is going to be great. We are getting ready for your Grama Celia and Grampa David (who haven’t seen you since Christmas) and your Great Grama Bunny (who hasn’t met you yet) to visit on Wednesday. You have grown so much, so I can’t wait for them to see you. I didn’t write much last week, Sweet Pea, but I plan to change that. It was a rough week. But, I realized that no matter how hard things can be, there is always SO much to be grateful for and writing helps me focus on that. Right this second you are trying to eat your foot. You are so funny. I love you! Love, Mommy

Gracie, this is the busiest week of my year so far and it’s teaching me a lot. It’s humbling. I feel like a bad mommy though. Going to bed late and waking up really early with you plus all the work in between makes me weary and isn’t leaving me the energy I want to play with you. This is not how I want future weeks to go. Granted, you are so happy (despite the beginnings of teething) and God has blessed us immensely this week! Our families are growing stronger in so many ways. So many miracles that I can’t wait to tell you about someday. I’m so grateful! And I’m really looking forward to Grama Celia and Grampa David (who I have had some great conversations with this week) AND your Great Grama Bunny visiting next week! You meeting Grama Bunny will be a dream come true for me. She’s almost 400 times older than you : ) OK sweet girl. Short note because mommy is so sleepy. God is good. I love you so much! Love, Mommy

Gracie, this is the busiest week of my year so far and it’s teaching me a lot. It’s humbling. I feel like a bad mommy though. Going to bed late and waking up really early with you plus all the work in between makes me weary and isn’t leaving me the energy I want to play with you. This is not how I want future weeks to go. Granted, you are so happy (despite the beginnings of teething) and God has blessed us immensely this week! Our families are growing stronger in so many ways. So many miracles that I can’t wait to tell you about someday. I’m so grateful! And I’m really looking forward to Grama Celia and Grampa David (who I have had some great conversations with this week) AND your Great Grama Bunny visiting next week! You meeting Grama Bunny will be a dream come true for me. She’s almost 400 times older than you : ) OK sweet girl. Short note because mommy is so sleepy. God is good. I love you so much! Love, Mommy

Note to self and everyone ever:  You know all of those things you’ve always wanted to do?  You should go do them.  Because life is NOW.  We spend virtually our entire lives “planning for the future” and setting things up for what’s ahead.  We are programmed to think about what’s to come instead of what is right now.  Now is the only reality.  The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet.  So, 1. Don’t worry.  Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want in the future which isn’t even reality yet.  2. If there is something on your heart and it just won’t leave you and it’s a good thing, just do it already!  The potential for you igniting greatness in your life and so many others is worth the risk!  The alternative is to do nothing and that does… well… nothing.  When you do the good things on your heart - no matter how hard they are - life happens!  You find joy and the world opens up!  You feel light and free and more doors open.  So, don’t wait until the timing is perfect or until that magical day you have no fear.  That’s not going to happen.  The time is now.  Goodness is waiting for you right. this. second.  Go and do.

Note to self and everyone ever:  You know all of those things you’ve always wanted to do?  You should go do them.  Because life is NOW.  We spend virtually our entire lives “planning for the future” and setting things up for what’s ahead.  We are programmed to think about what’s to come instead of what is right now.  Now is the only reality.  The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet.  So, 1. Don’t worry.  Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want in the future which isn’t even reality yet.  2. If there is something on your heart and it just won’t leave you and it’s a good thing, just do it already!  The potential for you igniting greatness in your life and so many others is worth the risk!  The alternative is to do nothing and that does… well… nothing.  When you do the good things on your heart - no matter how hard they are - life happens!  You find joy and the world opens up!  You feel light and free and more doors open.  So, don’t wait until the timing is perfect or until that magical day you have no fear.  That’s not going to happen.  The time is now.  Goodness is waiting for you right. this. second.  Go and do.

Gracie, we went for your four month check up today and you were so awesome! Here are your stats. And your sweet doc called you a “little dumpling of love”. I’d say that’s about right! I love you! Love, Mommy

Sweetness, today I had a lot of big realizations. First, I really don’t like getting gussied up for photo shoots. It takes forever and I don’t normally wear makeup or fancy clothes anyway. I’d rather wear my tennis shoes and yoga pants all day like usual. So, I’ve decided our next shoot together will be just that - me, you, Ms. Nancy (who is the sweetest kindest friend!) and comfy clothes : ) God is really changing my heart about SO many things these days. Things that used to matter don’t anymore and there are so many new things that DO matter. God, you, your sweet inspiring daddy (who taught another amazing class tonight!), our family, friends, new friends we have yet to meet and doing good to everyone God puts in our path. That matters a whole lot. I’m so grateful for life and how God blows us away everyday in changing our hearts. Your daddy and I are so grateful for this path we are on with you. You are so joyful and curious right now. Tonight in the church parking lot, the breeze was blowing and you got so tickled feeling the wind. You loved it!!! You felt the wind rush through your hair and just giggled and giggled. It was so funny and wonderful to watch. What simple things we so easily forget are so remarkable. The wind, the stars, the sun and the beautiful blooms all around us. Thank you for reminding me to drink it all in slowly and fully. I love you to the moon and back, sweet pea! Night night. Love, Mommy

Sweetness, today I had a lot of big realizations. First, I really don’t like getting gussied up for photo shoots. It takes forever and I don’t normally wear makeup or fancy clothes anyway. I’d rather wear my tennis shoes and yoga pants all day like usual. So, I’ve decided our next shoot together will be just that - me, you, Ms. Nancy (who is the sweetest kindest friend!) and comfy clothes : ) God is really changing my heart about SO many things these days. Things that used to matter don’t anymore and there are so many new things that DO matter. God, you, your sweet inspiring daddy (who taught another amazing class tonight!), our family, friends, new friends we have yet to meet and doing good to everyone God puts in our path. That matters a whole lot. I’m so grateful for life and how God blows us away everyday in changing our hearts. Your daddy and I are so grateful for this path we are on with you. You are so joyful and curious right now. Tonight in the church parking lot, the breeze was blowing and you got so tickled feeling the wind. You loved it!!! You felt the wind rush through your hair and just giggled and giggled. It was so funny and wonderful to watch. What simple things we so easily forget are so remarkable. The wind, the stars, the sun and the beautiful blooms all around us. Thank you for reminding me to drink it all in slowly and fully. I love you to the moon and back, sweet pea! Night night. Love, Mommy

Note to self: there is always a whole lot to have a dance party about! No matter what. The stars are always shining brightly somewhere, even if the clouds are covering them for a moment. Start giving thanks and your list will never end. Gratitude changes everything. Thank you, Jesus, for life and sleep and my toes and water and food and sunlight and laughter and dad being healthy and happy and for being a mom! and unexpected blessings and so many answered prayers and another day to wake up and give and for cinnamon raisin toast and dear friends, Smokie Norful’s ‘Umm Good’ and drawing closer to God by doing what He puts on your heart. God. Is. Awesome.

Note to self: there is always a whole lot to have a dance party about! No matter what. The stars are always shining brightly somewhere, even if the clouds are covering them for a moment. Start giving thanks and your list will never end. Gratitude changes everything. Thank you, Jesus, for life and sleep and my toes and water and food and sunlight and laughter and dad being healthy and happy and for being a mom! and unexpected blessings and so many answered prayers and another day to wake up and give and for cinnamon raisin toast and dear friends, Smokie Norful’s ‘Umm Good’ and drawing closer to God by doing what He puts on your heart. God. Is. Awesome.

Gracie, this is you styling daddy’s hair while he styled yours. You had quite a lot of fun messing with his hair, sweet pea! So funny! Today was another incredibly blessed day. I am sooooo inspired by your daddy. I am just amazed at what God does through him. He is such a great teacher and friend and husband and daddy and doctor and his love and care blow me away lately. Tonight we went to a class he was teaching and I learned so much! It was so inspiring. I can’t wait for you to be old enough to learn about the world from him. He teaches me all the time about how to give and about new ways to see things. I could go on and on. I am grateful beyond words that God brought us through so many trials to get us to the deeper love we have today. God is so good. Night night, sweet girl. I love you! Love, Mommy

Gracie, this is you styling daddy’s hair while he styled yours. You had quite a lot of fun messing with his hair, sweet pea! So funny! Today was another incredibly blessed day. I am sooooo inspired by your daddy. I am just amazed at what God does through him. He is such a great teacher and friend and husband and daddy and doctor and his love and care blow me away lately. Tonight we went to a class he was teaching and I learned so much! It was so inspiring. I can’t wait for you to be old enough to learn about the world from him. He teaches me all the time about how to give and about new ways to see things. I could go on and on. I am grateful beyond words that God brought us through so many trials to get us to the deeper love we have today. God is so good. Night night, sweet girl. I love you! Love, Mommy

Yesterday was one of my favorite days ever. You and I took a stroller ride around the lake in the morning and the weather was perfect. There were lots of turtles and birds and pretty blooms. You played with Mr Octopus and loved feeling the breeze on your face. Wind is one of your favorite things. Then you played with Miss Susan while I got some things done, like sending some notes to sweet friends who have sent you thoughtful gifts. Aunt Jessie’s mom made you the prettiest dress! I can’t wait for you to wear it one day soon. It was so thoughtful of her. You took some long naps and, when daddy came home, I cooked dinner and then we went on a walk. We visited our sweet neighbor behind us who has the soft wind chime on a beautiful wisteria arbor that we love so much. We walked over to Becka and Thom’s house to say hi and join in on Bible study. God revealed so much to me in that short study and in some amazing conversations your dad and I have been having lately. God keeps putting it on my heart that life is too short. It’s too short worry or wait or waste any time at all doing anything other that good for Him. I feel such a newness lately, Grace. I’m so grateful. God is awesome. You are still asleep next to me and the house is a little chilly right now so we are going to snuggle for a while. I love you so much! Love, Mommy P.S. - Your Aunt Amy and Uncle Andy had a baby on Sunday! You have a cousin : ) Her name is Maya and she is healthy and happy!

Yesterday was one of my favorite days ever. You and I took a stroller ride around the lake in the morning and the weather was perfect. There were lots of turtles and birds and pretty blooms. You played with Mr Octopus and loved feeling the breeze on your face. Wind is one of your favorite things. Then you played with Miss Susan while I got some things done, like sending some notes to sweet friends who have sent you thoughtful gifts. Aunt Jessie’s mom made you the prettiest dress! I can’t wait for you to wear it one day soon. It was so thoughtful of her. You took some long naps and, when daddy came home, I cooked dinner and then we went on a walk. We visited our sweet neighbor behind us who has the soft wind chime on a beautiful wisteria arbor that we love so much. We walked over to Becka and Thom’s house to say hi and join in on Bible study. God revealed so much to me in that short study and in some amazing conversations your dad and I have been having lately. God keeps putting it on my heart that life is too short. It’s too short worry or wait or waste any time at all doing anything other that good for Him. I feel such a newness lately, Grace. I’m so grateful. God is awesome. You are still asleep next to me and the house is a little chilly right now so we are going to snuggle for a while. I love you so much! Love, Mommy P.S. - Your Aunt Amy and Uncle Andy had a baby on Sunday! You have a cousin : ) Her name is Maya and she is healthy and happy!

Note to self: surround yourself with people who challenge you to be your very best and hold you accountable. Study the scriptures to know what “your best” should be. DO your best. Then study the scriptures some more and keep doing it. There is nothing better than good friends who love you and lead by their actions as an example and always lead you back to God. We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. -Jim Rohn  Live in His word and give as much as you can to others. Life is too short to waste a single moment not giving it our best! You will always know what to do and give when you draw near to God. Always. He never fails. Come near to God and He will come near to you. - James 4:8

Note to self: surround yourself with people who challenge you to be your very best and hold you accountable. Study the scriptures to know what “your best” should be. DO your best. Then study the scriptures some more and keep doing it. There is nothing better than good friends who love you and lead by their actions as an example and always lead you back to God. We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. -Jim Rohn Live in His word and give as much as you can to others. Life is too short to waste a single moment not giving it our best! You will always know what to do and give when you draw near to God. Always. He never fails. Come near to God and He will come near to you. - James 4:8

mth2012:


Remember that time I became a proud car owner and three days later a tree fell on my car?  True story.  After reading this book and then weeks of searching and budgeting and doing my homework, I decided the best option was to buy out my current lease.  Great safe well-kept car.  Great deal.  I sent in my final car payment last week and became a very proud car owner.  I wanted to shout it to the mountaintops, I’m a responsible adult with no more car payments!  Yahoo!!!  Then, Saturday night, we had a freak wind storm and…  I watched as a giant piece of tree crashed down on my newly-purchased flawless vehicle.  All I could do was laugh.  I buy car.  Tree falls on it.  And my first thought was, Well, that’s what God thinks of pride.   He literally dinged it all up.  The car will be fine and is still perfectly drivable, but this was a big lesson. Well, there were a lot of lessons and amazing blessings in this wind storm (like becoming friends with the neighbor where the tree came from and too many other surprising great things to name in a single post!).  Now, I hope a tree never falls on your car, but here are some great things that came of this and things we learned:
1.  I pray for God to humble me every day.  My ego and insecurities can get in the way of the truly good stuff a lot.  Sometimes, our prayers are answered in unexpected ways.  Enter Mr. Tree.  Very funny, God!   You may have read that I was getting rid of this car as part of simplifying my life this year.  I was excited to let go of my fancy sports car and, when it turned out it was a better financial move to just buy out my lease rather than buy another used car, Ari and I were honestly a little sad.  We wanted a car that would humble us and put our heads in the right place.  Thank you, Mr. Tree.
2. (my motto in life right now) Focus on what matters.  My car is still drivable and the only thing that changed was the exterior.  That doesn’t affect the interior in the least.  You get my figurative point here.
3. No matter how dinged up your life feels or how flawed you feel, you still have gas in your tank, a road map and a rear view mirror to glance at how far you’ve come. And your engine can get you a lot farther than you give it credit for. 
All car references aside, the bottom line is that being “flawed” doesn’t mean you are 100% useless.  How many times do you catch yourself thinking that?? You are human.  You will make mistakes.  Sometimes really big ones.  But, the biggest mistake you can make is to think you aren’t worth anything because of those “mistakes” and “flaws”.  We so easily jump to repair every single imperfection instead of seeing the beauty right in front of us.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  I see far too many people doing this, including myself.  I get down on myself.  I make a mistake and I beat myself up.  Friends, be present.  Be grateful for what you do have.  You are enough just as you are and owning your own dings will make you so much more compassionate with others.  Be kind to yourself.  You are remarkable, “flaws” and all.  - Lara
P.S. Don’t park your car under a dead tree in a wind storm.


I buy car. Tree falls on it.

mth2012:

Remember that time I became a proud car owner and three days later a tree fell on my car?  True story.  After reading this book and then weeks of searching and budgeting and doing my homework, I decided the best option was to buy out my current lease.  Great safe well-kept car.  Great deal.  I sent in my final car payment last week and became a very proud car owner.  I wanted to shout it to the mountaintops, I’m a responsible adult with no more car payments!  Yahoo!!!  Then, Saturday night, we had a freak wind storm and…  I watched as a giant piece of tree crashed down on my newly-purchased flawless vehicle.  All I could do was laugh.  I buy car.  Tree falls on it.  And my first thought was, Well, that’s what God thinks of pride.   He literally dinged it all up.  The car will be fine and is still perfectly drivable, but this was a big lesson. Well, there were a lot of lessons and amazing blessings in this wind storm (like becoming friends with the neighbor where the tree came from and too many other surprising great things to name in a single post!).  Now, I hope a tree never falls on your car, but here are some great things that came of this and things we learned:

1.  I pray for God to humble me every day.  My ego and insecurities can get in the way of the truly good stuff a lot.  Sometimes, our prayers are answered in unexpected ways.  Enter Mr. Tree.  Very funny, God!  You may have read that I was getting rid of this car as part of simplifying my life this year.  I was excited to let go of my fancy sports car and, when it turned out it was a better financial move to just buy out my lease rather than buy another used car, Ari and I were honestly a little sad.  We wanted a car that would humble us and put our heads in the right place.  Thank you, Mr. Tree.

2. (my motto in life right now) Focus on what matters.  My car is still drivable and the only thing that changed was the exterior.  That doesn’t affect the interior in the least.  You get my figurative point here.

3. No matter how dinged up your life feels or how flawed you feel, you still have gas in your tank, a road map and a rear view mirror to glance at how far you’ve come. And your engine can get you a lot farther than you give it credit for. 

All car references aside, the bottom line is that being “flawed” doesn’t mean you are 100% useless.  How many times do you catch yourself thinking that?? You are human.  You will make mistakes.  Sometimes really big ones.  But, the biggest mistake you can make is to think you aren’t worth anything because of those “mistakes” and “flaws”.  We so easily jump to repair every single imperfection instead of seeing the beauty right in front of us.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  I see far too many people doing this, including myself.  I get down on myself.  I make a mistake and I beat myself up.  Friends, be present.  Be grateful for what you do have.  You are enough just as you are and owning your own dings will make you so much more compassionate with others.  Be kind to yourself.  You are remarkable, “flaws” and all.  - Lara

P.S. Don’t park your car under a dead tree in a wind storm.

I buy car. Tree falls on it.