Wednesday, October 31

Controversial Mission. Halloween.

Halloween is SUCH a controversial topic these days. I am finding that so many people are either passionately FOR it or passionately AGAINST it. It creates awkwardness. I hate awkwardness. If you dig into the roots of why most Christians choose not to participate/celebrate this Holiday, you will clearly see why. (We participate, however we Do Not celebrate)

Honestly I never dug deep into the topic or into the origination of the holiday until about 3 or 4 years ago when I met people who had chose to not celebrate this day. Or even acknowledge it. And it did make me feel awkward and a bit concerned.

I never knew that the roots of Halloween are based on Baal worship, demon sacrifices and ritualistic cannibalism. That's just to name a few. Clearly the roots of Halloween have nothing to do with Christianity. Rather, its a night to celebrate ancient Babylonian practices. Really. It's true. We just don't know that.

I found this really great post about a Christian or Biblical point of view of Halloween. It uncovers the roots of this Western Holiday. I encourage you to read it. It is lengthy but very interesting. I feel some points are tough. Rigid and strong. But truthful. And we NEED to be Educated on the things we involve our families in.

You can find this article here.... Read it!

I know this is a sensitive subject to many. And my purpose here is not to sway anyones opinion or to say that what my family does on this night is right and your families way is wrong. This is many, many peoples LEAST favorite night of the year. It is NOT my least favorite. I kind of enjoy it. I really enjoy seeing kids in our neighborhood, whom I NEVER see otherwise. I like seeing adorable costumes. I like giving sweet little ones a sweet treat (or free cavity... which ever). But more than that I love to have the opportunity to teach MY children some truth.

Parker came home last week from school saying that a friend had told him that if he trick-or-treats on Halloween then a satan worshipper. Clearly that is not truth. We are not satanists. We LOVE the Lord and because we ring a few doorbells and acquire a bucket full of candy and pass out treats to our neighbors doesn't mean we worship Satan or that we are handing our children over to him. We know that Satan is real. Very real. Our children know that. His schemes are clever and he is out to steal, kill and to destroy. That is why we choose to participate in Halloween. To a certain degree.

We dress-up. In sweet fairy dresses and awesome Super Hero attire. We ring a few doorbells. Then we pass out our treats. We decided we are called to be in this world. Not of this world. We feel it is a GREAT opportunity to share Jesus with our neighborhood. Instead of shutting all off our lights off and hiding from the world, or even running to the nearest church held "safe" event. We stay home, turn all of our lights on, have family over, pig out on Pizza, ring a few doorbells and then come home smile brightly and pass out our Scripture bearing candies. This is the ONE night of the year that our neighbors will willingly come up to our door and meet us face to face. And not only our neighbors but other children and their families from our town. I don't want to waste this opportunity to share a little ounce (or a 2 ounce Baby Ruth size) of truth to sweet children from our area.

We have decided to see this night as a mission. To be the light of Christ in the darkness of the world. To share God's word one Butterfinger, Kit-Kat and Air Head at a time. It may be our only chance to invest a little bit of the gospel into someones life. I pray that each of those candies we handed out will be read and that it will remain on their hearts. You never know who could come to salvation by a little address label on the face of a MilkWay Fun Size bar! God can move on any one in any form or fashion. 

I want to encourage you. As other believers to not hide from the world but get out there and be the light in the world and in the community around you on this night. It is one of the ONLY nights out of the year that you will have 100+ people come to your door and connect with you on some level. It is a chance to say "Jesus Loves You" or "Your Special" to someone who may be lost and hurting. Turn it into a family mission. Be a light.
My Pretty Sister helping me label everything today!! 
 Some of our Jesus Candy
 My sweet Sugars at Dads office Chili Cook-off (which I won 3rd...out of three...but hey at least it placed! HA!)

Wednesday, October 17

A Gift that Gives.

It's that time of year again! Stores are getting all of their Christmas stuff out and up. Which is weird because we haven't even made it to Halloween. I think Hobby Lobby had their ornaments out in July. Crazies.
Christmas Ads are coming in the mail. Stores are advertising their special products this year.
I even saw someone post on Facebook that they were tempted to listen to Christmas Music!
You simply cannot listen to Christmas music in October. You just can't.
As much as I LOVE Christmas Music you just can't!

However now is the time to start thinking about the gifts you will buy for all of your loved ones.
If you are like me, you like a well thought out gift so... you plan early. Last year I posted a post I titled Fair Trade Christmas.
I thought I would add to that post again.
I LOVE a gift that gives back.
I LOVE giving them AND receiving them.
Here are some of my favorite companies/charitys that give back.

TOMS. Who doesn't LOVE TOMS. I LOVE TOMS. I wear them 98% of the time. I wear them with gym shorts and a t-shirt. I wear them with jeans. I wear them with dresses. My kids even wear them 98% of the time. We LOVE TOMS. They are comfy. Cute. Stylish. Sometimes stinky. And...They give back to children who don't have access to shoes. So you BUY a pair. They GIVE a pair. Here is what I have my eye on from TOMS.

Go here to see all their awesome styles. 

Noonday Collection. I LOVE Noonday. And my bestie sells it! They have the funnest variety of jewelry from Artisans all over the world. Here are some things I am swooning over. 
Go HERE to see their full collection. You will love it all! 

For you Tshirt lovin' people like myself, there are TONS of adoption fundraisers going on that have adorable Tshirts. Also there are alot of Non-Profits selling fun apparel to help support children in need. Here are some of my FAVORITE shirts. 
Krochet Kids International has a TON of really FUN and unique product that help change lives. You should check out their website here! 

For other FUN find that help change lives visit these site below. These are some of my personal FAVORITES!!!! 
MudLove. Giving water to children in Africa for a year with the purchase of one $5 bracelet. I have tons of these! 
Warby Parker. You buy a pair of glasses for only $95 and they give one back! I LOVE LOVE these!!! 
Faucet Face. Who doesn't find it more fun to drink water from a fancy bottle? These glass bottles keep me drinking water. They are fun and glass so it makes the water seem special! HA!

FEED. I LOVE Feed-Project! They have some really great products also! Here is my wish-list from their site. 

I will be posting many more ideas on my Pinterest here! Keeping checking back for more ideas and fun products that give back! Let's change the world with one purchase at a time! 
Click Image to view my pins!! XOXO

Tuesday, October 9

Chicken Boy.

 Do you ever tell you kids weird things just to see what their reaction may be?
I, along with my younger sister Jill used to do this with our little sister Jamie.
We told her for years that she did not grow in our mom's belly like us. You see, she was sprouted from a pistachio.
And she believed us.
For a LONG time.
Cruel? Maybe.
Hilarious? Absolutely.

We told her other things but I cant seem to remember any of them. I am sure she remembers.
Well this little game. Or whatever you want to call it. Has carried over into my parenting. And in Phillips.
Not long ago I picked Beckham up from school and he FULLY 100% believed that he was hatched from a chickens egg.
I went with it.
And I added to the story.
I told him I had to sit on that egg for a LONG time. But when he finally hatched it was worth all that sitting.
He believed me.

Well... The other day...

Parker came into the office where Phillip and I were hanging out to show us some artsy stuff he had been working on.
While he was talking Phillip leans over and plucks a feather off of the collar of his shirt.
It was close to his neck.
I continue talking to Parker while I watch an idea birth all over Phillip face.
He leans in and "Plucks" the feather off of Parker's neck. (The plucking consisted of a slight pinch.)
Parker winced and says surprised, "Ouch! What was that for?!"
Phillip calmly says "I plucked a feather from you neck.  Oh no! It's happening..."
Parker, looking concerned and curious, sheepishly says "What's happening?"
Phillip says, "Some kids have this condition where when they reach a certain age they begin to grow feathers. It starts in the neck then works its way down. They don't get them on their faces. Just on their neck, down there arms, torso and legs. Soon you may find yourself clucking when you get frustrated or really excited."
Parker's little face drops and he replies doubtfully "Dad, that's not real."
Phillip, holding back laughter "Oh, Yes it is real. It's very real."
Parker grins and looks at Phillip like he's psycho and moves on.
Later that evening the conversation comes back up about Parker becoming a Chicken.
Phillip tells him "You will find your self sprouting chicken claws out of your feet after your feathers come in. But when your feathers come in we can always take you to the Dr. and have you professionally plucked. (referring to a grooming.)"
"Does it hurt?" asked Parker. Who is now sounding genuinely concerned.
 "No, not really. It feels like it did earlier when I pulled that feather out of your next. They have special chicken plucking tweezers at the Dr.s office." says Phillip.
I am sitting in the passenger seat of the car trying my best to not DIE laughing at this ridiculous conversation. And Parker is believing this!
We get home and start serving up the pizza we had just picked up.
I look up and Parker is just staring at his piece. We can tell he is really pondering this whole "chicken boy" idea. Phillip asks him what's wrong.
Parker fights back tears and responds.
"I dont want to be a chicken. I don't want to grow feathers. I have allergies. My allergies will be all flared up. And Chickens can't ride bikes. And Chickens... They get EATEN by CATS!!!"

At this point I cannot contain my laughter. I think it was so funny to me because he was actually taking us serious and he was processing all the things that he loves but would have to give up in order to become a chicken boy. He was heartbroken of the thought of possibly getting eaten by a cat!

Phillip laughed and went over to hug him and console him and to reassure him that he in-fact was NOT turning into a clucking chicken nor was he growing feathers. He simply had a feather stuck on his pajama shirt which came from one of my pillows. Parker then laughed and realized it was only a joke. Then we joked about the funny things about being a chicken boy.

Maybe this is poor parenting. Maybe it isn't. All I know is that it is funny. And soon Parker will catch on to our little jokes and will be playing along too. He is a clever, clever boy. But for some reason. This Chicken story was really believable.

Just thought I'd give you a little insight on our fabulous parenting and sense of humor.

Real life picture of my sister weird feather footed chicken. Which doesn't really have anything to do with the story at all. Just thought it was weird. ;)

Monday, October 8

7. Years.

** Warning...Total sappiness to follow**
via Wynne Elder Photography
I cannot believe that I have been married to my best friend and favorite person in the world for 7 years.
Though our marriage and life together began on broken and shaken grounds, our God has been so good to us. So Faithful. He has helped us fight through many many trials. He has carried us through many hurts. He has redeemed us and continues to make us NEW every day.
Everyday is a new and glorious day with fresh and new mercy and grace being poured out upon us.
I couldn't have picked a better person to spend my life with.
To be parents with.
To grow old with.
To serve God with.
To cry with.
To rejoice with.
To mourn with.
To celebrate with.
To share EMBARRASSING moments with.
To share life's greatest adventures with.
My love, you are the perfect husband for me.
I am thankful that God placed you in my path that night at Midland College.
I am thankful that even though we screwed somethings up (and continue to screw somethings up) you stuck with me and we fought through those dark hours.
I am thankful you see past my quirkiness and my slowness and you see my heart.
I am thankful you love the Lord and you do your very best to lead me closer to the Father and you do you very best to guide our children to know Him.
Your heart for God and holiness is my favorite thing about you.
Followed by your silly and odd sense of humor.
Your discipline.
Your perseverance through trials and road blocks.
Your faith.
Your passion for loving God with your mind.
And introducing other to loving God with their mind.
Your eagerness to spend time with our children, tickling them, singing to them and taking them on dates.
Your eagerness to spend time with me. Even if that means staying up until 1 am watching back to back episodes of Downton Abbey.
I love that you love Downton Abbey more then me. ;)
You are really great at encouraging me and cheering me on when I am trying to reach goals that seem impossible for me to reach.
I love that when I don't reach those goals you don't beat me beat about it you just smile and shake your head.
I love that you went to Africa with me. Twice. And listened to the call to adopt and acted on it.
You were my life raft when I felt like I was drowning in that season.
I have 7 years of wonderful and cherished memories with you.
I am excited to make more and to share this crazy whirlwind of a life with you.
I am excited to see what adventure God takes us on next.
You are my favorite and I wouldn't let you go for anything.
We are bound to one another.
For better, for worse.
For richer, poorer.
In sickness and health.
Until death do us part.
(Even death... I think we should totally be together!)
Here's to 7 wonderful years and many many more exciting and adventurous years together.
I love you more than I have ever found a way to say.
I am bound to you and you to me.
Happy 7th Anniversary Love!!
via Wynne Elder Photography
via Michelle Collins Photography

Tuesday, October 2

Florida Birthday

We finally took a "real" family vacation! We have never taken a "real" trip with all of the kids. Phillip and I love to travel. With his work I have been able to tag along to some pretty fun cities. But we have never taken the kids anywhere further then 9 hrs from where we live. We knew we wanted to go somewhere special and fun since we can only do this once year. So we saved and planned for several months. We had thought about going to Disney World, Disney Land or the Bahamas. We nixed the Bahamas idea since we would have to deal with passports and such. It just sounded like alot of work. And we decided no on the Disney trips because we felt like at this particular time we wanted something relaxing and low key. Nothing too high paced.

After researching for a couple of months we landed on this fun resort in the Florida Keys. Its called Hawks Cay. We found it via Gilt Group. An online sample sale site. We got a killer deal!!

We got to stay in a 3 bedroom villa which turned out perfect. There was a full kitchen and living room and the kids got to enjoy going out on the dock each morning. We were lucky enough one day to spot a Manatee while sitting on the back porch. It was really dreamy.
The resort had everything you needed. Restaurants, pools, a really FUN lagoon (picture above) a kiddy park, a dolphin connection program and sooo much more. It was a BLAST. It was the perfect relaxing vacation we were looking for.

This is the dreamy house we stayed in. It was spacious and so comfortable. We loved it. 
 The back yard. 
 The kids LOVED swimming in the Lagoon. 
 I think the Pirate Ship pool was definitely their favorite! 
I love how this picture captures of of the kids personality. So sweet. 
 On day one we went to the kids camp and made Shark Tooth Necklaces. ;)
On Day 2 we got to play with the Dolphins and Feed them! It was MY FAVORITE part!!! 
Parker says he is now going to be a Dolphin Trainer while he goes to school to be a marine biologist. (Which he has said he was going to be for a year now... he probably will be ;) ) 
 Later that day, we went to a beach. It was kind gross. I just cant get past the stinky mil-dewy seaweed. Yuck! But the kids LOVED it! 
And we made Sand Art ;)
the last day we were there it just happened to be my birthday! This year was the BEST birthday yet. And the vacation was the frosting on the cake! I ordered all of my favorite foods! I was so excited when I saw the menu at the restaurant. They had just about EVERYTHING! 
I ordere Sushi (my favorite) Hot Wings, Queso and Chips, Spicy Fries and a Big Ole Burger!!!! I ate half of everything and it was the most perfect Birthday dinner!!! Not only was the food good but the restaurant was having a Mardi Gra madness night and it was so festive. Plus I got to share in my birthday wonderfulness with my favorite people. My family.  It was a GREAT trip, a GREAT birthday and I cant wait for our next family vacation. 

While we were there Beckham almost perfected his back dive. For a young 4 yr old...I'd say he's pretty impressive!!! 

Monday, October 1

Emme Girl's 4th Birthday.

I had the BEST time at sweet Emme girl's first birthday party ever!!!
Hello Kitty absolutely took over my house. There was pink and purple and glitter EVERYWHERE! But I wouldn't have had it any other way!
Emme is so easy to celebrate.
She is kind, gentle, loving, tender, sweet and oh so lovely. She brings more joy then I ever thought possible. I feel incredibly blessed to be her momma.
Since being HOME she has been to 10 birthday parties. She LOVES birthday parties. They are so exciting to her. But she hadn't had one of her own until yesterday. For 3 months she has talked about HER birthday party...EVERYDAY. Ha! She has had the thing planned since June!
Hello Kitty is her obsession and that is what she wanted. Despite my desperate efforts convince her to have a vintage inspired woodland fairy party she insisted on Hello Kitty!
So Hello Kitty is was.
She was in love with every detail of her party and even more in love with the fact that the whole day was about HER.
It was HER special day!

It was such a great and FUN party! Thank you Blair for all your help baking and decorating and making PB&J sandwiches for an hour! HA! And helping clean up and washing all those dishes!! You were an amazing HELP I am so grateful for you!! 
And Thank You Wynne for the lovely pictures!!! They turned out really great! And Jill!!! There is an inner photog in there! I LOVE the cake pictures you took they are so great! 

Friends!!! Thank you all for coming and celebrating my Girl! I know she felt soooo loved and incredibly special!! She is in love with all of her gifts (so are the boys! HA!) Thank you for blessing her and loving her!!! 

Emme! I pray that year 4 will be the best year yet! Full of FUN and exciting things!!! We love you to heaven and back sweet coffee bean!! You are so special and so loved!!! 

PS.... I am not sure why Dad isnt in any pictures... He was there I promise! HA! Sorry Philly!