2.27.2011

This phase is gonna fly by

Lily in her new shades. LOVE IT! 

This post is inspired by Ashley's post, who is expecting her first child in September :)

I remember the night we brought Lily home from the hospital...

We wanted to be alone, just the three of us...not even Sanibel was there.
We knew it would be difficult but if we were going to jump into parenthood, might as well dive into the deep end head first, right?

So after we got home and gave Lily the grand tour of our house, and after Brent left us to run to CVS to pick up my pain meds while I was stuck on the floor with Lily the entire time because well, that's where I was when he left and I didn't realize that I wouldn't be able to get up on my own after having my stomach muscles sliced open, much less with a baby in my arms (although I did try, and there was literally nothing there to lift me off the ground and it was such intense pain I just decided to sit right there on the rug in her room. I held Lily and hoped she didn't need anything until he got back because as long as it was up to me, we certainly weren't going anywhere).

We also wanted to be alone that first night because we knew it would be a very special memory. And that it was.

After Brent was home and I was off the ground and feeling slightly less pain than before, we sat on our bed with her and just cried...both of us. Just weeped. Because it was in that moment we realized the huge blessing and gift she was to us. God had chosen us, out of all the parents in this world, to raise Lily. What a joyful responsibility! We prayed over her and just cried aloud to the Lord, thanking Him over and over again for her, completely humbled that we were holding her in our arms. And the words Brent said I will never forget--that our home would be a place where He is always welcome. That prayer is forever ingrained in my mind.

These days will soon be gone. I will never get them back. And I can sit here and tell you a thousand things I am looking forward to...but I want to dwell in the present and enjoy her for this season in her life. And as each phase of her life fades into the past, I will then look forward to the next thing. There's always something to look forward to, and there's always something wonderful to look back on and miss terribly.

But for the time being, I want to enjoy all that this season of her life has to offer, because it won't be like this for long.

2.20.2011

Lily Lately

Try saying that title 10 times fast!

Many have asked, but the answer is no....I'm not doing Lily's monthly blogs anymore. I will be updating you on her life with pictures in the new "Lily Lately" series. Here are some pictures of her in January/February.

 Violet is my best friend. She sings songs about me!

 I like to work on my computer.

 When I get mad, I like to scream at very high pitches that only a dog can hear. 

 I tilt my cup to the side so I can see while I drink!

 Bananas are still my favorite snack. I can eat an entire banana in record time. If I see one in the kitchen, I say "nana" and want it RIGHT NOW! 

 I love to read magazines. I also love to rip up the pages and hand them to Mommy.

 I like to play with something on my head. It really doesn't matter what it is, as long as it hinders my vision I'm good. Mommy and Daddy don't get it. 

 Mommy and Daddy go to a Bible study every other week and these boys are always there! Logan and Davis are going to be great friends :)

 I love to read the books in my room. Before I can read one, though, I have to pull every one of them out of the basket so I can make sure I pick the best one! 

 Cheerios are the perfect snack. I especially love to hold the box while I eat them. 

I like to climb on anything. 

 Did I mention that I love to read?

 I also like to make silly faces!

 I finally figured out how to sit in this chair all by myself!

 I like to try on Mommy's house shoes. 

 You already know that I like to read and climb, so any chance to do both of those at the same time is awesome!

 I got a double ear infection and Mommy snuggled with me on the couch while we watched Veggie Tales. 

 I love it when Mommy raises the blinds on the back door so I can watch Sanibel play in the backyard. I can't wait until I can run around with her outside! Mommy says it won't be too much longer!

 My top two teeth are FINALLY coming in and with that comes a lot of responsibility...being able to hold my grilled cheese sandwich and bite into it. Mommy used to break it into pieces for me (and she still does sometimes), but I insist that I hold it myself. She stills hangs around me when I eat, though, just to make sure I don't take too big of a bite. 

Mommy was making a casserole and asked me to crush the Ritz crackers?! I wasn't sure that I was supposed to be doing this, so she had to show me what to do.

For Valentine's day Mommy and Daddy bought me some bubble bath (which took some getting used to!) and a new sippy cup with Mickey Mouse on it. I'm not sure how to get anything out of it yet, but I do love playing with it! 

I am saying so many words now: mama, dada, dog, down, more, milk, juice, box, bag, stinky, "mote" for remote, snack, splash, and bye bye. Mommy and Daddy say I'm very smart and though I may not pronounce these words exactly right, I use them correctly and know what they mean.

I LOVE bathtime now. I heard that when you turn one, you have to learn to enjoy bathtime. I love to play with all my duckies and I even have a book that can get wet! I still don't like getting dried off and putting lotion on, but I love trying to brush my hair!

I'm still not walking. Mommy and Daddy keep encouraging me to do it, and I'm just not quite ready yet. Shhh, I'm a little scared to do it. But one of these days I'm going to get over that fear and just take off!

I'm having fun being one! 

2.16.2011

More Glory

If you've never read the story of Lazarus, read it here before you continue reading.

This week in Bible I've been teaching my students the story of Lazarus. We've talked a lot about the feelings Martha probably had when Jesus didn't come right away to heal her brother and instead waited until he died to arrive at their home.

"Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died," she said.

I am like Martha in so many ways right now. "Lord, if you had done things differently, then _______." The Lord never needs to do things differently because His timing and His plans are perfect.

I've also talked to my students a lot about why Jesus didn't come right away to heal Lazarus.

Was Jesus able to heal a sick Lazarus? Absolutely.
But God was looking to show Himself in a way that was much more powerful for the purpose of glorifying Himself and drawing others to Him.

Healing a sick man--easy and predictable.
Raising a dead man's life--impossible and not expected.
God allowed Lazarus to die so that Jesus could do something only he can do.

When we (as Christians) are in a situation where we have to make tough decisions, when faith is all we have yet it seems that our faith isn't big enough, when we have options and all of them seem like the right thing to do, we have to ask ourselves, "What will give God more glory?"

What puts us in the place where God is most glorified?

Long story short, very short: Brent has decided to be a Farmer's Insurance agent. He isn't getting paid anymore from his previous job and he hasn't begun to sell insurance yet due to necessary classes and licenses.

We have financial options:
1. Get a loan or line of credit to get us through the next few months until Brent can sell insurance and is making a decent commission from the policies. This option makes sense because he can devote all his time to meeting with people, selling them insurance...all in all, getting the whole process going quickly.
2. Make some MAJOR cuts to our budget (which, you know how frugal I am, our budget was already seriously cut to begin with) and Brent can get a part time job. This option makes sense because we won't be going into debt to get this insurance thing going. However, even a part time job wouldn't make up for what is needed every month, so we would still be depending on God to provide in other ways.

Option 1 is like Jesus healing Lazarus...possible, not a bad option, but not the most powerful way for God to show His glory. This is a comfortable option. And we feel reassured knowing that we have easy access to money if needed. Trusting God can easily become a choice with this option.

Option 2 is like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead...seems impossible and unlikely, but completely takes us out of the equation and welcomes the power and provision of God to show up in a mighty way. We are absolutely not in control and trusting in God is not a choice, it's required. God is most glorified here.

Neither option is necessarily the wrong option, but the second one puts us in a place of dependency on God and allows Him to be most glorified. 

God has already provided in numerous ways:
1. A check in the mail from our mortgage company because they overestimated our escrow amount.
2. We have EXACTLY (literally) the amount in savings we need to get us through the end of March (assuming we pay for nothing but bills, daycare, groceries, and gas...although, I'm sure other things will come up and we will trust that God will provide).
3.  One of our friend's from church is in construction/home improvement and has asked Brent to help him on a job Friday and Saturday.

God is REAL and He is always working for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). AMEN!

2.14.2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Brent's senior prom at Hoover High School 2002

My junior prom at Shades Valley High School in 2002

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,
John 15:13

The purpose of marriage: to be a picture of the covenant God has made with us. The temporary marriage I have on earth is to be a display of permanent marriage I have with Christ in Heaven.

If there is any man that is an earthly picture of the covenant God has with me, it is Brent. He is the most selfless person I know. He has the heart of a servant. He loves wholeheartedly. He is devoted to his family. He is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.

It would be easy to make an idol out of him. But his Christ like character just makes me fall in love with my Savior even more. I boast in the Lord that I am married to such a man. It is not anything I have done. I certainly don't deserve it. It is because of Christ.

Thank you Father for a husband whose love for You is so great that it overflows in his love for me and his family. Thank you that his love points me back to You.

I think it's important to speak positively of your spouse in the light of God's blessings. No, Brent isn't perfect. But his imperfections are the perfect fit for my imperfections, and that makes him, well, perfect :) I think very highly of him and have utmost respect for him. As long as we have Christ as the center of our marriage and family, we have every reason to be joyful despite any circumstance. We want to love each other with a love that hopefully points others to Christ. That's the whole point of this marriage anyway. If we aren't being an example in our marriage of God's covenant with us, then our marriage has no purpose. 

2.13.2011

An Ode to Sparky



Our beloved Sparky,
Given a name by Dad, Ben, and Quinton,
We never truly knew your age
You came to us as a stray
And restored our canine joy after the loss of Gus. 
I was 10 and now 25,
At least 15 years.
You were a well behaved, loving dog
As long as you stayed away from Mrs. Harris.
You arrived already house-trained,
but in your older years you forgot what that meant.
You survived the removal of a mole nearly the size of your nose
So big that he was named Max.
You lived long enough to become an uncle to Sanibel and Lily,
and you spent many a days with your sweet Aunt Millie.
Your bark was persistent and loud
It was bearable until your breath began to smell like sewage.
You had such a sweet spirit,
never bit anyone but Lily.
Your best friend was Ben and he loved you dearly.
Dad, the one who taught us all to love a canine,
was the loyal friend who stayed with you until the end.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, you took your last breath
Now you are buried deep by the tree stump out back.  
Sparky, you lived life to the fullest.
You will be missed.

Sparky Scott Wright
???- February 13, 2011 at 1:35 am 



2.09.2011

Hot Chocolate and Headphones

Sitting here with a cup of hot chocolate...the real kind. I only do the packets if I have to. There's something comforting about hot chocolate that has been heated in a pot over the stove instead of a packet that was dumped in cold water and thrown in the microwave.

I'm super cheap....the kind of super that calls for duper. Super duper cheap. The nice way to say it is frugal. But let's just be honest, I don't spend money unless I have to. I guess it's a good thing and I can credit my parents for being that way. 

So when I want to hear music that I don't have in my iTunes library, I listen to it on YouTube.  

Brent is watching a History Channel documentary on Ronald Reagan...something I know I will never get in to. I tell him I'm going to listen to some music on the computer and that I hope he can handle the show and hearing music at the same time. He suggests using headphones.

What a BRILLIANT idea! I'm telling you, I am slowly losing my technological sense of mind.

I'm listening to needtobreathe. Our Christian radio station up here, which is actually nationwide, is known to play a song way too many times and I quickly get sick of certain songs. But I will say I am very thankful for a radio station that plays Christian music. I became a little jaded when I heard needtobreathe on the radio and always changed the station. I recently heard them at a youth conference in Pigeon Forge and fell in love with them again. They are SO good live! They have much more of a blue-sy/rock sound live. And I love the lead singers almost scratchy voice. They just have a feel good beat to their music. What's awesome is that they are going to be opening for Taylor Swift on her Speak Now World Tour 2011. I love it when Christian groups promote their music in the secular realm.

My favorite part of all their songs is the piano. The guy hits those keys in way that reminds me of my dad's fingers on a piano. I think of him when I hear the piano in their music (and any piano for that matter).

By the way Dad, you need to record your music please :)

Here are two of my favorite songs from needtobreathe. Not so much for the lyrics (although I do like them), I just really like the music. Sorry neither of them have actual video. Just music. The ones I wanted to embed were disabled. You can buy their music here.






2.08.2011

Dear Frederick and Norma Rae

When Brent and I were in college, he received a Christmas card addressed to "Brent and Brittany". We opened the card and out fell a picture of some toddler boy neither of us had ever seen. There was no "Dear So and So" inside the card, but the card was obviously not to us. It was for some other Brent and Brittany. Along with the picture, these unknown family members also sent $50! We looked back on the envelope and, sure enough, we read it right...addressed to "Brent and Brittany" at Brent's address, from people we'd never heard of in Iowa. What a coincidence! We let the $50 sit around in his apartment for a good two months. When the real Brent and Brittany never claimed it, we did. We went to Mikata ("Mikata means fun"...for all my AU folk) for Brent's birthday. My treat, ha!

I guess getting mail that doesn't belong to us is normal. We have lived in this house for nearly 4 years and it seems that we get mail for ALL previous owners of our home. It's understandable that we would get junk mail for previous owners, but we frequently get thoughtful, handwritten cards to them.  Unfortunately, none with money :( Maybe I'm just a Debbie Downer...but I don't know that I would care for mail from "friends" that don't know that I moved at least 4 years ago!

Today we recieved a card from Frederick and Norma Rae??? The card reads:

"We do think of you and your family often with beautiful memories. We continue to believe God for your complete healing in His time--not ours.  We love you and pray for you daily.  Take care--love and prayers, Frederick and Norma Rae
P.S. Frederick will be 80 in 2 weeks. Can you believe that? According to his doctors he should have died before he was forty. So hang in there!"


Dear Frederick and Norma Rae,
I'm not who you think I am. And the person you are looking for hasn't lived here in at least FOUR years! If you really want them to know that you think of them often and good ol' Freddy has beaten his life expectancy by 40+ years....maybe you should just call the person you are looking for. I would assume that since you don't know they have moved, you must not keep in touch with them much. And by much I mean hardly at all. I'm sorry that the person you are hoping to write to never responds. I'm even more sorry that they don't even know you wrote them a sweet note of encouragement. In the meantime, I guess we can add your family member/friend to our prayer list because they must need healing. Congrats to Frederick for 80 years!

Sincerely,
Not the person you are looking for

Maybe I should save the address and send Frederick a birthday card in two weeks. What do you think?

2.07.2011

You are Good

I know that the loss of Brent's job pales in comparison to other problems we could be facing. But, I can only imagine how people without Christ handle times of uncertainty.

Praise God that I have hope!

I was on my way to work last Friday, praying out loud as I usually do. This was the day Brent was supposed to hear about his (hopefully) new job with a final interview in D.C. I was having a good morning because both of us were just certain that this was the job. I had literally just finished saying in my prayer, "God, we understand that if you say no to this job then you have something better planned." And my phone immediately rang and Brent told me he didn't get the job. Nothing like having to immediately believe what you just prayed!

All weekend we were really discouraged. Brent had no other leads, no other interviews lined up, no other jobs that were just jumping out at him. He was just going to have to settle for second best. Just find some mediocre job that made ends meet. And I'll admit I got a little angry with God. I thought we had been going about all of this the right way, seeking Him first, obeying Him, and that's what we get? Second best?

Oh, what my small finite mind can't see in the middle of it all!

"But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him."

Lamentations 3:21-25 ESV

Today, Brent scheduled not one, not two, but THREE interviews! Two with insurance companies and one with a marketing firm in Nashville. We don't want to move, so the Nashville thing isn't serious. Don't start spreading rumors!

And I remember, God is revealing His plan one itty bitty piece at a time. We must be patient and wait for the Lord. He is good to those who wait for him.

If you don't have this hope that can only come from Christ alone, PLEASE comment and we'll talk :) I'd love to share it with you because He is like no other!

He is good, when there is NOTHING good in me!

2.02.2011

A Pastor's Wife

So I was called a pastor's wife today in a tweet...

With all the craziness of Brent's job, I immediately called him and asked if there was a job offer he had accepted that I didn't know about.

There wasn't. But it definitely added some much needed humor to our day!

Anyway, here is a link to a blog post that I wrote for Student Life around the time that I decided to stop praying about staying home because I was afraid of God's answer, hence the title "The Fear of Praying".

It's funny how God works things out.

I have a prayer request...as most of you know I teach 3rd/4th grade. The lady that so WONDERFULLY helps me out with the 4th grade has a son who is in the hospital. He fell and hit his head on Sunday. The doctors had to perform surgery to remove a blood clot, and, as of yesterday, they can not get the bleeding in his brain to stop. Please pray for this family.

2.01.2011

Never Have I Ever

I am about to tell you something that is going to SHOCK you, especially if you are a Christian woman...

Before I tell you though, I want to say that it has been very encouraging to see the responses I have gotten on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc regarding our decision for me to stay at home. Thank you to everyone who has lifted us up in prayer. So many other people are going through the same thing we are and it is a blessing to know that we are in the same boat as others.

Brent had an interview today with a company he would LOVE to work for. He has a second interview with them later this week. He also has an interview with a different company on Thursday. Our prayer every day, as we earnestly seek His plan, is that He would open and close doors and establish our steps so that we are right where He wants us. It's not about us, it's about Him.

I realized today, though, that many times I earnestly seek His plan, and not Him alone. May I be seeking my Savior and Who he is and let the knowledge of His plan be secondary.

Now, back to the SHOCKER.
I have never read a Beth Moore Bible study!

I own one, a very short one, but I can't tell you the name of it or how many times I've started the study. I have absolutely no reason for this, I hear wonderful things about her and her ministry to women. I've just never done one of her studies. And this leads me to also tell you that I have never read one of John Piper's books. Another shocker, but not quite as big as the first.

Brent and I are part of a new Bible study group that meets every other Thursday. The group was started because all of us teach youth SS and can't attend any adult SS classes, so we formed our own SS class (or I guess it would be a Thursday School class...haha). We chose to read Piper's This Momentary Marriage. I started it last night and it is amazing. My favorite quote (well, one of them, I underlined nearly every sentence) is:

"Staying married, therefore, is not mainly about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant...Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God's eyes is not merely that it involves covenant-breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that!"  (p. 25)

We are married to display God's covenant love. How is my marriage, your marriage, displaying that kind of love?

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