The Season of Giving

We all go through many seasons in our lives. There is the season of Winter, when life can feel cold and dark but if you look in closely, you can see some magic. After a long winter, we head into Spring. We are met with many rainy, dreary days but with the rain, comes growth. You start to see beauty and a hope filled joy is in the airWith Summer, comes bright sunny days filled with lighthearted playful fun. There is laughter and the simple things of life become more meaningful. There is a freedom that comes as we breath in the fresh air. Fall brings us to a place of beautiful comfort. There are things that we have learned to let go of which has made the world around us more vibrant and colorful. We have peace and we can rest in it. We give thanks and we ponder what we have to offer up and give as a result of the seasons we have weathered. Never have I experienced these seasons in my life in such an evident way as when I lost my first baby. She was born and other than having an upper cleft palate, we thought we had a healthy baby girl. We took her home, and everything was right in my world. Throughout my life, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I first would say that I wanted to be a Mom. Ten days later, we had to say goodbye to our sweet girl. They said that a lot of times when there is one birth defect there are others. It ended up being the case for our Alayna Marie. There was no way anyone could have known that our little girl had no immune system. The thymus gland that produces T cells was not formed right and was not working as it should. It was a very difficult time for us and the season of Winter was very, very long. We came to a place where we started to look in closer and saw the hope of heaven. It can feel magical some days as you dream of being reunited but the great thing is that is not magic but a real truth that you can claim. The fact that I would see her again started to bring comfort. Though, I feel this process never really ends and there are always things to learn and growth to be had, and  by the grace of God, we made it through the seasons in a way that brought us to a season of giving.

God heard my prayers and answered them. He blessed us with 3 more healthy, beautiful children!! When the older two started asking about their sister that lives with Jesus, we decided that it would be meaningful to do something with them in her memory. We decided to have a pie sale and the money raised would go to sponsor an orphan. Our first sale consisted of a little table with maybe 30 pies and now our family and friends that bear the title, “Alayna’s Pie Bakers” make over 300 pies. A small-town effort and love for pies has grown the pie sale and we have been able to do so much over the years in Alayna’s memory. This year we were able to help a local family with some of their financial needs for their upcoming adoption.

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Leap Attentively 29 Pictures

This year I decided that I would focus on making goals rather than making resolutions. Resolutions usually make me feel like a failure where setting goals makes achieving your desires actually attainable. The question is, “WHY?”  What I have realized is that I cannot resolve to do anything in my own strength. I will always come up short. When I set goals, I am more mindful of the BIG picture and the steps that I need to take to get there. When I am doing that , I have no choice but to realize that I better get on my knees and seek the help of the one that can make it happen.  One of my goals this year was to take time to enjoy my camera and documenting my life. That is where it all started for me, my love for photography and pictures. When I am looking at my life through the lens, things become clearer and I am aware of the blessings. I have strayed away from that just a bit and need some JOY. I started the year off by joining a 365/366 daily challenge on FB. I love it but my struggles of becoming distracted easily got in the way. You could share any picture you like but there were also themes you could follow. Those who know me well know that I LOVE a theme. Give me a theme party  to plan and I am a happy girl. Ok maybe a happy girl BUT a crazy one as well. I go all in and every idea and thought that goes through my  mind I want to / have to do. Who cares about the dishes, feeding my family, getting dressed….. LOLOL… you get the picture. I was planning to live rather than living in the moment and taking what the good Lord had for me.  I haven’t given it up completely because I have enjoyed the people and of course the themes. But I decided to do something new.  The Seeking One Is doing  a L.E.A.P Challenge on her blog. The idea is to live wholeheartedly with passion.  LEAP stands for  L~live   E~ enjoy  A~ add  pray. This month the focus on all of these aspects  is to do them attentively.  One of the challenges for this month  is to take 29 pictures of  something that caught your attention and posting one each day. So here I go. This will be the start of my something new.

 

Day 1

This picture means a lot to me. My tea party ladies had a tea for me the other night and this is one of the candles that was on the table. It represents the warmth of good friends and so much more to me but I will save that for another post.IMG_8117

Day 2

I love when I get to catch the horses walking on the edge of the pond and see their reflection. It is so beautiful. Today I found myself deep in thought about my reflection and what I want it to be.

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Day 3

Be still my heart!!! I LOVE clouds and a blue sky. 

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

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Day 8

 

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Day 9

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Day 10

I never take the time to look at the piles I have all over my house. Today I decided to get a little more intimate with these things that are trying to run me out of my home and disable me. I love that tiger lady!! I do not look forward to life without Legos.

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Be Our Guest

IMG_3993 for websiteI was so excited! It was an opportunity to bless my dear friend who has been a huge blessing to me in so many ways. This year some friends and I started to gather once a month for tea parties to celebrate each others birthdays, friendship and the sisterhood we share. It was my turn to host and I was so excited!! Last Spring , I went treasure hunting with one of these sisters and found tea cups and saucers. I was finally going to be able to use them along with the other treasures I found that were perfect for the themes I came up with for this birthday girl.IMG_3973 for wesite

Finding things special  and planning  surprises for someone you love is so much fun. I was truly giddy and could not wait for her to see all of the things that she loves displayed in front of her. My friend is a lover of words,maps,books, the color blue, yellow roses and The Beauty and the Beast. That is just a tip of the iceberg of what makes her special and unique and I have been given only a glance of her heart. During the whole process, I could not help but think of how much more God knows about her that makes Him smile and how He must feel when He is planning good things for her and us. How much more care and concern for the details, how much more does He know us …what we love , what our very favorites are and what makes us feel loved.IMG_3964

Zephania 3:17  For the Lord your God is living among you , He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm your fears.He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. 

I don’t know about you ,but when I really meditate on these words and sit back and truly remember all that the Lord has already done in my life, I KNOW there is no love that compares to the love that the Father has for his children. I am in awe of the fact that He knows me better than anyone else with such intimacy and that everything about me, he knows because HE created me. The best part is that He accepts it all and truly loves me unconditionally. I have found that the only way to experience this is to enjoy the presence of this great God we serve.  God asks us to be His guest and all we have to do is say yes.So , I will journey to accept the rose that He offers to invite me to the table He has prepared for me and listen to the words that He has spoken just for me.IMG_3987

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” I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

I am grateful for these words that God wrote just for me!!! He wrote them just for you as well. I am also grateful for the people in my my life who encourage me in this journey of getting to know Him better. I would love for you to meet one of my friends who encourages me in this way. The  lover of words, the color blue,books,yellow roses…….. The Seeking One.  I know you will be encouraged as you read her words as she directs you to the words that mean the most. This year I feel led to go on a journey to step up my prayer life and am so blessed by her ideas and passion for prayer. You will find her at www.theseekingone.com.