December 06, 2013

Pregnancy the 2nd Time Around

How rude of me…I pop in and announce that we are expecting another blessing and then I leave you hanging, no details, no information.  The only thing I can offer in the way of explanation is that I have been feeling every bit of fatigue and nausea that accompanies the first trimester, couple that fact with Mikey working some CRAZY hours, and an
active 3.5 year old who demands my full attention and you are left with no time or desire to blog.

However, I am now 9 weeks pregnant and starting to emerge from the fog of the first trimester (though I technically have 3 more weeks left in this stage).

Here’s what has been happening since my last post:

•Joycie has christened this baby as “Pumpkin”. I think it’s due to us telling her about the baby right after our church’s fall festival.  But it is cute, so until we now if it’s a boy or girl the baby  will be referred to as Pumpkin.
•Our first doctor’s appointment was at 6 weeks. During that visit we learned our due date is July 11th.  Pumpkin had a strong heartbeat that we were able to see on the ultrasound, and all of my labs were perfect.
•Last Wednesday, I had a bleeding scare. I never spotted or bled with Joycie, so this sent me into a frenzied tailspin.  Thankfully, my amazing doctor was able to see me immediately and diagnosis the problem. I have a small (less than 1 cm in size) hematoma.  Per the doctor’s orders, I spent the Thanksgiving holiday on bed rest, and am still on limited activity until our follow-up appointment on the 16th.
•My doctor thinks the hematoma will resolve itself quickly and I can resume my normal activities with the appropriate modifications.
•Unlike my pregnancy with Joycie, this time has been full of morning sickness. Thankfully, crushed ice and Zofran make it bearable.

I’ll be back later this weekend to share the first baby bump picture and what’s happening with Pumpkin’s growth.   Until then, have a great day!

November 07, 2013


October 28, 2013

A picture of Revival

Tonight our church launched our Fall Revival. The pastor, Bro. Rick Brown, preached a sermon from Acts 4:31. He titled the message "A Picture of Revival".

"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
Acts 4:31
Brother Rick stated that they were 4 key components to revival. They are as follows:
1. Personal Prayer
2. The power in the person of the Holy Spirit
3. The pure Spirit-inspired word of God
4. People
During the message, Bro. Rick challenged us to examine our prayer lives and determine if we were merely saying prayers or if we were truly praying.  I had to admit that too often my prayer life consists of hurriedly mumbled prayers before I drift off to sleep. 
After hammering home the point that pray is CRUCIAL to a revival. Bro. Rick taught us that to have revival the Holy Spirit has to have reign over our lives and challenging his power thru us.  
The third point was that to have revival God's people need to be reading and studying the pure Spirit-inspired word of God.  This point truly challenged me to reevaluate the time I spend in God's word.  I was convicted that I do not spend time in God's word daily.
Lastly, in order to have revival, there have to be people - God's people who are willing to surrender their lives to the will of God. Bro. Rick ended his message by challenging the congregation to stand if they were willing to embrace a revival.
I rose to my feet without hesitation. I know that I am a child of God and that my salvation is secure. However, I know that I need to be doing more for my Savior.  So the plea of my heart has become "Revive Me, Lord, revive me".

September 09, 2013

Parenting Isn't for Sissies....

Yesterday was probably the worst day of parenting that I have ever experienced.  Before I delve into the details, let me give you a bit of backstory.  Joycelen has NEVER been a big fan of vegetables. Even as an infant, she gravitated to fruits, dairy, and protein over veggies.  Early on, friends and family assured me this was normal, so I did not press the issue.  When she transitioned to table food, the dislike of vegetables remained.....then she turned 2 and began to refuse to eat anything other than chicken nuggets, yogurt, milk, cheese, strawberries and bananas.  I worried at her limited food choices but was assured by her pediatrician that it was fine - she was exceeding all of her developmental milestones, was at an appropriate height/weight for her age, and that her eating habits would change again.

Now she is rapidly approaching age 4 (how did that happen) and I have noticed another sharp decrease in her food choices, and she still refuses to eat a vegetable.  After a lengthy discussion, Micheal and I decided to institute the 1 bite rule.  Joycie has to try 1 bit of a new food after day.  We sat down with Joycie explaining to her that she needed to eat a variety of foods so that she could grow-up big and strong, and she agreed to try a green bean at Sunday lunch.  Well, Sunday lunch came, and Joycie staunchly refused to even taste the lone green bean I offered. As her refusals continued, I felt my frustration rise and pretty soon in a moment of angry, I told her that since she refused to eat her green bean she would not be going to dance class.

And the tears began.....

Then came the stomping of feet....

And pretty soon a full on tantrum....

Of course, this managed to do nothing to help my frustration levels.  Somehow, we made it thru the rest of lunch and returned to our home (did I mention all of this transpired in front of our extended family) where Joycie went down for a nap, and I crumbled into a pile of tears in Micheal's arms.  After a good cry, Micheal and I figured out how to extract myself from the corner that I painted myself into.

When Joycie woke up from her nap, I apologized for my behavior and told her that I wanted her to be able to go to dance but that I also wanted her to learn to like new friends. I assured her that I would never force her to eat something she truly disliked but that she could not say she did not like something if she never tried it.  I explained that at dinner she would be able to choose the new food she wanted to try and if she took a bite then she would be able to attend dance.

Joycie agreed and at dinner chose to try a green bean.  She picked out the green bean she wanted to try, bit into it --- and GAGGED! I tried to encourage her to quickly swallow it done with a drink of tea but the gag reflex was too strong.  But she tried, so she is going to dance class later today.

However, I am left wondering how I can expose her to new foods without tears and gagging at ever meal. Then again, should I even be concerned about this right now?  Any of you Moms with advice/tips/suggestions? I want to do what is best for Joycie but at this moment I am not sure what that even is....

August 12, 2013

Catching Up

I'm back....again.  What can I say? Life got busy and blogging fell by the wayside. I think I have finally worked the kinks out of new schedule and ...maybe...just maybe things are starting to slow down a bit.  So hopefully, I can post with a bit more regularity.  But even that may only be once a week. But something is better than nothing...right?

So here is what's been happening in my corner of the world:

  • I have a started a "flex" schedule at work. Basically, I have every other Monday off from work. These days off are GREAT. They allow me to spend the day with Joycie, catch up on housework, and just enjoy some downtime.
  • Joycie started dance classes last week. She is taking ballet and tap. Her class is once a week, and happens to fall on Monday - which means twice a month I am able to take her and pick her up from classes.  She LOVES dance, so much that she didn't complain at all about having to wear her hair in a bun.  And this is the child who absolutely refuses to wear her hair up. 
  • I survived the Insanity workouts. I lost 10 pounds in 2 months. While that's not a HUGE amount of weight, I felt pretty good about - given that my eating habits were less than stellar during this time.
  • Micheal and I have joined a Crossfit box and will be working out together at least 3 times a week. I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me.
  •  Additionally, we are relocating our home gym to his parents pool house - so that he can start working out with his Dad. The plan is that while the guys are working out - his Mama and I can be whipping up some healthy meals. Can you tell the entire family is on a health kick?
  • Micheal and I are also going Paleo.  We have done this before and found that it is an eating style that works for us. While I will be following it closely (think 90/10), Micheal is more 80/20 as he has to have his grits for breakfast and a few corn chips to top his chicken salad.
Well, there you have it.  A quick update on the life and times of the Lee family.  So tell me what's been happening with you?

May 24, 2013

Working Up A Sweat

If you know me in real life or have been following my fitness journey then you would know that over the past 3 years, running has become a big part of my exercise routine. Especially for the last 2 years, where I have ran 3 days a week with my favorite group of girls, every single week.

But over the past 4 months, each of our schedules has gotten busier and running together 3 days a week became difficult.Then injuries, illnesses, and dance recitals came along and soon we were running only 1 day a week - and we found ourselves dreading that run.

Two weeks ago, we started talking and realized that while we love running, we are a bit burnt out at the moment. For 2 years, running has been the only thing we have done in the way of exercise (at least with any true consistency) and we all wanted needed to shake things up.

Then my sister-in-law is up at 2 a.m. one night. And I 'm supposing the lack of sleep had her slightly crazy because  lo and behold,shes orders this:

Yep, that is the Insanity workout.  And if that wasn't crazy enough, our entire running group has committed to doing this program for June and July.

The workouts look TOUGH. More challenging than anything we have ever done.  And I think the challenge is going to transform our bodies and our minds, so that come August we will be ready to lace up our sneakers again!

What do you do for exercise? Ever tried Insanity?

May 23, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Random & In Bullet Points

Do you ever have a day where you mind is going in a million separate and distinct directions? Well, that’s the case for me today. I wanted to sit down and create an awesome, coherent, cohesive blog post. But instead you are getting bullet points of the various things floating around in my brain right now:

• Micheal’s family is having a family reunion (it is his paternal grandmother and her siblings families). Each family has been requested to bring enough food to feed their own family – so I am trying to decide what to prepare. Right now, I am leaning towards a big green salad and this casserole.

• Next weekend, I am running our town’s annual 5K. I am not as prepared for this run as I have been in years past. I am starting to feel a bit burnt out on running. So after this 5k, I’ll be scaling back my running to just 1 day a week and exploring other activities to keep me fit.

• In addition to me running the 5K, Joycie will be doing the 1 mile fun run. Micheal and I are fairly certain she won’t be able to run the entire thing, so the jogging stroller (or Daddy’s shoulders) will be on stand by. But she is excited about the race – or maybe it’s just the trophy and pancake breakfast afterwards that caught her attention.

• I spent 20 minutes this morning on Pinterest looking at nursery ideas….

• And no I am decidedly NOT pregnant

• …Yet

• Micheal’s cousin is getting married on Saturday night – after the family reunion – and it’s at a hunting club. What does one wear to a wedding at a hunting club? I’m thinking a cotton sundress and a gallon of bug spray in lieu of perfume.

• Memorial Day is Monday. I’m looking forward to sleeping in and spending the day in the pool.

Okay, I think that about covers it for me. What’s bouncing around in your head today?

May 22, 2013

My Interview on Redhead Reverie

The lovely Brook from Redhead Reverie and the equally as lovely Melissa from PB In My Hair have an awesome monthly series called Mom Style Files (#msfiles).  Each month the ladies give all of us moms a fashion challenge that helps us to think about our personal style in a different way.  As part of the series, Brook and Melissa interview one mom each month, who is taking on that month's challenge.

And I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Brook this month to discuss my love of all things floral.  Check it out!

May 21, 2013

Just Chatting - 5/21/13

If we were chatting over coffee today, I would tell you how absolutely wonderful it is to drink a cup of coffee. Aside from a cup at Mother’s Day, I have not sipped that lovely drink in 24 days. I’d tell you that I proved that I could function without my morning cup of joe. But I missed the ritual of fixing his and her coffee’s while the house was still quiet. I missed the warmth of the cup in my hands while I began my day in prayer. If we were chatting over coffee today, I’d tell you that coffee is now my chosen vice….and I am totally at peace with that fact.

If we were chatting over coffee today, I would share how I slept in until 8:00 a.m. on Saturday – and that it was absolutely glorious. You’d probably laugh as I told you that I lounged in bed for another half-hour before getting up to fix Joycie’s breakfast and to clean the house in my pj’s. I would chuckle myself at the image of me sweeping and mopping in my cotton nightgown. But at least it was one less outfit to wash.

If we were chatting over coffee today, I would ask you if you struggle with balancing the things you need to do (like laundry and the dishes) with the things you want to do (like snuggling in the bed to watch Saturday morning cartoons or blowing bubbles in the yard). Before Saturday, I hadn’t really cleaned the house in a few weeks, so it needed to be done. But Joycie wanted me to blow bubbles, watch cartoons, and play dress-up. I explained to her that I had to clean and played with her as soon as I was done…but I still feel guilty.

If we were chatting over coffee today, I would tell you that the Lord is teaching me to find contentment in the moment. I would share that on Sunday night while washing the dishes, I wanted to grumble. It was late, I was tired, Micheal had dirtied the dishes, all I ever do is clean (maybe a bit dramatic). In the midst of the grumbling, the Lord asked me “Do you want your old life back?” I thought of my single days, living in an apartment in Atlanta, cooking meals for one, and eating them off paper plates. Suddenly, I saw those dishes in a different light. They are a symbol of a family, living in a home, and while I do get tired of washing dishes – I wouldn’t trade those dishes for my old life.

If we were chatting over coffee today, I would ask you what lessons you learned this week? I would ask you to tell me about your weekend – where you went, what you did, who you saw? I asked you what was on your agenda for the week ahead? And then I’d refill our coffee cups, listen to you chat away, and tell you how much I look forward to our next chat.

May 20, 2013

Eats for the Week: 5/20/13-5/26/13

(A big hello to those of you who found you're way over her from "Redefining Kim". Make yourself at home. I am delighted to have you here!)

One of the goals I have had recently is to grow more comfortable in the kitchen. I can bake with the best of them, but cooking real meals has always been a struggle. Factor in the fact that we lead extremely busy lives - between work, church, and running our family farm - and it becomes quiet tempting to cave into take-out or frozen microwaveable meals.  And while those are fine on occasions, I would prefer to eat home-cooked meals. Eating at home has numerous benefits:  it saves money, I can control what my family eats, it allows us to have "family time", etc. But getting dinner on the table isn't always easy. I've come to learn that planning ahead makes the task a bit easier. Here's what I'll be serving this week:


Breakfast Bowls

Homemade Protein Bars

Green Smoothies


Grilled chicken salads

Turkey & Spinach Pita pockets

Turkey Spaghetti with Side Salads

Slow-Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Homemade Pizzas (our Friday night tradition)

In addition to learning that planning ahead makes dinner prep easier, I have always come to realize that it is unrealistic to think that I can prepare 7 home-cooked meals each week. My mother-in-law graciously hosts the entire family on Wednesday nights for dinner before church. (This has been a HUGE blessing). Additionally, we plan on eating left-overs on two of the weeknights.

What are you cooking in your kitchen this week?  Have any great receipes you think I should try?  Feel free to link away in the comment section!

May 18, 2013

What Does Surrender Look Like?

On Thursday, I blogged about how I was going to start practicing surrender in my walk with the Lord.  However, I did not discuss what I was surrendering. At the time of the post, the decision to surrender this area of my life was so new - the thought of discussing it felt too raw, too revealing.

But now, I feel compelled to share. Perhaps my openness about my journey will encourage someone else who is struggling to surrender an area of their own life to the Lord.

On November 1, 2011, I stepped on the scale and saw the numbers "129".  It was the lowest weight I had seen since my eating disorder days. I was happy because it was a number that I had obtained the healthy way thru proper diet and working out.  That afternoon, I went to the birthday party of my friend's daughter. I enjoyed cake and ice cream...thinking that I had arrived at my goal weight so I could relax a little.

Then came the holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.  I kept relaxing - eating more sweets, working out less, and by mid-January I weighed 142 pounds.  Then my body went completely haywire. I'll spare you the gruesome details but just know that my womanly parts were not working properly.  A visit to my doctor left me with the diagnosis of endometriosis and a prescription for a high dose hormone birth control. May 2012 was the last time I had a period.  And my weight continue to climb.

In the fall of 2012, Micheal and I began to discuss the possibility of having a second child.  For so long we had been certain that we did not want an addition to our family, but suddenly we were both having twinges of longing.

The conversations carried thru the winter and into early spring. Finally, after seeing yet another pregnancy announcement on Facebook, I told Micheal "I am fine if we don't have a baby, and I will be happy if we do. But for me it's now or never."

He told me he wanted a baby, so we agreed that I'd go back to the doctor to get the okay.  And assuming I lost the 20 pounds I wanted to lose by August, we'd start trying then.

See that - I had put a caveat on adding to our family. I needed to lose 20 pounds.

My doctor gave me her blessing earlier this month.  And we told our close family our plans.  But I have never felt peace about it. I had spent years battling an eating disorder, fighting to love my body for what it can do - not what it looks like - and now I was putting my family on hold for a number on the scale.

In my quiet times, I would feel the Lord telling me to trust Him.

"But Lord, if I get pregnant right now, think about how much I'll weigh....the extra strain on my body"

"Trust me."

This conversation played out over and over again for the past 3 weeks. Then on Tuesday, a good friend (who had no idea of this situation) made the comment " Maybe you should just go off the birth control and let you body be natural."

Her words felt as though the Lord had hit me over the head with a 2 X4.  Micheal and I talked....and when I woke up Wednesday morning, I did NOT take my birth control pill.

Sure, I would like to lose a few more pounds before I get pregnant. I would be lying if I said I did not.  However, I am trusting the Lord with my body, with my family, and with my future.

May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

Today's Prompt:  Song

Ready, Set, Write

One of my favorite things about movies are the soundtracks. The songs that play quietly in the background, swell to incredible heights during the apex of the storyline, and usher in the credits - are what add the extra something to the movie and help to tell the story.

Given my love of movie soundtracks, I often find myself thinking about songs that would be the soundtrack for my own life.  The early years would be highlighted by tunes from The Beach Boys, Elvis, and other classic oldies tunes. (Hey, I had parents who grew up in the 50's/60's - so my childhood was comprised of this music)

The teenage years would be a mix of hard rock - for those angry hormonal days - and sad, somber tunes for those heartbreaking moments of rejection that came in high school.  College would be highlighted by rap, rock, country, alternative, and anything else.  I suppose that's because in college I was trying to find myself - so my musical taste changed based on the day and the persona I was wearing.

But now, now my life is filled with songs of praise. Praise to my Savior.  Because after years of searching, trying to discover myself, I have come to realize that my identity lies in Christ. And that knowledge has my heart swelling with a song full of gratitude.  

A song I hope to sing for the rest of my days....and all of eternity.


Want to join or just want to know what Five Minute Friday is all about? Head over to Lisa Jo's blog and find out While you're there, be sure to visit & leave some comment love (no lurking!) for the other bloggers who linked up! 

May 16, 2013


I am the classic Type-A personality. 

Wikipedia describes this personality as "ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point,proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence" (Bolded words highlight the traits that I see in myself)

When we were dating, Micheal would often laugh at the variety of lists that I carried with me.  There was my work to-do list, the list of daily chores, the list of weekly chores, the list of monthly cleaning schedule, a grocery list, my workout plan, the list of books I wanted to read.... and on and on.

I live for my lists, my routines, my control.

So what happens if life throws me a curve ball and I have to change my plans mid-stream?


My desire to always be in control and live by my routines has lead to numerous disagreements in my 4 short years of marriage. In my head, I have a vision of how our day is supposed to unfold. But when you are trying to get 3 people - one of which is a toddler - thru the day something inevitable happens.  Then I would get flustered, feel agitated, and wind up snapping at Micheal. I was angry that he wasn't sticking to the plan.  Problem was, I had never told him the plan.

I've taken this same approach with my faith. I try to plan my quiet times,  plan my time to pray, plan my time to give service to my Heavenly Father.  But that's not how it works, if God is going to be the Lord of my life. He has to be the one in CONTROL. And I am supposed to surrender.

Psalm 37:7-9 says

 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land."

Wait patiently - that is not easy for me to do. However, the Lord has been calling for me to do this. He is asking me to surrender my plan, releasing the death grip I have on my life, to throw away my "control" of my life and wait on Him.

The thought is terrifying to me. Part of me (a really large part) wants to throw temper tantrum like my 3 year old and say "No. I don't want to and you can't make me."  But the small voice inside of me is whispering that my life has proven time and time again that God's plan far exceeds my own.  And so I am taking a deep breath, uttering a prayer, and surrendering to my God.

May 13, 2013

Just Chatting (A Virtual Coffee Date)

I imagine us seated in comfy, over-sized chairs in a quaint coffee shop. The soft sounds of the barista taking orders, the whir of the blender, and the soft chatter of customers acting a background track to our meeting.  I see myself sipping an iced coffee, eager to tell you of the happenings since our last conversation.

Once you had settled yourself, I would begin to recount my Mother's Day.  How I woke up at 7:30 to Joycie tugging on my hand and shouting "It's morning time, Mama!" I would laugh as I remembered how alert and happy she was, while I stumbled to the kitchen to fix her milk.   I'd share how Micheal gifted me with a steaming cup of coffee and pancakes - which were the best gifts I could have gotten.  But he also gave me beautiful cards, my favorite Lindor Truffles, and a new locket.

If we were chatting right now, you would listen as I talked about the afternoon we spent with the mother's in our lives - Micheal's Mom and 2 grandmothers, and my own mother.  And I would wonder aloud if I'll be have the mother that each of those women have been.

As time winds down, I'd tell you how blueberry season is in full swing, and our farm responsibilities are increasing. I'd talk about having to learn to drive the tractor, hauling berries to town after dark, and how I am watching the weather almost hourly - hoping for the right amount of sun and rain. And chuckle at myself - the girl who thought she'd never live Atlanta - who is rapidly becoming a country girl.

I'd end our time together, by asking you about your Mother's Day - eager to hear how you celebrated the Mother's in your life? I would want to know what you are doing in the upcoming weeks.  And I of course would make a date for coffee next week, will you join me?

May 03, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Brave

Today's Prompt: Brave


I stood before my 5th grade class  - quivering in converse sneakers, swallowing the ever growing lump in my throat, and struggling to make my dry lips form the words I wanted to say. A few falters, a couple of fumbled words, and I began to speak. Minute by minute ticked by as I made my argument for why I - the nerdy, quiet, awkward girl - should be elected 4-H club president.

After the announcement that I had won, my teacher told me how brave I was.  

"I wasn't brave -" I countered. "I had been scared out of my mind."

"But you did it anyway" she gently said.

That's the day I learned that being brave doesn't mean you never feel fear or uncertainty. Being brave means you push past those feelings to accomplish your dreams.

It's a lesson I am reminded of daily - as my husband and I raise our daughter.  Being entrusted to care for another life, is the most terrifying thing I have ever done.  But each day I do it.

And with the Lord's blessing, I'll once again start this journey. After years of fearing trying for baby #2, at the end of summer, the husband and I will ditch the birth control and attempt to enlarge our family.

Yep, I'm scared.

But when our beautiful 3 year old sneaks into our bed in the wee hours of the morning, snuggles her body next to me and whispers "Love you, Mama."

I feel the bravery surging inside of me once more!


Want to join or just want to know what Five Minute Friday is all about? Head over to Lisa Jo's blog and find out While you're there, be sure to visit & leave some comment love (no lurking!) for the other bloggers who linked up! 

April 25, 2013

Thinking Pink

First things first....I AM NOT PREGNANT!

I have family and friends who read this blog and are hopeful that I'll soon be announcing that Mikey and I are making Joycie a big sister.  And while that day may be closer than it was's not today.

So what's with the pink reference?

While I have shared it on Facebook and in real life, I have not made the announcement here on the blog.  I figured that there was no time like the present.

In January, I signed on to be a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

That's right, me - the tomboy who HATED makeup, preferred jeans and sneakers to dresses, and use to cringe at the sight of anything pink - is a Mary Kay Consultant.


Simply put, I tried the products at the suggestion of my dear friend Kathie and fell in love with them. I raved and raved about the changes I noticed in my skin, and how the makeup made me looked more polished and professional without looking overly made-up.

And when Kathie saw just how much I loved talking about Mary Kay, she suggested I become a consultant. I talked it over with Micheal and then signed up.

Since then I've been providing facials to friends and family, hosting spa parties with ladies in my community, and growing my business.

I still have my full-time career but Mary Kay is an opportunity for me to bring extra income into our family. Income that we are using to pay down our debt faster, and income we are putting in savings with the hopes of realizing a BIG DREAM in the near future.

With all that being said, if you are interested in purchasing anything, you can shop on my personal website or contact me via e-mail.


April 24, 2013

Getting Back Into Blogging

I miss this corner of the internet. This blog where I documented the first few months of my marriage, shared weekly updates of my first pregnancy, shared my thoughts on my faith, family, and documented the day by day of our lives.

But I got busy...

With Work

With Church

With my "fitness" blog

And my writing here grew sporadic.  I'd pop in for token updates - like Joycie's annual birthday letter.  But it felt forced.

My days are jammed packed, my spare time precious.  And I felt that I needed to devote it to my other blog in attempt to grow readership.

However, I am feeling unfullfilled.  I started realizing that I miss this blog.

I miss the relationships that I formed thru writing here.

So I'm back.  I won't promise that I'll post every day.  But I can promise that I will be blogging more.

And hopefully, you'll enjoy reading.

April 14, 2013

Sunday Snapshots

1. Out for a Drive

2. Family Easter Photo

3. Joycie and Mama after Easter Services

4. Easter Kisses for Daddy

5. Sleeping thru Easter morning service (she'd been up since 6 a.m. for Sunrise service)

March 25, 2013

Joycie's 3rd Birthday: A Pirate and Princess Adventure

Joycie is in LOVE with princesses so it was no surprise that she wanted princesses to be the center of her birthday theme.  However, I was caught a bit off guard when she informed me that she also wanted pirates at her party.  Thankfully, a quick Google search gave me plenty of creative suggestions and ideas for how to merge the two together for a cute, fun-filled party.

When the guests arrived, they were encouraged to get into costumes.  I had purchased several prom gowns from our local Goodwill, added in Joycie's dress-up collections, and turned old men's dress shirts into pirate garb.  Mikey's Aunt in Texas sewed princess crowns and pirate eye patches (which doubled as party favors) for the kids to wear.  Lastly, I had a few of our youth girls on hand to put make-up on the princesses and add narly breads and nasty scars (eyeliner) to our pirates.

Once the guests arrived, we turned our attention to playing games.  First, we played freeze dance - I told each of the kids to imagine that they were dancing at Cinderella's ball.  I would move throughout them and if I tapped them with my royal scepter they had to freeze in a silly pose.  There were lots of giggles and some curious dancing during the game.  We even had a few adults to join in.   Next up, was a princess version of Simon Says - "The Queen Says".  The kids had to follow the Queen's commands:  dance at the ball, wave at your loyal subjects, talk like a pirate, dream of Prince charming, blow kisses - but only if the Queen said so.   The third game was pin the crown on the princess which was basically like pin the tail on the donkey.  The last game was the biggest hit.  Mikey dressed up like a pirate who had stolen the treasure (i.e. the candy) the kids were instructed to chase him around the room and poke him with a foam sword. Each successful poke resulted in candy flying out of the treasure chest and into the kids' goodie bags.

For the food, we went with Joycie's favorite foods - cheese pizza, chips, and pink cupcakes.

My mother-in-law who is the baker in the family - made individual cupcakes for each guest and 1 large cupcake for Joycie.  The cupcakes were in cupcake papers that fit the theme.

The party was a huge success!  The kids laughed and played, parents told me that they loved the theme, and my little princess was completely wore out at day's end.

March 12, 2013

Happy (Early) Anniversary

Dear Mikey,

I thought about how I wanted to suprise you on our anniversary. But after 3 years, 50 weeks, and 3 days you know that I am HORRIBLE about keep secrets or suprises from you.  I am just to eager to see your smile and know that in some small way I've made you as happy as you make me each day.

A few months ago I suggested that we look into visting a little B&B in St. Augustine for our anniversary. I went on and on about the horse drawn carriage ride, the breakfast in bed, the romantic dinner. You smiled and told me "Sure babe. If that's what makes you happy!". But let's face it - that not your idea of a good time. And while I love roses & romance as much as the next girl, I get them all the time with you. So I opted for something else...

My next idea was to suggest we visit Atlanta for the Georgai Tech Pi Mile. I told you how it has been a dream of mine to run the race. Once again you smiled and said "Sure babe!".

And that's when I knew....I had to plan something that was more about you than about me.

And as fate would have it, I booked it on the very day that 5 years ago you told me (and this is a direct quote) "To heck with waiting until April to tell you. I love you!".

So babe,  get ready because in 3 weeks we will be in the ATL - but not for a "romantic getaway", and not for a 5K run around Tech's campus - we'll be there to watch the All American Pastime!

Yep babe - I have us 2 tickets, field level behind homeplate for the Saturday (April 6th) game vs. the Cubs!  And all I ask in return is that you buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks!

I love you!  Thank you for the most amazing 4 years of marriage....can't wait for the next 50+.


Living Out My Faith

The lovely Kelly at Kelly's Korner has partnered with a few equally amazing bloggers for a new series titled " Build 'Em Up".  The series focuses on ways that we can encourage one another in our faith.  This week's topic is Brining Faith to Life

As parents, Micheal and I have a myriad of hopes and dreams for Joycelen. However, the greatest hope that we have for her is that she will come to know the Lord as her personal Savior.

We both know that if Joycie is going to fall madly in love with her Heavenly Father, she has to know that He is real.

Since we cannot sit down and have a deep theological discussion with her at this point, we try to live out our own faith before her each day.

After all actions really do speak louder than words.

For our family, living out our faith means:

1. Reading Bible Stories and Nightly Family Prayers

2. Listening to worship music in our cars, when we are cleaning up the house, or even when Joycie just wants to dance.

3. Attending church together - we want Joycie to know that there is a HUGE body of believers who love her, support her, and can help her to grow in Christ

4. Including Joycie in our ministry & service opportunities – Micheal has taken Joycie to a few of the brotherhood meetings, I’ve included her in our various Women’s Ministry events, and this past Christmas we let her make the decisions on what gifts to purchase for our shoebox ministry.

Micheal and I often fail as parents --- we yell, we speak harshly, we get caught up in our to –do lists --- but Joycie will proudly proclaim that “her” Jesus makes everything and that He loves her very much. And that makes me think – that with the Lord’s help – are getting the most important thing right.

March 07, 2013

Steal My Show

There is a song by Toby Mac that has been getting copious amounts of air time on Christian radio. The lyrics to the chorus are …

If you got something to say, go on and take it away

Need you to steal my show, can’t wait to watch you gooooo

So take it away”

Those words have been ringing in my ears, my head, and my heart for nearly a week now. On Monday night, Mikey and I had a heated argument which spilled over into a battle of wills with Joycelen. Long story short, we all went to bed with hurt feelings and tear stained cheeks.

As I layed in bed that night, I cried out to God “I can’t keep doing this. I feel as though I am running, rushing but accomplishing nothing. What do I need to do?”

Toby Mac’s song began to play in my head.

And I realized, I had to give it up.

I am trying to be a wife, a mother, a working woman, a runner, an aerobics teacher, a volunteer, a blogger, and a social media guru – and for what.

So I can be center stage?

So I can receive attention and accolades?

This life is not about me. My purpose is to bring glory and honor to the One who created me, gave me life, and offered me salvation.

So I prayed, thought, prayed, fought, bristled at what the Lord was telling me, and finally I submitted.

Starting today, I will no longer be running with my running group during the week. The time I was spending running with them was time away from my family. Coming home at 7:00 p.m. only left 2 hours for me to prepare supper, spend time with Joycie, feed/bathe, and hang out with Mikey before I needed to be heading to bed. Not enough time with the people who matter most. Now, I will come home at 5:30. Mikey and I will swap off between running (and prepping/cooking dinner) – after all we both still need to take care of ourselves physically. I will continue to teach aerobics at the church – as I feel it is a ministry opportunity. Lastly, I am scaling back on the amount of time I spend on my other blog “Redefining Kim”. I still want to document my healthy and fitness journey. But I feel the Lord leading me to share more of my daily life here – the blog that really started it all.

And I am excited.

Because I think the Lord has some amazing things in store….now that I’m letting Him be in the spotlight.

March 05, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Joycie!

Dear Joycie,

At 4:25 p.m. this afternoon you officially became 3 years old!  However, you've been telling people for months that you were 3. I think it is because your cousin Kaitlynn turned 3 in September and in your mind the two of you are the exact same.  In fact, you often refer to her as your "twin cousin"...which is so stinking cute.

Joycie - Daddy and I marvel at how much you continue to grow and mature. In the last year, you have gone from somewhat stilted sentences intermixed with made-up words, to carrying on entire conversations with your friends, your cousins, and even adults.  Your imagination has grown by leaps and bounds - I often hear you telling stories to your baby dolls, or creating a running commentary as we ride in the car.

While you still love music and playing outdoors, these days you are all about PRINCESSES.  You currently have at 2 of each of the Disney Princess figurines. Mama has lost count of how many hours you spend in your room playing with them.  Not only do you love to play with princesses, you love to dress like one.  Most days, we have to find an outfit that is either pink, sparkly, twirly, or has some other "princess" like element. Otherwise, you refuse to wear it.

Hey, you know what you like, and what you don't.  But for all of your girlishness, you still HATE to have your hair pulled up. You prefer to leave it down and flowing.  And since you hair is easy to brush and style, Mama let's you have your way.

In terms of physical growth, you are now 3'2 and weight 34 pounds. Wahooo!  After nearly a year, we have finally broken the 30 pound barrier. Both your pediatrician and neurologist have commented on your recent growth spurt.

Daddy and Mama are so proud of how your vocabulary grows with each day, that you've mastered the art of pottying like a big girl, that you are independent, and that you are physically growing.  But our greatest joy comes when we see how much you already love our Heavenly Father.  Each night you remind us that we need to say our prayers, and you want to pray for every.single.person. you know (and sometimes your toys), you break out into the biggest grin and clap your hands when we tell you it is time to head to church, and you LOVE to sing songs about Jesus.

Joycie, there will never be enough words to tell you how much you mean to use.  But we'll try each day of your life to show you how much we do love you.

And perhaps, the best way to tell you is in the same way you tell us "We love you BIGGER!"

~Mama and Daddy