Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Princess...
You Life is a Symphony

You are to me a beautiful song. Your life is a sweet symphony that I Myself am composing note by note. I take your failures, your tears, and your triumphs, and I turn them into a glorious harmony that will be sung in the heavens for all eternity. All your thoughts and deeds are laid before Me like notes on a page. Every choice you make is a significant chord in an eternal arrangement. Don't let the noise of the world destroy your magnificent melody, My beloved. Seek Me in the quiet stillness of the morning, and I will fill your heart with divine music. Stay in rhythm with My Spirit throughout the day, and I will make your life an irresistible medley that will linger like sweet perfume in the hearts of all that journey with you. Walk with Me in absolute surrender, and you will draw others to Me in a rhapsody of praise.

Your King and your Composer

Pslam 40:3 NIV He has given me a new song to sing, a hum of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.

I just love that little book! It has taken me on a journey to discover who I am in Christ and learn how much he loves me. I'm studying and dabbling in a few areas but want to take some time to specifically study God's love for me. I am praying for a new revelation in it.

Todd and I are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary this coming Monday. Its approach has had me contemplating our life together. Where we started. The trials we've endured. The way God has always had an abundance of grace and mercy on us. The way he has always been faithful to forgive. The many times he has restored us. My dad once told Todd "you're the only person I know who can fall in a pile of crap and come out smelling like a rose." This has been true of our life together. God has brought us through. On the other side we are stronger and smell pretty because we are covered in His fragrance.

Today I am grateful for God's hand that has been continually over us. Even when we didn't know it. When we lived in sin. When we got ourselves into a mess and begged Him to bail us out. He had His hand over us; over me. When I didn't yet know Him. When I did, and turned my back against Him. Oh yes, I've been saved for 12+ years but I have not always been faithful and spent a good portion of those years either back-slidden or tap dancing on the fence. While I'm still not yet there, I've learned not to strive for perfection because it's unattainable. All God wants from me, from all of us is to love Him with all our hearts, minds, and bodies truthfully and authentically. I have laid more of myself at the foot of the alter than ever before.

Today I am filled with thanksgiving and gratefulness because I can look back on my life and see His had at work. In these next days and weeks I am gong to share our story. What God has done for us and my revelation of His love for me and for you. Buckle up! It isn't a story of romance and perfection, but of trials, errors, and restoration. Rather, errors that lead to trials, that lead to restoration. We are what most would consider "street smart." But, I'm not ashamed (anymore) and in the end God deserves all the glory.

My biggest testimony about marriage is that it absolutely has to be Christ-centered. If you put God first in your lives and be second to each other, does that mean you live a life without trials, problems, stress, and arguments? On the contrary. To quote my favorite teacher Joyce Meyer "God promises a lot of things and one of them is tribulation." Putting God first in your home provides a firm foundation, builds up your spirit, and renews your mind which prepares you to work together and lean on each other in the midst of trial. In our marriage, I've done most of the leaning and Todd has carried the heavy burden of my dead weight. In our story you will hear about the days when running was my first instinct. You will learn that I abandoned that instinct (not a pretty day) because of Todd's strength and stamina and learned to tough it out. Todd and I purposed ourselves to commit and stay committed and keep God near. In the midst of trials we cleave to each other and come out stronger and closer on the other side.

I have the New Living Translation One Year Bible that I read daily (most of the time) and today I read Romans 12:1-21. I encourage you to get your bible out and read it today or google it even. When I first began my blog Romans 12:2 NLT was (and still is) my basis and foundation. "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." The rest is the best advice I've ever read for how to live a peaceful life. I think the whole chapter will become my "motto" and goal.

I will leave you with this. Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

There is A LOT of revelation in just those few verses alone!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Legacy Part II

Can one person's decisions good and bad really affect thousands? Every decision we make good or bad literally affects thousands because our choices affect our children and their children. If we bring one person to Christ we again affect thousands. That one person will affect their children and their spouse and family and each of those people will affect their friends and family.

The discussion I had with friends this week combined with writing my blog mission last week has got me stirred up about why I serve God and the impact I hope to have in this life. I love this little book I got for Christmas from my father-in-law that I've mentioned in previous posts. It's called His Princess Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd.

My Princess...
You Are My Gifted One
I have given you the gift of eternal life, but My giving does not stop there. Inside of you is a supernatural surprise - a gift that is waiting to be you.
Yes, it's there. It's hidden behind dreams waiting to be pursued. Swallowed up by daily distractions and drowned by disappointment.
Let Me help you clear out the clutter and find your gift. You'll find it in that place in life that brings you the greatest joy, that place where your soul longs to be, that work your hands love to do.
But this gift that I've given to you is not just for you. I have blessed you to be a blessing to others. When you find your gift, I will take it and multiply it beyond what you could ever imagine. So ask Me, and I will help you open your gift so that you can give it away to the world - not to impress - but to bless.
Your King and the Giver of every good and perfect gift
I Peter 4:10 CEV Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.
I feel utterly blessed to have discovered my gift and am humbled at the prospect of blessing others with it. Setting aside time each morning to praise and spend time with God makes and keeps me whole and strong. It blesses my children and husband because it makes me happier and more peaceful and a better wife and mother. My reading brings me closer daily to Jesus. When I first began this blog I set forth to find my purpose and passion in life and to discover my gifts and it was my prayer that those gifts be used by God to bless others. I am overflowing this morning because I have discovered my purpose in life which is to do what I was created to do, seek God, praise him, worship him, be thankful in all things, draw closer to him, and grow more into the likeness of his image. And, I know how to go about doing so. I've discovered my gift, that thing that pleases my soul, that my hands love to do. It's writing and it makes me feel free and whole. It's an additional blessing to have other passions like photography. I thoroughly enjoy it and it is truly a blessing to capture precious candid and authentic moments and portraits for a family to cherish forever. I play a small part in preserving memories for them. I thank God daily for my talents and the ambition to continue to move ahead and improve. I thank my husband for getting behind me with all his love and support and because of him I've grown so much in recent months. There is a lot in life I don't have but each day it's easier to shift my sight off of those things and onto the things I do have. I am richly blessed and thankful.
I have a prayer request I would like to mention on behalf of my friend Lisa. She has an uncle who had an anurism. The doctors have removed the right side of his skull, he has also had a stroke on the right side of his brain, and there appears to be no brain activity on that side of his brain either. The family has prayed and waits expectantly for a miracle. I would ask that you join us in agreement for that miracle. Where two or more agree, we can move mountains!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I wanted to start this blog out with the song Legacy performed by Nicole Nordeman.

Why do I live my life the way I do. Why do I strive to be the best possible mother, wife, person, christian possible?

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.

Not only am I leading a life by example for my children, I am creating a legacy for them to walk in long after I'm gone.

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

My sin affects my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their children. Ever wonder why alcoholism, domestic violence, and other sin runs in families? Many of us are fighting generational battles that we never asked for. But, if I am faithful, love God, and am obedient to Him, he will pour out mercy to 1,000 generations! Taking the road of sin is easier, it's easy to give into our flesh. Taking the road to walk in love is much harder but the benefits are huge.

Joyce Meyer said three things in the teaching I watched today that touched me:
- We know how to do church together but we don't know how to do life together. Wow! How many people in your congregation show up and insist everything is perfect, only to hear the testimony of the storm God brought them through six months later? Why don't we fellowship better, why don't we lean on each other?
- We need to put more time into relationships and fellowship.
- We need to put more time into our children.

Those three statements sum up exactly where I'm at in my walk. I know to read and pray daily and keep my nose in His word. I know why. But now I'm stuck on Joyce's three points. I need better fellowship and stronger relationships and I need to have more quality time and build stronger relationships with my children and not focus so much on keeping them busy with activities and having fun. My family has a solid foundation and I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who is my best companion and friend. But when it comes to enduring trials together we can only lean on and uplift each other so much.

I am aware of my needs and looked to friends of mine to fill those needs and when they fell short I was hurt and angry and resentment built toward them. I took my offenses to them and expressed my hurt in what I thought was a loving way. I fell a bit short of loving and allowed my flesh to sneak in and unintentionally offended them in the process. We have since worked things out but I'm still left feeling a little misunderstood.

I may appear on the outside to walk on both sides of the fence but the truth is in God's presence I find myself. When I write my blog I express my true self, who I was designed to be. But, I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I sin. I'm not two different people. I'm a woman of God filled with his Holy Spirit who also still has to battle her own flesh. I don't just say I'm a woman of God. I am. I don't just say I'm a christian. I am. I don't just say I sin. I do. I don't just say I'm forgiven. I am. Is there still that wild seed inside of me that wants to indulge and be fun and outgoing and blend with the crowd, absolutely. I don't have double standards, I make mistakes. The point is I am working toward denying those indulgences as I grow stronger in Him.

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin''
I'm whispering "I was lost, now I'm found and forgiven."
When I say... "I am a Christian" I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say.. "I am a Christian" I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I still feel the sting of pain..
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!

I came upon this in my little His Princess book today and wish I'd seen it a few days previous.

My Princess...
Choose Your Battles

Every day can be a fight for something or with someone if you so choose. I want you, My princess warrior, to choose your battles wisely, and fight for the things worth fighting for. There are so many things that stand against you in the battlefield, and there are so many worthy causes. But the enemy of your soul will entice you to fight the wrong battles in order to distract you from your main mission. Remember, My beloved, your fight is not against flesh and blood, but against evil forces in the spiritual realm. When you find yourself in the midst of a war, do not be afraid. Call on Me in prayer and allow Me to deliver you. In My timing, I will give you the victory and bring justice to the afflicted. So don't waste your time fighting the wrong battles. And never forget that the spiritual war is fought - and won - on your knees.

Your Warrior King

Now that doesn't mean my friends are my enemies or that God is going to "deal" with them. It just simply means I should have continued to walk in love, forgiven their unintentional hurt, and taken my hurt to the throne. Jesus never would have walked up to Peter and expressed his hurt for denying him. What greater pain could one endure than that of Jesus being denied by his disciple and of so many that he loves since? In all that I do, I want people to leave my presence and think "that's what Jesus is like."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brilliant Web Blog Primio 2008 Award, Who Me? What?

Wow! What an absolute honor! Becoming Me has bestowed me with this bloggy award. I am humbled and thankful to God for the gifts he has bestowed upon me. I'm delighted and honored to be able to touch other people's lives through what God directs me to write.

It's a pass it on award so here are the rules:

Put the logo on your blog. Put a link to who awarded it to you on your blog also. You need to nominate 7 other bloggers for the award and put links to them also on your blog. Finally, leave a comment for those you've nominated - so they know they've received a special award.

My nominations for inspiration blogs are...
1. Angie at Bring the Rain for her incredible strength.
2. Leslie at My Happily Ever After for always seeing the glass 1/2 full, actually I think her glass is just always just pressed down, shaken up, and over flowing.
3. Brooke at Blush Photography for inspiring me with her images to keep reaching for my dreams.
4. Erica at Take A Walk in My Shoes just cuz I love her so dang much!
5. Angie at Simplicity Photography, I totally LOVE her style.
6. Jessice Claire - um well, she's one of the top 10 wedding photogs in the world, who wouldn't be inspired by that?
7. Kerri Banyas of Taylor Grey Photography because she's a fellow MI photog with the same name and is my latest blog stalk victim.

Thank you ladies for continuing to inspire me!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feel Good Friday!

This is my first time participating in Feel Good Friday and I'm blessed so I have a lot to feel good about. There are lots of happy things going on around here. Elizabeth over at MommyETC lead us off in the topic of "song lyrics." Typically, I'd go right for the worship song that has recently touched me. However, I'm gonna have to go with First Time Ever I Saw Your Face performed by Leona Lewis. Why? Well because I'm getting a Web site together for my photography portfolio, client proofing, etc. and I'm selecting music for my galleries. This one of course is for my Wedding Gallery.

Tyler has practiced hard all week and plays in another tournament starting this evening. I love watching my children work hard to achieve something for themselves. I'm excited to watch him play this weekend. We're playing in our old neighborhood so an old neighbor and friend is going to stop by and watch Tyler play; seeing old friends makes me feel good.

I've got my selections for my galleries within my Web site set aside. I've got music chosen. I'm preparing to have a sample wedding album and coffee table book made. I'm renting a table for a Halloween bonanza that will be attended by over 400 families in October; hello leads! I'm revving up to have some sample prints made in some pretty large sizes and gallery wraps so I have samples to show clients. I'm getting bookings. I'm editing like crazy. I've uploaded a ton of my work to flickr. I'm getting a lot done. I've accomplished a lot in a few short months, that makes me feel good.

Writing, really writing, from my heart, oh how that makes me feel good. I've missed it.

I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and AC...I'm blessed. I feel good about being blessed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Blog--My Salt Shaker

It's hard to believe I've only been blogging since January; it's become a part of me since then. It was then that I set out to get serious and focused about my daily walk with Christ. But, I've been in a funk. I remember a few weeks back posting a "I'm back on track" blog only to have continued to hide. Hide from Him. I've continued my blog but I'm ashamed to admit they've been fillers a lot of the time. I have learned that writing is truly a gift and it's inspired by the Holy Spirit. If I'm not in communication with the Holy Spirit then I'm empty; I've got nothing to write about, no inspiration. The Blog Mission Tour started over at Becoming Me came at a perfect time.

I began in January with a new commitment. My blog was originally intended for me to have a place to document my progress, keep me focused, and create an audience to hold me accountable. I had felt like I was lost in the crowd. Wondering aimlessly without direction. Without a purpose. I was passionate about a few things but unclear as to the direction I should take with each of them. Thus the name, "Finding My Place In This World." While I can say that my priorities are more clearly defined, I've not yet settled into them as much as I would like. I can also testify that I once stood at a fork in the road wondering which path to take. I now know which path is for me, but I find my self still planted in that fork in the road. That first step seems stuck in cement. Why do we allow ourselves to get to a place where we can be so worn down that it becomes easier to wonder down the beaten path and forgo our calling? Lately, I have felt a little lost in the crowd again. Like I'm standing with my enemies surrounding me, each taking a turn shoving me around. I feel broken and emotionally spent and lost. So I've spent the week knowing I have to sit alone and pray and talk to God and get forgiven...again to be able to write my mission statement. For personal reasons this blog has been for me everything I wanted it to be. I had no idea what God had in mind though. I had no idea my blog could actually be a blessing to others.

So why do I do this...

I first began looking for an outlet for my thoughts. A way to articulate my life as I discover who God intended me to be. While I've managed to accomplish that much in my writing, this blog is now so much bigger than that.

I blog because I know writing is a gift that God bestowed upon me to be used. When I write it's how I communicate with God. Something within me is set free. I am honest, sincere, and raw. I only hope that someone else can benefit from my life I document within my blog. My life has never been about a bunch of little trials going constantly. We just seem to deal with major storms that come out of nowhere with no warning. God has brought us through trial after trial and carried me through the sand many, many times. I was not created to endure that alone. I was not created to keep it to myself. If I suffered a miscarriage just so I could encourage a personal friend or fellow blogger through the suffering and share how God restored me and help one person, then that is why I blog. I was created to be salt of the earth, my blog is my shaker.

There isn't much in this lifetime in the way of trials that my husband and I haven't endured; I think I could cover it all. I will continue to pray over my blog and pray for those I meet in this community. I will continue to thank God for the fellowship and connections I've made within this community and continue to pray for them. I will continue to be spirit led and used as a vessel by God to be a blessing and help to others. Fellowship is a bonus. I love to get comments and to know people are out there and appreciate what I write. But, even if I had to do it in silence without any feedback ever, I'd do it anyway.

While I strive to keep my blog focused on Christ and for my readers to find a place of encouragement you will find a sprinkle of Todd, a touch of Tyler, a dash of Faith, a hint of Karli, and just a pinch of Mallory and Hailey along the way. Jesus is the main ingredient in my life; my husband and children are the spice of life. I can't help but share them with you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

That's my boy!

Tyler made the post-season tournament team! They played in the Cal-Ripken State Championship this weekend. They won some, they lost some, they got wet for sure, and mom took a foul ball to the back of her head! While they did win the championship, they sure gave Lanse Crueuse a run for their money. They played hard and they got dirty. I'm so proud of Tyler for all his effort and hard work. He has practiced four nights per week until 9:00 p.m. each night. I'm even more proud and thankful of Todd. If he hadn't gotten Tyler out in the yard with a bat and ball so many times Tyler wouldn't be as good as he is. I love my guys!

We get to do it all over again this week. Practice Monday-Thursday. Tournament starts Friday. Go #12! Be a hitter!





Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Karli...


Three months after Faith arrived, we learned you'd be here soon. Only one year and five days separate your arrivals. You were smaller, quieter, and less demanding; at first anyway. You were very quiet and observant, always just taking everything in. You were content and googly-eyed until we put you down. You wouldn't have any part of that though; not even for five minutes! But as soon as we'd swoop you up you were perfect and quiet and content again. Trying to get you to sleep was um, challenging. Even in your sleep you knew when you had been put down. You were definetely a sucker as well. You needed a finger or a pacifer in order to fall asleep. Tricky thing is, they don't stay there. So I'd place you in your swing with my finger over the pacifer as you began to fall asleep and follow the swing back and forth until you were totally out. You eventually found your way to your thumb and snuggled with a blankie until you were three. When you woke in the middle of the night you would eat and want to stay up and play; so you slept in my arms on the couch until morning. After having Faith who ate like a champ and went down at 7:00 p.m. and slept until 7:00 a.m. at 6 weeks; you rocked my world.

You spent nearly two years in silence, not making a peep. Only observing. But when you realized you have a voice, a set of lungs all your own, look out world, Karli has arrived. It was like you all of the sudden came alive. You were a challenge back then and the baby of the family for five years. You got everything you wanted and then some. Then, Mallory and Hailey were born, you weren't the baby anymore, and that rocked your world. I wish for your sake I could say that four years into their arrival you've found your place but you still struggle with that. You want so badly to be on their level but your obviously just too big. You want so badly to be on Faith's level but you two are worlds apart. But, we don't want you to be Mallory or Hailey or Faith. We want you to be Karli, embrace it, because unique you are. Well as unique as you possibly can be because what Faith didn't get from you, you did girl. One day your dad is going to sneak a picture of us butting heads. Your a "mini-me" all the way. Watching you grow is like taking a peak into my childhood. From the way you socialize, the way you perform in school, to the things around you that you love like your clothes, shoes, dabbling in make-up, singing and music. We love a lot of the same things. We have a lot of the same bad habits. I did so many of the very same things you are doing now and it doesn't always turn out well so I try to save you from it. Oh but like me, you must learn the long and hard way so you'll discover all those lessons on your own. You won't have it any other way and to this day, I have to learn on my own as well so who can blame you.

You have this mischevious laugh and the look to match. Your hair is down to the middle of your back. You have tons of tiny freckles on your cheeks. You are the skinniest thing and have the longest legs. You are smart, funny, entertaining, and unique. You easily excel in school. You have the sweetest spirit. You love the Food Network. You love to cook. You love crafts, glitter, and all things girly. I love taking you shopping. I love to see your expression when you find things you appreciate and the excitement in your eye. I love holding your hand. I love the way you relate to Mallory and Hailey. I love the way you patiently share your make-up and nail polish with them. I love that you use them as guinnea pigs often spending hours in the bathroom giving them "make-overs." I cherish these moments and hope to remember them for my life time. The small every day things that all you girls do that I sometimes take for granted now.

Karli you are so super sweet and so passionate. I see so much of myself in you. It will seem for a long time that finding your place will elude you but you'll find it. Learn this lesson much earlier than I did. Find Him, find Him fast and early, and you'll find you. As your personality continues to shape I can imagine your father and I will be in for one heart attack after another. You are spontaneous and without a care in the world much of the time. I love that about you but wish you had just an ounce or two more of caution.

It is my prayer as you get older into those more challenging years that we'll lay in your bed at night and whisper. You can tell me all that ailes you. I'll offer my advice and guidance, you'll ignore me and do your own thing, but I'll always be there to hold you, embrace you, and wipe away your tears. And, in the days when all goes your way we can giggle about the good times, talk about boys, and what you'll wear to school in the coming days. I have a feeling I may need a lock on my closest in the future as well and a safe for my shoes! Until then I'll enjoy the twinkle and mischeif in your eye, your curiosity, your fast pace, and vigor for life.

Happy 9th Birthday baby girl! Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4th of July Weekend

We spent our holiday weekend up-north at my friend Teresa's family cabin. We had four lovely days of sunshine and relaxation. There were twelve kids in all and only six moms and dads. Of the eighteen of us, there were three sets of twins, how cool!

I loved
getting back on a jet ski after several years
cruises around the lake on the boat
having nothing to do but feed my family and clean up the mess
toddlers that were entertained by four teenage girls all weekend
our twins referring to everyone as their "best friend"
giving Faith what she referred to as "the best birthday ever"
staying up late
sleeping in
coffee each morning by the water with my husband
the warm sun
lovely breezes
tons of nature, birds, and trees
whatever that sound is that a Loon makes
howling coyotes
fireworks on the beach but hating myself for leaving my camera behind and not loving the people we got stuck next too
taking pictures
rope swings
and watching my kids try new things and truly enjoy each other's company

It wasn't all good all weekend though. Each family had their own problems. Amongst all of us we managed to sink a boat (almost)....and....a jet ski too. Okay that was Jeff both times and on Sunday he finally agreed not to drive anymore.

The fridge in our camper was working on and off before we left and decided to quit on us all together on our trip. The one arm of our awning was already bent from storage last year and on our way up Todd decided to try and get into it with a construction barrel. The barrel won! It took out the other arm on our awning and dented the trailer in a couple of places in the process. And, we forgot about some carbonated beverages in the nonworking fridge on the way home which exploded onto the floor and carpet. Oddly enough, the ants we were killing all weekend are gone though. Hmph.

Here are a few images from our super fun mini-vaca. Thank you Sutton family for having us!


Teresa on right and her twin sister Kathleen and I

Three sets of twins

Hailey and her "best friend" Megan

See! They really do love each other.

Mallory and one of her many new "best friends" Marissa


She's mad!

Daddy loves eating them up too!






MMMMMMMMM cheetos!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Faithy!


Oh boy! You've entered double digits girl! You celebrated your 10th birthday this July 6th. This will be an easy one to write. Many, many things come to mind when I think of you. You are our oldest girl. You were the toughest delivery but the easiest baby. You were just perfect. You ate well and slept well. You were after all 9 lbs. 6 oz. at birth! You were such a sweet, sweet angel and perfect blessing. You are long past the days of long toes and fingers, rolly-polly thighs, and cheeks; boy did you have some cheeks! I remember the years of baldness; you were over 3 before you finally had hair on your head. Now it's curly, thick, and gorgeous.

Although at age 10 you are still but a child, I can already see glimpses of the young woman you will become (and boy are we in trouble). You have legs that go for miles, feet that are already as big as mine, and a heart larger than life. You are still the sweetest perfect angel. You are incredibly selfless. I swear I had nothing to do with that though and take no credit for it. You are down-to-earth, bubbly, happy-go-lucky, and unless you are overtired it takes a lot to get you down. But, when you are tired, LOOK OUT! I swear you think the whole world is coming to an end, or it at least should, no? I wish I could put into words all that I see in you and feel when you smile. Your smile is the core of who you are. You ARE one giant smile. Seldom do you pout or get disappointed when things don't go your way. Your father and I so love and appreciate that about you. Speaking of your father, well, you know he thinks you hung the moon.

You are the very best big sister this world has ever had. Karli is only 1 year behind you and though you think it's annoying, she just wants to be exactly like you and with you. She wants what you have, she wants your friends to be her friends, she looks up to you. Annoying, I know, but it is a very deep compliment. Mallory and Hailey, well what can I say but you are their "best friend." Yes I know they tell everyone they meet that they are their "best friend." But really, you are their number one best friend ever; like BFF even! At least until it's Karli's turn again. You are a giant help with them and always have been. I realize how much I depend on you and am eternally grateful! To Tyler you are younger but he does respect you. I saw many glimpses this weekend and caught many pictures when you didn't think I was looking. I've got proof you all do really love each other!

Each one of you has your special mixture of glue that holds us all together but I'm certain that your special mix is the stickiest. I am already so proud of the person you are. We are already good friends and it is my greatest hope that it carries into our future. When I grow up, I hope to be just like you. I love your heart, I love your spirit, I love the way you are always singing, I love that you love to entertain us, I love your cute butt and what's left of your cheeks. I want to hold onto this innocence for as long as possible. I pray our bond only continues to get deeper and stronger. It is my prayer that we are friends and confidants through your pre-teen and teen years. I pray that we always keep each other close. It is my prayer that you know and appreciate how precious it is to have an older brother to look after you and protect you and three sisters who look up to you. They'll be mad at you later in life for setting the bar so high.

You each have your own unique personalities, quirks, gifts, and talents. You take full advantage of all God has blessed you with. You are very charismatic and like your father, you know how to use it. You have learned very early on to choose your battles, let the small things go and fight for what is important to you; again you inherited that from your father. I think all you got from me was your reaction to needing sleep. Oh, and the eyes, the eyes are definitely mine. Those will be the very thing that get you into trouble though, well, and out of trouble too. Okay too much information. It has been an absolute joy raising you. It is an honor to call you my daughter. I'm still in the role of mom but I know one day I'll be your best friend. I'm excited for those years. If the next 10 are as awesome as the first; you'll bless my socks off. I love you girl! Happy Birthday!

xo xo xo xo xo

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I've got a lot going on lately but have stopped to appreciate a few things here and there.

Watched Juno with Todd last night. Love the soundtrack, can't wait to get it. I loved the movie. It was especially moving for me I think because I was only a mere 16 when I got pregnant with my Tyler. Of course Juno is a Hollywood character; no one is as wise as her in those years!

If you'd ever like a little glimpse into my day to day with hubby Todd, watch this week's new episode of John & Kate Plus 8. It's the episode of "Girls Day Out." I wish Todd watched it with me, he was busy so I would laugh, hit pause, then run and tell him what they were bickering about. We could easily be them!

We've had a couple of fun days at the community pool. We are now cleaning the camper and preparing for our first trip of the season. We are headed up to Waters, MI for the 4th of July holiday with a friend of mine. I'm sure I'll have a few vacation pictures to post upon on return. We leave first thing tomorrow morning and I'm waaay behind schedule!

I had my first newborn shoot yesterday. Olivia was a perfect angel for me. She didn't say a peep and was perfect the entire time. I couldn't have asked for a better first experience. I'm really excited because I have about 1 booking per week for the upcoming weeks that we'll be in town so I'm happy to see my portfolio expanding. Check out my photo blog for a peak at Olivia.

Have a safe and happy anniversary celebration for our wonderful country!