2.11.2014

Lulu and her monkey...

We wanted Lucy to start staying up a little later at night, but we put her in her crib to play for a bit  while we finished dinner.... little lady loves her sleep though....and her monkey.





Poor monkey's tail won't make it sing anymore, and it's such a shame since it was the cutest thing for Lucy to pull it out herself for a little lullaby.  I could hear it going off in the middle of the night.

I wish I could see more of her face, but her little hand is sweet enough...



Both of our camera lens stopped working last year, and we got a new one for Christmas.    I've been playing around with it and trying to shoot more pictures in RAW, too.  I don't know much about what I'm doing in raw, but I can already tell I like it better!  More versatility and ability to correct my mistakes. I set my camera to take both raw and jpeg just in case.

And while indoor color photos are still sometimes a challenge - especially with our horrible lighting, black and white it is. :)




sweet babies 
xoxoxo

{and obviously, no new baby yet...just trying to enjoy this one...
who is going to seem huge when holding a newborn again. :(  }

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2.07.2014

sweet faces...

The faces of Adolyn...


She definitely keeps us entertained.  Yet, she is so quiet sometimes....especially when she's thinking after she's gotten corrected or disciplined.  She keeps us on our toes because sometimes it's the quietness that makes me wonder.  what is that little sharp mind thinking?  I want her to have healthy ways of expressing her thoughts....instead of the mad, grumpy faces that come so easily and she feels most comfortable with. So, we have to probe and ask questions.  Not so much that way with Anna Jaymes. :) not at all.  She'll tell you freely what you want to know....and more.



Funny how different they all are {and how gigantic that picture is ~ oops! hahaha} and how they challenge us in so many crazy unforeseen ways.

I am so curious as to what this next baby will be like.  To be honest, up until recently, it's just been "a pregnancy" to me......a surprise pregnancy at that....and I've only really treated it as that, sadly.  Not until the past few weeks have I really been thinking about this as a new baby girl who's about to enter our world....another little person....an eternal soul.  I can't even imagine what another girl could be like.  another child.  and now, I'm so honestly excited to meet her and hold her.

and....her....what in the world is HER name??! we don't even know for sure yet, and my due date is tomorrow.  aaahhh

and while I'm excited to hold her, and welcome her to our family....I'm also a bit nervous. for many reasons.  a bit curious how I will embrace these next several months and years as my life is surrounded by crazy little munchkins who are needing to find their way in this life....depending on ME to help them. SO many depending on ME.  well, that's no overwhelming thought or anything.  just a big kick in the rear!

Anyway....

so....we do know one part of her name, probably the middle...

Grace.

God's first response to me when I saw the pregnancy test was "MY GRACE is SUFFICIENT for you."

I can't even imagine what I would be like...well yes, I can...I can see the moments and days when I'm NOT walking in His grace. When I'm not abiding with Him.  I can see my failures. my imperfections.
Thankfully, He is always waiting for me.  waiting with GRACE.

When I am in His Grace and my hope is in HIM, HE IS sufficient.  His ways are sufficient and perfect.  HE will be sufficient to walk me through this.

sufficient to help them find their way in this life....despite my failures and imperfections.

I know, I know that...but it would be nice if I could at least remember this enough to get them through their years without a lunatic mother. :) it would probably help.

and thankfully, it also helps that He's given them a man who loves and follows God as their daddy to lead the way.  This is a huge part of God's grace in ALL our lives.

Alrighty, I didn't mean to actually ramble on with all my wandering thoughts....I wanted to actually share an article that my sweet friend Rachel sent me....in such a gentle, thoughtful way, trying not to insinuate that I needed it or anything. :) But, I do.  I always do.  Such a sweet read for you mommas, no matter what season you are in....

Are You Wishing Away What Someone Else Is Missing?

xoxoxo


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2.02.2014

Hello there...


So, I guess now {the week of my due date} is as good of a time as ever to write again….as if there’s not enough going on around here.

It’s almost like blogging goes with nesting as I’m getting ready for this sweet little surprise baby to come…I hate just leaving the blog “out there.”  It seems undone, and needs a bit of something... so a couple of recent pictures will do for now.

but nesting...

Living in a house with light construction projects “almost done” is almost torture when a pregnant lady is trying to nest.  Seriously….I was good with it and content to wait on things to get done until they could….until nesting kicked in.  Now, I want to pull my hair out and get everything done. NOW.  However, of course, it’s not happenin’.  Yet, it continues to drive my brain crazy every time I see something.  I’m working on it.  contentment: please calm my hormones and help me be patient.

looks like this little birdie needs a new nest of her own, too.  at least a new net around her nest or something.





However, I think this incident freaked her out and am hoping it scared her enough to stop trying to climb out.  Of course, the caring and protective mother I am had to stop, let her cry, grab my phone and snap a picture.  It was too cute of a first failed attempt. At least I didn't stop long enough to make sure it was perfectly focused.  good enough. You can't tell, but she was clinging hard. very hard.  hahahaha  Oh, love her.

So, sweet Lucy Jayne....here's a little cheers to our little baby girl who won't be the baby for too much longer...


and as I'm feeling the end of this pregnancy and a new season of life that seems a bit daunting, I was so humbled and encouraged by this article from Ann Voskamp...that has nothing to do with babies, but just a really cool read...




xoxoxo


10.01.2013

Homeschooling has begun...



Anna Jaymes was excited for school....
{until we sat down and started}


this excited little boy CAN NOT be still.  
it took a gazillion pictures for him to be still and not be blurry with my phone camera. sheeesh.




see.....



and that's only a small portion of the pics.

Oh, I love that stinker!


and mrs. grumpy....





She may not be excited, but she's a little smart one and picks up on everything.  So, she is being schooled even when she doesn't realize it. {insert evil laugh here} She loves learning, but has a short attention span!  So, we are going slowly with her and slowly finding what she's ready for.


One of our first attempts at a Charlotte Mason approach of school in nature... 


beautiful flowers....
until we came home and I left them out in the bucket and the puppies ate them. :(




We started school back during the week of Labor Day.  That week was an epic failure.

It has gotten better by far and we are finding our groove, thankfully...finding the balance between character training and education.

fun, fun stuff! :)


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7.14.2013

Project 52:22



It makes me laugh that I am still putt putting along with this Project 52....22 down and 30 more to go!
I will not quit until it's done and a photobook is made!!!!  unless I die first, and that could very well happen the way this is going.



{sitting in a seat on the counter at my grandparents eating}


Anyway, these pictures would confuse me in 20 years with her wearing Anna Jaymes' old bib, so thankfully it's labeled.

This child is the funniest and messiest eater out of all my babes.  This mess is obviously a very mild case and does not even look like her normal messy, which is usually everywhere within a couple of feet....mainly because she just can't handle the excitement and is doing a gazillion things while trying to eat.  
kicking, sucking fingers, making faces, yelling, trying to turn all the way around, etc.

I can't handle the cuteness and I'm so thankful God made babies cute because it sure outweighs the big messes and sleepless nights and every other tough situation they cause.

We love our little Lulu!!!
she gives new meaning to "wide eyed and bushy tailed!"

:)



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7.13.2013

Seriously so behind...


I am seriously so behind in this world.  It's quite normal for me to come to someone else's house and discuss the "news" in the world and hear myself constantly saying "what?!" "when did that happen!!?" "Oh, I didn't even know that was going on these days...our government is so messed up!"

Sometimes, it's good.  Sometimes, I need to be in the know.

So, these last several days being at my grandparents and mom's have been some eye opening days to what's going on in real life outside my little bubble of raising little kids day in and day out.

Anyhoo, that's beside the point.  I'm just pondering how "out of the loop I am" as I'm thinking of the music I wanted to share with ya. 

More importantly than what's going on in America, of course....I have obviously been out of the loop musically and have been missing some of the best christian artists.  So are the radio stations, though.  Why do they only play a handful of artists and songs?! So annoying.

Thank you Andrew and Susan for introducing me to All Sons and Daughters.  Seriously, get Spotify downloaded and listen to All Sons and Daughters.  {Have you heard of Spotify, too?} 
I am in love with this group's different type songs, I don't think I could ever get tired of listening to them.  Long list of faves, but Brokenness Aside has been speaking well to my soul lately.
....and Jon Foreman {think I actually did hear some of his before...maybe} :)

Oh, have you all been listening to them already and I'm the only one in my own little world?  Not surprised.  

And, I love it when I find an artist like Phil Wickham and think he's some new awesome singer...only to see his song I love so much has been out since 2007!!?  Seriously, I am so lame.

Just thought I'd share my new found loves. :)

and speaking of being behind....

Here's a little preview for you grandmothers of some pictures that were supposed to be coming your way back in April.....or Mother's Day would've even been good.  

the girls were just playing a little dress up and were happy to pose for some smiling pics.  I love them.  they make me smile, too.

this was in our back door with the evening light coming in {before there was a porch roof, so that now stinks}, and since they were in a door way with stuff way behind them, it was pretty dark.  I did darken up some light spots so it wouldn't be so splotchy, however.  

:)

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6.11.2013

Diamond Dawgs Discipleship


I like it when Matt writes.  I like hearing his heart and mind….because if you know my hubby at all, you know that a lot of words don't come out of his mouth...
unless he's teaching or something. 

The only thing I don't like is when he shares what he's written before I've proofed the grammar!  I'm no Mrs. English Major, I know.  But, I usually like to help him break up his run-on sentences....and paragraphs.  :)  Yet, I'm still just posting this as he did, because regardless, it's still a great read.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this post he just put on FB since our Bulldogs are headed to the College World Series…..and the only reason I even know that and care is because Matt's the chaplain.  Otherwise, I'd be clueless, although I do love some baseball.  So, if any of you care to know some of the "behind the scenes," read on…. 
{he also takes a lot of pictures while around the team}


My phone vibrates so I look at the screen and see a new message from Ross Mitchell, MSU's 12-0 All American pitcher, "Hey is there a verse in the Bible that talks about taking time to study the Bible in depth and not just seeing how fast you can read the whole thing?"  Right before school started this year seniors Luis Pollerena and Kendall Graveman would meet in the locker room and pray in front of each locker for the person who would soon be sitting in that locker.  




If you've been to a game maybe you have heard Chris Tomlin's "God of Angel Armies"  playing on the loud speakers when Trey Porter comes up to bat. Two weeks ago during the South Carolina series, senior Mitch Slauter, who put his faith in Christ earlier in the year,  was baptized in Chadwick Lake, directly behind the baseball field, in front of family, friends, teammates, and coaches.  










Every morning last week leading up to Friday's regional game 10-15 guys would meet before practice to study the Book of Phillippians and pray for the team and the upcoming games.  Some of the topics of discussion were taking advantage of this weekends circumstances to further the gospel the way Paul did when he was in prison (Phil 1:12-13), conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (Phil 1:27), doing nothing from selfishness, staying humble, and putting others before ourselves (Phil 2:3), being an obedient servant like Christ (Phil 2:7-8), doing all things without complaining or arguing (Phil 2:!4), not being made righteous by any work we have done, but only through faith in Christ (Phil 3:9), forgetting what's behind and pressing on toward the upward goal (Phil 3:13-14), not being anxious about anything, praying about everything and thinking on the right things (Phil 4:6-8).  And while everyone saw pitchers Ben Bracewell and Chad Girodo dominate on the mound in the regional championship game, what they haven't seen is the time we have spent together studying the Bible nearly every week over the past 3 years and all of the conversations we have had and the verses we have looked at about having to persevere and trust God through the injuries, bad outings, and lack of playing time both of them have experienced.  As Job said, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10)  All of us have times of good and adversity but it has been my experience that these 18-22 year olds who are playing a boy's game that had no pressure when they started years ago now turns their college days into a roller coaster of highs and lows.  And in my opinion just like a boat needs an anchor to stay firm through a storm these guys need a firm anchor, a solid rock that can keep them focused and firm.   And for many of the players they have learned the words of the old hymn to be true…"On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand."  



My name is Matt Jolley and I have had the privilege of serving as the MSU Baseball team chaplain for the past 4 years.  This story is not about me, but God and what He is doing and continuing to in the lives of the MSU players and coaches. While thousands are witnessing the story that is being written on the field, there is an even greater story that is being written off the field and I would like to share some of it with you.  I'd like to start with how my role with the team got started and how God has worked out all the details to bring about what He had planned.  I trust that it will both challenge and encourage you wherever you are in your walk with the Lord.  

Five years ago my wife and I moved back to Starkville from St. Petersburg, Florida where I had been the director of a youth ministry called K-Life and served as a chaplain in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, working mostly with their minor league players who were going through spring training and extended spring training.  When I graduated from MSU in 2001 I knew that I would be back to do ministry on campus at some point and after 1 year in Missouri and 6 years in Florida we felt the Lord was leading us back to Starkville.  What we went through in the process of moving back up here is another story for another time, but suffice it to say it took longer than we were expecting and during the time between my job ending and our house selling we had to basically sell everything we had to pay the bills.  We also had to turn in our one car we had leased and ride bikes everywhere we went and pull our 9 month old daughter in a bike trailer for a few months! Our house finally sold in February 2009, eight months after we had originally hoped, but all in God's perfect timing.  We had no plans, no where to live, very little money and knew only 1 student on campus at the time.  It definitely was a leap of faith, but one that we both had complete peace that the Lord was leading us to do.   We moved in temporarily to a mobile home my parents owned about 1 hour from Starkville and I started driving over to campus and spending a couple of nights with the one guy I knew and just started meeting people and sharing what God had put on our heart to do on campus at MSU….discipleship.

One of Jesus' last commands in Matthew 28:19 was to"go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I commanded you."  Although I grew up in church I had never heard of discipleship or seen it modeled until the summer after my junior year of college.  I was working at a Christian athletic camp in Missouri called Kanakuk and that summer I had an older man meet with me and a few other guys every week.   He started teaching me how to study the Bible on my own, challenged me to memorize scripture, gave me accountability with my struggles without making me feel condemned, encouraged me to stay focused on the Lord, and just spent time hanging out with us.   I grew spiritually so much that summer and at the end of it he said this is called discipleship and this is what Jesus did with  His 12 disciples and commanded believers to be doing today.  I came back to Mississippi State after the summer so excited and asked around to try to find someone who could continue discipling me, but no one seemed to understand what I was asking for. Everyone pointed me to a Bible study group, but none of them were like what I had experienced that summer.   After graduating from MSU and spending a year in Missouri going through a Bible training program called the Kanakuk Institute, I took the job as the director of St. Petersburg K-Life, packed up all my stuff and headed south.  And although Florida is the most southern state I found out quickly it is not the south!  My one prayer when I moved to Florida was that God would put someone in my life who could disciple me the way I had when I was at camp.  The first week I was there I met a local pastor and he asked me if I was interested in being discipled and I knew immediately my prayer had been answered.  For six years I met every week with Pastor Tim Cole, who continued to pour his life into mine and teach me God's word and model it for me with his life.  My wife and I spent countless hours with Pastor Cole and his wife Michele being taught by them, getting counseling from them and probably most impacting being in their home on a regular basis seeing the way they made God's Word the center of their marriage and their parenting.  Our relationship with them really was the model of ministry that we wanted to do in Starkville.  So when we started making plans to come back we decided that we didn't join another campus ministry because we wanted to be completely free to do what the Lord had put on our heart and to go into whatever door He opened.  So we moved back and started our ministry on campus and prayed for God to open all the doors He wanted open and close the ones He wanted closed.  From the first day we have been here He has continued to do just that and provide for our every need!

When the fall 2009 semester started I walked over to the MSU Baseball office and asked to meet with Coach Cohen.  I was taken back to his office where I introduced myself and shared with him what I had done with the Rays organization and asked him if anyone was working with the team in that capacity.  He took me to meet Coach Butch Thompson and Nick Mingione and I shared some more with them and while they really wanted me involved with the team they had to decline my offer because the FCA director at the time. Josh Gilreath, was working with the team.  I was a little disappointed but knew that God had closed this door for now and so I just continued to meet students on campus and focus my time with them.  Six months later, right after the start of the 2010 baseball season Coach Thompson called me and asked me if I could come by his office.  Later that same day, Josh called me and asked me if I was still interested in working with the baseball team because he had taken a job with Pinelake Church in Starkville and wouldn't have the time to do it anymore.  So that Sunday morning I found myself leading the team chapel and from that very day I have made it clear that God has a plan and purpose for us to grow and mature in our relationship with Him and it is called discipleship. I told the guys that while I was happy to lead a chapel on Sunday mornings what I really wanted to do was spend time each week investing into their lives and teaching them God's Word and how to study it for themselves.   That first year one of the players asked if we could start meeting.  The next year four of the guys wanted to meet, the next year eight, and this year I have been meeting with sixteen guys on the team pretty much every week.  They bring their Bibles, pens, highlighters, and notebook and we study God's Word together and talk about how to make it practical in our lives and how it applies to different areas of our lives, including baseball.  I give them an assignment to work on during the week and we go over it when we meet.  We also spend time talking about their struggles and looking at verses they can memorize to fight against temptation the way the Jesus did in Matthew 4.  We spend time together hunting and fishing and most importantly I have the guys over to my house to be around my family as much as I can to try and  model to them what Pastor Cole did for me... a home centered on God's Word.   I am not perfect, but I do my best to be genuine and transparent with them about everything in my life.  They are not perfect either and just like everyone they have their struggles.  But they are growing and maturing in their relationship with the Lord and while it was exciting to see them win the regional on Monday night it was not nearly as exciting as the victories I see happening in their heart as they get into God's Word for themselves and grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord.  

I really wish everyone could see what God is doing first hand like I do, but since you can't I couldn't help but share some of this with you.  There are a lot more stories that could be told about God working on this team that I will save for another time, but I will say that I don't think any of this would have happened without the complete support and encouragement of the MSU coaching and support staff.  They have made my role with the team so much easier and my relationship with each of them is a blessing.  We have a coaches Bible study each week where we get into the Word together and pray for each other and the guys on the team.   I know as coaches they will always have fans and critics for what they do on the field, but off the field they are helping to create an atmosphere of growth and excellence in every area of these players lives.  They know that many of them want to grow spiritually so they do all they can to make that possible for those who want it.   And for those on the team who have no interest in growing spiritually,  the players and the coaches have created an atmosphere of  love and respect for each other so there has never been an issue of anyone feeling judged or condemned if they chose a different path at this point in their lives.  As I shared in our team chapel last Sunday...the greatest gospel we preach is with our lives, so we should seek to live in a manner worthy of the gospel and pray that our lives would draw them toward Christ and not push them away.





And perhaps I am the most excited about next Christmas break when I will be taking some of the players and coaches on a mission trip to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, where we will be putting on baseball camps, sharing our testimonies, doing Bible studies and taking down much needed baseball gear to give out to kids who love the game of baseball more than anything, yet many of which don't even have their own glove.  I'm sure it will make them more thankful for all they have here in America and challenge them to become more like Christ who didn't come to be served but to serve and to give His life for others!  Oh and as far as an answer to Ross Mitchell's text about studying the Bible…I replied with James 1:25, " But one who looks intently into the perfect law, the law that gives liberty, and abides by it, not forgetting what he hears, but doing it, this man will be blessed in what he does."  I don't believe a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel but I do believe that these guys and this team are being blessed because of their time spent studying God's Word and seeking to live it out in their individual lives on and off the field.   Please pray for God's Word to continue to grow in the hearts of everyone involved on this team and for His will to be done in their lives, on and off the field!"







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