Sunday, March 1, 2015

Not "Why Me?" but "What For?"

There are a few Bible reading plans I have been following on my Bible app. One reading plan, I follow with a group of my girlfriends that are all stay at home mommies. We read the devotional and scripture for the day and then have a group text that is ongoing where we can discuss it. It has really been encouraging and interesting to see everyone's perspectives on the devotionals and scriptures, as well as a good reminder for me to stay focused on God when my days are busy.

One of the devotionals this week from the Joyce Meyers reading plan discussed being "Free to Think Positive Thoughts." I liked this thought. She mentions how the "scriptures show us how important it is to think healthy, positive thoughts about ourselves" and how "you cannot love life if you are always thinking negative thoughts."

This hit home for me. I am a realistic person, bordering pessimism at times because I see things how they are and sometimes they are not good or enjoyable! I struggle with staying positive when things are hard, or if they are not going my way. This has been something I have truly been trying to work on the last few years, and it has been challenging to change my view or perspective about things.

The devotional mentions to ask God for help. Well duh, why didn't I think of that?! Ask GOD to help me to not think negative thoughts! What a great thing to pray for, and yes, while I have prayed to have a better outlook on things, I don't know that I have prayed to God for Him to help me specifically cleanse my mind of negative thoughts. 

Another thing I liked is that she mentions that "we need to PRACTICE positive thoughts in every situation. If you're going through a difficult time, expect that God will work things out for your good. As a Christian, it's time for your FIGHT for your thoughts, because your mind won't automatically come into agreement with God's plans."

Wow... fighting for me thoughts? Yes, I have considered that Satan is always attacking my mind and planting thoughts in my head. He's using any minute detail of my day to pull me away from our sweet Lord, so I suppose that I have been fighting for my thought without realizing it or doing it with a purpose. How much more effective are your efforts when you are doing things purposefully and with the aid of God?! From now on, I will be fighting for my positive thoughts, to have better control over them and try even more so to be thankful for the life I have, come what may. 

She also mentions to "give God time to help you put your thoughts in line with His," which I think is so wise. Time does not restrain God as it does ourselves, so at times we may not understand why things are taking so long to work out or get better. Being patient and waiting for Him to help align your thoughts, while challenging, is worth it. As I mentioned above, our mind doesn't automatically come into agreement with all of His plans for us, so there is some molding and patient understanding involved until we can join Him on the same path.

I am also reading another devotional plan called "Growing Through Perseverance." This is where I got the title for this post from... there was a reading entitled,  Not "Why Me?" but "What For?" It talked about Bethany Hamilton, the young girl who was attacked by a shark, losing her arm and dreams of ever surfing again. They made a movie about her struggles and experiences and this was her statement! After everything she experienced, this was her outlook! Anyone would have expected this girl to give into a negative, dismal outlook on her new life, but she didn't! She overcame her odds and was back to surfing a month later. 

I think that we are used to our comforts here... I include myself in that statement. I've probably mentioned before that I don't do super well with my "plans" changing, or things not going the way I think they should go. I like things to be predictable, I like putting in minimal effort and having nice results, don't you? Hehe... but that's not realistic. I truly haven't been challenged in my life like Joyce and Bethany have been... but everyone has their struggles and each struggle is unique to each person - hard for that person, yet purposefully placed in their life for God to make them better, to make them more like Him, to refine them for His good. 

I hope that some of these thoughts are beneficial to you, I listed a few verses below that correspond to these ideals. I could go on and on with these kinds of verses, but these are a few that I like. Feel free to share any others that encourage you to think positively and rely on God during our struggles to show us what they are for!

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." - Phil. 3:8

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the lift of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." - 2 Cor. 4:7-10

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Rom. 8:28

"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." - Ps. 119:71

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will up hold you with my righteous right hand." - Is. 41:10

"The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you." - Ps. 9:9-10

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's All About That Lace - Girl's Weekend in NOLA

Last weekend I left my baby boy for the first time to go on a little trip with my girlfriends! One of my closest friends is getting married in April, so we traveled to New Orleans to celebrate how fabulous she is! I have known Lacey for 10-11 years now, we met in college at A&M, and then both moved to Houston after we graduated. We are so excited for her to tie this knot this spring! Her sister put together this trip for us, and found a really cute house in a great location.

We drove in late Thursday night, so our next day we started our day we scrumptious beignets and NOLA coffee at Cafe Du Monde... probably my most favorite stop the whole trip! You walk up to the restaurant and wait in line to get in. Once you go inside, it is wall to wall tables full of people just eating beignets. There are some random waitresses that direct you to tables but you basically choose where to sit and then they come take your order, which is simple... how many beignets and how many coffees or hot chocolates do you want?! We had such a sweet surprise when one of our friends who couldn't come on the trip because she has a tiny one at home, paid for our breakfast! Who thinks of that!? So sweet!!
Walking to breakfast... 

The bride to be!
Getting the bump ready for all that powered sugary goodness ;0)
After breakfast, we walked around town a little bit and took a picture with this cool dude... and then headed back to our house to get ready for our spa day!

Lindsey booked us a spa room, so we had a place to sit and chat while we waited on our massages or pedicures. We brought snacks and just enjoyed talking and getting pampered!

That night, Lindsey gave everyone a little goodie bag with some candy, nail polish and these cute masks! Seriously, this girl went all out for her little sis!

The bridal party minus Jess!

Lindsey also made reservations at Brennan's for dinner, which was super yummy! We had some oyster appetizers and I had some gumbo and salad, and then bread pudding for dessert! 

Saturday morning we met our next reservation at a little place called the Courtyard of Two Sisters, where we ate yummy brunch outside and listened to some outdoor jazz music! I loved the atmosphere of this place, and the waiter was so nice! They also had the live jazz musicians come and sing to Lacey! So precious! I think half of us were crying by the end of it!

After brunch, we walked around town and did some shopping. I bought an ornament for our Christmas tree, it's my favorite kind of souvenir when we travel! There were a ton of cool shops and lots of live music in the streets and people doing artwork or some kind of show for the crowds.
Of course I had to stop and take a pic of this!

And who can come to a city with trolleys and not ride one?! Of course we couldn't pass that up! We rode down to the Garden district and then came back and walked back to our house.

We went to a silly dance class that afternoon and then hit Ted's Frosttop for dinner. Y'all... the best root beer floats... like for real... I want another one right now, they were so yummy. The burgers were good here too. I think everyone got the kid's meal buger and except for me and the other prego, Katie Beth haha... I was glad I got the big one though, I like a big ole' juicy burger!
Yes Please!
 So Sunday we tried to go to a church in New Orleans, but that was a flop... not in service anymore, which was very sad. So we drove on to Gonzales and worshipped there at (ironically enough) Southside church of Christ!

After church, we stopped off at George's Diner situated under I-10! This place was the coolest, the people who worked here were super nice and there were dollar bills tacked up everywhere, even on the ceiling! Yummy catfish and po' boy sandwiches here for sure! 

Love this momma!
We headed back to Houston after this and made pretty good time. Got to see my little man and hubbie at church! I definitely cried when he saw me and said, "mommy!" He just snuggled on me and kept looking up at me like is it really you?? The break was nice, but I missed him so much and was so happy to be back with him. He really is my heart on the outside of my body. 

Best wishes to my sweet friend Lacey! You will be a gorgeous bride!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Will you be my Valentine? :0)

I love Valentine's day... I know some people think it's dumb, a bunch of bologna from the card companies blah blah... but I like taking an extra special day for my hubbie and now my little man, just to tell them they are special and that I love them. We had a fun day today just spending some time together. I loved that Valentine's day fell on a Saturday this year, it was so much easier to celebrate!

We started off the day with some yummy pancakes, and of course I made a couple of little heart shaped ones for my little man. He wasn't super impressed until I tore it up and poured warm maple syrup on  it haha... But one thing about pancakes... I always have just used a box mix, which you still have to add oil or water, an egg ect. to anyway, so I just thought why not find an easy recipe from scratch? Pinterest to the rescue! This recipe was easy and quick, and you could easily put the dry ingredients together in bags for the future and then just add your milk, egg, butter and vanilla the morning you wanted to make the pancakes. It's kind of like making your own box mix without all of the unpronounceable ingredients haha! These little guys were nice and fluffy and I'm kind of wanting to eat them again right now as I think about them... mmmm...

Mom, what do I do with this?!?!
Much Betta!!! 
After breakfast we got ready and then exchanged our gifts. I don't know why, but it's just fun giving your little one small gifts, I think because they get so excited just from the smallest things like a 5 pack of Matchbox cars or a bag of M&Ms. I really have liked having a little boy, I kind of think their toys are more fun haha! Jackson absolutely loves Matchbox cars right now, and sleeps with one in each hand for his naps and nighttime. I mean seriously, all day long the kid has a car in each hand! Makes eating snacks and drinking milk kind of difficult at times! ;0) 

This little guy has my heart for sure.
Yep, we reused your bag, Grandma! ;0)

Reading his new Big Book of Trucks... we read it about 15 times today I think!
After gifts, we ran a couple of errands and then ate some lunch at McAllisters. Came back home for little man to take a nap and then played that afternoon at home. Jacob, being the all-star hubbie that he is, picked up flowers for me yesterday and steaks to grill tonight! So we had a yummy steak and baked potato dinner with some corn on the cob. Jackson was really into the corn on the cob haha... 

Just sporting some shades, and of course a car in each hand, see I wasn't lying about that! Sorry it's a little blurry!
Of course we documented this... ;0)
Once we finished dinner, we played outside in the backyard, where Jackson played his new game of starting at the back fence and waiting for us to say, "Ready, set... GO!" and then running to the back porch. It was so funny, I'm always wondering where he picks up this stuff because we definitely hadn't taught him to do that! He ran back and forth a good twenty times and then we went on a walk with Jacey. It ended up being a nice day and relaxing evening. Makes me super thankful for my little home and my little family. There are so many days when I just ponder why God has given me so much, because I just feel like I truly don't deserve it. But then I just return thanks and try to make the best of every moment, because they are so fleeting and unpromised. I hope you all enjoyed your loved ones today, Happy Valentine's Day!