Saturday, September 29, 2012

baby bug bliss

It's been quite a while since I've posted an update of my baby girl, so here's one for the books (or blog, I guess...)

  • She's 11 months old and planning for her first birthday party is in full swing.  I really don't understand how we're already to this point...
  • She's been pulling up for a few months now; however just this month did she start standing on her own without pulling up.  I still haven't gotten used to looking down at her just standing there on her own smiling at me.
  • This week she started lifting one leg forward, trying to walk--but she falls over before she can take a step.  It won't be long. 
  • She has learned to play peek-a-boo.  She's always giggled when you covered her face and appeared; but now she'll cover her own face and pull the blanket off when you ask "Where's Bella?!"
  • She dances.  And it is adorable.  (I just can't imagine dancing being a bad things when even the wee ones know their supposed to wiggle somehow when music is playing!)  She does this bouncy, bendy thing; and I love it!
  • She's been waving bye-bye for a while now, and she had decided on the arm flapping style wave.  She'll also make the "buh" sound while doing it, but we haven't achieved any fully understandable words other than daddy (although at times, I would swear she's saying hey, that, and this...  but they're not consistent so I don't count them in her vocabulary).
  • Her giggle absolutely mets my heart and I can't help but join her.
  • Our nighttime routine may be a little out of the ordinary.  Since she's a bit of a night owl, Hunter goes to bed before us a lot of the time.  If he goes to bed without taking her with him, she will crawl over to the door crying, stand up, and start beating on it.  All she wants is to go play in the bed for a little bit with us--we chase her and bounce her and giggle with her.  After about 5 minutes, I can pick her up, let her give him a kiss, and take her out without a tear.  But if he goes to bed without her, it is not ok with our little missy.
  • She'll give you kisses, but get ready for em.  They are full open mouth!
  • She absolutely loves to be chased.  I can be standing up to go throw something away, but if I move, she takes off thinking I'm coming to get her.  And let me tell you, she's pretty quick!
  • She loves to be outside.  I'm really ready for some cooler weather and no rain so we can hang out in the yard some in the evenings.
  • She has six teeth that are all fully in--and if you put your finger in her mouth, she will bite it.  Hard.  Four on the top and two on the bottom.
  • If she gets frustrated or just feels like being silly, she'll strain her face and neck and make a sort of grunting noise.  Cracks. Me. Up.
  • Splashing--yeah she's got that down pat.
  • She definitely knows the word no and responds well to it (hopefully it'll stay that way!).  Sometimes it evokes a few tears because her feelings are hurt, but normally she just moves on to something else.  And the things she knows she can't play with, she'll point at and shake her head no.  Smart cookie.
  • Unloading and reloading the dishwasher is her favorite household chore to help with.  She's fascinated with the dishwasher.
  • She has figured out how to use those two little bottom teeth to open things.  She is not to be trusted with a wipes container or a bottle of her snacks...
  • She eats pieces of our food when we go to restaurants or if she's awake when we eat dinner.  That girl loves some poptarts.  Really, she just loves food.  Thankfully, she has never bawked at anything I've ever fed her.  I'm really hoping that her palette will continue to be open and we won't have a picky eater on our hands.
  • She will stand on her tippy toes to try to reach something.  And she's a big time climber.
  • She made the move to her big girl car seat a few weeks ago.  Still facing backwards right now, but it transitions to forward facing when she's big enough.
  • She screeches.  Loudly.  But they're happy screeches and it's funny :)
  • She gets prettier and prettier every day.
  • We just love her so bad.
Tippiest of the tippy toes.
I'm telling you--can't be trusted with them.
Playing in the shower spray (she pulls the curtains back, making a slippery mess--but she loves it).
Also discovered the regular curtains and the blinds--she loves outside.
Oh, and let me just give a shout out to this little fact:  I only have to buy formula in bulk TWO more times!  Then we'll start the transition to regular milk, weaning off the formula hopefully very quickly! (Since she had so many tummy troubles at the beginning which resulted in her being on soy formula, the transition may take a little longer.)  I will gladly pay $3.50 for a gallon verses $6.50 for a quart!

love, angie

Monday, September 24, 2012

Celebrate What Matters!

This past weekend capped off my third year to be a group leader for Women of Faith.  And as usual, the Lord blessed me through it greatly!

Our group hit the road to Dallas Friday morning for this year's conference, themed "Celebrate What Matters".  This year was just great.  I didn't hit very many snags throughout the planning process.  Collecting everyone's payments nor fundraising events were stressful or overwhelming.  I actually had to call and order more tickets!  And the snares that the devil tried to throw at me only came in the last week (with people backing out for various reasons, drivers not being able to drive, disappointing seats...).  But he didn't slow us down one bit!

I had a final group of 27 women (originally 32!).  And man were they a great group.

  • We got matching group shirts this year and that was just fun!  Not to mention they turned out great and we looked fabulous :)
  • The worship, as always, was powerful and spiritual.  The Lord made His presence known as we lifted our voices, hands, and spirits to Him through our praise.
  • The speakers brought open and honest lessons that spoke deep to your heart.  They use the talent they've been given and the Spirit within them in a mighty way.  Their testimonies of faith paired with their knowledge from study makes an incredible combination.  We had the privilege of hearing Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Max Lucado, Angie Smith, and Pat Smith.
  • For those of you who know us or have read my blog for a while, you know that Bella was only calmed by music as a small baby--and Selah is her band of choice.  The Selah station on Pandora is a staple in this household now.  Worshipping with them and being able to experience their talents in person was an inspiring experience.
  • My youth minister from growing up and his wife had an incredible influence on the person I have become.  Kamalyn was able to come visit with us for a bit while we were there--a reunion that was long overdue!
  • We got to praise Jesus with Emmitt Smith :)
  • Ballet Magnificat danced through our worship times and performed some interpretive pieces that were powerful.
  • Probably one of the most powerful and Spirit led moments for me was during Angie Smith's presentation.  If you do not know her and her husband's story, you can watch a video of it here or read about it here.  During her message, she asked for all of the mothers who had lost a child at any stage of life to stand for a moment of remembrance.  The number of women who stood would take your breath away.  And through tears, Angie softly spoke into the microphone, "you are not alone..."  That moment is indescribable.  I literally could feel the peace flood the room as God hugged each of those broken hearts.
  • I got to spend time with and know the ladies in my group so much better!
  • The event was in the American Airlines Center--and let me tell you; I can now say from experience that those seats way up high are truly WAY up HIGH!  Our original seats for the weekend were one row from the very top on the side of the stage.  We couldn't see anything--the stage was tiny (at the end of the stadium this year instead of the center) and the screens were all blocked.  Not to mention, I had ladies who were gripped with incredible fear (some so much that they could not even come up the stairs to our seats) who struggled immensely sitting there.  I was not in a good place--needless to say the devil had taken over my thoughts. But like my sister said, the Lord will work it out.  And that He did!  After a quick visit with a WoF worker, we were issued new tickets 10 rows from the stage!  We were on the very side of the stage so we still couldn't see the screens (for lyrics and videos), but we could actually see the people!  And we weren't scared of stumbling into the great abyss of the AA Center floor!!  He showed His hand to us in a mighty way, proving that He had control over that situation the whole time.
  • Hundreds of children were sponsored through World Vision!
  • We got to spend the weekend praising, growing, and loving with 10,000 other women.  Unbelievable. 
All but 4 of my fabulous and beautiful group of ladies!

Emmitt praising Jesus with all of us ladies :)

Catching up with Kamalyn!

I hope you have the opportunity to go to one of these conferences.  And even moreso, I would love for you to be able to join our group and come with us next year!  Dallas, September 20-21, 2013!  

Don't allow your humanity to limit what God is able to do!  

(This shows His presence--I typed that last sentence because it has been on my mind and heart lately.  The theme for WoF 2013 is "Believe God Can Do Anything"!)

love, angie 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Seems harmless enough, these traditions we have adapted.  The problem comes when the purpose is lost and they therefore become strictly habit with little to no meaning (and whatever meaning it has is usually attached to, "that's just the way it's always been").

Tradition can be yoked to its brother comfort.  Isn't that why we keep doing something and forming a tradition?  Because it's what makes us comfortable?  If we always do the same things, we never have to leave our comfort zone. 

Both of these brothers are dangerous and rampant in the Church.  

I was raised in the denomination of the church of Christ and still attend a congregation that follows that doctrine.  However, I do not consider myself a member of the church of Christ.  I am a member of the body of Christ.  

All denominations are are man-made interpretations and legalisms that form certain traditions, and sadly, eventually often begin to label them as truth.  One church was established.  Over time, we have corrupted that beautiful setup with our own perceptions and comforts, separating from and judging others who don't fit into the cookie cutter religion we have molded for ourselves.

I'm not saying that I think denominations are a bad idea.  It is actually a great way for people to be able to worship and be most effective in the areas of their strengths.  The trouble comes when we get the idea in our minds that our denomination is the only one who's got it together, the only one who's got it right.  Here's a newsflash--none of us do.  

So often we as Christians get caught up arguing about a specific word's meaning in a verse, or what communion is and how it should be administered, or what order the service should be in, or how many services we should have, or blah blah blah.  Why does it matter?

A good friend of mine said something in a conversation we had a while back and it pricked my heart and stayed there...

"The unchurched are not conservative."

Isn't that the truth?  People who were not raised in our denominational traditions do not give a flying pancake's care about them.  

And isn't that to whom we are supposed to be ministering?  Our job on this earth is to spread the love of Jesus, which in turn will lead people to eternal salvation.  It isn't about building renovations, or dress code, or committees, or clapping/hand raising (is it ok or is it not...), or if I'm right and you're wrong or vice versa, or..., or..., or...  (fill in any congregation's current or continual battle of choice).

Our traditions have blinded us to what really matters--sharing the love of Jesus.  All of us.  Men and women, young and old.  Be ministers of your faith.  Let your life be the proof of His love.

And that will require getting out of our comfort zones.  

Stop judging people.  It's not our place.  They don't have to be like you to be saved. 

Serve. Believe. Love.

love, angie

Below is a link to a blog written by an incredibly wise and well-knowledged man whom I hold in high respect, Patrick Mead.  The link leads to one of his entries that discusses this topic more deeply and more eloquently.  I strongly encourage you to read it (and follow the blog in the future).

"It seems that most of these tribes (and I am making a judgment here which may not be accurate, but it fits with my experience so far) are far more likely to accept someone whose ritual is right but whose heart is wrong than vice versa.
For example, in my tribe, Mother Teresa would be considered lost because she was not immersed, called men “Father” on earth, and a dozen other ritualistic “errors.” At the same time, they will often call another person brother or sister because their ritual is perfect and Biblical even though they are unkind to their neighbors, unsacrificial in giving, known to complain and whine, and hoarding possessions. Ritual trumps relationship and the heart in most religious tribes, turning them into modern day versions of cargo cults."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

best friends and babies

It's not very often that people get to have lifelong friends.  I have one of those...  We've been best buds since Kindergarten.  From grade school crushes, to falling in love for real; NSYNC ob-sess-ions to Louisiana Tech passion; from joined birthday parties at Drew Park to holding each others babies...

We were born a day apart--maybe that has something to do with it.  But we just get each other and always have.  We're both fairly quiet, self-motivated, and lovers of Jesus.  We are completely comfortable around each other and tell each other just about everything.  We just work.

And now we're mamas.  She already has an adorable little boy who's pushing 4...  But she just had a beautiful little girl this week, Miss Evelyn.  I loved loving on her!  

Evelyn Elizabeth, 2 days old
Angie and Ev
Arabella Jolie, 2 days old
Kristen and Bella
How did we get there from this?  And so quickly...

Love you, friend!

love, angie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Born to Serve

Hunter and I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach our youth group's class on Wednesday nights for the past few months.  I was very excited about this, not only because I love those kids, but this was also going to allow the teacher in me that has been forced into dormancy to emerge with full force!  And she has...

We are covering the book, You Were Made to Make a Difference, by Max Lucado and his daughter, Jenna Lucado-Bishop.  And let me tell you--it's making a difference in me at least.  These kids have a heart for service and a desire for missions.  The fire has been lit in them and they are not allowing anyone to douse it.  They inspire and encourage me; together, we have opened each other's eyes and hearts to what really matters.

What's the point of this whole Christianity thing?  Regardless of what you may have heard, how you were raised, or what you may have been told, it's really pretty simple:  Love like Jesus.  

Don't love people because they started acting the way you want them to or the way that should.  Don't love people because they come to church with you.  Don't love people because they finally got their lives together.  Don't love people because they act like you or look like you or are friendly to you.  Don't love people because they fit into your mold.  Don't love people because it's easy.

Love people where they are--because just like you, they were created in the image of the Lord God Almighty.

Quit waiting for people to walk in begging to be saved and asking for you to help them.  Go out and find them.  Help people--not expecting anything from it, but because it's what God expects from you.

Love. Serve. Embrace.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."  1 Peter 4: 8-10

Get out there.  Abandon your comfort zones.  Make a difference.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day

Got to skip on over to the good ole Red Stick this past weekend to visit Hunter's brother and his wife.  They just bought their house and this was our first chance to visit.  (We're so happy for and proud of them--the house is perfect!)  The baby brother and his gal were also able to join us to make it a full sibling weekend.  It was fabulous!

We had great food (peach cobbler, lunch at a home cookin' restaurant [Sammy's], shrimp etoufee, french bread and herbs/olive oil, fruit pizza, and turkey burgers).  We played some mean pool volleyball--Lindsey and I were the MVP's in case anybody was wondering.  AJ got the change to show off her fishy skills, while sporting her hat and sunglasses (she was the cutest thing ever, and we completely didn't get a picture.  Fail).  We played some late night Taboo and watched a few episodes of Parks and Rec. Hunter put radios (and speakers in BA's) in both of his brothers' vehicles (which he loved...doesn't get to do that much anymore).  

And we laughed...a lot :)

Good times.  Crazy kids.  Family.

love, angie