My Endless Graditude Photo Journal

Some weeks, I find my self wordless…speachless. I find complete joy and endless love in the pictures I take of our son. I like to capture everything, every moment. I get this love for pictures from my mom who has told me, “You can NEVER have too many pictures. If I could, I would nevermind paint and wallpaper and surround the walls around me, every square inch, with pictures of the people I love.” She is not kidding! Those of you who may wonder why I take and share so many pictures; it is because of the love for capturing these memories that was passed down from my mother to me. I am always so deeply grateful; for my life, my husband, Noah, and sharing my life with my family.

Today, I am thankful for…

This 3-year-old boy, who finds SO MUCH joy in everything he does. He loves to learn, explore and most importantly, PLAY. His imagination is out of this world right now; literally, we were having a tea party in outer space today!

Image

For these silly moments that do not last forever…

For the moments of pure greatness that you experience when you take a risk with dad…

For having the opportunity to watch you experience this sort of curiosity about the world that surrounds you…

For your love and curiosity right now regarding space, the planets and the complete unknown…

For our family…

For some of the older memories and pictures…only 7 months old and a visit to John Ball Park Zoo…

For this magical moment in time…

For this very moment, when God changed our lives forever…I am so, so thankful.

Why do I take so many pictures and find so much joy in scrapbooking and keep them in order? Well, this is why. These are memories I constantly want to be able to re-live whenever life calls. For this little boy, I am so thankful.

Advertisements

He Weeps…

I will start by saying I am a woman of faith and everyone that knows and loves me is very well aware. This may be a “heavy” post, but I am inspired this evening. I am also a genuinely happy, peppy, optimistic, and positive person. Some people hate that about me and I am 100% okay with that. If they need to feed their misery with my choice to be happy, feed on. I am always trying to look at the glass half full and look at what blessing have been bestowed upon our family already in this life. With that being said, bad things happen, we encounter negative and pessimistic people, people lie, cheat and steal and things are not always pretty. That is the world that we live in. So where is He when bad things happen? Where is God? He’s with you in the very places you hide. He is with you when you cry, grieve, hurt, and battle challenges in your life. Think about it. When you are hurting; what brings you peace? God brings me peace. He has always been 100% reliable in my quest for relief of hurt or pain. When I encounter challenges in my life and when I am left facing difficult decisions and challenges, God has ALWAYS come through with His promise.

I will share a personal story because I am perfectly comfortable doing so in an effort to give God praise. When I was 24, God decided he had big plans for me. Actually what I figured out at that point in my life was a sudden shock; He did all along. It really didn’t matter what I had planned. I may be traveling this road, but I didn’t hold the map. I simply DID NOT hold the map. Try telling that to an avid planner. I planned everything. I knew what I wanted to do and that was make big changes and to serve people. I wanted to work long hours in the political field; be a business woman. I had zero intention of having children OR being married anytime within the next decade. Imagine that. Well, I was pregnant. [Insert gasp by everyone…”an unplanned pregnancy…how could you? How did this happen to a Christian woman”?] Generally when you make a “mistake”, you regret it. Well, this was no “accident” and I will tell you why. I could give all the details, but it doesn’t matter because the ONLY thing that mattered at that point was the person I had growing inside me. I was not the victim and I didn’t feel that way for a moment. I was scared, nervous, and unsure, along with every other emotion that you can possibly feel when you find out you are “expecting” a baby…unexpectedly. However, God was there for me and provided Steve and I every bit of comfort, support and peace we needed at that point in our lives. It is amazing what God will do for you when you simply do for Him. From that day forward, I knew what God had planned for me because it became absolutely crystal clear. He provided me the most loving, caring, talented, smart, magnificent man in the entire world to share this life with. This man would be the father of our son, Noah. I was going to be a mommy and I had every intention of giving it my all. I have and I credit everything to Him. He got me through the shock and nervousness. He helped me find Steve. He was there for me when I needed Him. Below, is our blessing and absolute miracle in every way, Noah Thomas Rice.

I tell you this story primarily because it is one of the single most difficult challenges I have ever encountered in my life. It was not a decision that I encountered, that is for certain. It was a challenge that I had to figure out and I did. I would say that things have fallen into place quiet nicely and I have no one to thank but God. Am I ashamed or embarrassed? Not a single bit! Look at that little boy and tell me that HE was not God’s plan. His plan prevails, not mine. He knew who exactly I would become.  ♥ ♥ ♥

He Weeps

By: Fireflight

Where is God when the rain falls
And takes the car off the road
Is He standing in the storm
Where is God when the child cries
And no one bends to pick her up
Could someone tell me what He does

He weeps, He weeps with you
He weeps with me
When I’m on my knees
And I taste defeat
He weeps, He weeps

Where is God when she won’t eat
When her bones start to show
Is He there when she’s lost control
Where is God when a father
Turns his back on his son
Can someone tell me what He does

He weeps, He weeps with you
He weeps with me
When I’m on my knees
And I taste defeat
He weeps, He weeps

If today’s your darkest day
And you can’t escape the pain
Don’t be afraid
He will never walk away

He weeps, He weeps with you
He weeps with me
When you’re on your knees
And you taste defeat
He weeps, He weeps
He weeps with you
He weeps with me
When you’re on your knees
And you taste defeat
He weeps, He weeps

A Special Spot in my Heart…

This 4th of July, I found myself reflecting on something; a past project of mine. I think about it often, actually, because it clearly had a significant impact on my heart.

 

In the fall of 2010, I put together a red, white, and blue quilt for a young boy named Jack, who had a terminal illness. He is from the UK and had misplaced his favorite “patriotic” quilt. I was asked by Give Kids The World Village, an organization that helps give dream vacations to kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families, to make my best attempt at replicating this precious possession of Jack’s. I felt so honored to help this little boy and his family find comfort and I still find myself wondering and thinking about him to this day. The only photo they had to provide me for reference was the one pictured (with Jack) at the very bottom of this post. ♥ Every 3 1/2 inch square of the quilt was cut and every stitch was sewn with my love for children. ♥

 

I have included some pictures to share.

 

Sometimes in life, it really does not matter how busy we are. It is not always I…ME…WE…MY…This little boy deserved this and GOD brought this project to me. It is important to me, in my life, to always make my best effort at doing things for others. At the end of every week, I ask myself, “What did I do to help someone out this week? How could I have done better?” Think about the people who mean the most to you in this life, or maybe even a total stranger! Who could use a hug, a friend to help, a hot tea or maybe some cookies? Pay it forward. Pay it forward. Pay it forward. In November of 2010, we bought our first house and became every bit of “busy” that comes along with that. Regardless, I can take time to SERVE. I am so glad I had the opportunity to do this for him and that project, quilt and sweet boy will remain in my heart forever. ♥

Yarn Storage In The Making…

Less than a year ago, a friend taught me how to knit. All of the sudden, I have a lot of yarn over-flowing a bin. Time to get serious about organizing this! Here is my best, frugal attempt at yarn storage with a modified version of an idea from crochetme. All you will need is oatmeal containers (or coffee), fabric, and a hot glue gun. The fabric cut for the small standard oatmeal container for me was 14 in. x 7 in.

Any hot glue gun will work…

I simply put three dots of hot glue in a line along the seam of the container and pressed my fabric flat against it. Hold until it dries. Then, fold your fabric tightly around the container and, again, 3 dots of hot glue, place fabric onto glue and hold to dry (only a few seconds). Hello, organization!

This is a picture from a few feet back. It measures that I will be able to fit 8 containers underneath each side of my shelf. The beauty; there is plenty of room underneath that will allow me for more oatmeal storage contains if yarn becomes as much of a “problem” (or collection 😉 for me as fabric has. You can be the judge.

I love it! Wa-la! Frugal, fancy and just super cute all around! Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions!

How To Host A “Busy Bag Swap” Playdate!

In June, Noah and I hosted our first “Busy Bag” Swap at our home. We all do some traveling in the summer time, church, doctors appointments, dinner cooking (except me ;)…just kidding), etc. These little “Busy Bags” are perfect for this!

Each mom brings a different “busy bag” activity times “x amount” (depending on how many moms RSVP…because that is how many you will need to make). You will bring that amount of the same activity, storing each activity in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. This is similar to the “meal swap” idea our playgroup did for a long time. I loved the idea of watching each mom carry a huge bag filled tons of different activities to their car! I plan to keep Noah’s “Busy Bags” stashed away and then slowly introduce one activity at a time.

Each activity needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Self-contained. This way, you can just grab a bag and GO! (without having to add a number of supplies to the bag in order to make it useful.)
  • Transportable. Yes, they will definitely be used at home, but I want to be able to grab a few bags to take to a restaurant, a waiting room, plane trips, car rides, etc.
  • Convenient. None of the bags will have supplies that require major set-up or clean-up: (no paint, watercolors, liquids, sand, dirt, etc.)
  • Inexpensive. I don’t want anyone spending too much money on this project!
  • Easy to Make. I don’t want anyone spending hours and hours and hours making their activity.
  • Re-usable. I want these activities to last a while so that our other children can use them in the future. Therefore, I avoided activities where you would have to buy new supplies to re-stock the bag. This is why lamination is important for some of the activities.

I just googled “Busy Bags” and found TONS of ideas! Check this link! I think this will be lots of fun! Bring this kids, obviously, provide a snack for your “busy” friends!

If you have any questions, comment on this post and I can try to walk you through it! This is so much fun and for SO LITTLE effort you get SO MUCH out of it!

I appreciate those of you that are following my facebook blog page, but please take a moment to follow my actual blog. If you are not a “blogger”, there is a place to enter your email address in the top right corner of the post. This way you will automatically receive an email notification when a blog post is made. Otherwise, in the bottom right corner of the screen, there is a place to click “follow” as well! Thank you for your support!

Happy 4th of July!

Image

The strawberries are super easy to make! Just pick up a bag of white chocolate chips, melt them in the microwave for 10-15 minute increments until smooth (almost runny), use a fork to drizzle white chocolate over your berries, and then quickly sprinkle festive blue sugar on them! Wa-la!

This is an idea I borrowed and modified from Room to Inspire. Firework Licorice! What a profoundly GENIUS idea to bring as a treat for everyone while we watch the fireworks! Love, love, LOVE this!

Image

Today, Noah and I hosted a 4th of July Playdate Party with our playgroup friends! What a blast we had! I love (there I go loving something again!) creating these memories for him. Something I always have enjoyed doing for Noah is hosting playdates; specifically themed ones! I love planning the theme, coming up with the crafts, making the “theme-related” snack, etc. For me, this is really what being a mom is all about!! Watching the kids have fun is something I find great joy in and I tend to cherish every moment with him as if it were the last. These moments of youth will not last forever!

I hope everyone has a fantastic, safe and sunny 4th of July!