Thursday, July 24, 2014

a first sunday recap

I shared about my heart the day before our church plant's first service - and I wanted to share a short follow up on that first service. And thanks SO MUCH to everyone who prayed, texted/commented with encouragement, and supported us in so many ways!

I spent most of last Sunday morning holding back tears. As soon as we showed up and the worship team was untangling masses of wires - tears. When an eager group of friends began to set chairs into rows - tears. When the first chord of music began and I looked around at people, standing in a community center smack dab in the center of Seattle, worshiping Jesus - tears. All happy, grateful, "You are GOOD God, and I get to be a part of this?!?!" tears.

It wasn't a perfect day. 
It was really hot with no AC, we had to rush out of the community center right after the service because our rental time was up, etc. But it was such a beautiful day.
The nerves, the "I am not enough (fill in the blank)" feelings rose up in moments; but those feelings subsided pretty quickly. There was such peace. A sense of knowing that, though this past year has been insane and much more difficult for our family than I had anticipated, moving to Seattle to have a hand in planting this church was the right, God-appointed move. 
People connected. There was a strong presence of HOPE in the room. Jesus was with us.

We are starting small. And I hope we always feel small, in the sense that we are only playing the role that Jesus has given us to play. I desire, deeply, that knowing, loving, and sharing Jesus is always our first goal. And our second goal and our millionth goal :)

I don't have too many more words than this. That was service number one, so we will see what the Lord does, and I know we will have to cling to Him for every moment. But I'm excited for the next service :) And I'm grateful and excited to see what Jesus does and who He lets us meet. This is a crazy adventure, and He is good. That's all.

 All the pictures in this post were taken by the wonderful Katrina D Photography.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

3 months of rainier

My little love bug is three months, somehow, already! Well, on Friday, but some of our very best friends got married so it was a busy day.

Rainier is an absolutely delightful baby. This month he started smiling, which makes everyone in the family happy. Nicholas likes to say, "he's 'miling at me!" He's begun to coo and squeal, mostly at Daddy because Daddy is the best.

He's a chunk, and everyone is surprised by that :) His rolls are AMAZING. And his hair. Well, lets just say it's getting more mullety by the day. 

There's so much of me that can't wait to watch him keep growing, to see what his personality is like and if he'll continue to look SO DARN MUCH like his Dad; but if his baby rolls stay on a bit longer, I can handle him staying this little, too. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

the second time around

Almost three months into being a mom of two, I've acquired some practices that are incredibly helpful in making my life run smoothly. Well, as smoothly as life can go with a two-year-old and newborn :) I know I'm no expert, but I wanted to share some of the equipment that we love to use on a regular basis! Some of these are great for first time moms, and others have been helpful in juggling (and staying sane) with two little ones. Wherever you're at as a mom, I hope these bring some sanity!

a) Puj Compact Infant Bath
I didn't use one of these for Nicholas, and I'M SO glad that my friend Jenn told me about it. We set this foam "bath" in our pedestal sink and lay Rainier in it, instead of having to hold a squirmy, slippery newborn. (Still using it at 13+ lbs and almost 3 months.) He's comfy in it, I can easily use both of my hands to wash him, and it's great for when a 2-year-old wants to "help" give the baby a bath. I can't tell you how much easier it is than the other two baths we used for Nicholas.

b) I LOVE my Skip Hop diaper bag.
It's $64 and so worth the money, as I can attest from the cheap one I had with Nick. It's super easy to wipe down/doesn't absorb spills easily, has a variety of great pockets, and is just plain cute. I use the shoulder strap and the hand straps all the time, and it's got clips for your stroller or a shopping cart.

c) The Honest Company Stain Remover
Newborns. So. much. poo. So. many. stains. I love the Honest Company and the fact that they are totally baby safe, no unsafe chemicals at all. And this stain remover works just as well as Oxi Clean and Resolve, I've tried them all!

d) Skip Hop Backpack
I don't have this exact backpack for Nicholas, but I think he'd love it!
My mom gave me the advice to have your older child wear a backpack (with their diapers, snacks, etc.), instead of cramming your diaper bag full of both kid's things - and I'm so glad I took this advice.
When he has a sitter I just grab his backpack instead of unpacking and repacking the diaper bag, and he proudly wears his little backpack everywhere we go.

e) ERGO Baby Carrier
Hands down the Ergo is my most important item as a mom of two. I've used it since Rainier was two weeks old (with the infant insert), and I've actually been able to get out with both kids and NOT go crazy because of it. Your hands are free, the baby feels all snuggly, and when your toddler takes off running, you take the baby with you instead of leaving him alone in a stroller.

f) A little something fun for big brother.
When we're out of the house and Rainier needs to eat/have his diaper changed, it's nice to have something small in my diaper bag to occupy Nicholas. Dusty Crophopper has prevented several meltdowns :)

I've straightened my hair a total of 4 times since Rainer was born, and I shower not as often as I'd like. Throwing on a cute headband makes me feel like I put in some effort, when it actually only took me a minute. As a mom, it's important to feel beautiful, and if a headband helps, buy one!
(I love Oh Sweet Joy and Wuthering Iris.)

Not pictured, but still super helpful:

- Paper plates.
Yes I like to be cost efficient and eco-friendly when I can be, but being able to throw away the dishes instead of washing them can make a crazy day a lot less crazy. Once in awhile, paper plates are lovely.

- More than one bouncy seat/swing in multiple locations.
We have a two-story townhouse style apartment, so having a safe place to actually clip Rainier in on each floor is a life-saver. Especially when I need to put Nicholas down for a nap or in a time out :)

- A cute water bottle or tumbler.
As a nursing mom, and as a mom who is constantly taking care of a need, it's important to stay hydrated. I have a cold liquid tumbler that is actually cute, so I like taking it places and it seems more fun to fill it up :)

So there you have it, my must have items for this second time around. 
What makes your life easier as a mom?

Some affiliate links used.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

church planting, one day out.

Well here we are, the day before our very first church service.

I'll be honest, a few years ago when we first decided that we were going to help plant this church in Seattle, I thought that the day before the first service I'd feel vibrant, confident, and woman's pastor-y. (I'm NOT the woman's pastor. But part of me thought I'd be wise and ready to take all the ladies under my tiny wings and shepherd them with ease. At the ripe old age of 26.)

Hardy har har.
If church planting was about me, than maybe that's where I would have ended up. But it's not.
It's about Jesus.
So fast forward to today, staring tomorrow's service in the face, and I mostly just feel feeble.
Excited, expectant because I feel God's call, but oh so feeble.

I think I'm the opposite of ready to take all the ladies under my wings.
I feel desperate and so in need of Jesus. I feel like I'm a teeny baby and not some sparkling example of Godly womanhood or family life. I know I do some things well, and I hope and pray God will use me; but I'm not who I pictured when I envisioned a "church planter."

I think this might be where God intended for me to be all along.
This past year since we moved to Seattle to plant the church, I've felt like I keep getting knocked down and shown how desperate I am for God to move in my life...almost daily. My deep, deep need for Jesus, and for other's wiser than myself to speak into my life, has come to the forefront. Less of "what I can offer" and more of, "well Lord, if you use me, it's ALL YOU."

I think it's safe to say that God, in His grace and love for me, brought me to this place. I can't coast on my own skills. I'm pointing to His goodness and strength because I am truly weak. One day out, and I'm uttering the same words that my friend and pastor of the church has said: "I can assure you, we are not a great church without God. We don't really have that much to offer. Yet, we have the presence of God - and if we get one thing right our first Sunday, our prayer is that God is the one who shines bright. Not us, not our name...but the One who makes all this possible."

One day out and I'm not who I thought I'd be - and I'm so glad. Lord, not my name, but Yours.

(And I'll let you guys know how tomorrow goes!)

Photo credit

Friday, July 11, 2014


Today is my man's 27th birthday.

And I could gush about how much of a hottie he is - because DUH. 
Or the attentive and fun Dad he is, or his creativity and passion for life.
Or how much of a hard worker he is, especially in this season of having 
a full time job plus helping to plant a church in his "spare" time.

The best thing I see in him is Jesus, so I want to speak to that.
I want to say, Brian, I see so much of Jesus in you.

I see His heart for the beaten and broken and cast off.
I see how He saw more in people than what was on the surface 
- and how He called them to be who they truly were.
I see His steadfastness in relationships.
I see His compassion, dependence on the Father, and His tender heart.

Happy birthday Brian!
I'm incredibly grateful for you.
And ok, you are a total babe of a husband and Dad.

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