When a Mommy Feels Defeated…

As we continue to prepare for the arrival of baby #2, there have been some changes in our household.  One recent adjustment has been transitioning my darling daughter from her crib into a big girl bed. 

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Weekly Image of Life: Children and Their Gifts

Psalm 127:3 (NLT) Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

A little over 9 months ago, my husband and I were blessed with the greatest gift.  A sweet baby girl who makes us wonder how we ever lived life without her.  She is my personal sunshine and every day she lights up my life.  I want to remember every milestone and capture every moment, while sharing the happiness she brings me with the people I love the most.

This year, the majority of the gifts we gave for Christmas were pictures of our little family, with my darling daughter at the center of it all.  Our hope was that her sparkling eyes and infectious smile would bring warmth into the hearts of all who received one, and as I share these pictures I hope they do the same for all of you!

All photo credit goes to our incredibly talented friend and professional photographer, Squint Foto, and I hope you’ll take a moment to visit his website:  www.squintfoto.com

Blessings to you all!!

Taylor Holiday-5 Taylor Holiday-8 Taylor Holiday-9 Taylor Holiday-10 Taylor Holiday-11 Taylor Holiday-13 Taylor Holiday-15 Taylor Holiday-16 Taylor Holiday-18 Taylor Holiday-20 Taylor Holiday-17  And last but not least…

My personal favorite. They have my heart. xoxo
My personal favorite. They have my heart. xoxo

The Weekly Image Of Life challenge is issued every Wednesday by The Island Traveler at This Man’s Journey. If you would like to participate and see other entries please visit here!

Weekly Image of Life: I Am Thankful For…

1Thessalonians5:18 (NLT)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

I appreciate the Lord and where I am in my life today.  I’ve grown so much through my relationship with Him, and I know there is much more pruning and maturing to do.  Because of this, I could easily turn this weeks “image of life” into several posts within a post, but instead I will focus on my greatest reason for gratitude this year:  the healthy delivery of my baby girl.  Perhaps one day I will share my entire pregnancy and labor story with you all, but I want God to receive the glory for the numerous testimonies I was able to give from her conception to birth.  Although I experienced extreme illness during my pregnancy (which included several uncommon symptoms), prayed through the wave of emotions associated with a  threatened miscarriage, and had the adventure of an emergency c-section without my husband in the room, I never wavered in God’s promise to me regarding the birth of this precious child.

Even though my mommy intuition told me we’d have a girl, 😉 we chose to be surprised by the gender of our first-born.  Either way, we knew he or she would bless us tremendously and change our lives for the good.  Now I can’t imagine what life was like before we welcomed Miss Alexandra Simone into the world, and I thank  the opportunity to be a mommy.  It is one I will never take for granted…

The day we met.
image
8 months later!

I am also extremely thankful for all of you, and I hope you know how much you mean to me!! You’ve blessed my life and enriched me with friendships, new and old, and I pray we continue to give thanks daily….not just on Thanksgiving!! 🙂

The Weekly Image Of Life challenge is issued every Wednesday by The Island Traveler at This Man’s Journey. If you would like to participate and see other entries please visit here!

Monday Motivation: Don’t Quit

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”Nelson Mandela

When my daughter turned 6 months old I decided it was time for me to make a greater commitment to exercising.  Between nursing, walking, and generally leading an active lifestyle I’ve lost quite a bit of pregnancy weight, but I have a very specific goal in mind that requires an extra push. I’ve been diligent in sticking to my new fitness regime, and my confidence grows with each passing day.  Encouragement and accountability goes a long way during this process, and I’m fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive husband, and several friends who help me stay motivated.   However, Saturday was a day I felt alone on an island.

I was gearing up for my workout, but I was having the hardest time staying focused.   My hubby was supposed to be enjoying his alone time while my baby slept, but she had other ideas and the interruptions seemed endless.  I couldn’t concentrate and I felt mentally assaulted.  I’d done this particular routine before, but it took everything in me not to push the “stop” button and throw in the towel. I finished for the sake of saying I finished, but the sweat and shortness of breath didn’t make up for my lack of effort.  I felt defeated.  In an attempt to shake the negativity, I searched for pictures or quotes that would lift my spirits and keep me positive about the outcome of my next day of training (today).  This is what I found: 

It’s so simple, but the Lord knew what I needed to hear in that very moment.  Here I was beating myself up for a sup par performance, but I was missing the point.  There are bound to be days like this when you’re making steps toward achieving any number of goals.  Days when you hit a wall and think you’re only option is to hold a pity-party fueled by self-loathing and doubt.  Days when you think quitting is better than failing.  Ahh it’d be so much easier to give up wouldn’t it?  But would you really be getting what you want?  

Whether your objectives are related to health, finances, relationships, whatever, give yourself the opportunity to “try, try agin”!!  

Philippians 4:13 (AMP)                                                                                                                                                                                                            
 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

 WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED THROUGH PERSEVERANCE? 

photo credit:mensfitness.com

Pride: A Pitfall in Our Walk of Faith

This past Sunday was a humbling day for me.  Not only did I hear an incredible sermon that reminded me to stay focused on the Lord and His unfailing love, but I was also given the opportunity to preach.  The message Holy Spirit conveyed to me was on pride, and I’d like to share this with you today.   I pray you are blessed by what you read, and that my written words can effectively communicate what I verbally shared.  Do not allow your pride to become a pitfall in your walk of faith…

Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

I have a confession to make. Everyday I look in the mirror, and see the face of a prideful person. Sometimes it’s a pride that’s full of love and celebration as my daughter grows and achieves each special milestone. Other times it’s toward my husband who works hard and I take joy in his accomplishments.   It could even be as simple as that extra pep in my step when I feel confidant in a particular outfit.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with relishing in these things, but we must err on the side of caution, so as not to fall victim to the negative flip side of this coin. It’s the pride I see in myself when I feel terrible after making a mistake, want everything to go my way, or when I constantly want to be “right” that can hinder my walk and growth in the Lord. It can hinder yours too, especially if it causes you to ignore God’s truth! I challenge you to examine yourselves in this area because God doesn’t want you to miss it, and neither do I.

Here are 3 indicators that you may have an issue with pride:

1. You can’t admit your faults or when you’ve made a mistake

Admitting you’re wrong takes humility (total absence of conceit/haughtiness).  Are you afraid to make a mistake because of how you think it may make you look?  Do you struggle with perfectionism?  I know I have, and it reared its ugly head while in a high school English class.

You see, I had a paper to write and I’d procrastinated.  While I was able to finish it on time, I didn’t have the chance to double-check my work.  As I turned it in I noticed that my teacher held his thumb on my report, and I could only hope this signified something good.    Unfortunately this was not the case as he pointed out the fact that someone (me) misspelled a word on their title page, and how this was a huge “no-no”.  The word was medicine, and while I don’t recall anything else about that assignment, I allowed this blunder to haunt me for the rest of the school year.  From that point on I wanted my work to be perfect, and I was even meticulous with my rough drafts! I’d use pen and Wite-Out to eliminate any mistakes because I looked up to my teacher and didn’t want my faults to be exposed once again.  

Do you ever treat the Lord like this?  You may think He wants you to have it all together all the time, when in fact He wants your maturity, not your error-free arrogance. Who are you trying to impress when the benefit of humility is clearly stated?:

1 Peter 5:5b & 6 (NKJV)
God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

The New Living Translation of this verse states that “at the right time he will lift you up in honor”.  This should far outweigh your concerns for how you’re viewed by your friends, fellow saints, or the world at large.

2. You have difficulty asking for or accepting help

Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

This law is one of love!  We’re supposed to be here for one another, and there’s no shame in needing a helping hand! I jump at the opportunity to help others, and love being able to provide support in whatever way I can.  I don’t pity the people I assist or think of them any differently, yet I viewed receiving help as weakness. Talk about backwards thinking!! “HELP” is not a four-letter curse word, during my pregnancy the Lord exposed my hypocrisy.

I always thought I‘d be a workout champ and super active pregnant woman, but this wasn‘t the case at all.  I faced certain physical issues that limited my level of activity, and gained an incredible amount of weight.  A brief walk around my neighborhood  became my new success story, and I needed a lot of support from other people.  After receiving a spiritual tongue-lashing or two 😉 I realized it all came down to my perception.  It finally clicked, and I learned that giving, as well as receiving help bring the Word of God full circle.

3. You don’t heed the advice of wise counsel

Proverbs 12:15 (AMP)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who listens to counsel is wise.

When faced with a situation I often hear the expression “Well, I guess they just have to learn for themselves.” While it’s true that part of our growth process means going through the firewe could sometimes avoid certain issues if we’d only listened to the person(s) trying to help/warn us.  Think about it.  Jesus had 12 disciples, Timothy had Paul, and we are not above the need to be held accountable:

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Stop being more concerned with people “being in your business” than being obedient to God! Feelings of embarrassment, rejection or shame pale in comparison to KNOWING you’re in His will!!! (side note: Wise counsel doesn’t come from everyone, but if you trust certain people in other situations, why do you think they’re not operating as God instructed when they come to you with advice?)

Proverbs 16:25 (AMP)
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.

The bottom line is that pride will have you thinking it’s better to “be somebody” on earth than to be in His presence. Before you know it you’ll be lying to yourself in order to avoid the truth in your situation.  Don’t allow your own way to get the best of you, and I pray that in this area all of our spiritual eyes are opened!

What are some examples of pride negatively affecting your life?

Is God trying to tell you something today? Don’t miss the writing on the wall because of your pride.