He Does Not Change

Our world is about to look a whole lot different and feel a whole lot bigger.

Food will be different

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Flowers will be different.

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Friends will be different.

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Our home will be different.

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Our constant will be knowing that He never changes

He remains the same.

His love is never ending.

He will go before us and stand behind us.

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In the midst of change, our God does not change.

 

 

Shine Bright, Mama//How We Give Christ Control and Guide our Children

See that little flash of orneriness right there. Yeah, the one running away from me in the little sailor dress. That’s my baby. Baby number two to be more specific. Big sis did not want to get in on the picture taking on that  fine Sunday morning.

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So I snapped a picture of her anyway. I kind of had to. Big sis wearing a dress I use to wear at that age and little sis wearing another dress of mine…classic mama vintage!

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These girls fill my heart with joy. I know you don’t want to base your whole identity on that of your children, but I get how easy it can be. These little ladies have shaped my identity in a big way. Becoming a mother, taking on the responsibility of raising little human beings and directing them towards the Lord is a big deal. And then, the part that comes later. The part that seems a long, long, LONG, time a way, but I’m sure is sneaking up on me all too quickly. The part of releasing them. Of realizing they were never MINE, but always HIS. My heart squeezes tight and my hands want to hold on even tighter  as I think about it. There is a peace ad comfort knowing that He is in control and and has such wonderful plans for their lives. And then there is the ever nagging anxiety knowing that I don’t have control! I can’t keep them little forever, I can’t make their decisions for them, I can’t  protect them from every hurt  no matter how much I want to.

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But I can direct them towards His goodness and love, and rest in the knowledge that wherever they go, no matter how far, Christ will ALWAYS be with them. I can be a light in our own home and encourage them to shine brightly for Christ wherever they go, because He will always go with them.

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This Mother’s day we will be celebrating in Uganda. I’ll be with my babies, and hopefully be getting some special Mother’s Day treatment! My mom will be back in the U.S. (though I’m sure we’ll Skype that day!) and hopefully be getting some special mother’s day treatment from my siblings. I’m sure it only took her  a blink of an eye, but somehow in the midst of that blink I grew up, got married, had babies, and am now moving to Uganda on a three year service term.  I didn’t stay little forever and she didn’t control everything I did.  What she DID do was direct me towards His love and the desire to serve Him. Though the distance is far, she knows who goes before me and stands behind me, no matter how far the distance, or how hard the miles apart are. She has shown me how to shine brightly and be a light for Him.

These Oh Tiny Gifts graphic tees are perfect for any mama and little to wear. Still looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Share encouragement and love and a spread a message of goodness with the Be The Light and Shine Bright tees. Profits will also be helping fund our family as we serve in Uganda! Turn around time is 2-3 weeks so if ordering for Mother’s Day place your order in the shop quickly!  Buy a mama and little shirt combo and receive 15% of you entire order. Just use code MAMASHINEBRIGHT at checkout! Code will be good through April 29th.

 

 

Everything but the Kitchen Sink//What’s in my Diaper Bag?

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I finally have a great diaper bag thanks to an awesome giveaway where I won a Lily Jade diaper bag! Pockets galore and if I actually work at putting things where they belong, there is a place for everything. Will I ever be that mom that knows where the tissues are? Did I remember to pack a snack? Is there an actual diaper in the diaper bag?  With this diaper bag the answer is (usually) a confident, YES! This is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share with all those mamas out there that might be toting around a diaper bag for several little ones! I understand that not everyone is going to have an expensive diaper bag, I probably wouldn’t even have this one if it wasn’t for the giveaway, but a good diaper bag is essential to start with. Before this bag I was using a free one from the hospital. It worked ok, but had ZERO, pocket space.

How to Pick the Diaper Bag

  • Pick a diaper bag with LOTS of pockets. The Lily Jade bags have a great insert that easily slips in or out (blue insert picture below out of the bag). The pockets are essential to keep things more organized and make sure you aren’t just throwing everything into a big jumbled mess. Lily Jade even offers the baby bag inserts separately so you could place in any good sized bag.
  • Pick a diaper that YOU like. You want one that is functional, but also looks cute. You are going to be lugging this thing around a  lot and the more it helps you feel cute and stylish, the better! You may even want to pick a bag that is not traditionally a diaper bag, but a bag you love and is large enough to use as a diaper bag.
  • Pick a quality bag. Maybe this is a good time to splurge a little. If you are going to be lugging this thing around for years then instead of buying a new one every year or two, spend  more on one that will actually last you and meet your needs through the changing years! Since the Lily Jade baby bag insert is removable, I can slip it out and use as a regular purse down the road.

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What’s in my Diaper Bag

  1. Bib and swaddle cloth. Bib, because they’re messy. Swaddle cloth for when they are little and you want to lay them down or need a quick cover for nursing.
  2. Diaper and wipes
  3. Extra big girl panties, a pair of pants and a hair clip
  4. Headband. This is an Oh Tiny Gifts headband. When you’re on the go and need to throw up either your hair or theirs, this can help you look put together!
  5. Kleenex
  6. Umbrella
  7. Thieves spray, stress away, and a diluted digize roll on. Thieves spray helps take care of those nasty germs when you’re out and about. Stress away is great as a perfume and can help any mama out! Digize is great for when the little ones start complaining about tummy issues while on the road.
  8. Eos lip balm
  9. Small books and crayons
  10. Snacks
  11. The Lily Jade wallet insert. I didn’t even open that thing up and take out all that’s in there. It helps keep my wallet, business cards, pens and mommy odds and ends in place.
  12. Sunglasses. Whether for them or for you, I’ve learned that keeping a pair in my purse helps keep the complaining down when the sun is too bright!

So there you have it. A few things that usually end up in my purse. I actually forgot to open one of the zippered pouches and pull out the CPR mouth barrier, phone charger and few lollipops! Over the years I’m sure the contents of this bag will change, but I’m excited to have a bag that will handle the transitions…even in Uganda!

 

When They are Little

You’ve probably heard it said that when raising little people the days are long and the years are short. I’m here to tell you that yes, some of the days are long, very long. So long that you can’t wait until nap time. The quiet moments to yourself don’t seem to come soon enough or last long enough. And then there you are, it’s nap time, and you may just  find you’re self wondering when they’re going to be up, because when they’re not running around getting into all sorts of trouble, squealing and pulling out every single pot and pan in the house, it gets a little boring.

When they are little, things take twice as long. You find yourself mustering up the energy you’ll need just to get everyone dressed and out the door. When they are little a long walk, car trip, or plane ride holds a certain amount of anxiety, terror and fascination all wrapped up in one big screaming package, like literally screaming.

But when they are little there is so much wonder. So much goodness and joy and discovery that waits around every bend. The usual become unusual and you are given eyes and a heart that don’t take things for granted so easily. Every day holds adventure. To play in a giant volleyball court sand box. To  think it’s the best thing ever just to sit on a little stone wall and listen to outdoor music. To hold the hand of those you love just because.

When they are little, it is hard, but when they are little it is so good.

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Casual Date Night Style-Guest Post by Christine

Easter15-5970I know…I’m so hardcore. My husband thinks I should win an award for this photo, I think he’s right. Just kidding…I really just think it’s funny. Anyways! We went on a date a few nights back and it was so much fun! I brought along my favorite new shirt and my camera too ; ) My husband was very gracious to take some photos for me, and the people walking by did a pretty good job at not laughing at me. Thank you strangers!

We walked around the upscale Avalon and entered into stores we could never afford. It was fun. The best part was definitely the burgers though, we found a new favorite burger joint called Bocado Burger. I die with every bite…really.

I’m loving this shirt because it can go with anything! I dressed it up a little with my gold watch and hot pink lipstick and my new dark flared jeans from express. Easter15-5952

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He is Risen

The tomb is empty, He is risen! Let us walk today and for the rest of our days with this in mind!

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Lillie shouting “cat!” loudly/Lillie’s scrunching up her face and not wanting the cat to rub up against her/Lillie not wanting to touch the grass to stand back up/Painting tiny toes/Shakes and popcorn/Girl time/Playing dress up/Mommy friends and play dates/Internet/Gracie debating with herself if she saw a spider or just a bug/Gracie’s grown up sentences/Lillie’s open mouth kisses/Lillie’s gentle, petting touch/Lillie nodding head “yes!” forcefully/Swings/Mini chocolate chips/Warm walks/Lillie’s red sunglasses/Holding Lillie’s hand while walking around the yard/Business planning/Walk with Dustin/Gracie talking in her sleep/Date night with Dustin/Family that’s willing to babysit/Easter egg hunts/Too much candy/Gracie’s sleepovers with grandma/ Matching Easter dresses/Our risen Savior

 

Laundry and Grace

I’m all about grace. I need it every day. Every.Single. Day. I give myself grace most often when I realize there are things that are just not priority right now and I simply can’t “do it all”.  I once read a post by someone where they admitted that they just don’t sort the laundry before washing it. Throw it all in, set on cold, done. MIND BLOWN! I know my mother is probably hanging her head in shame, and my whites might not be as white as they should be, but for this season of life, if the pile of laundry sitting on the basement floor is going to be washed, it probably isn’t going to be sorted! Real life is about grace, big and small. Me not sorting my laundry and being ok with that, is a little grace I give myself. Are the clothes washed eventually? Yes! Do the children look presentable. Yes!laundryandgrace I am especially mindful on this day of the BIG grace that Christ has extended to us all through His death on the cross. A death that covered all my sins. A death (and resurrection) that allows me to place my life in His, ask Him into my heart, and KNOW that I am saved by His love and grace.

He offers both the big and little graces to us all so we can extend that same grace to ourselves and to others as we go about our daily life here on earth. He has paid the ultimate price and already ensured our salvation through His sacrifice. Let that grace sink in on this day and every ordinary, or not so ordinary day after, or maybe, if you’re like me, while you’re not sorting the laundry.

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Because it is finished, there is nothing that any one of us can contribute to Jesus’ work on the Cross to bring us any closer to salvation.  –She Reads Truth

-Moriah

 

The Fairy Tale Dress // Oliver & S Pattern-Guest Post by Christine

Easter15-5778Easter is just a few days away!! I decided to do a little photo shoot before Easter so I could just relax and enjoy the day. I really wanted to document the girls at this age, and especially when they are looking this adorable! Normally they are covered in food…and today Felicity was literally covered in mud! She found a mud puddle at the park while I was busy chatting with other moms. The girl cracks me up.easter2For the past few weeks I’ve been sneaking to my sewing space every spare second I had to sew up this beautiful Easter dress for Annamarie!Easter15-5915easter1 Easter15-5838I am so excited with how it turned out. Classy and timeless and precious and perfect…like most Oliver & S Patterns! For this dress I used The Fairy Tale Dress Pattern. Oliver & S patterns are also great because it’s like taking sewing lessons in your home, on your own time. She writes the patterns beautifully and teaches me something new every time.

It was seriously the hardest thing I have ever sewn though. I don’t recommend this for a beginner.  I can’t even tell you how many mistakes I made. The seam ripper and I became best buddies. I sewed the zipper on wrong for one, and the sleeves…oh the sleeves. I am embarrassed to tell you how many stupid things I did while sewing the sleeves. And for a funny story, I was basically in tears over the sleeves when Thomas decided it would be a great time to question my fabric choice. haha…I called him a jerk and we had good laugh about it. Thankfully, I LOVE the fabric choices so no harm done ; ) The coral satin fabric is from Fashion Fabrics Club and the yellow cotton is from Joannes. Easter15-5834 Easter15-5832I planned on making a coordinating dress for Felicity using this pattern, but there isn’t enough time and I have a million other things to do, so I decided to lay aside my perfectionism and accept that I can’t DO IT ALL. I will make her a sweet dress for Spring when I have the time : ) Sewing is a fun hobby for me and I’de like to keep it fun. This last photo kinda reminds me of Alice in Wonderland…easter3-1

I hope this post leaves your feeling inspired to get creative! Don’t ever be afraid of something being too hard, you CAN do it! It just takes some time and focus. I never thought I would be able to sew this pattern, but I sat down and figured it out. Sure, I messed up A LOT, but it worked out in the end! Blessed Holy Week and Easter to you all!

xo Christine