Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Sweet Emmalee,
Temptation - it's something that will be all around you all the time. Its inevitable.   Its what the devil loves to use against us and make us constantly doubt ourselves. Its what brings you to your knees in a moment of weakness.  Temptation is a not a fun thing - but is something that can also make you stronger.

 If I can tell you one, or maybe two, things about temptation its this:
1) There is always a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." This is one of my favorite truths in the Bible. Our God is so faithful to us and will also provide for us. He will always take care of us.

2) There is nothing you can do and no sin great enough that can ever separate you from the love of God (or your momma).  Romans 8:38-39 says "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."   

Temptation can hit you at the drop of the hat, especially when you don't expect it.  Always be prepared and always be on guard.  The devil will strike when you're at your best and when you're at your weakest.  It will knock on the door every single day.  

Be prepared for it, sweet baby girl, but do not temptation bring you down.  Be ready for it, learn from it, and grow from it.  Remember that no matter what you do, no matter where you go, no matter who you are - I will always love you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wild Wonderful Weekend

I've been posting so many "31 Letters to My Daughter" that I haven't really written much about "life" lately.  So I thought I'd give a run down of our wild and crazy, yet wonderful weekend.

On Saturday, Emmalee and I went to Miss Hannah's 1st birthday party.  It was so much fun and Emmalee loved playing with the other kids.  She was so exhausted after the party, that she was asleep in the car before we even got on the road to go home. 

After we got home and took a "nap" (aka laid in our bed and talked to our animals the whole time), we went to the Pumpkin Patch at the First United Methodist Church in town.  We picked up Aunt Cookie and some of our cousins on the way.  Have I ever mentioned how crazy lucky I am to have a sister that is a photographer???  I am in love with some of the snapshots she captured of our babies playing together.

While Em & I were at the pumpkin patch, the hubs was installing my new cooktop. My old one was so nasty and old and I had been begging for a new one (especially since 2 of the burners had gone out - a woman CANNOT cook with only 2 burners!).  So one of our friends just bought a new home & is completely renovating the kitchen.  She had the same size cooktop & it was a glass top.  She was just going to throw it out, so she said we could have it.  I was beyond thrilled; however, Brant learned that you cannot force a glass cooktop to fit into the counter.

Brant said he was not putting the old one back in, so we got to go shopping.  Luckily, we had already saved some money for a new one, we just spend it a little sooner than anticipated.  But let me tell you that I am in LOVE with new cooktop.  It has 5 burners (2 small, 1 dual medium/large, 1 dual large/jumbo, and a warming burner).

On Sunday, we got up and went to church.  Emmalee was playing hide & seek with her daddy while momma was getting ready.  I had to take this quick video because she was cracking me up.  She had learned to say her name, so the fact that she was "calling" herself was priceless!

I mean, can she get any cuter? (and yes, I know I am completely biased!!)

After church, we decided to see what would happen if we changed Em's bed into a toddler bed.  I am so very glad that we decided to get a 4-1 convertible bed for her.  It made the decision so much easier.

I know she is only 18 month old, but she loved to be in her bed.  One of her favorite things is to sit in her bed with her books and read, and what kind of mother would I be if I didn't promote her reading? But if she was in her crib reading, then she would want you to stay in her room and hand her more books, or get her out...so, we decided to solve that problem.  Now she can get up, get down, and just be lil' miss independent!

I was a little concerned with how she would do last night, but so far she has done perfectly.  She went right to bed last night, and never got up.  I think one thing that "helps" is that last week we decided that she only gets a paci when she goes to sleep, so she knows paci has to stay in the bed.  So, if she wants her paci, she has to be in her bed.  Now, trust me, I'm praying that this continues, but I'm also prepared to have a few rough nights.  But I'll keep you posted! 

That sums up our wild wonderful weekend. I hope yours was as wonderful as ours! 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Step at a Time

Sweet Emmalee,
There will be times in life when you don't always know the answer.  For me, it was college.  I thought I was going to go to a college called Oklahoma Christian, but then there was Howard Payne, but I was never certain.. Then there was Dallas  we want are not Baptist University, but I was so unsure of where I was supposed to go.  I remember that it was July and school would start (no matter where I went) in just 2 short months.  I needed to complete applications, make a decision, schedule classes, move in and start the next four years of my life...but I had no idea what school to do it at.  So I spent days on my knees in prayer asked God to just lead my footsteps - to just walk me in the right way.  And He did - He was faithful.

You see, we don't always know the answers.  We look high and low, we seek out advice from others, we do anything we can to find the answers that we need. But one things is certain:  the Lord will always provide the answers we need, when we need them. But sometimes, His answers come in one piece at a time.  We have to just take His answers one step at a time.  In Proverbs (3:6), it says "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your PATH straight."  A path is just a set of footsteps, so if we let Him direct our steps, then we will eventually travel a path. 

Do not be weary when you do not find answers that you want all at once.  Let the Lord work in your life and seek Him in every step. His path for your is great.  Put one foot in front of the other and go one foot at a time.  When you're going too fast, slow down and just take one more step forward.  When life is too tough, have the strength to just take one more step forward.  When you're heart is heavy with pain, look up to Him and take one more step forward. 

O love, seek the Lord and He will always direct your ways.  Remember to just put one foot forward and take one step at a time.  Every footstep leads you down the path.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oh The Places You Will Go

The world is a big, big place.  There are so many great and wonderful places that I hope you get to go.  Never be afraid to travel the world - go to the east and to the west, and everywhere in between. Go to Paris and England; Japan and Spain, Canada and Mexico. 

Traveling is also one of the best learning experience you will ever have.  You will learn to battle obstacles (i.e. lost luggage, and getting lost in a strange place); you'll learn history and geography; you will learn new cultures and languages, and try new foods; you will see things that you have never seen before and some that you will never want to see again.  Traveling helps you realize the kind of person you want to be, and the kind of person you hope you never become.  You will learn patience, you will learn gratitude, and you will learn understanding.  Traveling will teach you lessons and classroom never could. 

But one of the best things about traveling, is coming home.  It seems like we never fully appreciate and enjoy being home until we're away for awhile.  You will never fully appreciate your bed until you haven't slept in it for a week :)!  It's coming home when you really have the chance to express to others the great things you learned.  Coming home gives you the change to really reflect and soak in all of your new experiences. 

Oh Emmalee, I hope that you have the chance to travel to great and magical places.  There is so much to learn and know from all the place you'll go.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Role Models

Baby Girl,
Some of the most important people in your life will be your role models.  Its the people you look up to, you admire, you learn from; but it is so important to choose these people carefully.  One of my personal role models has always been your Aunt Cookie.  She's good, she's pure at heart, she's a Godly woman who seeks the Lord's wisdom, she's a wonderful wife, and a caring mother.  She is someone that I strive to be like. I look up to her; I value her opinion; I take her words to heart.  She makes me want to be a better person. 

Choose your role models wisely.  Let it be someone who shares the same values as you; who is respectful and who you can respect; someone who shows gratitude; someone who makes wise decisions; someone who can admit when they are wrong; someone who is not afraid to make mistakes and try again.  Remember that role models are not superheros, they are humans just like you are. Role models make you want to be a better person. 

But don't only have role models, be one too.  Remember that there are always little eyes watching and little ears to hear.  Always be the gracious, and always be polite.  Make wise decisions and be trustworthy.  Be the same woman behind closed doors that you are in public.  Be respectful of others and treat others well.  Live a life above reproach. 

I hope that one day you have role models in your life that make you strive to be the best you can be.  I pray that there are woman in your life that encourage you, who believe in you, and who help you reach for the stars.  Choose your role models wisely, because those are the people who we often desire to be.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Be Yourself

Oh my dear one-and-only Emmalee Caroline,

There is one thing that every person in the universe shares in common - we are all different.  God made no two people just alike.  Two people may share the same interests or similar qualities, but no two are exactly the same.

Always be yourself! If you want to be loud, be loud.  If you want to be quiet, be quite.  If you want to have red hair, then dye it!  But no matter what - be who God designed YOU to be!  Never be afraid to embrace and express your individuality. Oscar Wilder once wrote a short essay on being yourself and he said "Individuality is formed from committing mistakes and learning from them, from different kinds of experiences, from ideals and principles and, of course, from not jumping on the bandwagon. Individuality is an extraordinary quality very few people have." 

Don't try to be someone you're not and don't compare yourself to others.  Trust me when I tell you that will only lead to heartache.  Judy Garland, a beautiful and wonderful actress, once said "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."  Be yourself so that others can love you for who you are, instead of who they think you are.  Don't wear a mask to cover who you are, but let yourself shine because of who God made you to be. 

God created you and God creates perfection.  When God made you, He gave you specials gifts and talents.  Find out what those gifts and talents are and use them. Doing that will help you become the woman that He created you to be.There is only one of you in all the world.  You are special and unique and perfectly made by the Creator.  So always be yourself.  When you question who are, or what you want to be, look for guidance from the One who made you (and your momma).

There is only one of you in all the world, so be yourself, sweet baby girl, because its who you were created to be! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Be Passionate

Emmalee Caroline,
There are few things in my life that I am as passionate about than being a momma.  I told you awhile back that being a momma was one of my childhood dreams, and it is something that I love doing.  I love reading and learning about how to be a good momma.  I want to be with you all the time, I want to make special family memories with you, I want to show you how to be in love with your Creator, I want to help mold you into the incredible woman the Lord has made you to be.  I have a true passion for being your momma! 

Passion is an emotion that doesn't come instantly.  Its an emotion that grows within you overtime and begins to dominate your thoughts.  Passion can drive your life and is often an important ingredient for success and happiness.  Find your passions in life and allow those passions to fill you with joy. If there is something that you believe in, then fight for it!  Don't be afraid to express your opinions and your belief in things.  If you're passionate about family and relationships, then make time for them.  If you're passionate about missions, then go and preach the Word of Jesus Christ wherever you go.

A German philosopher once said "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” So be passionate.  Allow that emotion to swell within you and drive you to do great things. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Second Chances

Hey sweet baby girl,
We are human, and sometimes humans make mistakes.  I have made lots of them, but if there is one thing I am so incredibly thankful for its second chances.  Sometimes second chances help make things "right", or they can fix a problem, or they can make things better. But just as we "take" second chances, we have to give them, too.

Life is sometimes like a big jigsaw puzzle with tons and tons of piece.  Sometimes you can't figure out where the pieces go, so you take a little break.  Then you come back and work some more.  Eventually, the pieces start to fit, and create this beautiful, breath-taking picture.  Sometimes, that is how second chances are.  Sometimes you have it give it some time and try it different way, but eventually things will work out for the better and a new hope will rise up in you.We serve an incredible God who gives us second, third and even a thousand chances. No matter how mad we mess up, or how big we screw up our lives, God always gives us another chance.  His love for us is so great that He always forgives us, no matter how badly we fail Him. He gives us the chance to grow, and be better.  Second chances isn't just about fixing a problem, its about forgiveness. 

In life there will be disappointments and people will fail you, but offer forgiveness and give them the chance to make it better.  Remember that you are not perfect, and neither is anyone else. Give someone the chance to be better; give them the chance to make it right; give them the opportunity be grow.  Be generous with your second chances because God has been generous to you.

When it comes to second chances, give them and receive them.  Life isn’t all about trying, failing and then regretting forever. Let there be hope in forgiveness and strength in second chances.

Silent Auction - Perfect Party Package

As so many are aware, Julee Turner lost her husband, Matt, in a tragic car accident last week.  This week, several bloggers set up a silent auction format and all proceeds from the auction are going to the Preslee Turner College Fund. 

I "met" Julee through an email chain that Kelly Stamps sent me one day.  She sent an email to me and four other women who were all struggling with infertility.  Julee was one of them.  I remember the 5 of us emailed back & forth for a bit, then I began following each of their blogs.  It has been incredible to watch the Lord's hand at work though each of our lives. All 5 of us now have (or is about to have) a sweet baby to love.   I was absolutely devastated when I heard about the loss of Julee's husband.

Today, Great Grabbie Designs is auctioning off a:

Perfect Party Package! 

Each of the following items will be CUSTOM designed just for you.
 (Items can be designs for birthday parties, baby showers, wedding showers, etc...whatever party you need, we can make it!)
  • 5x7 cardstock invitations
  • "Welcome" or "Birthday" Banner
  • Cupcake Toppers
  • Cupcake Wrappers
  • Water Bottle Wrappers 
  • Favor Labels
  • 4x5.5 cardstock "Thank You" Notes
Each of these items will be delivered to you in an 8.5x11 sheet JPEG format and you can print as many of each item as needed.  For more information on Great Grabbie Designs products, please visit the website at www.greatgrabbiedesigns.com. 

Retail value is $43.50
To Bid on an Item:
1. Read through the list of items below. If you see something that interests you, click on it and you will be taken to a page where you will be able to leave a comment with your bid.
2. Bids should be placed in $1 increments. (Example: If previous bid was $9, your bid must be at least $10.)
3. When you leave your bid, please include your name and email address.
4. Check back often to make sure you haven’t been outbid. You will NOT be notified if someone outbids you, so you’ll want to be sure to check in on items as the week goes on. 
Bidding will be closed on Friday, October 19th, at 10pm EST. 
Winners will be notified via email. 
All invoices must be paid by October 31, 2012.
Thank you again for being a part of blessing Julee & Preslee.Happy bidding!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Always Give it Your Best

Hey Baby Girl,
One of the things I remember about growing up is that my daddy (your Grandad) always used to say "It's always ok as long as you try your best."  I remember being in the 7th or 8th grade and making a really bad grade on a science test (I hated science).  I was so upset and disappointed in myself and I was so afraid that I was going to get in trouble.  When I brought the test home, Grandad just looked at me and said "Did you give your best best?  Did you try your hardest?"  And I said "Yes daddy, I did.  I just didn't know all of the answers."  And he looked at me and said "Then this is great.  Its ok to not know all of the answers.  As long as you gave it your best, then that's all you can give." 

This was probably one of the greatest things my momma & daddy ever taught me: that giving it your best doesn't mean that you are the best.  Giving it your best means you tried your hardest and you gave it your all  Giving it your best means putting your whole heart and soul into something, no matter what others think. Giving it your best means trying again even after you fail. 

Do not let anyone ever tell you that giving it your best isn't good enough, because it is.  I am not perfect, your daddy is not perfect, and its okay that you are not "perfect."  No one is perfect.  You won't always have the "right" answer, but its okay.  You won't always get straight A's, or be the smartest, or jump the highest...and that is okay too.  What matters is that you do things to the best of your ability.  What matters is that you look to your Creator to make you the woman He called you to be. 

So always give it your best, because your best is always good enough!

Give of Yourself

Hi Sweet Emmlaee,
If you're anything like your momma, the one of your love languages might just be gifts.  It not necessarily the "gettin'" that is great; to me its the givin'.  There something so wonderful about giving that unexpected surprise and seeing someone's eyes light up with joy. There is a special bond created when you give.

But giving, my daughter, is so much more than buying a present or giving something tangible, its about giving a piece of you.  True giving is about your heart and soul; its taking time out of your busy day to call a friend just to say you were thinking about them; its putting a card in the mail just send a family member some encouragement; its thinking about others instead of yourself. 

Giving isn't all about presents and money, its about your time, your energy, your love, and your sacrifice.  Giving is helping others when they are in need.  Giving is being a friend to someone when they need a shoulder to cry on.  Giving is volunteering your time at a local food bank.  Giving is all about loving others.

My prayer for your today is that you would give selflessly and generously.  Give of yourself.  Give your heart, give your time, give your love. I pray that your heart loves giving, as more than receiving.  I pray that you will think of others before you think of yourself.  Give wholeheartedly, sweet girl, because I promise you will be richly blessed. 

Friday, October 12, 2012



Today is Crcockpotalooza Day on Kelly's Korner blog and I have to tell you that it is one of my favorite days simply because I am THAT in love with my crockpot!!!

Honey Apple Porkloin

A few nights ago I tried this recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It was sooo delicious!!!!  You can find the original recipe here because I changed mine up just a tad.

To get your pork loin ready, rub a little bit of olive oil on it to help keep it moist.  Make "apple-slits" in the pork loin - about every 1/4-1/2". Core and slice about 3 -4 large red delicious apples.  Cover the bottom of your crockpot with the apples, sprinkle some cinnamon and drizzle some honey over the top.  Put a thick apple slice into each slit. 

This picture is from the original recipe blog! I have no rights to this picture!
Put your porkloin in your crockpot. I sprinkled mine with just a quick shake of chili powder because I love sweet & spicy. Then, give it a GOOD drizzle of honey over the top.  Put the rest of your sliced apples on top and around the side of the pork.  Sprinkle with more cinnamon & honey.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

NOTE: I cooked mine for 8 hours, but I thought it was a little too dry at the top (although was incredibly tender, juicy & freakin' amazing at the bottom).  So next time I make this, and trust me there WILL be a next time, I will cook it for only 6 hours, then let my crockpot "keep warm" for another 2 hours until I get home from work.  Hopefully that will help the full loin stay juicy.

I served with mashed sweet potatoes.  Brant, Emmalee and I all three really liked this.  I gave Em some pieces from the bottom so she didn't get any spice from the chili powder. 

Hope y'all enjoy this as much as we did.  And head on over to Kelly's for more awesome crockpot recipes.

 And just FYI - this is the crockpot that I have, and I LOVE it.  It is programable and when the timer goes off, the cooker stays on "keep warm" until you turn it off.  Its perfect if you work outside the home (like I do) so your food doesn't cook too long, but it stays warm until you come home. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Its Ok to NOT be Popular

Sweet Baby Girl,
Today I want you to know that it is ok to not be popular, or the most liked person, or the best dressed, or have the best hair - you are you and that is the most important thing of all.

Take it from your momma, I was not Miss Popular in junior high, or high school, or college, but that doesn't mean I didn't have friends.  I had tons of friends in school, enjoyed my time of learning, and still had a great future.  I consider myself richly blessed and I am truly happy.  My life is fulfilling. 

Remember that school is just a chapter in life - its a small part of the "full-picture".  Its ok to not be the head cheerleader or date the star quarterback.  All too often its the cheerleader or Mr. Football that considers high school as the best time of their life - do you really want those few years to be you best?  I didn't.  I want these years to be my best - the years as your momma, my time with your daddy - these are the chapters of life that I consider my BEST! 

So, Do not be concerned about what other think about you.  March to the beat of your own drum.  Know who you are and what you want to be. Don't let popularity define you.  Be you!  Be the Godly woman that you are called to be.  I promise you love, the best is yet to come!

Live For Today

Oh sweet Emmalee,
Life is short.  The Bible tells us in Psalm 144 that our life if like a breath - it is fleeting in a moment; therefore, life for TODAY! Don't live in the past, or live for the future - live for this moment. You do not know what day will be your last.  Live for the moment, laugh for a lifetime, and love like you have never loved before.
Do not waste your time worrying.  And trust me, I know that I am the pot calling the kettle black, but the Bible says "Do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself" (Matthew 5:34).   There is nothing that will happen tomorrow that you cannot handle.  Remember this: we see today, tomorrow, a week or maybe even a month ahead.  We make plans and keep schedules, and all of that "fun stuff" so that we can "keep track" of what we know is coming, but God sees it ALL!  He not only see the days, weeks and months ahead, but He sees the years, the decades, our lifetime.  So let Him worry about tomorrow for you, don't wast your time on it.  God's plan is God's plan and I promise you it is the best plan you can ask for!

Wherever you are, no matter what you are doing, be present; make memories in everything; cherish each second you have.  I once read this "There is a wisdom to be gained in living each day as if it were your last, but only if you choose to make your last day worth living...So we number our days not to keep count but to make each day count more. "  Take this to heart, sweet girl, and live for today! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twitter/Blogging Day of Silence

In honor of Julee, Preslee, and the entire Turner and Bell families, there will be a day of silence to pray over these families as they say goodbye to their beloved husband, father, son, and friend Matt Turner.

 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ~ Revelation 21:4

"31 Letters to My Daughter" will resume on Thursday, October 11th.


Dear Emmalee,
One of the greatest blessings you will ever have in your life is friends, and one of the most important things you will ever be in this life is a friend. I remember days in college when the only thing that kept me going were the friends around me.  Choose your friends wisely.  Have Godly, Christians friends that will lift you up, and never tear you down; have friends that help you dream and encourage you to reach your goals.  Have friend that take you to the Word, never away from it. 

A well-known writer once said:
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend."

A good friends is always by your side - in the good times and bad; through the smiles and the tears.  A friend is the one who will be there when you need a big hug, or need a shoulder to cry on, or need someone just to talk to.  A friend will accept you for who you are, with all your gifts and all your faults, and love you unconditionally.  A friend will believe in you when you don't believe in yourself. 

So for those who you choose to be your friend, make sure you are also a friend to them. Love your friends, pray for them and see them through the hardest times; support them and lift them up, cry with them and for them, smile at them and laugh with them.  When the whole world walks away, stay by their side. Defend them, fight for them, encourage them, and be loyal to them.  Always take them to the Word, an never away from it.

This quote seems to sum it all up well:
But oh! The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.  Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

I pray that you are a friend to many, and have friends that life you up, take you to the Word, and love you unconditionally.  One of my favorite sayings is "Here's to the nights that turn into mornings, and the friends that turn into family."  I pray that you have friends that turn to family, sweet baby, and that you are the family to your friends.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Experience God

Today's post is so close to my heart for so many reasons.  One is because I think it took me so long to really know and experience God so my hope is that you fall in love with Him much sooner than I did.

Emmalee, our God is alive.  He is forever alive in us and through us - He is not just a theology or a mystical being. He is God!  What could be better than having a living encounter with a living God?  When He calls to you, open your heart and let Him fill you with His spirit.

In Matthew 28, Jesus is teaching His disciples and preparing them to go into the world and proclaim Him name.  In verse 20 Jesus tells them "I am with you always, even until the end of the age."  He, God himself, is with you every day and night, in every situation whether happy or sad; He is there when you lie down and He is there when you wake up; He is there when life gets though and He is rejoicing with you when life brings good times.  He never leaves your side. So get to know the One who is always with you - talk to Him, worship Him,  praise Him, fall in love with Him because He is the greatest source of love you will ever know. Let Him be your father, your best friend, your confidant, your counsel.

When times of joy fill your life, praise Him.  Worship Him.  And when the days are tough and you feel like life is caving in, go climb up in His lap, let Him sing over you, and hear the sweet melody of His voice. He will be your strength when you are powerless; He will be your banner when you cannot protect yourself, He will be your sustainer when you cannot move anymore, He will be your provider when you cannot give anymore.  He is your source of Life.

My deepest praying for you is this - Experience His unending unconditional love, His overwhelming hope, His unquestionable peace, His unanswered greatness - just Experience Him!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Truths to Hold On To

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Bible truths that I want you to hold on to – those “got to” verse that hold a special place in my heart.  It’s these verses and truths that have made an impact on my life, and I hope, will one impact yours as well.

I am a worrier – I worry about everything under the sun, especially you!  I find myself worrying over your safety, whether I’m a good enough mom, what your future holds, etc.  I worry about all of it.  So in my deepest times of worry, this verse seems to always calm my spirit: “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

In my second letter to you, I told you that growing up I made a quite a few mistakes and bad decisions.  There are still days when I feel Satan reminding me of these and trying to attack me with things of the past.  But I know that my God has redeemed me! He has already fought the battle and won the fights – He has set me free.   So this verse always speaks powerful truth to me: "Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel.  I, the Lord, made you and I will never forget you.  I have swept away your sins like a cloud, I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.  Oh, return to me for I have paid the price to set you FREE.”   Isaiah 44:21-22

Micah 7:7 is another one of my favorite verses.  For those 2 years your daddy and I spend trying to have you, this is the verse that I would cling to.  The thing I think is so wonderful about this verse is that you are living proof that God was my help and He did hear my cries. “As for me, I look to the Lord for help, I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.”

This next verse is just a “classic.”  It one of those universal verses that can often just be spouted out of our mouths because we’ve heard it so many times.  But if you break it down and really grasp the truth God promises here, it is an incredible verse!   Maybe I need to remember this verse, too, when I worry about your safety and future, because this isn’t God’s promise just to me, it’s for me, and you, and your daddy, and everyone else who knows Him. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

The last truth that I want you to remember is Jeremiah 33:3. I love that God promises us that He will continue to teach us wonderful things about Him, and about who He is, and about His love for us.  He wants to be our ultimate teacher. “Call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.”

I pray that you see TRUTH in these verses and that these verses will be a light into some of the struggles this life may bring. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Experience Joy!

Emmalee Caroline,
Today I want to experience something that I could never explain to you with words - JOY!  Its what my heart swells with every time I look at you and every time I see that precious smile.  Its what I see when I look into your beautiful blue eyes. It is what brings tears to my eyes just thinking about you and how much love, and life, and laughter your have brought into our lives.
Joy is gladness, its hope, its delight, its fruit of the Spirit.  Its that overwhelming emotion that fills your soul when you hear your baby giggle, or smile for the first time, or taking a walk in the park.  Its when you have your first kiss, or fall in love for the first time, or when you say "I do" to your very best friend.
Joy is experiencing the birth of your child, its helping others, if giving selflessly, its giving a gift, its doing the right thing, its being with family.  Its eating chocolate, its a walk on the beach, its traveling to wonderful places, its coming back home.  Its reaching your goals, its being quiet, its laughing until you cry.  Joy is discovering that unconditional love just grows stronger with time, its knowing that nothing you do can ever separate you from the love of Christ, its watching your children fall in love with their Creator. 

There are two things that I wish for you:  1) that one day you might fully know how much joy you have brought into my life, and 2) that you would experience the same!  I pray that you will have an abundance of joy and experience great and wonderful things.  Know that even in the midst of loneliness and sadness, there can be joy if we allow the Lord to fill us with it.  Oh Emmalee, let the Lord fill your heart with joy.  Joy brings strength, and power, and gladness.

Claim this verse:  Romans 15:13 over you - that "that the God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust Him..."

Oh sweet baby, experience {His} JOY!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Enjoy Innocence

Sweet Emmalee,
I'm not quite sure why time goes by so quickly, but it does.  It seems like just a week ago I found out I was pregnant with you, and a few days ago I gave birth to you and held you in my arms for the first time, then yesterday was your first birthday.  I remember it all, but it all seems to be going by too quickly.  I find myself trying to savor every moment I am with because I know that as soon as I blink you will be a young woman, experiencing life all on your own.

So slow down, baby girl, and don't grow up too fast.  Slow down, baby girl, and enjoy innocence.  

My hope for you is that you would always see the beauty in things, get excited when you see an ice cream truck, run and play in fields of flowers, go play in the rain, jump up and down when you go to the zoo, see the good in people, love with all your heart and always have that beautiful smile on your face.

I love watching you.  You get so excited about the simple joys in life.  You love just sitting in your room and playing with blocks or rocking your baby dolls.  You are content to sit in my lap and read every book on the shelf.  Your heart is full of love for everyone around you and you wave "hello" to everyone you see.  You, my sweet child, are the purest form of innocence.  Hold fast to this, love.  

Trust me, sweet baby, there will be a day when the world seems like it is caving in and everything around you is in ruin.  There will be days when you face peer pressure, and bullies, and doubt, and heartache, and evil and disappointment.  But for now, do not the ways of this world overcome you and force you to grow up too fast.

Grow slowly, my little love.  5 is not the new 10, and 10 is not the new 30.  Be young.  You are only a child once.  So enjoy innocence. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Letter from Daddy

Hi Daugther,
I'm your dad.

 Momma wanted me to tell you a little bit about me so you will know more about your dad.  I, like your mom, grew up in a Christian home in Garland, Texas.  I "grew up" when I was 18 because your Nana and Grandbob moved away to Arkansas, but I wanted to stay in Texas.  So I got my own apartment and lived by myself when they moved. 

Here are some of my favorite things:
  • My favorite color is blue.
  • My favorite animal is a cat...but its 51% cat and 49% dog....we have both so I like both but the whole reason we got Dax is because you're mother begged for a dog! But now I'm glad we have him.
  • My favorite food - this is tough. I really like everything, except olives, mushrooms and big chunks of tomatoes (your mother likes all 3, yuck). 
  • My favorite candy is Reeces Pieces.
  • My favorite sport is baseball (we actually tried to plan your birth around baseball season - it didn't work).
Some important things to know about me:
  • In high school is really when I learned how to have a relationship with Jesus.  If I had to tell you one thing that Jesus has been for me it would be that He is my Prince of Peace.  I'm not sure if we will ever fully know what peace if truly like until we meet Him - I don't think our minds can fully comprehend it.  But when I'm sad or having a bad day, He always provides me peace and I know it will all be ok. 
  • I learned what prayer was really all about right before I met your mom.  I had made some mistakes and I started praying for forgiveness, but for God to provide me a Godly woman to marry.  I met your mother shortly thereafter.  Then we had you.  It all started with prayer.  So know that prayer is a powerful thing.
  • I love nature.  There is something very special about being outside with God's creation.  I hope that one day I can take you to the ocean and to the mountains so you can truly experience how magnificent His creation is and stand in awe of its beauty.
  • If there is one thing I want you to always remember it is that you are good enough. Don't ever let anyone tell you "you're stupid" or "you're not good enough" because you ARE! You are my daughter and you were created by the King, and the King, my daughter, does not make mistakes! You are good enough, you are great enough, and you are perfect in my eyes. 
Your momma and I love you so very much, and I am proud to be your daddy.

I love you daughter,