Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monogram Memories Christmas
Create from the Heart: photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly .
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Days 3 & 4

These next two blessings have a lot to do with one another... 

First of all, I am so blessed by my church family.  October was Pastor Appreciation Month, and we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of gifts throughout the month.  Despite both my husband and myself growing up with in families in full-time ministry, the transition from attending our church as congregants to leadership was not easy (especially for me).  At 25 years old, becoming a pastor's wife was very intimidating - but we knew God was leading us here.  We are blessed with a loving and supportive church family that I am reminded of every week.  

The second blessing is our home.  It's the parsonage, so without our church... well, I'm not sure where we would live!  The first 3 years of our marriage we lived in a one bedroom, basement apartment that... had its quirks.  Without going into the details of that, I can say that moving into this 3 bedroom house with fresh paint felt like we'd won the lottery.  Although that feeling has subsided in the last few years, the feeling of gratitude that I (we) have for the home we live in has not.  We are so thankful that God has provided us with a more than adequate home to raise our family in.  

~ Carrie ~

Friday, November 2, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Day 2

Yesterday I counted my most recent "little blessing".  Today I'm counting my first, Jadon.  He was a surprise, in that we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.  Ever since he was born, he's been surprising us - always keeping us on our toes.  My labor with him was a grand total of 5 hours (which I thought was really fast... until I had Madelynn, who came in 2.5!).  He came so quickly that the midwife was not even ready to "catch" him, so she scooped him up off the end of the hospital bed, only having one glove on.  He's been difficult to "catch" ever since... the fastest crawler that I had ever seen and, once walking, always on the run.  

It's been such a privilege to be Jadon's mommy.  He's an extremely independent little boy, which has definitely brought it's challenges in parenting.  Some day I will need to remember to apologize to him because, as the firstborn, we're figuring everything out with him.  (I'd like the think that as Madelynn grows, we'll have a better grasp on this whole parenting thing.)  At 3 years old, we're facing that power struggle that I recognize is part of his growing up.  We've had our challenges over the last few months, but I can't help but see how God is changing his heart, and using those qualities that can sometimes be frustrating, to glorify Him and encourage others - his incessant talking to speak the gospel, his stubbornness to stand up for his convictions, his unending imagination to remind me that there's more to life than what you can see with your eyes, his ability to make friends with anyone to remind me that we need to surround ourselves with people to encourage and to be encouraged by.  

So today and everyday, I am thankful for my son.  I'm thankful for his smile, his laugh, his wow-ser kisses, his tenderness, his tackles, his creativity, his thoughtfulness, his love for his baby sister, his ability to make people feel loved and special, his singing, his mischievous nature, and so much more.  

~ Carrie ~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Day 1

It's a rare quiet Thursday morning.  Andy took Jadon with him to the church for a bit this morning, and Madelynn is down for her morning nap.  Everyone is "hungover" from a night of candy, costumes, candy, trick or treating, candy, visiting with friends, and more candy... So, here I am still in pajamas at almost 10 a.m. (a rare occurrence) with the some Christian music playing, and my mind goes back to a year ago.  

Last night, in the midst of all the festivities of Halloween, my mind went back to October 31st 2011 when I discovered that I was pregnant with Little Miss Maddie.  What an overwhelming day that was - Andy coming home around 4, friends for dinner at 5, trick or treating at 6, and then finally having the opportunity to share with Andy something that we'd been praying about for the past year and a half!  (See An Expected Blessing to read about this journey in our life.)  

The past year has been a whirlwind of blessings and challenges.  God has continued to be our Constant Provider, even during difficult times.  He's brought more joy to our life through the life of our precious little girl.  He's taught us new lessons with each day.  He's been our Faithful One.  

As I held my baby this morning before laying her down for her nap, I was overwhelmed with God's goodness - even in the midst of such a busy time for our family.  I am so grateful for this blessing that I've anticipated and enjoyed over the last year!

~ Carrie ~

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It's so good to just be home.  In fact, I think we've almost enjoyed being home a little too much!  Is that possible?  We've enjoyed being home and just enjoying our little family, especially now that there are four of us.  Now, that doesn't mean we've just come home and sat around.  It's been back to "normal" for us - Andy's usual work schedule, church services, meetings, shopping and errands, playdates, rehearsals, and visitors to accommodate.  And we're doing all of this while still adjusting to our little Madelynn.  So, I guess we're back to the new "normal".  

Madelynn is 2 months old now.  She recently had her 2 month check-up and is doing great!  She's growing well and impressed her doctor with how strong she is.  She holds her head up entirely on her own and can even fully support her body with her legs.  Her doctor was so surprised by this that he said to Madelynn, "Well, I guess the next thing I should be asking you is if you want to go for a walk!"  Having already had one baby, I am clinging to the days that she is not yet mobile.  Baby steps...

Madelynn has so far been a wonderful, easygoing baby.  She's fairly easy to please and is very happy.  She's so close to belly laughing.  When she smiles big she often squeals and makes a little cough noise like she really wants to laugh out loud!  She continues to pretty much sleep through the night - usually to bed between 10 and 11 and not rising until anywhere between 4 and 7 the next morning.  Hey, I'll take at least a 6 hour stretch every night!  

This week we will be moving Madelynn from the bassinet in our room to the crib in her room.  She has pretty much outgrown the bassinet, and she's sleeping so well that there's really no reason to keep her in with us.  We're also working on getting out of the newborn "sleep when I want to" phase and into a routine that works for her.  In the process we have discovered that she is quite a little princess... that is, princess of the 45-minute nap!  She has an internal alarm clock that unreal!  I'll take 45 minutes for now, but hopefully she'll begin to stretch some of these short naps into longer periods of time.  

Jadon is a great big brother.  He's always been Daddy's boy, but he seems to cling to him and want to do what Dad does even more than before.  He's rough and tumble, always covered in dirt, and always on a mission for this or that, but he rarely passes up on the chance to snuggle or play with his baby sister.

Life is good right now.  There are lots of ups and downs... good days and bad days... and days when I wonder how it is that I haven't pulled out all my hair.  So yeah, life is good.  But God is greater than the worst or best days.  I'm so thankful that for a God who knows me, even when I wonder who I am and how I got here; a God who cares for me, even when I haven't been the most caring wife and mother I can be; a God who is patient with me, even when I'm impatient (which seems like all the time).  When I think of all the ways that I - this novice mother of two, pastor's wife, and sinful child of God - fail Him, it makes me grateful that I serve a God who doesn't sigh or roll His eyes when I mess up.  Praise God that he fails me not.  Some further change is on the horizon for our family (minor adjustments in the course of our everyday life).  How great it is to have our Savior lead us by the hand.  

~ Carrie ~

Saturday, August 11, 2012