Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sincerely Sunday : A Little Of This And A Little Of That

Things I'm thankful for:
1. A great church home.
2. Answered prayer.
3. Connecting with old family/friends.
4. My gym membership (I've been feeling so great!)
5. Cozy slippers.

Things that made me smile this week:
1. Finding out that someone I've known since I was two gave his life to Christ this past year.  I could not be happier and I can't wait to see where the Lord leads him.
2. I get measured every month at my gym.  In the three months that I've been a member, I've lost three inches in my waist and three inches in my hips.  While my weight hasn't changed much, it feels so good to see my hard work paying off! :)
3. It took Elijah merely minutes to fall asleep tonight.  Hooray!!!!!

Things I'm looking forward to:
1. A play date tomorrow at the park with our friends Haven and Kairo... complete with fish and bird feeding :)
3. Date night with my mom an sister tomorrow night.

Current like:
Blue painter's tape

Current dislike:
I have a cold

Something I need to work on:
Thinking before I speak.  I'm getting better at handling my diarrhea-of-the-mouth, but I still have a long way to go!

Scripture Verse:
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

Monday, January 24, 2011

Continue On

A while back, while I was going through one of the rough stages that life has thrown my way, a good friend of mine encouraged me greatly with a poem that someone had used to encourage her.  I came across that poem again, and today I would like to pass it along to you.  If you are a wife or mother... be encouraged...

Continue On

A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life.  She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother.  She wondered if the time and energy invested in her husband and children would make a difference

At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated. "Is it worth it?" she often wondered.  "Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?"

It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart.  "You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be.  Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye.  But I notice.  Most of what you give is done without remuneration.  But I am your reward.

"Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support.  Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know.  I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.  Your children are precious to me.  Even more precious than they are to you.  I have entrusted them to your care to raise for me.  What you invest in them is an offering to me.

"You may never be in the public spotlight.  But your obedience shines as a bright light before me.  Continue on.

"Remember you are my servant.  Do all to please me."

-Roy Lessin

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sincerely Sunday : Loving In Deed and Truth

Things I'm thankful for:
1. The Steelers winning tonight's game.
2. The people who surprise you.
3. That my God loves me so deeply and knows exactly what I need... much more than I do.
4. Being a Floridian. The weather has been so beautiful lately and I just can't imagine living in all the snow up north!  Brrrr!
5. Good company.

Things I'm looking forward to:
1. My good friend Janine just joined my gym and is meeting me there tomorrow.  I'm very excited about having an accountability partner.
2. Church on Wednesday.  I missed church this morning and was in the nursery last Wednesday.  Looking forward to some great worship time and seeing good friends.

Things that made me smile this week:
1. Some of the things Eli is saying now is just so funny!  Hearing his little excited voice say things like, "Whoa, cool!" just makes my day.
2.  A sweet friend sent me flowers very unexpectedly.

Current like:
Having my iPhone 3G, which I inherited from my husband after he bought the iPhone 4.  I've never been one to care about having new gadgets, and for the most part, I just want a phone to make calls and text... but it has been nice to have the video camera always in my pocket to catch those special moments with Elijah. 

Current dislike:
There were a few days last week when I wasn't feeling so good and I slacked off with my housework.  Playing catch-up is never fun.

Current struggle:
Clenching my teeth.  I can't control it and it keeps resulting in headaches.

Scripture Verse:
"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth." -1 John 3:18

Favorite quote:
"(I do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all the roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands." -E. E. Cummings 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learning with Sidewalk Chalk

After a mix up in our schedule, Elijah and I spent the morning playing and drawing outside.  Eli loved drawing pictures to go along with the songs we sang.  

We drew a star as we sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"...

 A spider for the "Itsy Bitsy Spider"...
 And we wrote out the alphabet for the "ABC's"...
When I started singing the ABC's, Eli thought it was hilarious when I would jump on the letters as we sang through the song.  It wasn't long before he was jumping all over the letters and singing along.

Elijah... my sweet boy... I cherish our time together :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mother Is My Occupation

When I first became a mother, I struggled with feeling inadequate as a woman.  Coming from a family of inspirational, hard-working women (who at times, were the family bread winners), I felt like staying at home was a waste of my abilities.  I also felt like the working women I knew (or the new women I'd meet) would look down their noses at me when they found out I was staying at home.  Even now, it's always the same conversation, "What do you do for a living Danielle?"...  "I'm a stay-at-home-mom"...  "Oh.... how nice."  I felt like people were judging me, assuming that I was a loser who was just milking the system... just like I used to judge people that didn't have stable jobs.  My pride would get the best of me, and many evenings I would be in tears as I questioned my "calling."  I caved into believing that the world's definition of "success" was correct, and that not having a big "successful" career automatically made me a failure.

Over time, God continued to work on me and helped me to see things from His perspective.  My husband and I both knew that this was the life God was calling us to.  We made the decision before Elijah was born that I would stay home and raise our son.  We decided that I would be the one to teach him the important things... how to walk, how to talk, how to be polite and respectful, who Jesus is, and everything in between.  We decided that I would be the one to kiss every boo boo, share every smile, and witness every one of his firsts instead of paying someone else who wouldn't appreciate those special moments to rob them from me.

Now, almost two years later, I am beginning to reap the seeds I have sown.  My heart fills with pride with every "please" and "thank-you" that escape the lips of my darling boy.  I have a good child.  I have a son that is obedient (well, most of the time, lol.  We're all works in progress!).  I have a son that is excited about learning new things.  I have a son that can count to 10 and name most of his letters and colors.  I have a son that can name all the different parts of the guitar...
prefers books to most of his toys...

and can name every sea creature in the many ocean books on his shelf....
Every day, God is reminding me that despite what the world says, I am successful.  I love, I teach, and I follow where my heavenly Father leads.  My obedience has brought me to a place where my abilities are used for a greater purpose and bring me more joy and a sense of completion than I ever could have imagined.  For this, I am thankful.

As a side note, I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite teaching tools.  All kids love T.V., but as a mother, I'm not always fond of my little one wasting the day away in front of the television.  That being said, I do allow Elijah to watch some of his favorite shows.  One of these shows in particular, is a favorite of mine too...
Word World teaches kids a lot about letters and building words (and it's super cute!!!).  All the images in the videos are shaped out of the letters that spell out their name... for instance, the dog above is made out of his letters "D-O-G."  Eli loves it!  And the best part is that I got both of these videos at Target for $5 each!  Yay!!!

Have a beautiful day today!  If you are a fellow stay at home mother, stand tall in knowing that what you do is important and that you are making a difference in this world.  And when you have days that you don't feel so proud, know that I am proud of you :)

With Love, 
Danielle Renae


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Not-So-Wordless Post

So, I know Wednesdays are generally for wordless posts, but today...
We drew pictures.
 We played outside.
We smiled.
 We played with our food.
We loved.

It was all just too good to keep to ourselves.  I hope you had a wonderful day with your family!  If not, there's still some time left in the day :)

With Love,
Danielle Renae

Wordless Wednesday : My Whole World

Changing Plans

While getting ready to go to the gym this morning, my dad called.  He wanted to make breakfast for Eli and I.  Hmmm... Gym or food?
Food of course!  And Elijah soaked up the change in scenery...
Our plans for the afternoon consisted of meeting our playgroup at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa.  The news had advertised free admission for the afternoon, and we very obviously were not the only ones that had heard about it.  The line to get into the museum wrapped around the entire building.  Knowing that the boys wouldn't be able to stand the wait to get in and the place would probably be too packed to bring much enjoyment, we decided instead to spend the day outdoors, exploring the playground outside and taking in the beautiful view of the river...

I can't get enough of these fun days filled with little boy smiles :)

With Love,
Danielle Renae

Monday, January 3, 2011

From Rush To Hush And The Little Bits In Between

Today has been one of those days where I've felt like I've done everything and nothing at the same time.  I woke up early, packed a lunch for my husband and made breakfast for the little one... just like every other day.  Then before I knew it, it was 10:45 a.m. and I was rushing out the door, trying to make it to the gym in time for a quick workout before the "kidz club" closed for the afternoon.  So long, morning...

The afternoon brought lunch and a nap for Eli.  And by nap I mean a 30 minute snooze which was interrupted by a lovely little diaper surprise.  There was no going back down for my blue-eyed boy.  Thankfully, he remained happy and content for the rest of the afternoon, allowing Mommy some time for crafting :)

My brother-in-law has been working on starting up his own clothing company.  I am so proud of him and I have no doubts that he will be successful if he keeps at it.  Anywho... he asked me to throw around some ideas for hand-made tags to go on his T-shirts.  Twist my arm why dontcha! ;)

Craft time was followed by cuddles with my favorite short one and splashing bubbles around in the tub.  Now my Elijah is sleeping soundly and dreaming of happy things.  Cliff is working late tonight.  The house is too quiet.  I miss my boys when they're not with me.  Still, gotta take advantage of the alone time when it comes around, right?  I'm sure there's a chick flick around here somewhere just waiting to be watched...

With Love,
Danielle Renae

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sincerely Sunday : Espresso For The Crazy Folks

Things I'm Thankful For:
1. My new espresso machine.  While I do think my husband has created a serious caffeine addict with his thoughtful gift, it has been delightful and is saving our bank account from numerous trips to Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.
2. Good health.  For several weeks, our home battled colds, the flu and bronchitis.  Watching my little darling cough so hard and seeing the sickness in his eyes from his fever broke my heart.  I know I'm not the only mother that struggles with feeling so helpless during those times.  The house was a complete wreck as it took every ounce of energy I had to take care of my boys (and myself).  Having things back to normal is such a relief!
3. Fresh starts.
4. The living word of God.  I am constantly amazed by the fact that I can read the same scripture over and over, and each time, the Lord has something new to teach me through it.
5. Comfy, cozy slippers.

Things I'm Looking Forward To:
1. On Tuesday, our playgroup is changing our usual morning routine and heading over to the Glazier Children's Museum in the afternoon - For FREE!!! :)
2. Date night with the hubster on Friday.
3. Enjoying a bon fire with both sets of parents (and hopefully siblings too) on Saturday night.

Things That Made Me Smile This Week:
1. Spending a hysterical evening bringing in the new year with good friends.
2. I know I already mentioned it in yesterday's post, but hearing Elijah's sweet little voice say "I love you" before I got to it definitely made me smile :)
3. The innumerable silly moments I've had with my husband this week.  I love being married to someone I can play with!

Favorite Quote:
It's not actually a simple quote, but a conversation between Cliff and I...
Me: "My legs really hurt."
Cliff: "How about you stop whining?  I've already had to listen to Eli go on for like three hours tonight."
Me: *Fake cries*
Cliff: "At this point, I'm not even sure why I married you."
(LOL.... That boy sure knows how to make me smile!)

Current Like:
Homemade lattes

Current Dislike:
Homemade messes ;)

Scripture Verse:
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" -1 John 5:4-5

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Here's To New Beginnings

Today has been a day of things fresh and new.  The first day of a new year.  The day that my Christmas decorations were stored away for another year and the house received a good cleaning.  The day full of self-reflection, motivation, and excitement over things to come.  The day that my growing little boy beat me in saying "I love you" first at bedtime.

I've never been one to make new years resolutions.  Mainly for two reasons: 1. I have a horrible memory and can never remember the ones that I make and 2. when the new year begins, I have a hard time thinking up realistic resolutions that I can actually stick to.  But this year is different.  This year, I can't help but think of the goals that I want to accomplish...

I want to fall madly in love with the one who gave His life for me.  I want to spend more time in His word, soaking Him in and hearing all that He has for me.  I want to spend less time talking at Him, and more time hearing Him speak.  I want to love His people with passion and be willing to follow wherever He leads.

I want to be a more patient and loving wife.  I want my words and actions to be more loving towards the man who works so hard to take care of his family, and less impatient and judgmental.  I also want to work as hard to keep our money as my husband works to make it.  I want to be a better help meet by taking better care of our finances.

I want to embrace motherhood and all it has to offer.  I want to laugh and play with the boy that holds my heart in his hands.  I want to explore, create and enjoy life with him.  I want to teach him.  I want to cherish every smile, every hug, every laugh.

I want to have a more positive outlook.  For instance... instead of being frustrated that my almost-two-year old will not go to sleep... I want to appreciate the fact that I am loved so much by his sweet little heart and that he wants nothing more than to cuddle with his mommy ;)

After months of feeling worn down and exhausted, having motivation and new hopes feels so good.  I am full of joy and am expecting great things this year.

Wishing you and your families a year of good health and lots of smiles!

-Danielle Renae