Monday Musings // Iphone Pics

IMG_6703

This is Coras favorite tree at the house. She will point at it through the window all day until someone takes her out to touch it. My flower child. IMG_6653IMG_6535

The photo above was from the first few weeks of us being in Villa Mella. One of our students is a incredible artist and painted this picture. As a team they painted 7 different pictures and gave them to local churches as a prophetic gift. So amazing!IMG_6827

One of my favorite things about Santiago has been roasting hotdogs up in the mountains. IMG_6665IMG_6784

Father Abraham was a BIG hit, y’all.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

IMG_1542

Im used to this little girl always strapped to me. She’s beginning to be to big for it now and its making my momma heart sad. 11150778_10153214481101578_8257305288209382279_n

And then THIS HAPPENED! I needed some change, this seemed a good way to get it =)

Hope this Monday was a surprisingly good one for you all. Im learning to find joy in little things and slow down a bit more. Taking photos is one way I hope to do that more, really being IN the moment and appreciating it for what it is and what it gives. I’m brainstorming some ideas for photo albums in the near future, any suggestions for Instagram pics would be wonderful!  Tell me what your up to this evening…

A weekend of Waffles, Frites, and Apple Pie!

IMG_5224This weekend I went on an adventure. A gal from the YWAm Amsterdam base planned on a hiking weekend in France, but her fellow mates couldn’t go last minute. So….Tegan and I filled in as their replacement. At first when they mentioned that I should join them I thought there was no chance of that happening because it would mean I would leave Cora for the weekend. Josh insisted that I go for the weekend and he would take care of Cora. This was my first time to be away from Cora so I had mixed feelings, but my heart ached for a spontaneous adventure! We left that night and stayed at a hotel near the Dutch border, woke up around 10am (glorious!) and made our way to Brussels! The photo above is our, OH MY GOODNESS WE ARE IN BRUSSELS! face. For lunch we enjoyed warm waffles and crispy frites! If eating waffles and fries everyday is wrong then I don’t want to be right.Brussels, you are so delicious. We also spotted the Mannekepis fountain statue! We were all a bit shocked to find that the statue was literally about a foot tall. Several people around us also whispered to one another, “i thought it would be bigger. Didn’t you think it would be bigger?” We laughed about it for the longest time after that.

IMG_5201IMG_5310IMG_5317IMG_5285IMG_5299After our time in Belgium we drove to France to do some hiking. We had a fun/creepy experience finding the house we rented for the night and ended up not hiking because of the snow and sleet. A little bit of a bummer but we still had fun staying up till the early hours of the morning sharing stories of our lives with one another. It was that night in the small french village that I felt I learned more about these two girls. With the weather working against us we decided to leave the next day and go to Annalynes home town in Oldebroek. Being in her home was the first time in a long time I have really felt at home. Candles were lit, Apple pie was baking in the oven, and fresh cream ontop of hot coco was made. Home. Her Parents were so welcoming and hospitable it was a blessing to spend time with them. We explored an old city near her house and heard stories of her grandparents who lived there. Such rich and deep history that I felt privileged to know.IMG_5329IMG_5282IMG_5294

The whole weekend was refreshing and life giving. Im thankful for the time I was able to spend with the girls and forming deeper relationships. Im reminded over and over again how important community and relationships are. It truly is a gift that the Lord wants us to grow and find joy in. I hope the start of 2015 was exciting and full of new things for each of you!

A Saturday drive

Today was rainy, cold, and foggy. I have never been a “winter person” but I do love the hot drinks, oversized sweaters and Holiday spirit that comes with the season. Living in Switzerland I have had to accept that 10 months out of the year will either be very cold or very chilly. Summer latest for about a minute this year. Even though the temperatures are beginning to drop and I have caught the cold 3 times in the past month, outside the world is beautiful. We live in a small village on the side of a hill, high enough that when the fog comes in I can hardly see the house across the street. The trees have changed into beautiful colors and the mountains are topped with snow. Its breathtaking.

Today the fog came. It came in thick and it came with its dear friends cold and rain. We thought that it was as good a day as any to take a little family adventure. We had heard of a village on the other side of the mountain that is home to a beautiful lake and decided to go see it. We bundled up our little chickenpox baby and before we left the parking lot she was out like a light. Poor thing caught the chickenpox this week and hasn’t stepped a foot outside. We thought the drive would help her sleep and give her a bit of fresh air. Our plan worked like a charm. She slept the whole 2 hours of our family adventure.

Good music, good conversation and a few geocaches later we reached the beautiful lake. It was a serene feeling looking out over the lake, the rain trickling down, the fog hovering over the water. I felt a sense of safety, like no evil could touch a place so hidden,  so unknown to the rest of the world. Then my thoughts went to the people who lived in the village. Each one of them with a God given purpose and beauty to share. God is just as much present and just as much interested in this hidden place as He is about the busy streets of New York or Paris. I was reminded of how personal, and how boundless our God truly is. Its overwhelming sometimes to fathom how immense and mighty our God is and at the same time how intimate and devoted He is to each one of us. But today I felt it. I stood in it, drank it in, breathed it in heavily and let it sink in to the deep parts of my soul.

 

Cora and her pumpkin

_MG_8190Cora recently had her four month doctors appointment and had two more shots. Watching Cora get a shot hurts me more than it hurts her. Once we made it through the awful, horrible shots the pediatrician said something I have been anticipating with excitement! She was ready to start trying solids! I have been so excited for Cora to take a bite of her first real food. I had imagined the confusing look on her face that all babies make when they can’t figure out how to slurp a solid. Would she love it? Would she hate it? I jus couldn’t wait to find out.  My excitement grew when her doctor said ANY vegetable and I knew just what I wanted her first experience to be. Pumpkin._MG_8200

If you know me you know I love pumpkin. Pumpkin chai, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, anything pumpkin.  And seeing as it is Fall I couldn’t think of a better way to start.

We took her out to the garden picnic table armed with every type of camera we own. Of course. She looked at the orange mush like it was a toy to play with at first. Then Josh gave her the first bite! She was confused. Oh, so confused. She wasn’t quite sure what to think about it but managed to take few slurp/bites! It wasn’t until later that day when we tried again that she really started chomping down on the rubber spoon covering her sweet face all in pumpkin mush._MG_8214_MG_8203_MG_8218

These moments. These little moments when you get to experience the little millstones in your babies life get my heart pumping. I think I may of looked a little over the top with all the cameras and loud, ” YAY CORA!” when she took her first bite, but these moments are so important to me. I want to make every new step a celebration in her life, something worth remembering, something worth taking the time to stop and soak in._MG_8201

And her tights… oh my goodness. I hope this is only the beginning of a pumpkin lover in the making!

 

Our girl is 4 months old!

My girl is 4 months old.

My girl is 4 months old.

My girl is 4 months old…_MG_8164

Four months might not seem like much to other people but for me my life has been completely changed during these past 4 months. I feel like ill be sending her off to college tomorrow and shopping for her wedding dress. I know that seems a little ridiculous but honestly I feel like she’s growing so fast and before I know it she will be a grown girl. Has anyone found the “pause” bottom on these little ones? Im desperately looking for it!_MG_8146
_MG_8150
This girl, thats smile, those little rolls have my heart. Josh and I have found so much joy in being her parents. We love the way she giggles in the morning, we love her gummy smile, we love how she “coos” when she locks her eyes on ours, we love how she snuggles her blankets to her face when she’s tired, we love how she holds the hair on the back of her head and covers her face when she eats, and we love holding her little body close to ours after a warm bath._MG_8143

We feel so privileged to be the mom and dad of this little human. We could never have asked for a greater gift. We already see and sense the the uniqueness and giftings the Lord has given her, and we anticipate the great things the Lord will do through her life to touch this world. Like I have said before, sometimes I feel like I could burst from all the love I have for Cora. Its hard to imagine that God could love her more than I do. Knowing that the Lord loves her more than I am capable of is an overwhelming feeling. How great is His love for my little one, how proud and excited He must be about her life. My hope and prayer for her is that she will know with all her heart that she is deeply loved and valued by our Heavenly Father, and that she would know His faithfulness and mercy all the days of her life.
 

Cora Rose, I love you my sweet girl. Now obey momma and stop growing…

 

Be Still.

Right now my house is, quiet. (knock on wood).

I feel like silence is an old friend these days. Most days are noisy, with the laundry going, Cora playing, friendly conversation, movies playing, music playing, dishing being washed, Skype calls being made, chitter chatter of neighborhood kids outside. But right now, its quiet. I’m used to the noise and the hustle and bustle of the day. I find myself wishing, praying, for a quiet moment but then when it presents itself I quickly turn on background music or play a Netflix movie just to fill the void that is silence. Why do I do that?

My life is busy, your life is probably busy, our world is one big, busy, noisy place to live. I feel that without knowing it or even wanting it I have become comfortable in the noise, in the busy. I get anxious and uneasy in the silence. I must be busy, always accomplishing, always moving forward.

Stopping, being quiet, goes against the rhythm of the world. It goes against the rhythm inside me.

Right now, in this quiet still house I hear an echo of the Holy Spirit calling my heart to , be still. Take a breath momma. Put down the dishes and turn off the TV and just be with me.

But instead my body is tensed up, I look around the room at what needs to be done, and I miss the moment of silence, the moment of stillness in my busy life with my God.

Be still and know that I am God. Isn’t this something that I need in my life? Isn’t this something that my heavenly Father commands of me? Isn’t this something that He knows I desperately need?

Being still is hard because it challenges us to lay aside productivity and take a moment to know that God is God. We live in a world that wants to pull us far from the peace of God and into the distraction of busyness.

I have seen busyness become a really bad thing in my life. Even the good kind of busy can be a hindrance. Busy being a mom, busy leading a Church, busy being a friend, busy making meals for the family, busy cleaning the house, these are all good things. If I’m not careful these good tasks in my life become the very thing that enables me to be still in Gods presence.

This morning I am challenged to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to be still in the presence of the Father.

 

 

My supermodel friend, coffee, waffles, and other shenanigans

Lets be honest. Its rare to still be friends with your best buddy in kindergarden. Claire and I became friends when I still wore large red bows in my hair and she was sporting the lime-green jacket with matching pants. We were trouble makers who had the best of times growing up. She moved to Texas when we were 12 and we make sure to visit each other even in the middle of our crazy lives. It meant the world to me that she took time off work to travel all the way to Switzerland for a visit. She’s golden, and I love her. IMG_3735

There are many reasons I love Claire. One being that 50% of our conversations start with, “Oh my gosh! Remember that one time when…” or, “Do you remember growing up when we would…”. We love remembering our childhood years together, and making new stories in the process.IMG_3898                                   We made lots of new memories together last week! Our time was full of coffee, pizza, exploring, gelato, crepes, and did I mention coffee? Claire had the great idea of taking a day trip to a town in France called, Annecy. The creators at disney were inspired by Annecy when they were making, Beauty and the Beast. So of course, as we strolled through the town streets we were inspired to sing, “Little town, its a quiet village! Everyday like the one befooooreee! Little town full of little people, walking up to say, Bonjour!”.

photo-36

IMG_3897This week was like one big sugar rush. I don’t think I have consumed that much coffee, ever. It was delicious. After our day in Annecy we also took time to explore the shops in Geneva, the small town of Rolle, and the delicious pizza and gelato in Nyon. We packed it all in!IMG_3901

IMG_3895Claires birthday is one week before me. We both turned 24 this year. Growing up I believed that because Claire was one week older she would experience things a week before me.

Today I am thankful for my friend who will always be wiser than me by a week.

Puke. Pee. Poop. Repeat.

photo 3-9I never thought that I would become so accustomed to being puked on, peed on, or even pooped on, on a daily basis. Im no longer surprised to find some mysterious crusty substance on my neck or back as I lay down for bed, or in my hair on many, many occasions. Parenthood. The grossest thing I have ever experienced. For example, yesterday Cora managed to pee once naked on her changing mat before her bath, then again in her bath, and then a third time on ME during a quick snuggle as I held her cute little naked body. How is it even possible that a thing so small can produce so much urine? In such a short amount of time? Picture above was during the snuggle portion of bath time.

I’m used to it now. All the puke, pee and poop.  So much so that after having my top and most of my pants drenched in baby urine yesterday I didn’t even change my clothes. My first thought on handling the situation was, “If i just go outside I’m sure it will just dry real quick…yeah, ill just do that.” And I did. I wore those same peed on clothes for several more hours. Even went to a friends house and made myself comfortable on their coach and drank their coffee…

Should I have changed? I probably should have changed… 

Yesterday was also the Swiss National Holiday. Thankfully I did manage to take a shower and put on socially acceptable clothing for a dinner at our village Commune to celebrate! We had a tasty dinner prepared by the men in the community and scrumptious desserts made by the women, followed by fireworks and a bonfire. It reminded me of the fourth of July celebrations back home and made my heart ache just a bit.

Have a pee-utiful weekend!

 

Cora’s first hike

Last week my grandpa (boss, is what we call him) came to visit us! We had beautiful, cool, overcast weather here in Switzerland so we decided to take a hike. Josh and I had recently spotted some hiking trails just up the hill from where we live so we thought we should give it a try! It was Coras very first hike and we were so excited to see how she responded to it. Mostly she slept…but every once in a while she would open her eyes real wide and take in all the tall thin trees towering over her. She was so relaxed thanks to the handy dandy baby holder that Josh carried her in. Out like a light almost instantly.  Ever sense the hike we have been using the carrier when she gets fussy or when we are trying to get her to sleep. Day and night. We think it has magical powers. Don’t judge us.IMG_3373IMG_3374IMG_3371IMG_3372

Pocket full of sunshine

Sunflowers are my all time favorite flower. Im drawn to the way they look. I love how fields of Sunflowers look like hundreds of big yellow eyes all staring in the same direction. I love the way they grow tall and strong, and how they seem to radiate feelings of joy and happiness.

Sunflowers are shooting up all over Swiss soil these days. Its absolutely beautiful…photo 4-5

Another thing I love about Sunflowers is how they follow the sun. Its so amazing and unique to other flowers. Im sure you already know that, but can we just pause for a sec and appreciate how cool that is? They keep a steady gaze upon the sun all day long, with the promise of energy and life in return. Every time I cross paths with a Sunflower I hear a little voice inside me ask the question…”Wheres your gaze? Where are you receiving your source of life?”  There are times that I am confident that my gaze is on the Lord, that He is my life source. There are also times that reality hits me in the face and I realize that my gaze is fixed on other things, things that do not promise life in return. Today Im asking myself these questions again, “Where is my gaze? Where am I receiving my source of life?” 

I love Sunflowers because they remind me to set my gaze upon the Son, the true giver of life and all things good.