img_51645-2Dear 501,

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the giddiness between two newlyweds who were so excited about their first home together. You were everything we ever wanted, once we painted the porch and shutters blue. 🙂

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the burnt dinners from a girl who obviously was not meant to be a chef.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the screaming at the TV when Tennessee was losing.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the nights we couldn’t sleep because we were so excited about our future family.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the laughter shared here with family and friends. The late nights on the couch with my girlfriends talking about life.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the crying heard during our fertility journey.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of all the prayers prayed. Prayers for our family, friends, and prayers for our journey with adoption.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the phone call we received in the living room the day we were matched with our daughter.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the day our daughter stepped through the front door for the first time. For the very first time in her life, she had a place to call home. The day she graced your structure with her presence was my favorite day of the 6 years we lived here.

If your walls could talk, they would tell of the big dreams we have for our family. Dreams that are taking us on a new adventure in another home.

501, I’m thankful for your walls! I’m thankful for all of your quirks and all of your charm. I’m thankful God hand picked you just for us. I’m forever thankful for 501…img_5355-2

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One day on Instagram, I came across this account called “Rad Joy” and the name alone peaked my interest. I was so happy when I clicked over to their profile and saw these beautiful crosses!

Rad Joy is a husband and wife team that makes Surrender Crosses. These crosses are a visual representation of surrendering our prayers over to God. You literally write your prayers and burdens down, then nail them to the cross. They come with removable nails and little pieces of paper.

If you saw my last blog post about prayer, then you know that I love everything this represents! What a great reminder that once we give God our burdens, they are His to carry! This WILL be going in my prayer corner at our house. I got the signature Surrender Cross in weathered oak. To view all of the designs, click here _KLP3284

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I recently got an email asking about my prayer journaling so I thought I would share some basics to get started! Prayer is so powerful and it wasn’t until I started to intentionally write mine down that I really realized that. To be able to go back and read over my prayers and see how God moved is truly amazing. Prayer is our one and only contact with our heavenly Father, and He hears us! I don’t know about you, but knowing this makes me want to pray and pray often!

I think a lot of times the thought of this can seem intimidating. You might not know where to start or how to write prayers (I’ve been there)! It’s really easy to get started and please remember that these are only my suggestions of what works for me:

1. I highly recommend that you read this book. I’m in the middle of it right now and I wish I had this years ago before starting my journaling. It’s totally changing my prayer life. Anne gives easy and straightforward insight on the power of prayer and how the Bible says to pray:

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2. Buy a journal. This one is a little obvious, but a good journal is key!  Everyone is different. You might want a small one or a big one, but I always get leather ones because they are the most durable. I usually get mine from Barnes and Noble. I’m on my third one like this:

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3. Be thankful and give praise. I start my journaling by simply thanking God. The Bible says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 – and that’s exactly what I do. There is nothing to big or too small, He loves to hear about what delights us! If it’s a day that I’m especially thankful for coffee (I know you moms feel me) then I will thank Him for it! Thank Him for the things that you are truly thankful for, be authentic! Here’s an example of what I might start out saying:

“Dear Father,

Thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for allowing me to wake up, and thank you for coffee! Thank you for the birds that I hear outside, they really brighten my day. Thank you for Sweet P and her laugh. Thank you for healing her, she’s my light and joy. You are the mighty creator of it all, and I praise you!”

Now to be honest, it feels funny at first when you’re praising God on paper. But think about all the songs we sing that give Him praise. “Bless the Lord oh my soul, worship His holy name” “Our God is an awesome God” “How great is our God”. We sing praises all the time so writing them is really no different. If you can’t think of the words to say, then write out a song!

4. Write your prayers. After being thankful, I’ll write my prayers over to God. Notice I used the word OVER. When we pray, we are literally handing them over for Him to handle. They are His. It’s no longer my burden to carry. Think of it like an email. Once you hit that send button, you ain’t getting it back. Did you know”Amen” means “so be it”?  I love that! Once we finish our prayers, we are literally saying “let it be”!

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5. Be specific. This one took me a while to realize! God wants us to be specific when we pray. I used to be too broad with my prayers. Saying things like “Please be with Casey today”. Ummmmmm, hello… It’s Jesus. He’s already with Casey. Duh. So I try to be specific about WHY I want Him to be with Casey. “Please protect Casey as he drives to work. Guard his heart, give him a clear mind”. Let Him know the specifics, Jesus loves details!

No matter what, we don’t have to be fancy. If you don’t have time to write and you’re praying as you clean the house, He hears you. When you’re driving in your car (don’t close your eyes y’all) He hears you. He’s always listening and waiting on you to reach out.

These are just a few suggestions on how to get started in prayer journaling. If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!  Have a great day friends!

One of my favorite memories growing up was taking a family vacation every year. It’s something we want to continue to do as a family with Sweet P.  I’m so thankful that my parents and my in-laws get a long so well – they made this trip so much more interesting fun! 🙂

This year we went to Gulf Shores. We chose it because we can drive there in a day, the beach is white sand with lots of shells, and the water is clear (I like to see my feet!). We found this condo on the beach and we highly recommend it! We would definitely stay there again.  The last day we were there we starting seeing a lot of jellyfish and hearing of people getting stung (including me, ouch!) but it didn’t stop us from swimming. I’m very grateful for this time together as a family…

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Below is my all time favorite photo of Sweet P with whom I now call “Flip and Flop”. My mom had her sandals stolen at the beach then Debra had her sandals stolen a few weeks later when we were at Splash Country. Not only that but when they were parasailing, the banana boat that took them to the bigger boat was going so fast that everyone riding flipped off. Ohhh, the memories. “Flip and Flop” just makes sense! 🙂 

Well, this post is kind of off subject! When we were packing for Sweet P’s surgery last year I was looking online for tips or tricks on things to pack and I couldn’t find a lot. Ladies from my church got together and bought things for me that I would’ve never thought of (thanks y’all!). This is something you never want to think about, but when the time comes it’s nice to know what’s helpful!

These are items that we were glad we had. This is for the parent, patient, or both!

  • Dry shampoo (I use baby powder)
  • Thick, comfy, warm socks
  • Zip-up hoodie
  • Favorite snacks
  • Comfy house shoes
  • Pillow
  • Blanket(s)! I’m always cold so these were a must
  • Hospital food gets old, so be sure to ask the nurses what restaurants deliver. We love Jimmy John’s and they would bring our food straight to our room door (freaky fast)!
  • Shower Towel. If you have room, pack one! The ones we got were very small
  • Toilet paper. Hospital TP is basically sandpaper, trust me on this
  • Quarters/dollars for vending machines
  • Favorite water bottle so you’ll drink more water
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Room spray. The smell of a hospital gets old quickly. I was so glad I had my Lavender spray with me!
  • Packing cubes. They are great because rooms and bathrooms are small. When Sweet P was asleep and I was able to shower, I could just pick up my cube and take it straight to the bathroom instead of rummaging through my clothes and being loud in her room.
  • Room decor. Sounds crazy I know, but you want to feel like home as much as you can in a hospital. Bring some framed pictures, or things to stick on the walls. Most rooms at Vanderbilt had signs on their doors with their names, verses, and more.
  • Books, magazines and DVD’s (most hospital tv’s have DVD players)
  • Favorite toys, games, etc…bubbles were a big hit!

Hopefully you never need this post, but if you do then I hope it helps!

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