whatever you do.

Posted by Tori on Oct 25, 2012 in a good word., family.

I feel like this is a recurring theme for me. The tension and the struggle to balance all of my roles and responsibilities with excellence and integrity. How do I do it all? And do it all well? It’s exhausting to tell you the truth! The reason it’s something I talk about on the blog so much is because a) I don’t have it down. I’m still learning to surrender and trust. He’s still teaching me to walk in grace. b) I have a feeling you don’t have it down either. And that He’s still growing you too. c) We need encouragement. We need each other and we need to remember His Word together.

What is it that He’s called you to be about during this season of life? I think it’s important to ask for His perspective so we can embrace the season we’re in. At times this is easy, and at others it’s easier said than done. We are so tempted to long for a season that’s passed, or look to one that’s to come. But, the truth is that He has placed us here right now for something specific and important. Sometimes that’s clear. Sometimes it’s not so obvious to us.

That’s ok. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…” (NASB)

There is grace when I fail and when I forget. It’s when His Spirit becomes my sufficiency & when my identity is rooted solely in Christ and His finished work on the cross, rather than in my competency or my responsibilities that I am most satisfied (& productive) and He is most honored. So, be encouraged, sisters. We are in this together. We all have influence, we all have roles and responsibilities & we all mess up sometimes. But, He is our constant & the reason we’re breathing in the first place. Lord, help me make the most of this season for the sake of your kingdom.

 

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breathe deep.

Posted by Tori on Oct 9, 2012 in family.

Well, it’s the time of evening in our home where the kids are all tucked into their beds and mom can finally take a deep breath and get some things done just for me. This week has been really different around here. On Sunday, William flew to NYC for a training class. He won’t be back in Charleston until next Sunday. First of all, we have never been apart from one another that long since we’ve been married…let alone me being by myself with my little ones for that long! But, the Lord has been gracious and we have been having a great time so far. I have found myself ironically with more time on my hands to to spend reading, studying Scripture, and just being quiet. I realized that far too often, I am just rushing through life with my family – trying to get the laundry done, the meals cooked, people bathed and put to bed – that I don’t stop long enough to really drink in these fleeting moments. (Or when I do stop, I am just so tired that I pass out.) I find that in these last few days I have been more intentional in savoring the simple moments. They are not mundane at all. They are like building blocks laying the foundation for a lifetime of relationship with my children and building memories that they will carry and will ultimately shape their perspectives. They are such a gift to me. I hope that when William comes home and our family returns to a sense of “normalcy” (whatever that is) that I will continually choose to savor these sweet moments, rather than just rushing onto the next thing. I am so thankful that the Lord has turned a week that I absolutely dreaded into one that has been refreshing and encouraging.

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happy fall!

Posted by Tori on Oct 1, 2012 in a good word., family., thankful heart.

Ok, so I unintentionally took a blogging break for the entire month of September, but it’s October 1 now & I am back to my keyboard with some fresh vision and a completely renewed heart. You should know that October – February are my absolute favorite months. I am expecting big things for this season!

September completely drained me. I don’t think I was aware of how intense of a month it was until I was out from under it. I found myself completely bogged down and pretty discouraged about the progress of some major things we’re juggling. Basically, I just needed a break! Time alone, time with my Lord, and some time with my husband. It’s so great how God knows what we need so much more thoroughly than we do. Can I get an amen on that one? He totally knew what was coming my way and orchestrated an entire week for William and I by ourselves. It was so great to finally get the refreshment and shift of perspective that I needed. We got back home a week ago tonight. Then, three days later, I got sick. I’m getting better, but still not over it. Even though it’s been tough being sick this week, I can see how He has changed me. I am more hopeful and have a glimpse of the picture He’s painting in the very areas I was so discouraged over before. Thanks, Lord.

So…this month, I am expectant. I know that it won’t be easy and that there’s a lot of hard work ahead, but I’m excited because I finally have vision. His vision.

Here are some pictures from September…

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This is what we look like when we get some time to ourselves a couple states away from real life. So fun!

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Pretty coffee!

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Steven & Mary Beth Chapman! Met them on our trip to Nashville. So sweet!

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Our first NFL game. Titans vs. Lions. We left the stadium with less than 2 minutes on the clock & the Lions down by two touchdowns. Got over this walking bridge & someone yells that the Lions tied the game & it’s going into OT! What?! How does that happen? Well, we don’t know because we weren’t there! Ducked into a bar to watch the end. Lions lost in OT. Crazy.

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Yes, we are silly. This is what three kids & four years of marriage does to you.

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Love, love, love this! We used to have one in Charleston, but it’s gone now. So sad.

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Reunited with my crew! Love them.

 

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miscellany monday.

Posted by Tori on Aug 13, 2012 in family., Instagram.

Hey everyone! I’m linking up again this week with Carissa for Miscellany Monday. So…let the randomness begin!

1. I love my friend Carrie! I met Carrie when we were in college at CIU. She lived next door to me in the dorms. 7 years later, the Lord has continued to grow us and strengthen our friendship. We have been through so much – a lot of life change – but the Lord’s faithfulness & grace have been abundant. This past Saturday we celebrated a bridal shower for Carrie & her sweet fiancé, Stephen. She’ll be getting married this October & I could not be happier for her!

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2. I love my husband! There are many reasons, but I love that he got us PGA tickets for this past Sunday at Kiawah. We had so much fun! Back when he bought the tickets I secretly thought they were a waste of money, but I supported the decision because I know how much he loves golf. Little did I know that I would go with him and have such a great time. Snuck a few shots of some players too…shhh…don’t tell 😉

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3. I love this crazy, silly life. The Lord is so good and I am so thankful to be along for this wild ride!

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4. And…last but not least…I got my August Birchbox in the mail last week! I have already tried a few things in it and can’t wait to show you what I got!

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Happy Monday! Be random, friends!

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

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miscellany monday. welcome to the random.

Posted by Tori on Jul 30, 2012 in family., Instagram., twins.

I am writing my random and linking up with Carissa.

1. The Olympics are here!! I love watching the Olympics…we have had it on basically non-stop & it’s been really fun.

2. It was a lovely weekend! Saturday, William & I got to go on a “date day!” We saw Batman at the IMAX (Just being honest here, I didn’t think I would like it. But I did. It was incredible.), grabbed some dinner, dodged some rain clouds…

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3. Chelsea learned how to climb up into this chair all by herself this weekend. She was having the best time until she fell out. She hasn’t been back up yet. And…I cannot believe that my babies are getting this big?! When did this happen? I must have blinked…

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4. These three. I was busy folding some towels in the living room & they did this. Laughing the whole time! Love them.

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5. This silly boy had his first experience with a temporary tattoo. I don’t think I need to say anymore…he likes it.

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Well, there you have it…a glimpse into my very random, very ordinary weekend. Happy Monday, y’all!

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

 

 

 

 

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miscellany monday. brought to you by starbucks.

Posted by Tori on Jul 16, 2012 in coffee, family., Instagram.

Hey there! I am writing random and linking up with Carissa this morning!

1. Here I am! Yes, I am writing this post from my laptop. In the car. Starbucks in hand. You do whatcha gotta do, right?

2. I really do think that parents of young kids should be immune to all illness. Isn’t being sick and taking care of babies the worst?! And why is it that William & I get sick together? Who knows. Yesterday, we both felt it coming on. Everyone in our house napped for 2 hours. I woke up feeling worse. Like I had been hit by a Mack truck. My head was throbbing, my skin was crawling, and I was not looking forward to this week at all. Took some meds and packed it in early (like 10:30) last night. And prayed. Then, I woke up this morning a little grumpy (just keeping it real), but otherwise feeling normal. Thank you, Jesus!!! I have never felt that bad one day and this good the next. I have no idea what’s going on in this little body, but I am so thankful.

3. William ordered this book for me. Plus two more. One on PHP & one on Photoshop. Note to self: If you ever express a desire in learning anything technical to your IT professional of a husband, he will make sure you have the opportunity to learn it! This can be good or not so good. I’m thinking I’m way in over my head. I am about halfway through this one and haven’t touched the other two yet. Maybe there’s hope for me yet? Who knows.

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4. I love that I began writing this post in the car, but am finishing it on the couch a few hours later. Somewhere in the middle of #3, William called. He was leaving work & headed to grab a bite to eat. So, he met us and we enjoyed an impromptu family lunch! Love extra family time!!

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straw swords with daddy at lunch.

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happy baby ladies.

5. I am really excited to get into this month’s Birchbox & try all of the goodies!! It was a really fun box this month, and I can’t wait to share my review with you!!

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6. I read Jessi’s post today and was seriously blessed! (You will be too.) I feel like she took the words right out of my mouth! It’s something the Lord has been speaking over me lately & impressing on my heart regarding online ministry. So thankful for her.

7. Also, check out the LinkyHere blog this afternoon to learn a little more about me, my heart for this site, and our weekly link-up, Worship Wednesday!

That’s all folks! Enjoy your Monday!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

 

 

 

 

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can i get you a latte?

Posted by Tori on Jul 2, 2012 in coffee, family., Instagram., twins.

As a mama to 3 littles under 3, it is tricky to grab a moment for a coffee date with a friend. But, thanks to this little slice of internet, we can have our very own virtual coffee date whenever it is convenient for us and no matter how many miles separate us. So…can I get you a latte? Let’s catch up a bit…

If you and I were grabbing coffee today, I would tell you that this week has been nuts! Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged since the 22nd! Our site was down for nearly a week. We have changed hosting companies, so we are hoping not to have that trouble again. Truthfully, it was kind of nice to be forced to take a break. Last Sunday, my twins came down with a virus. Then, on Tuesday, I had my four wisdom teeth extracted. That day was rough, but overall it hasn’t been a terrible experience. I was so grateful to have a lot of good help with the kids so I could focus on feeling better. By the middle of the week, the girls were feeling better. Friday, Ayden came down with it. He has been running fever…and last night we were up with him throwing up. He’s been a little better today, so I am praying that all the kids will sleep through the night so William and I can get some good rest!

How’s your week been? Hopefully, it hasn’t been this crazy. But, maybe it has been…or maybe it’s been worse. Regardless, I know that this is true: Our God is faithful. His pursuit of our souls is relentless. And He loves us more than we can understand. That helps me through any week.

“But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle…Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption…But as for me, I trust in you.” Psalm 55:16-18a, 22-23a, 23c

And…I may or may not whip out my iPhone to show you some pics from today. In real life, I probably wouldn’t…but that kind of thing is way more acceptable on virtual coffee dates 😉

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Thankful for church online with sick little ones at home!

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Brooklyn decided to chill out in the dog bed for a while…I don’t think she minds one bit…

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Finally…Happy 16 months to my sweet baby ladies!! I love you!

I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know what’s been going on with you and what you’ve been learning…thanks for sharing a latte with me!

I’m linking up (like 4 days late…but who cares?) with Rags to Stiches for our coffee date.

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insta-friday.

Posted by Tori on Jun 22, 2012 in family., Instagram.

Life in pictures! Here is a look at our week through the eyes of Instagram! Enjoy!

Check out my Instagram profile and follow me here:

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Brooklyn and Chelsea sampled their first chicken nuggets not too long ago! They were a hit (even though they each only ate half of one!)

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This day, Ayden found some old clear, plastic shower curtain rings while I was cleaning the kids’ bathroom and decided to put them on as bracelets. Once he had on his sunglasses too, he thought he was something else!

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I told him to smile so I could take a picture…and he struck this pose. No lie. I am slightly disturbed. Might have to save this one for something special when he is older…

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Our crazy road trip saga began Thursday when William and I went to Brunswick, GA for my grandfather’s funeral. Friday, though, the whole family loaded up to head to Atlanta for his burial service. This is Ayden when we stopped briefly in Columbia…only 2 hours in. It’s safe to say he was less than excited.

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This is a shot from on our way home from Atlanta on Saturday. I-20 stopped as far as the eye could see…one lane only. And my handy Starbucks companion. It was a Quad Venti Caramel Affogato Vanilla Bean Frap. Don’t ask what it is…just believe me that it is good and that it has 4 shots of espresso to get you through anything! (Also, it’s like an $8 drink…so if you are a SBUX rewards customer, wait until you get your free drink card to try it!)

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This is my man on Father’s Day. Since he and I didn’t get to celebrate our anniversary properly this week, the two of us went out on Sunday evening. I asked his permission to take the picture. I caught him just before he started laughing. He is the sweetest. The best husband and the best daddy! I love you, William!

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This is Ayden playing in the mister at the park, which he affectionately calls the “Mister, Mister!”

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Give him a couple minutes and he will be soaked head to toe!

Linking up with…

life rearranged

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worship wednesday. jesus lives.

Posted by Tori on Jun 13, 2012 in a good word., family., video., worship wednesday.

I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to post this week than this song! I have been playing it all week. As you probably know, my grandfather passed away this week. His funeral service will be tomorrow afternoon, which also happens to be my grandmother’s birthday and my wedding anniversary.

I hope this song will encourage your heart and fill you with joy for the hope of Heaven and for the inheritance that awaits us as believers. I pray that you will hit the pause button on your busy Wednesday to shift your focus from the temporal to the eternal – to what really matters! Jesus lives!

Why don’t you grab a button and link up with me & Mrs. Pate?!

Write a post with a Scripture, song, picture, poem, etc. that leads your heart to worship and then enter your website url below. If you aren’t a blogger, but you’d like to join in, just click the post-it note at the top of the post. You can leave a comment, or share what’s on your heart with the rest of us!


<a href=”http://www.mrstmpate.blogspot.com/
” target=”_self”><img src=&#34http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m574/mrstmpate/wwbutton125.jpg&#34
; alt=”mrspatewrites” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>


 

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one thing remains.

Posted by Tori on Jun 10, 2012 in a good word., family., thankful heart.

When I think back on my life, and the process through which the Lord drew me to Himself, there are several strategic people He used to teach me and grow me in specific ways. Aside from my parents, the very first person He used in such a way was my grandfather. My mom’s dad. When I was a baby, my mom went back to work and I stayed with my grandfather. We spent a lot of time together. He had retired from the FBI, both of my parents worked, and so did all of my other grandparents. So, he stepped up to the plate so that my parents wouldn’t have to send me to daycare or preschool. We lived within minutes from one another until my parents moved to Savannah when I was four.

Every morning, he and I would go to a cafe up the street. He would have his coffee and I would eat a slice of cantaloupe…with salt on top. Every morning. We got to where everyone around town knew us. On Fridays, he would always take me to TCBY after my nap. The chocolate was my favorite…and his. As I grew up, when we would come to visit, he taught me how to play card games and he and I would play and laugh for hours. He loved football! This was before you could pay to watch 18 games on your screen at the same time, so he would flip back and forth constantly. His favorite was, of course, UGA football. I would sit and watch with him. He taught me the rules and how the game was played. I wanted to do everything like him. He would tell me stories from captures he made in the FBI that would keep me on the edge of my seat. I thought it was so cool that he had a personal letter from J. Edgar.

But, beyond all these fun things, my memories and the things I learned from my granddaddy go a lot deeper than my ABC’s, football, and old FBI stories. He introduced me to Jesus. He was all about Jesus. Every morning, he would spend an hour in a room in their house by himself. That was his time with the Lord. Whenever he went in there and shut the door, we all knew that his time there was sacred. He read the Bible in its entirety to me before I was three. He couldn’t stop talking about Jesus and what He had done, and what He was doing. After I came to know the Lord, he was one of the first to disciple me and teach me how to read Scripture and to pray.

He also showed me what it looked like to love people like Jesus. Especially his wife. He truly esteemed her and his love for her was a beautiful picture of Christ and the church. My only memory of arguments between them was shoving one another in front of the kitchen sink after a meal, deciding who would wash the dishes – because each one wanted to do it to serve the other. Most times he won.

When I would spend the night with them, I slept in my mom’s old room which was right across the hall from their room. They always slept with the bedroom doors partially opened and I would fall asleep listening to them talk to one another in their bed. It was beautiful the things they would say. They would talk about their day. He would thank her for being the remarkable help mate that she was. He would tell her that he couldn’t do life without her and that he would never want to. He would pray over her. And she would do the same for him. I remember asking God, in those moments, to bless me with a marriage like that.

As granddaddy got older, he developed dementia. At first, it was hard because he was aware that he was forgetting more and more. He knew what was happening to him. It worsened to the point where he couldn’t remember anyone, not even his wife. He would have moments of clarity where his memory would return and he would recognize his family and be able to tell us how much he loved us. Even on the worst days, He would remember Jesus. He would still talk about the Lord and he still read his Bible. My grandmother became his caregiver in their home. Her love for him, her care for him when he could no longer take care of himself, and her undivided faithfulness to him has become a beautiful picture, once again, of Christ and the church. Their marriage functions how the Lord designed it.

She is still doing just that. Only tonight it looks a little different. He is lying in a hospital bed next to theirs. His breathing is labored and slow. Very slow. His eyes are closed and his body is frail and unable to move. He will see his beloved Jesus very soon.

I was able to be there last night with them. I say I will never forget these things. All the memories. All the laughs, and kisses. All of our conversations that we had just the two of us. How it felt to spend this morning in the bedroom with him and have the last conversation that we will have this side of Heaven. The lump in my throat. But the truth is, I may forget. My memory may fade just like his. But, one thing remains. The eternal truth written on my heart. The way God used him to show who He is to me. The eternal investment he made into my life will not perish or fade like the earthly things will.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

It is written on my heart. Sealed by His Spirit.

It makes me want to run even harder after Jesus. When the people who know me look at my life, is Jesus preeminent? Is He everything?

What about you? What do people see when they look at your life? What legacy will you leave? Will you leave only perishable memories, or will you allow the Lord to use you to plant the imperishable? To participate in His work; in what will last for eternity?

When you’re prompted, please pray for our family. We are asking the Lord to turn our hearts from earthly grief and sorrow onto eternal joy and hope of Heaven and our inheritance as co-heirs with Christ. This Tuesday is my grandparents’ wedding anniversary. Thursday is my grandmother’s birthday. We trust God’s perfect timing. He has done great things. And our hearts are full of gratefulness. His love is perfect. He is everything.

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