thankful thursday.

Posted by Tori on Apr 19, 2012 in thankful heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Happy Thursday! So many reasons to thank our Lord this week…here are just a couple. I hope these inspire your heart to praise Him for His crazy love over you!

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I am thankful for this contraption…and for my husband for surprising me with it. I’ve had it for a while, and it’s amazing. I don’t have one of those fancy 1-cup brewing systems, so I would make a pot of coffee and it would always get cold before I had the chance to finish it. Now, whenever I want just one cup, I can pull out this thing.

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You insert a filter and add your coffee.

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Pour over some hot water, and you have a single cup of your favorite blend!

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So thankful for Ayden’s sheer silliness…it never fails to make me laugh!

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Really thankful for these sweet moments that happen just about everyday. Whenever daddy calls to say he is on his way home from work, Ayden will grab his chair and head to his special spot to sit and wait for daddy. When the car stops in the driveway, Ayden runs to sit on his daddy’s lap and help him steer into the garage. Love it!!

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It’s always a favorite when daddy brings home a “special treat.” This day it was raspberry M&Ms.

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On Saturday, William and I headed to Athens to watch the UGA spring training game (G-Day 2012). This is the first year that Ayden got to go with us!

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He was sooo excited!

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Two peas in a pod. They make my heart melt.

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“Mommy, football!” “Get it, ball!” He just soaked up every minute.

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Cheese!

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Tuesday, the babies had the best time playing together inside! They were all over the place…making one another laugh! I love watching them bond as they grow together!!

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And…I especially love these sweet moments. I was too slow with the camera, but Ayden plopped down next to Brooklyn, held her hand, and gave her the biggest kiss right on the mouth. It was so precious!

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Finally, I am really thankful for this rainy Thursday. It’s rare that moms of little ones are thankful for rainy days, but I really, really am. We have had the best time together today playing inside!! Thanks for the rain, Lord, both physical, and for the downpour of grace over this little family.

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slow motion.

Posted by Tori on Apr 16, 2012 in a good word., thankful heart.

A sick day. We all need one of these every once in a while. It’s nearly impossible to take one when you’re the mother of small children…but today, I did nonetheless. Yes, I was actually feeling bad, but today my entire focus shifted. The meals were sill served, the loads of laundry still got washed, and the floors were still mopped and vacuumed. But the sense of urgency, the rushing, and the pressure to get it all done was gone. And, I thought, “I should have days like this more often.”

I napped when the kids napped and woke feeling refreshed (and also a bit confused about what day of the week it was…). I took extra time just to play and snuggle with each one of the babies. I took extra time to just soak in all of His love and extreme grace over us. Yet, everything still got done. It’s like the day played out before me in slow motion – and now as everyone is tucked in their beds, I’m remembering it and treasuring it – because it was about what really matters.

We didn’t do it all perfect, but it was honest; laid before Him as an offering and an invitation for Him to be in the middle of it all doing His thing in us. Everyday should be like that. But it’s not. Why? For me, I think it’s because I’m too afraid to let go – too afraid to not really care if my plans for the day ever really happen.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to plan. I’m a planner. But He is a better one. I trust Him way more than I trust myself. So, as I lay down tonight, I’m asking Him to remind me in the morning about this truth. So that tomorrow will be just as profound and lived out of gratitude for all He is. Praying your day is nothing less.

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WHAT’S REAL & WHAT’S NOT.

Posted by Tori on Apr 12, 2012 in a good word.

Ladies, let’s be honest. Our culture gets it way wrong. I was with a dear friend of mine the other week. She is quite a bit older than I am. We stopped into Target and she picked up a watch. It was a lime green plastic watch that went on like a slap bracelet. $10. She put it on once we got in the car. I said something like, “Oh that’s cute!” She said “Thanks! I thought it was fun.” As we drove along, she started to question her purchase. “Does it look okay with this outfit?” “It’s not too loud, is it?” “Does it look like I’m trying to be 15?” “Maybe I’ll just stick it in my purse.” After a little convincing that it was cute and fine for her to wear, she pulled down the visor to check her lipstick. “I just look old. And there’s nothing I can do about it. My makeup doesn’t even help. It’s so hard to look good when you’re old.”

Why?! You’re beautiful! Our culture screams at women so loudly that we are supposed to look a certain way. That we should try to prevent aging. Or even when we’re young that we have to have this perfect body and this perfect hair.

And really I’m no different from my friend. Even though I’m young, I’m constantly wanting my hair to be different, checking the number on the scale, worried about my clothes fitting and looking just right.

So, are we just trapped in this cultural spiral, where there’s always something about ourselves to fix, and we’re never content with how we look?

Absolutely not! As followers of Jesus, we are to influence our culture with the TRUTH, not conform to it, and certainly not believe its lies. The truth is that beauty comes from a life that looks like Jesus. Outward beauty does not last and is judged by a temporal, ever-changing standard. True beauty never fades and is judged by an eternal, unchanging standard.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4

Ladies, don’t believe lies. Be transformed by the truth and transform our culture with the truth. These lies lead to insecurity, pride, and a whole host of sin. The truth leads us to Jesus every time. Let’s believe who He says we are and let’s give Him the full freedom He deserves to do His work in our hearts.

I have two amazing daughters. Yes, they are beautiful. I want them so desperately to grow up to understand the truth about beauty and who they are. I want their confidence and their identity to come from Christ alone – the only one who can truly deliver and the only solid ground for their precious feet.

 

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thankful thursday.

Posted by Tori on Apr 5, 2012 in thankful heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Here are some reminders of His faithfulness and reasons to praise Him that I collected from this week.

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Easter goodies! I love watching Ayden learn & discover during this season of the year. We have been doing “resurrection eggs” with him during the days leading up to Easter. He absolutely loves it, and I hope that he is learning and that his little mind is soaking up the truth about Jesus.

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This is the Easter craft he made at preschool. Love those precious fingers. If you look closely, you can tell that his pinky finger is a little crooked. Each one of our children has two crooked pinkies – just like their daddy. I love those precious details of how beautifully He formed them.

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Ayden and Brooklyn playing and sharing a few priceless moments.

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I love these little faces! And I am so happy that they love one another, even as babies.

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As if I needed another reason to adore Target, they have made a shopping cart that all 3 of my babies fit in!!

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I love it, and so do they! Since they sit across from one another, they had the best time making one another laugh while I shopped.

And…the most incredible reason to give thanks this week and every single minute.

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slow to speak.

Posted by Tori on Apr 3, 2012 in a good word.

I love how the Lord orchestrates seasons in my life. There are times when He inspires me, challenges me, changes me, and kindles flames that ignite into raging fires, causing me to shout and to write furiously about all that He has done. Then there are the more tender seasons, seasons of great teaching and instruction that change me and ignite fires in me in very different ways. These seasons are just as sweet, but different because they leave me without words, at least for a while.

I feel like that is where I have found myself the first few months of this year. It is a beautiful place. One that is full of time spent playing, teaching, and guiding the little arrows he has entrusted to William and I (Psalm 127:3-5). Spent at the church, in the backyard, in the kitchen, folding the laundry, on late-evening coffee dates with sweet friends; spent on our family evening walks around the neighborhood; spent in sweet conversations with my husband about the Lord’s grace and His hand over our family and about where we are and where He’s leading us. And at the end of the day, when he and I are snuggled close and my head hits the pillow, there are no words. Just a sigh and a sense of peace and rest in the incredible knowledge that He is working and that He holds us in the midst of it all.

So, I am embracing the truth that I don’t have to always be profound, or have a million words. It’s okay to just soak it all in. And doesn’t His Word tell us that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak?

Lord, let me be wise with my words and make them count – in my writing and in my speaking.

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dear ayden.

Posted by Tori on Mar 30, 2012 in ayden.

Sweet, sweet Ayden:

Been treasuring some precious, fleeting moments with you lately. I know all to well that these days pass like grains of sand through an hourglass. You’re only two now, but there is so much I want to tell you – so much I admire about you. Today, you celebrated your Easter party at school. Your teacher told me that when it was time for the Easter egg hunt, you chose to go the opposite direction from the others and walk along the perimeter of the fence in search for your eggs. Successful strategy, as it turns out. I thought that was so precious. Same thing your daddy would have done.

Yesterday, we went to Chick-fil-A with your buddy, Gavin. He was trying to escape from the play area, and you ran to hold the door closed, and told him, “No!” You hurt his feelings by snapping at him. We talked about what you should do when you see your friends doing something they shouldn’t. Then, you bent down to his face and said, “Sorry, Gavin” in the sweetest voice. Your grabbed a tissue from his mommy and wiped away his tears, giving him a great, big hug. Then, you raced one another down the slide.

These are such sweet moments. Never stop loving people. I know that as you grow and come to know Jesus, you will only learn to love them more and more. I love watching you learn.

The other night, you got in trouble for pushing your sister, Brooklyn. Your precious heart was broken. You apologized and had to go to your room for bed early. You were so upset that you couldn’t even try to sleep. We talked about sin and disobedience making our heart dirty. We talked about Jesus making our heart clean. Then you prayed, with your hands folded. “Brooklyn. Push. Jesus. Clean. Heart. Thank you. Mommy. Daddy. Brooklyn. Chelsea. Walker. Bed. Pants. Shirt. Amen” was how it went. Tears streamed down my cheek.

Thanks, Lord, for planting seeds in this heart.

I think one of the greatest, most horrible consequences of the Fall is forgetfulness. We FORGET what God has done. We forget who He is. As if His Word to us was not enough, we see Him in our lives. We feel and know His grace in the depths of our soul. And we still forget.

That’s why I’m writing this for you now. Because I don’t want to forget, and I don’t want you to forget. Time passes so quickly. His love for us is great. It never changes. It never wanes. No matter the season or circumstance.

Love you more than words can express,

Mommy

 

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thankful thursday.

Posted by Tori on Mar 29, 2012 in thankful heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Sometimes, in life, you just become so aware and overwhelmed by the Lord’s everyday blessings that you’re struck speechless. At least, that’s how it works for me a lot of the time. His grace is so beyond my comprehension. I am thankful that He has opened my eyes to the little things each day – little things that remind me that we live and walk in His grace, little things that remind me that He is ever-present, and little things that remind me that I am and have absolutely nothing without Him. So, here are a few of those reminders from this week. I hope they bless your heart and encourage you to see His hand more clearly over your precious life.

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These two put on their nice shirts to take me and the baby ladies out for a special evening – complete with dinner, Starbucks, and a trip to the mall.

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My view across the table. That face gets me every time.

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Then, Ayden and I went on a special mommy-Ayden date. It was so much fun. Driving the police car was one of his favorite moments…mine too!

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Ayden’s daddy gave him some money to buy me flowers on our date. He kept the money carefully tucked in his pocket until it was time. He helped pick out these flowers. He said they were “pretty, mommy.” When it was time to pay, he handed his money to the lady, took his change, and said, “thank you” with the biggest smile! My heart melted. Over him and his sweet daddy.

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Thankful for my new favorite candle. It makes me happy.

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Also thankful for warm cookies and strawberries shared with my husband after the kids are in bed.

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And for sweet times coloring with Ayden when he wakes up from his nap before his sisters do. Thankful for how wonderfully God has and is forming him and growing his mind.

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crock pot lasagna.

Posted by Tori on Mar 26, 2012 in recipes.

try it. you will love it. this will become a new favorite.

8 no-boil lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp italian seasoning
24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/3 c water
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Break noodles. Place half in the bottom of a greased slow cooker.
Brown ground beef and add italian seasoning. Spread half of beef over noodles.
Layer half of sauce and water, half of ricotta cheese, and half of mozzarella cheese over beef. Repeat layers.
Cover. Cook on low 4-5 hours.

It’s that simple. Enjoy!

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JESUS LIVES.

Posted by Tori on Mar 22, 2012 in a good word., family.

This week has been a whirlwind! I received a phone call on Sunday that my only living grandfather was unwell. Monday morning, I packed up the babes and headed to GA. When we arrived, I got a call that William’s great-grandmother had passed away. Thankfully, my grandfather was doing much better than I expected. We had a wonderful visit. I will never forget the beautiful moments he spent sitting next to my sweet Chelsea, stroking her hair and telling her how precious she is. Tuesday morning we packed up, ready to head back to Charleston. My plan was to leave by 10. 11 rolls around and we are finally loaded in the car and ready to head out. Then…traffic stopped as far as the eye can see. We took 1 hour to drive 4 miles. We finally make it home at the same time William does from work. We wake up early the next morning to drive to Columbia for his great-grandmother’s service and then we make it home again by 9:30 that night. In all of this chaos and traveling, the Lord provided a few much-needed quiet moments to speak into my heart.

My life and my moments are His. Far too often I get distracted and try to make them mine. That’s when all measure of stress, discontent, strife, bickering, and frustration come flooding in. It doesn’t matter that I wanted to leave by 10 and that we really left at 11 and then crept along at a snail’s pace for another hour. What matters is realizing that my time is His and spending it on what He desires. I’ve never been so thankful for a traffic jam.

I kept playing this song in my head over and over again this week.

I am so thankful for a legacy of family that has gone before me, carrying His name. I am thankful that because He lives, my earthly grief fades to the background and the foreground is filled with His glory and celebration of the hope we have in Him. Come, Lord Jesus! Capture every moment of my crazy day. Make it yours. Give me eyes to see eternity in each circumstance.

Jesus lives.

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before all nations.

Posted by Tori on Dec 31, 2011 in a good word.

There is so much to say and reflect on as 2011 has ended. But I like stepping back and looking at the big picture. And the big picture of 2011 for us is that it was glorious, full of His grace, and exploding with His Scripture coming to life in our family! His blessings have been abundant and His voice has been clear.

When 2011 began, I was pregnant with my sweet girls and asking the Lord to prepare my heart and our family for their arrival. Simultaneously, William and I began earnestly praying for what the Lord had for us as a family, believing He had put a fire in our hearts that there was something MORE. He called us out and made it clear that international missions is what He has for us. Still, we don’t know how this will work, or what it will look like, or what it truly means for us, but we have His word and it is sure.

Isaiah 61 became so sweet and alive to me.

“So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Is. 61:3b

“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations.” Is. 61:11

God WILL do this. And He allows His people to be a part of it. Incredible. There is nothing sweeter than the dead coming to life by the power of Christ to be planted as oaks of righteousness to HIS great glory.

So, so excited to see what He has in 2012.

We are yours, Lord. There is no life apart from you. It only works when you are absolutely EVERYTHING. Your way in every decision, every thought, every word, every minute. Anything less is counterfeit faith and a false gospel. Let us be found faithful.

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