Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Week{s} in Pictures

Good morning and happy Monday, friends! I didn't do a post last week with pictures I've taken lately.. So there are a lot to share and an incredibly cute video at the end! Enjoy!

We've been working on potty training {kind of} and I told Lincoln if he went potty he could have a sucker. So he runs in the bathroom and sits on the potty.. Nice try, son.
 
Like I said, we've been working on potty training. Linc loves underwear, he just doesn't like going potty. Yogurt and Geesh are two other things he loves!
 
Santa's elf retweeted me?! Is it lame that this really made me smile?
 
Cinnamon and I started the couch to 5k running plan last week and this was our first run. Of course we had to take a picture. The weather has been so nice!
 
When I got a new outfit last week I had to send a picture to my sister.. If the weather would get chilly I could actually wear this!
 
Date night with my favorite boy! We love Yobe! 
 
Date night also included a trip downtown where we had to look in the Christmas store! He's definitely my son!
 
He loves the boats and I love the sunsets and laughter. This is my new favorite picture of us!
 
If you go to Hobby Lobby with Geesh you usually end up bringing home something you want, or at least that's how it goes in our family. On this particular trip my mom bought Lincoln a singing Gingerbread man and two Berenstain Bears books. He loves that thing and it sang the whole way home from Jacksonville.
 
I took Lincoln to the beach on this night and we saw a huge tractor. It was "bigger than Momma!" He was in Heaven.
 
Running after Momma with sand in his hand. Typical.
 
We got caught in the rain so I snuggled Lincoln on the couch in a towel and he fell asleep within five minutes. This never happens so I took in every minute! So sweet!
 
When it rains we love to bake. These were fudge brownies with vanilla icing and Halloween sprinkles. And they were GOOD.
 
I sat down for a minute before Linc went to school and Lincoln said, "Want feet up too, Momma!"
 
Our stockings came in the mail!!!!! If I lived on my own, I would probably go ahead and put these up. Sad part is, I'm not joking. I love them. I can't wait to decorate for Christmas!
 
Mickey Mouse is ready for bed and so is Linc man!
 
View on my run. I love my town.
 
Papa preached at a revival this past week so Tuesday night we got dressed up and went to hear him. It is the first time {since he was little} that Linc has sat through a service instead of being in the nursery. I was so proud of how well he did! {The coloring book helped a lot!}
 
It's fun to look back at old pictures at how we've changed. The top picture is my high school graduation {doesn't everyone bring their child to their graduation??} and the bottom was Linc's first day of school that you can read about here!
 
The weather is FINALLY getting chilly {kind of}. We both wore jackets for the first time this week and we played outside a lot! Lincoln's loving it!
 
When we run, Lincoln holds on like this. I can't be that scary.
 
Like I said, we've been playing outside a lot. He loves to ride "Mater" around the block. I bought this for his first Christmas {it used to just rock} and I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it!
 
He loves it!
 
Another downtown adventure with a gorgeous sunset!
 
I bend down to take a picture and he comes after me with his shovel and some sand.
 
Sister time includes this crazy dog right here, Chance. Thankful for a sister I am so close to. This is what I love about growing up!
 
Linc's been invited to his first birthday party next Sunday! Bring on the kids birthday parties for the next 16 years! So thankful to be his mom!
 
 
So that's it for the past couple weeks. I hope you have an awesome Monday and an incredible week! Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Church and the Single Mom

Happy Sunday friends! Today I'm speaking about something that I am passionate about. I came across a website here, a couple months ago and fell in love. I ordered this book, and read it in one night. In fact, it is what really pushed me to start prayerfully considering talking to my pastor about starting a single moms ministry at our church. Did you hear that?! God is so good and on October 6th {A WEEK FROM TODAY!} we are having our first meeting. Know a single mom?! SEND HER MY WAY! You can comment on this post or email me at carefuss@aol.com to get more details. God is going to do some great things!!

All of that basically lead me to start thinking about the fact that I needed to post about this. Why? Because single moms are important. Jesus loves the single mom. He has compassion on them. So we should, too.

If you've ever walked in a church, you've seen her. She's the mom juggling a bag, purse, keys, and a phone in one hand with a child holding the other. She's the mom who is trying to hide her left hand for fear of someone seeing her ring finger empty. She's the mom who looks a little more tired than the others, and is quick to find a seat without having to talk to anyone. Jesus so loves the single mom.

I've been in churches where I feel incredibly judged. On the other hand, I have been in churches where I have felt like I was very accepted despite the fact that I had a child at 18. I am the single mom. I am the mom who parents alone and brings my small family of two to church on Sunday mornings. I am the mom who sometimes worries what people will think when I walk around with no wedding ring and my two year old. It's hard to walk into a place that should be the most gracious and be judged. It's hard to walk into church {an incredible place of refuge} and know that all eyes are staring at you.

But this is the thing. I am the mom Jesus loves. And I am the mom that the church should love. There are so many single moms out there that are begging for help. They are pleading with anyone to show them some love and some grace. We need to finally realize that these single moms are not supposed to be the outcasts; they shouldn't be afraid to walk in our church doors. And when I say our church doors, I mean all of us. I mean The Journey Church and every other church on the face of the planet. We are not called to pick and choose who we show grace and love to.

I am blessed to have a family who supports me as a single mom and supports this ministry that God is starting. I am blessed to have such a gracious pastor {and his wife} who really cares about people and has prayed about this and stepped out on faith by starting this ministry.

So if you know a single mom in the Northeast Florida area, please let her know about this ministry. Please let her know we're here to help, give support, and grace. No judgement. No condemnation. Jesus loves the single mom. And I do, too.

 If you don't live in the area and you're a single mom who needs some encouragement, be sure to comment or send me an email. I love hearing from y'all!

I hope all of y'all have an amazing day full of grace and hope! Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

13 Year Anniversary

13 years ago I made the most important decision of my life..

I decided to become a Christian.

At 7 years old, I wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but I knew that Jesus was someone I wanted and needed to know.

When I started this blog, I prayed really hard about what I would share. I knew I would share my faith, but I didn't know to what extent. After praying hard about it, I knew the only way I could write this blog was if I shared my faith completely.

I've been saved for 13 years, but just in the last three I've really come to know Jesus' heart more fully. I spent a lot of years thinking that Christianity was about a list of do's and don't's. Now I've realized that it's all about falling more and more in love with Jesus every day.

I'm thankful. I'm thankful for Grace. I'm thankful that such a powerful, incredible, all knowing God would love me SO much to send His only Son to save my life. I mean, really. When I get to thinking what He did, I'm amazed and overwhelmed that anyone would love me that deeply.

I don't really know what it's like to live without God, but I do know what it's like to be a child of His and be miserable as a result of trying so hard to be good. I'm thankful that through unexpected circumstances God teaches me that He loves me no matter what happens in my life, and that He is proud of me. I'm loved completely by an incredible God, and that is just amazing.

So, friend.. Do you know my Jesus? Because today He can be yours!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Story {Part One!}

Since my blog focuses on my faith, I figured why not tell y'all my testimony story?

How did I get to this point in my life? Why do I trust God? And when did I accept God's grace?

The thing is.. My story is kind of long. And I don't want to make you read a novel in one sitting, so I'll break it up. So here goes!

I was raised in church {Thank you Mom and Dad!} and have been just about every Sunday of my life. Only in cases of death can someone miss church and still go to Heaven. I'm only kidding, I promise! So my parents did the selfless thing and took me to church every week. I grew up Baptist. When I was seven years old {September 2001} I accepted Jesus and I remember it like it was yesterday {Blog on that to come soon!}. I was baptized and I remember everything about that, too. It was, and still is, the best decision I ever made.

 I continued on in the church. I grew up going to church, church camp, and loving Jesus. It was a wonderful life and I loved being involved in church. I was reading my Bible and God was speaking to me. I had a pretty easy life. And then I met Lincoln's father..

When my attention on him became greater than my attention on God, my life started become chaotic and purposeless. I became focused on an idol, something that really should have meant nothing to me in the grand picture. Please don't get me wrong here. I'm not putting him down, I'm trying to show you that when anything, whether it be a person, situation, material possession, becomes more important than my relationship with God, that thing becomes an idol. That is a problem. A BIG problem.

My focus was him. My focus was no where near God. I idolized him. God was in the background. I look back now and think, Wow. I missed three and a half years of Jesus being the center. I missed out on a lot. I do have a lot of regrets. I know many people will say that they 'have no regrets in life' but I wouldn't lie about that. I do have regrets. {None of which are my precious son}. But I then remember that God is a gracious God, a forgiving God, and a loving God, and I know that although He wasn't the center then, He is now, and He still has big plans for mine and Lincoln's life.

I was living a life wrapped around a guy at 17. {May I ask why anyone dates in highschool anyways?!} I had my whole life ahead of me.

And then September 17th, 2010 happened..

{To Be Continued}

Monday, September 23, 2013

Will I Let God Use Me?

I'm not perfect.

I know, I know, you're shocked. {Only kidding!}

I have a lovely resume of not being perfect. I don't have a perfect life. I don't have that picture perfect family. I got pregnant out of wedlock and to make it worse I was only 17. I'm really impatient. I often find myself having to really work really hard to trust in God's plan for my life. I have days where all I want to do is cry. I panic {and I do mean PANIC!} if I have to speak in front of people. Sometimes I'm judgemental. I have the worst handwriting in the world. I really should clean more often .....And the list goes on.

And the truth is, you're not perfect either. No one is. If I asked you to think for five minutes you could probably come up with a nice long list of things that make you an imperfect person.

And do you know what? That's okay. In fact, it's great! Your imperfect nature qualifies you to be a vessel through which God can do miracles.

{But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27}

Oh, how I love this verse! It makes my heart so happy!

I'm a simple person. My words are not eloquent. Most likely nothing I say will be remembered past tomorrow and most likely nothing I say will ever be considered famous. But that's okay.

Because God doesn't use perfect people. God doesn't look at someone and think "Wow, they are so perfect! I think I will use them to change the world." He looks at us with love and with grace and says, "You're imperfect but I love you. And with my strength, joy, and power, you can do all things!"

And let me tell you something. I would rather be imperfect and have the amazing privilege of watching God use me to do big things than be a 'perfect person' and have a mundane life in which God doesn't move through me because I have an inflated view of myself.

So instead of looking at myself and naming the aforementioned qualities that make me not so perfect, I should look at the perfect nature of God and think, "He is mighty and all powerful. He is wise, forgiving, and so very full of grace and with His help I can do anything. And anything includes the things I like to believe I'm not qualified for."

So today, throw away your list of things that makes you imperfect. Write down the qualities of God and know that as long as He is in you, you can do anything He calls you to do. Know that you are a child of The Most Holy God and you are wonderful and priceless because He says so. You are not insignificant. You are not worthless. God can and will do big things through you if you let Him. Because often times the question is not 'can God use me,' it's 'Will I let God use me?'

Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I've Been Featured

Hi, friends. Happy Sunday. Linc and I have been sick for the past few days and getting no sleep, so I haven't been writing. I'll be posting some this week, just probably not as much. Please be praying for us as we try to get well, and hopefully Lincoln will be able to go to school tomorrow. He is actually taking a nap right now.

If you haven't seen my blog/Facebook in the past few days, on Friday I was featured on two blogs and I wanted to share those links with you.

To see my guest post on Meg's blog, click here.

To see the other blog I was featured on, click here.

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend {hopefully you haven't been sick!} and are getting ready for a wonderful week! Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Have a Guest Today!

Hi, friends, and happy Friday! Late last night I posted my High Five for Friday post {here} but this morning I have a special guest here who I am so very excited for you to meet and thankful to call a friend!

Meg is one of my favorite blogger friends! She is so kind, sweet, and down to earth. She has a heart for Jesus and for traveling. We've never met {maybe she'll take a trip to Amelia Island, hint, hint!} but I'm still so thankful for her friendship. Her blog is one of my daily reads and I'm so excited that you'll get to meet her, here, today! Go check her blog out, I promise you'll love it {and most likely stay a while like I do}!

Today I am blogging over on her blog.. To see that post click here!

I was so excited when Carrington asked me to do a guest post - I am just such a fan of her blog. It's where I come for encouragement from a darling friend in the mornings. Oh, and her son is absolutely adorable ;) Then, of course, came the hard part: what in heavens name is there to write about?! It's difficult, you know. Writing for someone else's sweet internet space. It's like being a guest in a home, where you want to be kind, courteous and completely you - without getting kicked out ;)

Well, I promise I won't leave any towels on the floor, but I am going to talk about Africa. My lovely blogger friend asked me to write something on a trip that I took, someplace that I went way back when. I have always had a bit of a travel bug, even though I didn't manage to leave my home state of California until I was thirteen. So I decided to write about Africa. Because it was a big deal, a God thing, my first time out of the USA, and in a country without a Starbucks. Such an American girl, hey?



My best friend in college was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and we made the fifty+ hour trek from Los Angeles to Harare in the middle of a humid African summer. I was a spoiled {recent} college graduate with little to no exposure to poverty, and goodness. Africa is such a place. Dusty, humid, dry then drowning in torrential rainstorms. It's where families don't have money but oh how they love.

They love with open hearts and empty tummies, mothers carry their children close and sing in voices that run deep with heartbreak. There is a sense of community, of family, even when the men are hawking internet cards at intersections. Chess on street corners and food stamps, rotten food in empty grocery aisles and churches that sing praises so loud the cracks in the windows creak in chorus.
One day, I'll go back. With a mind that isn't so closed, a heart that's not quite so hard. Our God is such a big God, friends. He has the world in His hands, quite literally, in a way that I had never witnessed before. The differences in culture are minute when it comes right down to it - the churches are still filled with the same kind of people, the ones who have hearts that beat so hard for Him it's hard to breathe.

I'll be the first to admit that my church attendance in college was hinged upon what people thought of me - obviously I had to go because there were donut holes and my roommate went. Then there's the mother that gets her little ones dressed early and walks miles to church, or the father that urges his broken down vehicle to lurch down an African back road, riddled with potholes, because there's a worship service and please he doesn't want to miss it. When there is nothing, God becomes everything. 

Faith is alive in Africa - the love is real, the hearts are big. And here, where there is so little, God is huge. 
 
Didn't she do a fabulous job? And the pictures?! Absolutely beautiful. So that's Meg in a nutshell, and now I'm sure you see why she's so wonderful! Go check out her blog sometime today and find out a little bit more about who she is!

Oh and Meg, Lincoln loved the picture of the monkeys and elephant! So thank you for entertaining him, too! 

Have a wonderful Friday and an awesome weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! I feel like I just wrote last week's High Five for Friday! post yesterday. This week has gone by fast. If this is my first Friday post you've seen, on Fridays I post five things.. It may be something I bought, one of my favorite things from the week, or something I'm looking forward to! Here are my five things!

1. MY FAMILY IS GOING TO DISNEY WORLD. That had to be in caps lock, obviously. Yesterday my parents surprised me with the confirmation of our tickets while we were drinking coffee. If you don't know me, I LOVE DISNEY WORLD! I'm probably definitely worse than a four year old. We used to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party each year for my birthday {December 10}, and I loved it! So, for my 21st birthday, we're going to Disney! And the best part? My whole family is going!! It will be Linc's first time at Disney World and I am so thrilled to take him!

2. Cinnamon and I have started the couch to 5k runs to get ready for the Run or Dye run in November, and we're almost done with our first week. I'm actually really enjoying it and it's nice having someone do it with me!

3.
I just started this book today and didn't get through the first chapter before knowing I was going to love it. It speaks about how many of us are in a position of leadership and we don't even know it. It shows us how to be leaders God's way. Like I said, I'm loving it.

4. Lincoln talks constantly. Ever since I got pregnant with him people told me I would hate when he started talking and I always said I wouldn't. And guess what, I don't. I LOVE THIS TALKING STAGE! He says the funniest things! For instance, last night he told my dad that he drives a purple car and Momma sits in the backseat. He also had me flip over his pillow because it was on the wrong side. He is hysterical. These are precious moments I hold dear.

5. My parents surprised me with two of the most wonderful smelling candles a few days ago. They are cinnamon coffee cake scented, and they are so perfect for Fall!

So that's it for this Friday! What are some of your high five for Friday moments??

If you didn't get to see my Thankful Thursday post, click here. Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Thankful Thursday

I forgot to do the last two Thankful Thursdays so I'm sorry! But this week, I remembered. So here goes!

I'm thankful for my parents. Yesterday they surprised me with a new coffee cup and two candles. This morning they surprised me with my birthday present, a ticket to Disney World, and my mom straightened up my room. I couldn't find more selfless parents in the world. They are wonderful, and they've given up so much for my siblings and I. We're blessed to have parents like them, and Linc's blessed to have grandparents like them!

I'm thankful for sleep. Two nights ago Lincoln and I slept 10 1/2 hours. It was wonderful. Lately I've been falling asleep when he does and it's been so nice.

I'm thankful for my home. I wrote about this on this Thankful Thursday, but I am so grateful for this home every time I pull into the driveway. I'm so blessed to live here, and I try so hard not to take it for granted.

I'm thankful for my hometown. This place is beautiful. It's somewhere that people like to vacation. That's so awesome. Last night Linc and I went downtown and walked on the docks while the sun was setting. I am so blessed to live in such a gorgeous place. And to be able to raise my son here, too, is even better.

I'm thankful for my conversations with Lincoln. Talking to a two year old is hysterical. Lincoln always makes me laugh before bedtime. It always brightens my day to have a conversation with him, because he always has something wonderful to say. His prayers are so precious and the way he says, "Miss you, Momma" always makes my day!

There you have it. The things I'm thankful for this week! What are you thankful for??

I hope you're having a wonderful thankful Thursday and you're reminded of all the things you're thankful for! If you didn't get to see my post about my three year anniversary, click here. Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Last Week {In Pictures}

Hi, friends! I accidently posted this on Monday when I was working on finishing it, so I finished it and finally posted it, for good this time. For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I apologize. A lot of the pictures will be repeated. But here's our week in pictures!

I've been meaning to get a picture of this and I finally did. This is where Linc hangs his bag for school. Linc's teachers took this the second day of school. Most of the other kids are all smiley.. Not mine! Lol. Still cute!
 
Monday afternoon I picked Lincoln up and told him I had a surprise trip to the zoo planned.. This was his reaction. So happy!
 
See? He LOVES the zoo. So happy to be there!
 
The life of a single mom: We take lots of selfies because there's no one with us to take our picture. Lol.
 
We always feed the giraffes when we go. Today the giraffe was so close to Linc he got to do it all alone. He was so excited!
 
And of course we had to ride "Lion King" three times. It was so empty at the zoo that we got to ride for free once. Yay!
 
If you knew anything about Lincoln last Fall/Winter, it was that he loved his 'turtles'. He's so smart this year he's figured out they're frogs and I brought them out for him the other day. He was so excited. In the car going to get Yobe frozen yogurt, he told them, "Missed you, slippers." and rubbed them. My word. He's in love.
 
Tuesday I took the boys to the park. Lincoln was excited, Curry was too, he just didn't show it.
 
Wednesday Linc was back to school, and loving it!! I'm so proud of how great he's doing there!
 
Wednesday after school I surprised Linc with lunch at The Loop {one of our favorites!} Look at those big blue eyes!
 
Spiderman showed up this week, too!
 
Lincoln helped me wash my car. I also cleaned it out, wiped it down, vacuumed it out, bought two new air freshners, and washed Lincoln's car seat. It may or may not have been the first time I've done all that in years.
 
Linc and I made these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Three ingredients and delicious!
 
Sweet Gator boy is getting to jump on his trampoline a lot now that it's getting cooler! Yay!
 
Checked the weather on my phone and was so so excited to see temps in the 80s!
 
Sunday night we ended our week with a Christmas movie. Best way to end the week! 
 
I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday! If you didn't get to see my post about my three year anniversary, click here. Be sure to go follow me either by email, Google or Yahoo, or with Bloglovin to stay updated when I post! You can leave comments or email me at carefuss@aol.com! Have an amazing day!