Friday, December 5, 2008

Proverbs 31

I have started, deleted, and restarted this post several times. I feel so inadequate with words sometimes. I don't feel I'm a good writer. So, when I try to write things that are in my HEART, the words just have a hard time coming out.

God is moving in my heart. He is tugging. He is showing me so much. I love Him more than I ever knew. I need Him more than I ever let myself realize. I am slowly giving up control.

The mission God has sent me on recently is to become a beautiful version of the Proverbs 31 woman. Of course I have read this chapter of the bible lots of times, have heard it preached on, etc. Honestly, I don't think anyone in my life has revealed the chapter to me as God intended.

In my life I have come to notice that the Proverbs 31 woman does not get enough credit. Some have told me that she is not really one woman, but many woman, so that I may pick and choose which aspects I want to live out. Others have said that she is just absolutely not attainable, so to try my best, but its just not reality to live out all she did. In all honesty, I think both of those explanations short change God (although I believed them for so long) and don't allow Him to work in a woman how I know He can.

Here is a descriptions of the Proverbs 31 woman I recently came across and I like it because it gives me an easier understanding of who she is.

She is up before dawn.
She has her own garden,
She makes clothes for herself and her family.
She owns and runs her own business.
She is a wonderful homemaker.
Her husband praises her.
Her children adore her.
She is intelligent.
She takes care of the physical needs of her family.
She speaks with wisdom.
She helps others.
She is in shape--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
She fears God.

God is calling me to be this woman. I know that by being the virtuous woman God calls me to be, I will be experiencing the glories of the life He wants for me. And there can't be anything better. I know I CAN become the ideal woman--not because of what I can do, but because of who He is.

God is revealing practical ways of living out His plan. I do believe that is the direction this blog is going. I want this to be a place where I can travel the journey of becoming a better woman. A place to document what I am learning. A place to "keep it real" about all my successes and failures in this journey.

About a month ago I began reading the book The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I HIGHLY recommend it for any woman with children or thinking about having children. After each chapter she has some things to try to help you move in the direction of becoming a better wife, mother, woman. I am going to start again at Chapter 1 of the book and post my thoughts and reflections on each Chapter and on the practical applications that I am trying.

Since this blog is going in a little bit different direction, I have made a new blog just for Chloe. I have moved some of the posts from this blog and I will posting anything new about her on that one. Its address is: chloeannsmith.blogspot.com. See ya there!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Addiction Became A Blessing

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I have been really wanting to post about what God has been doing, but I often don't have the words to fully describe exactly what I want to get across. So I'm just going to try my best :)

Hi. My name is Ashleigh and I'm addicted to blogs. I check several of them daily. Sometimes I check them multiple times a day for updates. Did I just admit that?

A couple of months back, I began reading a blog by Angie Smith. She is the wife of Todd Smith, who is the lead singer of the group Selah. At 20 weeks pregnant she was told that her baby would not live outside the womb and that she should terminate. She and her husband decided that God created their baby's life for a reason and that Angie would carry her to term and pray for a miracle. The Smith's baby, Audrey, lived for 2 1/2 hours outside of the womb and was then taken to heaven. I came into the story late, Audrey had already been born, but I started from the beginning of the story/blog. I knew the ending from the pictures on her page, but I found myself so wrapped up in each blog entry that it was like everything was happening as I was reading it. I would sit down with my computer and a blanket and let Angie's words wash over me. It was truly as if God was speaking to me. Angie's faith is unwavering. Her words were the most encouraging/challenging I have heard or read in I don't know how long. Maybe forever. Although they weren't her words. They were God's.

As I was reading, God kept whispering to me how much He loves His people. How much He wants to have a real, intimate, powerful relationship with me. I didn't feel condemnation for my lack of faith/walk with God the past few years, but I felt a yearning. A longing to just spend time with Him. I just want nothing more than to let Him be the ruler of my life. So, for the past few weeks, I have really been trying to seek Him and spend more time with Him. I'm not perfect and our relationship is strained, but I know He is in this with me and I know He is ready to take over my heart, thoughts, and actions and I'm so very ready to let him.

Angie Smith has been a vessel of God and oh, how I give Him thanks for her!

Through all of this, God has really been showing me my mission/purpose. It is something he placed inside of me (and I beleive, every woman) long ago. More to come on that.... :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Best Halloween of My Life

I may be a little biased, but I'm pretty sure I have the most precious child in the world. Halloween this year was so much fun! The fun Chloe had this year was more than I would have imagined. My original plan was for her to be a skunk. Justin and I saw the skunk costume at Old Navy about a month and a half before Halloween. I figured I would look around a little more just to make sure that was the one I wanted. Well, I came back about a month later and it was gone (as were all the skunk costumes at the surrounding Old Navy's). So, I kept holding off thinking I would find a costume I would fall in love with. I didn't. Last minute, on Wednesday, we went to get her a costume. We came across a Goldilocks. I thought it was cute, but it wasn't my favorite ever. Until.....

I put it on her. I mean seriously, could she be any cuter?

The even better part was that she loved her costume. She begged me to let her put it on all day on Friday. She loved her bears. She loved her ribbons. She was quite the girly girl. As you can see, we also found an Elmo basket, which she adored as well.

Justin's work had a party for the kids, so that was our first stop.




She was a pro from the start!



I was so proud of her because she told every candy-giver thank you without any prompting.

We made a few stops to some family and friends. Chloe enjoyed seeing Jake Aviles as the Great Pumpkin and Lily Murray as a peacock. They were just adorable in their costumes as well.

Lastly, we trick or treated around our neighborhood.




I kept asking Chloe, "Do you want to go home or do you want to keep trick or treating?"

Of course, she said, "Trick or!"

I can confidently say this was the best Halloween I have ever had.

And judging from this picture, it may have been Chloe's too:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mommy has a new baby!

Sunday was my birthday. It was pretty low-key. We had a pot-luck at church for our pastor because his birthday is this week....but secretly, my family was actually using it for MY birthday lunch (sneaky, huh?). One of my mom's friends loves to take pictures and she came up to us and asked us to get together for a family picture.

As I was looking into her camera, I realized she had the camera that I have been wanting and saving up for for months. I asked her if it was new and she said, "Yeah, but I haven't really figured out how to view the pictures...can you show me?" Of course I said yes because 1) I just wanted to touch it and 2) I knew how to view the pictures.

So, I show her how and scroll through and this is what I see:



THE CAMERA WAS MINE!!! They seriously fooled me and I was so excited!

Here's a picture of my new baby:

ln fact, Justin told Chloe "Mommy has a new baby now" - lol!

Be on the lookout for lots of new pictures here! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

I will hide Your word in my heart

This past weekend I attended a women's retreat that our church put on. It was such a wonderful time of laughter, tears, and renewal. There was a great speaker as well as break-out sessions on different topics. My second breakout session was called, "Teaching your Children the Word of God". It was amazing. The woman who led the class was named Karen Eppler. She has been teaching her grandchildren bible verses through very creative means and I was so encouraged! I can not WAIT to start teaching Chloe the verses and for her to have them hidden in her heart at such an early age. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. Karen's grand-daughter (Miriam), who was probably about 7 or so, was there and recited some of the verses for us. Karen was telling us that Miriam knows about 500 verses - including some complete chapters of the bible. It was so amazing. If you are interested in some of Karen's curriculums you can go here and click on Scripture Memory. She has a picture card and a song that goes with each verse. Here is an example (sorry its fuzzy):


Friday, October 3, 2008

M&M

video

My Little Con Artist


I started trying to potty train Chloe a little over a month ago. She was giving me lots of clues that she was ready, so I decided to give it a shot. It was a HORRIBLE week. The first day she peed in her panties all day. The next day she held her pee the entire day. The third day she was just mad and didn't want to have anything to do with it. I tried several different things with her: I gave her lots of toys to play with on the potty, we got Elmo panties (which she LOVES), I would give her a couple of mini M&Ms if she went on the potty. These were all great ideas, but none of them could help her relax enough to actually let her pee out. So, we decided to give it a rest for a while. Every once in a while she will go pee-pee on the potty and each time I give her a couple of mini M&Ms (I will try to post a video of her saying M&M because its quite possibly the cutest thing you have ever heard).

Anyway...fast forward to yesterday. She gives some pretty tell-tale signs that she's going poopy, so yesterday when she was doing her "poopy dance", I decided to sit her on the potty. She went on the potty and I was so proud of her! I got her some M&Ms and she was happy!

Last night we took her to her grandparents house to play for a while. When Justin and I came back to get her, here is the conversation we had on the way home:

Me: Did you have fun with grandma and grandpa?
Chloe: Yeah! Pee-pee!
Me: You went pee-pee? Did you go pee-pee on the potty??
Chloe: Yeah! M&M!
Me: Oh, really? I think grandma would have told me that!

So, basically we have learned that our daughter is a con artist! She thought if she told me she went pee-pee on the potty (which she DIDN'T do!) I would give her an M&M.

How do they know how to lie and manipulate at such an early age?

I think Justin and I are in for a long 18 years!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Are YOU talking to ME?

Chloe has been amazing me lately with her language. I really have no idea whether she is on pace, ahead, or behind with her skills. It doesn't matter to me. It used to. When she was about a year old, I worried that her language was delayed and she would never talk. First-time mommy anxiety, I guess. But now, we just go with the flow. I don't care about what's "textbook" anymore. She is her own person and will develop at her own pace.

When she says new words I get so excited. I love to see her little brain work things out. Its so fun to see her connect objects or happenings with words. Lately she has been making sentences. -- 2-word sentences and some of them aren't grammatically correct, but I don't care, they are sentences none-the-less.

Her new sentences are:

*I eat. She first said this when she was talking to her daddy on the phone. He asked her what she was doing and she said "I eat." Sure enough, she was eating at the time!

*Go home! She loves to say this one after preschool when she is tired and ready for her lunch.

*This Momma's. One night I had a bottle of water and Justin wanted a drink, so I handed it to him. He was holding it after he was done and Chloe came up and took it from him and said "this momma's!"

*Nana, bye bye. She has learned to address people when speaking to them now. My mom (Nana) was not listening one day when Chloe was saying bye bye repeatedly, so she said, "Nana! Bye bye!"

Those are a few of the sentences I can remember right now. I can't even imagine when she will start talking in full sentences. Although, I'm sure it won't be long.....

Time flies when you're having fun!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Somewhere In Between....

For all of Chloe's life (which I realize hasn't really been all that long), she has fit into the size clothes that were designed for her age. When she was 3 months she wore 3 month clothes, 6 months she wore 6 month clothes...you get the idea.

Enter her 1st birthday. She had a wonderful party. Lots of friends joined us and blessed her with tons of clothes. Most of the clothes were 18 months because I had told people she would be in them soon. WRONG! She is now 20 months old and she STILL does not wear 18 month clothes. Somewhere in there she decided it was a good idea to stop growing. The problem is: she's not in 12 month clothes either. If you know anything about baby clothes, there is nothing in between 12 months and 18 months.

So, my baby runs around with a onesie that is too small and pants that are too big.

If I put her in 12 month jeans they look like capris, but 18 month jeans make her look like a gansta.

What's a momma to do?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Riding in the car with my windows down, my radio blaring, and singing at the top of my lungs (when Chloe's not with me, of course)

Chloe's giggles

Authentic relationships, especially with other women

Dancing (and I mean like...gettin' down with your bad self kind of dancing)

Babies

Christmas

A really great book

Laying in the sun

Feeling pretty

Watching Justin play with Chloe

Uninhibited laughter

The smell of springtime (magnolias, lilacs...)

Being at the lake with friends

Cool mornings

Being healthy (eating right and exercising)...I definitely don't do this one enough!

Talking about birth

Snuggling

Pedicures

Great food

Becoming more like Christ

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad....I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel soooo bad.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I think I'm ready

I have always known I wanted to be a mommy. When I was little, in daycare, I would take all of the younger kids under my wing and "mother" them. At 4, "mothering" to me was just basically telling other kids what to do. Man, I was bossy! Anyway...God put something inside of me that sets my heart ablaze when I think about being pregnant, having babies, and raising children. Justin and I only waited about 8 months before we decided we were ready for babies. When I found out I was pregnant with Chloe, I couldn't have been more happy! I actually couldn't even wait long enough to get home to take the pregnancy test, so I took it in the Target bathroom. I'm a dork, I know. I called Justin, who was at work, and asked if I could come by and have lunch with him. Over a gourmet Arby's lunch, I told Justin he was going to be a daddy. I will never forget that moment. We told our parents that same night. It was so exciting.

As with being a mommy, I also knew I wanted to have lots of kids. More than 4. I'm still not sure Justin is on board with me about this. I always thought I would want my children just one right after the other. I never took into account that the first one might fill my heart so full that I would feel like I may not have enough room for any more. For about the first 15 months of Chloe's life I just was not ready to have another baby (something I never ever imagined I would feel). I had so many fears (some of which I still have) about whether I could love the second as much, whether I have enough time in the day to really nurture both of them...and the list goes on.

Chloe is now 20 months and I think I'm ready for the next one. I'm excited to be pregnant again. I'm ready to breastfeed (something I failed miserably at with Chloe). I want to snuggle a tiny little bundle again. I can't wait to see Chloe as a big sister. I finally feel like my excitement outweighs my apprehensions.

So...all that to say: Bring on the baby makin'! ;)

And just for your enjoyment (and because I think this picture is hilarious):

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Umm...so where do I start?

Today's post is the reason I never wanted to start a blog in the first place. Where the heck do I start? Chloe's 1st birthday? Chloe's birth? Our wedding? High school? MY birth? lol. I really don't want to have 10 posts just getting everyone up to speed on our lives. SO, I have decided to post some old pictures of Chloe and then make my next post start in the present. Today. Right now. I never liked history much anyway ;)

So, here is a look at our little princess.

The day she was born (January 15, 2007):

3 Months:



6 months:



9 months:



1 year:



18 months:



Ain't she darn cute?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Here We Go....

I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for quite some time now. For some reason, the task just seemed so daunting. And quite frankly, starting this thing and making it pretty wasn't the easiest thing in the world. Naming this thing took me several hours. seriously. I kept wanting a web address that used our last name. Having the last name Smith really worked against me. Apparently every person on the face of the earth with the name Smith has a blog because EVERY possible Smith title is taken. I finally gave up on that and decided to go in a different direction. I chose things I believe in. Love. Joy. and Laughter. I like it.

I want this blog to be a place where I can keep others up to date on our lives, but I also want it to be a place where I can write about anything else that strikes my fancy (lol - get ready!).

I really feel quite out of place in the blogosphere. I read several blogs daily. In future posts I will try to let you know which ones I absolutely love. Most of the blogs I read are written by friends, women who inspire me, women who are in the same boat as me (wife, momma, sister, etc), or blogs that are just dang funny. Anywho...many of these bloggers are great writers. I am not. I have decided to put my lack of writing skills behind me and finally give this blogging thing a whirl.

So, here's to great blogs and to hoping someday mine is atleast good!