Sunday, October 19, 2014

12 Months of Ainslee Blake

I'm not sure how it happened so quickly, but we have officially arrived at the months of Ainslee Blake finale. 12 months...she's 12 months! My sweet girl turned the big one on September 25th. Oh what a year it's been parenting this adorable ornery mess. 
Kisses for Carl.

Ainslee is pretty excited to be done with the monthly pictures. She is very mobile and has plenty of things to explore. No time for pictures.

Ainslee's Likes
  • Putting spaghetti on her head. No idea why, but she always puts it on her head. Only spaghetti.

  • Tearing up paper.

  • Running errands with Daddy. If Daddy is going she wants to go. One day he was holding her and she pointed to the door and said, "Dada bye-bye," and waved. Meaning, "Daddy let's go!"

Running errands with Daddy does take it out of you, though.

  • Books and Deacon. The girl loves books right now. She is also a huge fan of big brother. He is loads of fun to play with.

  • Destroying games. If you want to play a board game, you better make sure Ainslee isn't around. She loves to mess up a good game of Candy Land.

  • Sesame Street. The girl just discovered it and she loves it. (Also, I'm sure you are all dying to know where we got our fancy baby gate in the background. It's from the "take your dining room chair and lay it on its side" collection. Very fancy.)

  • Emptying out any and all containers. Hangers are her favorite.

Ainslee's Dislikes
  • I have no pictures, but she does not like for her big sister Hayden to tell her what to do. She has already learned to tattle on Hayden in her own special way.
  • Really loud noises. We had to leave a school assembly early because she might have flipped out when the students were screaming a little loudly.
  • Riding Elevators. Kerry put a video on his instagram of this. She does not like riding the elevator one bit. She actually cried.
More photos from the month.
What she looks like when we don't comb her hair after her bath.

We have a birthday tradition with our kids. You get a donut from the donut shop on your birthday. Ainslee loved her first donut.

The day after her birthday she took off and started walking everywhere!

Ainslee's First Birthday Party

Ainslee's first birthday party was awesome. The theme, the size, the weather...I loved it all. We decided to do a small intimate party and just invited family for her first. 

Her party theme was strawberries. We had strawberry cake, cupcakes, cookies, and candies. 
Ainslee's Meemaw made me the tea towels several years ago. I loved using them for the decorations.

Goody Bags

I just want to say I love my niece. She owns her own sign-making business in Atoka. I told her very close to the last minute that I wanted a chalkboard looking birthday sign and asked if she had time to do it (family is the worst...I'm so sorry Deana!). Anyhow, Kerry designed exactly what I wanted and Deana gladly said she would get it printed for me and this is how it turned out.
Amazing right?! Deana is awesome. Her business is DK Designs in Atoka...she has great prices and ships everywhere. 
I asked Ainslee's Mimi if she would make a strawberry dress for Ainslee's party. Isn't it adorable? 

We kind of forgot to take pictures of our party guests, but we did get this picture of cousin Ruger and big brother Deacon chowing down. Their big sisters provided the face paint.

Ainslee did have a good time opening her presents. Who doesn't love ripping up wrapping paper?

Mama and the birthday girl. Ainslee smiling/yawning.

I love my little family so much; we are so not photogenic, but I love it. This is us, face paint and all.
Deacon's hand placement is always so unfortunate.
My favorite part of any first birthday is the baby eating their cake. Ainslee loved cake. I had to take it away a little while, I think she would've eaten the entire thing!
You can't worry about looking all attractive-like when you are shoveling cake in your mouth.

This girl

She was absolutely willing to share.

Is she as ornery as she looks? Yes...the answer is yes.

Ainslee just up and started walking the day before her party. Here she was showing off her new skills.

She was a little over taking pictures at this point, but it's another great picture of her cute strawberry dress.

...and another.
Thanks to all of our family that made the drive to Cookson for Ainslee's big day, and for all the presents!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Go and Learn

The day I came to this passage of scripture I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Look at me, getting my bible study on. God is probably proud as he sticks a star on my chart. I know...super Pharisee loser. I might as well have stood out on the street corner praying aloud about how great I was and how lucky God was to call me his child. Pretty sure God laughed as he knew what he was about to say to my heart. He should have anyways.

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said, "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means; I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." -Matthew 9:10-13

So first off let me say this:  you know it's a bad thing when you feel like you have more in common with the Pharisees. I just want to be clear--that is not a positive thing.

I love to read scripture and be like, "Yeah, that's right tell those Pharisees idiots what's up." But this time, I felt God pricking my heart and asking me to examine my own heart because it favored the attitude of the Pharisees.

Here's why.

I am often surrounded by the healthy and I do not look for the sick. I care tremendously for those in my life that I'm comfortable with, family and friends. But what about those I don't know? What about the ones drowning in pain? What about the people who just need a friend, and more importantly need Jesus. And just who are the sick?

I kept seeing the verse, "Go and learn what this means," over and over. Go and learn, go and learn.

I sat still, prideful wind knocked completely out of me. I hear you God, please forgive me because I don't even know what this means or looks like in my own life.

I prayed, "Please God open my eyes. I have had them shut. I've been keeping to myself, trying desperately to keep my world comfortable. I do not look for opportunities surrounding me to serve others that I do not know, or am not comfortable around."

A few days later I was at the lake and some ladies were there that sadly I would normally judge and write off because of their words, attitudes, and actions. I hate admitting this, because I honestly don't like this about me. It's ugly; I make a wonderful Pharisee, and I don't want to make a wonderful Pharisee. Why do you eat with tax collectors and sinners?  Anyhow, I remembered "go and learn." I could feel God showing me his love for them instead. I didn't focus on all that could make me uncomfortable about these women, I instead felt inclined and burdened to pray for them. I asked God to help me see them they way Jesus would.

I feel him changing my attitude. It begins with seeing people the way Jesus does. Serving people the way Jesus would. Loving people the way Jesus would. For far too long I haven't been doing that. That's not okay anymore. Brick by brick this safe wall of comfort I have built is being torn down.

Go and learn, go and learn. I'm praying for God to move my feet and teach me along the way.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Panic or Trust

At our church, The Crossing, my husband Kerry has been preaching through the book of Matthew. This has been my favorite thing he has taught on in our entire 10 years of being in ministry. We've been in Matthew for weeks now as he has been walking us through the book a few verses at a time. (Side note: If you don't have a church home and you live in the Gore area, we would love to have you sometime!)

When Kerry started preaching through Matthew I decided to also study the book along side. I love the gospels, and to study Matthew individually and as a church has been awesome to see the many different things God is pointing out to me.

This particular day I was in Chapter 8.

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, "what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" -Matthew 8:23-27

So Jesus and his disciples take off in a boat. These guys aren't just newbies who Jesus just met and decided to get on a boat together. They've been with Jesus for some time now. They've seen him do some pretty amazing things. Healing people of various sicknesses by either speaking, "You're healed," or by touching them and making them well. They were there as he gave the Sermon on the Mount. They also knew who he claimed to be; he wasn't hiding that from them. Yet, they still didn't quite believe...

As they were in the boat, a furious storm hits, and the panic sets in. The disciples are freaking out, and although Jesus was on the boat with them all they can see or focus on is the huge waves, the pounding storm, the imminent danger. Who cares if Jesus is on the boat?! He obviously doesn't know what's going on anyways because he's sleeping!! This storm is going to end us! 

They knew Jesus was on the boat because they ran to him pleading for him to wake up and save them or they would drown. So they knew he was there, but they were afraid he wasn't aware of the dire situation. Jesus, we know you claim to be God and all, but I don't think you are aware of what exactly is going on here.

In the moment of fear and panic they doubted him.

They doubted his knowledge and awareness

They doubted his power

They doubted his love

They doubted his provision

It all went out the window. They had been there and witnessed his power many times before, yet in their time of trouble they trusted in what they were currently experiencing...a horrendous storm.

After waking Jesus, he replies, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

I imagine they were like, "Um, really? Can you not see the giant waves pouring over the boat?"

He then gets up and rebukes the wind and the waves, and all is calm. I've read this passage many times before, but for the first time I really noticed something. After confronting the disciples with their lack of faith he performs an act of grace by calming the storm. He revealed his almighty power by speaking the weather and sea into submission. So you see his almighty authority, but also his grace. He calmed the sea, and in that moment calmed the panic and fear by reminding them who he was, and that He was with them. They had no reason to panic, God was right there with them in the boat.

I imagine their draws dropping. We know they were amazed because of their statement: "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him?"

I wonder if they felt embarrassed by their lack of faith? I always do...

I cannot tell you how many times I've panicked. When a storm comes out of no where and I had no time to prepare my first inclination is to freak out. "God, I do not think you see the magnitude of this storm. You couldn't possibly or you would do something! Where are you?"

And he's right there. Every single time. He knows I want to panic, be dramatic, and play worst case scenario before I really stop and trust him. I know he must sit and wait saying "I'm right here, I already have all the information, When you're ready to stop and trust me I'm here."

He's right there waiting for me to see him, to run to him, to trust him. The storm might be overwhelming and terrifying, but I don't have to go through it alone, I have the maker of the universe to lean on through it all.

I wrote this a few weeks ago. Last night one of life's unexpected storms hit. Guess what? Right away I panicked. I panicked for a good hour before I stopped. I only stopped because I felt God gently reminding me of this passage. I knew I had a choice, continue to panic and trust only in the circumstances or go to God, trust him, and know that he is bigger than the storm.

It's not easy, and it never feels natural. I've already caught myself many times trying to run back to the fear and panic. As soon as I catch myself trying to go there I have to run to God. When I do he reminds me of this passage. He's also reminding me of everything else he has brought me through. It's so easy to forget all that when times are tough, but it's important that we not forget.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

11 Months of Ainslee Blake

Oh my goodess! We are one month away from Ainslee turning one! I do not know how time could possibly fly so quickly. But, here we are. 11 months of Ainslee Blake

This is her new showing-out face. She is so stinking ornery.

Firsts this month:
  • Going to a Drillers Game. She loved Hornsby. 

Seriously though...

Around the sixth inning Ainslee and Deacon were too wiggly to remain sitting in the stands so we headed out to the lawn behind left field. I promise this picture below happened naturally. I nearly cried...then a few seconds later he started pestering her. So, it all evens out in the end.

  •  Going to the Aquarium/her first "Girl's Day" with Granny and cousin Kabella.

Granny has been doing girl's day with Hayden and cousin Arianna, and a boy's day with Deacon and cousin Ruger for a few years now. She decided it was time for Ainslee and Bella to have their first girl's day out. We originally wanted to go to the zoo, but we thought the aquarium was probably a better choice in this August heat. It was a huge success because the girls loved it.

Touching a starfish.

Watching the sting rays.

Other firsts:
  • Staying the night away from Mama. It was two nights, and Ainslee did great, Mama actually did okay too.
  • Saying "bubba." She has to be in the right mood, but I've gotten her to say it a few times.
  • Crawling the correct way. We seriously thought she'd never give up the army crawl.
  • Her bottom two side teeth came in.

Ainslee's Likes:
  • Daddy being home! June-mid July Kerry is always extremely busy at the campground and usually doesn't get home til after bedtime. The first few days that Kerry was home Ainslee was stuck to him like glue.

Cuddling with Daddy

  • Pestering Granny Eakle. She put on quite the show last time we were at Granny Eakle's house. Grabbing her feet and mocking her every time she coughed or sneezed. Granny got a huge kick out of it.

  •  Throwing magazines in the floor, emptying toy baskets, diaper baskets, pretty much anything that can be emptied.

She threw these in the floor and then wallowed in them.
  • Playing "Patty-cake," "Where's Ainslee?" and lifting her hands in the hair when we say, "praise Jesus"'s really funny.
  • The girl also loves a good tune to dance to and dances rather wildly. (See my Instagram for a video) 
Ainslee's Dislikes:
  • When mama won't let her play with the iPad.

"My mom is so mean!"

  •  When mama or daddy says the word "no."

I found a box of Deacon's old baby clothes the other day. I had forgotten about this gem that we got from the Gibsons.
Ainslee Ninja Warrior
 We bought Ainslee this onesie while in Eureka Springs. I love it so much.