Delayed Gratification

My son is not verbally advanced. In fact, he's always been behind the benchmarks for his age.

For some reason, contrary to my nature, this hasn't really worried me. I always knew the words would come- and that there was nothing wrong with his intellect or ability to relate to others. I'm not going to lie, though... it has been difficult to watch others with very verbally advanced children, but like I said ... I just knew Carter would catch up... eventually.

Well my friends, the day has arrived. I can't even count the numbers of new words Carter has said this week. He is literally blowing my mind! I think the gratification of hearing him talk is even sweeter after all the months I've worked with him... and waited...and waited.

The ironic part of this is that he has been obsessed with the alphabet since before he turned two. He could identify all the letters in the alphabet long before his 2nd birthday, and has been able to say all the letters and sounds individually for months now (with the exception of "K" and the hard "C" sounds). He reads letters everywhere we go... in the doctor's office, grocery store, street signs. It has seemed so strange to me that I've often joked that he might read before he could talk!

I'm loving this new stage and am thankful for every bit of progress my little guy makes. Thank you, Lord for a happy, healthy child!


Old Passage, New Version

Most of us are probably familiar with the Proverbs 31 woman (found in Proverbs 31:10-31). Although she sets the bar high for us women, I can always find something in this passage to inspire me to be a better wife or mother. I've been doing a good deal of self-reflecting these days (since I haven't had the energy to do much else) and I have found some definite areas I need to work on. The good news is that we have a perfect example of a woman who "does it all" ... with beauty and grace... and without losing her mind! Hopefully, these verses will inspire and encourage you as well.

I LOVE The Message translation of this passage. It helped me read it in a new, fresh way and made it very relevant for today.

Also, take note of the verse that says, "She senses the worth of her work...". Sometimes as a stay-at-home-mom I question the "worth of my work" when others are out doing things that can seem much more important or productive. This verse served as a good reminder that there is worth in devoting this chapter of my life to raising my child (soon to be children). Even though helping Carter with his ABC puzzle for the one millionth time might seem trivial, there is worth to be found there. The same goes for meal planning, cooking, cleaning, and laundry. It has value- and I've found that if you approach it with this attitude, the attitude of a servant, then the tasks become far more meaningful.

A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!


Oh, Baby Baby

Yes, it's true... today I am 12 weeks pregnant! Carter's brother or sister is due to arrive this August and we are very excited! Here's an update on this pregnancy so far:

- This picture was taken at 10 weeks

-In many ways, I have physically felt the same way that I did when I was pregnant with Carter. My first trimester symptoms have included exhaustion, nausea, moodiness (like PMSing on steroids), oh and did I mention the nausea?! However, this time around they have seemed more prevalent than before. When I was pregnant with Carter, I was working full time and "mentally occupied" for most of the day. These days I am busy chasing around a 2 year old, which gives me a little more "freedom" to think about how yucky I feel. Does that make sense?

-We've had a doctor's appointment at 6 weeks, an ultrasound at 8 weeks, and another appointment at 10 weeks. All is well!
-Something I struggled greatly with during my first trimester with Carter was worry. This pregnancy has been no different- and in some ways, worse. As you probably know by now, our first two pregnancies ended in miscarriages. By the time I got pregnant with Carter (pregnancy #3), I was utterly terrified and yet so weak in my fear that I had no choice but to relinquish everything to God. As Creator of the child inside my womb, only HE can take life. Nothing was out of His plan. Because of what we had been through, Carter's birth was nothing short of a miracle to me. I felt as though God had truly blessed us in the most unbelievable way- and I still feel that way every time I look at my son. I love him more than life itself.

For whatever reason, it has been really hard for me to believe that God would bless us with another miracle. I have been guarded in my excitement over this pregnancy out of sheer fear that my excitement will somehow "jinx" the pregnancy into absolute devastation. I realize how ridiculous that sounds and am probably being too transparent in the shallowness of my faith. In my heart of hearts, I know God is in control. I know that... but why don't I live that way? I am praying for this child, just as I did for Carter. I know God is working in me- and once again bringing me to a place of complete dependence on Him. And for that I am thankful.

Your prayers are appreciated. More updates to come!


Brain Dump

Random things from my brain:

1. Spring Fever. Who else is ready for SPRING?! There was a time in my life if you had asked what my favorite season was I would promptly respond with, "WINTER!" Can you believe it? Blame this on the 12 years I spent growing up in Florida where it was warm enough to go swimming on many Christmases. By the time I moved to TN, I was SO ready for cold weather. Now, as the parent of an active two year old boy, I can safely say that winter is my least favorite season. As a girl who hates the heat of summer, I'm pretty sure I'd take that over these frigid days that keep us locked indoors!

2. Things I am daydreaming about:
warmer weather (see #1)
the farmers market
walks in the neighborhood/trips to the playground or park
planting flowers and herbs
spring cleaning
a vacation of any sort

3. Bonhoeffer. As you can see on my sidebar, I'm currently reading Bonhoeffer. Several months ago, this book caught my eye on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. I thumbed through it and found it fascinating, but couldn't bring myself to spend $30 for it. A few days later, I was at my parents' house and my mom mentioned a new book she bought and thought I might be interested in... yep, it was the same one!

In case you don't know, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor/theologian during World War II. He was part of the movement to resist Nazism in Germany, specifically in the church. He was also part of the {failed} plot to assassinate Hitler, and was eventually executed for it.

It's a little out of my reading comfort zone.. in that it is a biography not fiction, though it reads much like a novel. It's a big whopper of a book so it may take me awhile to finish it, but I'll be sure to share my thoughts when I'm done!

4. Grandpa Stephens. Jeremy's grandpa passed away about 2 weeks ago. It was a hard loss for his family, as they shared so many wonderful memories with him... especially during their childhood. Here are a few special pictures:

Grandma and Grandpa Stephens with the grandkids:
{Jeremy is the cute blonde sitting on the right of the table}
Jeremy (at 11 months) sleeping with Grandpa