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Amelia: an update at almost 2 years

Our sweet Amelia Caroline was born on January 7th 2014 and she has not ceased to teach us about ourselves and God since.  We had a typical pregnancy and great birth and Amelia continued to grow and learn as all babies do.  Around 6 months we noticed that she was behind but nothing that was too concerning to her doctors. Around 9 months we were considering physical therapy to help with her lack of mobility (she was not rolling, crawling, really moving).  Right after her first birthday we went in for an appointment with the North Carolina Children’s Development Services agency fully expecting that she would qualify for early intervention based on her need for physical therapy.  We were told instead, that our daughter was significantly delayed in every area, and in some areas scoring in the 3 month range (at one year old).

We began receiving services through the early intervention program about two months later and have seen Amelia learn and grow and develop in ways that she had not during the first year of her life. She is currently crawling on her hands and knees, pulling up to standing, cruising on furniture and with the help of a walker, babbling, holding her own sippy cup, feeding herself by hand, understands many words- can say a few (mom, dada, nana, bub-short for bunny) and for all of these things we praise God!

I felt the need to write this out because I want to make clear what may be difficult to discern between Instagram posts and pictures. We love Amelia and accept her and receive her as a blessing from the Lord regardless of her abilities now or potential abilities in the future. Through therapy we hope to help Amelia achieve as many “normal” childhood milestones as she can but her value and worth to us and to God are by no means contingent on her meeting any of these milestones! When I post pictures of Amelia on social media in celebration of a milestone met, it is simply that- a celebration- we are rejoicing in all of her hard work and God’s grace in allowing her to acquire a new skill (just like any parent would).

Amelia has taught me so much about the character of God through her existence and so much about myself- namely that I often base my worth as a person, wife, mother, friend, woman on my abilities. She has so challenged this view because if I believe my worth is based on what I can do then surely hers must be too.  I, just like my daughter am infinitely precious to God because He created me in His image. And the purpose of my life is not found in what I achieve, contribute or succeed in but in living a life that honors and points back to my Creator as the Glorious One- and the greatest achievement accomplished by Christ who humbled Himself and took on flesh and lived the perfect sinless life I (and you!) can not live, dying in my place- bearing the wrath of God that I (and you!) deserve for our sins, and then was raised from the grave victorious over sin!  The purpose of my life and yours and Amelia’s is to bring glory to this great God who has made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself.

Amelia’s developmental delay, whether for just a season or for the rest of her life is an affront to the message of this world which screams that your worth is found in what you can do (what you look like, how much money you make, what type of job you work, etc..) and beckons me to embrace Jesus and His message, “For we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,”- Titus 3: 3-5  If you are in Christ, you are loved and accepted by God based on the merits of His Son alone.  And if you are not trusting in Christ, I implore you to throw off the back-breaking yoke of this world and run to Jesus in repentance and faith and receive His love and acceptance not because of what you have done but because of who He is and what He has achieved!

Amelia was the name that we felt the Lord gave us for our sweet girl before we even knew she was a girl, and we later learned that the Hebrew version of that name ‘Amalya’ means ‘work of the Lord’. We praise God for His workmanship on display in her life and pray that He would continue to glorify Himself through her!

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Easy Crock-pot Chicken Broth

The lady I nanny for makes homemade chicken stock using the leftover bones from a whole turkey (after thanksgiving) or a rotisserie chicken.  She places it in a large stock pot filled with water for several hours with vegetables, salt and pepper and herbs.  Since I am at work during the week making broth in the crock-pot was really appealing.  Also, I like that this recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts that you can shred to use in salads, enchiladas, soups, whatever.

All you need are some boneless,  skinless chicken breasts, a couple stalks of celery, a tomato (quartered), an onion (quartered), a few cloves of garlic, fresh cilantro or parsley, 3 bay leaves,  a handful of baby carrots and some salt and pepper.   You just dump everything in the crock-pot,  fill it with water and cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

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Recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/02/homemade-chicken-stock-from-your-crock.html

When I made it this week I used some of the broth and all of the chicken for Chicken Tortilla Soup and I froze the rest of the broth to use later.

Christmas and life in 2013

I have been a terrible blogger lately but I’m ok with that.   With that said, this post will be filled with many pictures.  Most of them from my phone because Nick and I decided to join the rest of the world and get smart phones this Christmas,  which is wonderful and terrible all at the same time (having the internet at my constant disposal is a major exercise in self-control).

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Matching Christmas sweaters at the Smith house.

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Several weeks spent with all 3 precious little people I nanny for (the big ones are back at school now).

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This book.  It has been a really good read so far.  I don’t have a large family (just me and Nick for now) but it has really helped me in organizing our house more efficiently and interacting with the kids I nanny for/ organizing their days and I know will be helpful in the future when Lord-willing we have some little people of our own.

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When all 3 kids I nanny for were home we tried using a schedule and found that they really loved it!  The lady I nanny for turned our written schedule into  magnets so the kids can help me put together our schedule in the morning.  I think this is a genius idea.

And when I said I have been organizing I also meant that I completely destroyed the monster that has been living in our spare bedroom for the past year and a half.  I obliterated him.

BEFORE:

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… 4 hours later…

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Everything clean, organized and put away.

I have since been working on decorating this room and will post an after picture in a few weeks.

I have also tried a handful of new recipes and am excited to post about the ones that worked.

Happy 2013!

Sugar Cookies

Making and decorating sugar cookies was always a Christmas tradition in my family growing up.  This year I decided to make some to decorate with the kids I nanny for and Nick.  We had so much fun!  Some of them turned out well and others were not so pretty so we just ate them on the spot 🙂

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Little kiki at work decorating.

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Allison’s awesome bell

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some other favorites:

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Oh taste and see that the LORD is good

“My soul will make its boast in the LORD;  The humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt in His name together… O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” -Psalm 34: 2-3, 8

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name,  O Most High;  To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night;  For you, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done,  I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” -Psalm 92: 1-2, 4

I have been trying to start cleaning/ organizing our spare bedroom which has served as a storage space since we have moved in.  It’s such a daunting task that I am sure that by the time I finish organizing it we will be ready to move again. 🙂  Last night I went in there and before I could even start organizing I got distracted going through a box I have full of prayer journals, notes of encouragement from friends, trinkets from places I have visited, pictures, notes from my husband from dating and engagement- so many memories; a lot of them good, some of them hard and painful- but God has used them to produce an indelible mark on my heart of the faithfulness of Jesus through it all.  Jesus truly is the greatest treasure and the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)!

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The prayer journal my husband made for me and presented/ read out of when he proposed along with a picture of us after he proposed 🙂

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My prayer to the Lord the morning I got married and often the prayer of this anxious and unbelieving heart.

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This is the precious little one that I have had the privilege of knowing and taking care of since her fourth day of life (she is almost 16 mos. now!).

I love the song “He’s always been faithful” by Sarah Groves, and I am not nearly as eloquent with words as she is so just going to cut and paste the lyrics and encourage you to listen to the song:

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.

I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.

This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me.

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Craft hour with the two sweetest girls. 🙂

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The Word of the Lord endures forever

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Praising God for these truths today and praying that my life would be built upon them!

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the LORD stands forever.'”

-1 Peter 1:23-24

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept in heaven for you, who through faith are protected by God for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice,”

-1 Peter 1: 3-6

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies.  But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.”

-Isaiah 51:6

Review: Starbucks’ Homemade Iced coffee

Can homemade iced coffee really be as good as Starbucks’?

YES!–This was so delicious! It took me 2 tries to figure it out but in my opinion, it tastes just like my standby summer drink at Starbucks.  The bag suggests using 4 Tbs. of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water. I followed the directions (brewing double strength and then filling the pitcher with ice to make up the difference in water) and  I used 8 Tbs. of coffee for 2 cups (16 oz.) and found that it was perfect served over ice.  Super excited that I don’t have to pay over 2 dollars for an iced cup of perfection any more! 🙂

Loving my husband

One woman’s encouraging application of 1 Corinthians 13 has blessed my soul today; 

http://www.domestickingdom.com/2012/02/14/how-one-wife-applies-1-cor-13/

 

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