Perfect love Casts out ALL fear // A post for the weary

 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." -Josh. 1:9 

Today was like any other Sunday for the most part.  Woke up to help my husband off to work, brought my toddler in bed with me around 6 to snuggle and then it was hit the ground running.  We went on a bike ride to grab coffee and snacks, came home to watch the sermon online, (I think she has hand, mouth, foot virus) and played together.  Now being 6 months pregnant with our second, I have tried to lay down and take a nap when Riley does. Here is where the not-so-typical Sunday part comes into play.

I laid down to nap with a great convictional sermon lingering in my mind and began to toss and turn-half way sleeping, but really not.  I began to remember the pain of child birth and the sleepless nights, I began to fear the family of three to four change of having thoughts of change of a good thing now.  I felt this weight flow over me that was very different than what I have been feeling about this pregnancy.

If you have read my story here of my first being born, I talk a lot of why becoming a parent was never really a decision that I made head on.  I had a lot of anxiety and fear during the first few months with Riley and God worked on my heart so much.  I feel so different from the that person that I was then and I am forever thankful to Christ for bringing my selfishness and pride down with taking care of a newborn.  I truly feel and know what it is like to surrender out loud alone in my house to the Lord of Lords pleading to Him in a very difficult situation in my life.  He brought me through darkness and raised me up into a new person.  He has used Riley in mighty ways in my life and I am so grateful to be called Mama to such a beautiful and precious soul.

With all that being said, how easily my heart and mind were gripped during this little cat nap.  My soul felt the weight of change in the unknown and I felt this sense of panic.  A trigger that I think caused this was napping.  You see when Riley was little (the first 4 months) I really tried to nap when she did but I had so much anxiety that I really was not sleeping the amount that I potentially could have been sleeping.  I would lay down in bed anticipating that small newborn cry and couldn't handle the feeling, the change, the weight, the contemplation, the fear of all that it was being a first time Mom that I literally could not sleep.  My body could not relax enough to actually fall asleep.

My nap right now was my trigger to remembering and remembering only bad.  I was remembering all of the things that were hormonal, immature, selfish and hard in light of my old mindset and now knowing.  GOD has brought me to a place so special in my life and I wanted to write to proclaim God did not give me this FEAR.  He does not give fear because of HIS LOVE.  He proclaims to me, that His love casts out ALL Fear.  Not just some fear, not just the fear of a new baby, or change, or how it will affect my marriage, or Riley or my hormones--ALL FEAR!  

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18

Christ also says that he brings good things out of hard situations for those that are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:28 says: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  He says He will honor those who honor HIM.  I think this whole dream is two-sided.  He also has expectations of me to live out the changes that he made in me two years ago. I made many promises to him in a short time when I was on my knees holding a crying newborn not knowing how to handle it all.  I made it a point that I would decorate my home in scripture, that I would cover my walls in promises that He says over me and my family. I believe this is a great reminder that he does not give a spirit of fear, but He does expect big things from us.  TO live a life of authenticity and being real.  

Being real in my home, knowing we are expanding our family, means battle.  Now it is joyous and I am overwhelmed and ecstatic that I am able to be pregnant twice in my life already.  It is beautiful, with that I do not believe in staying in that state.  I want to be preparing spiritually for potential battles, knowing I have the King of King on my side and allowing scripture to be the sword it says it is.

Being real right now with this pregnancy, with Riley, my husband and myself is knowing what I need.  I need scripture to look to during 1am feedings.  I need reminders of God's love, my purpose and inspiration.  I need to know that what I am doing is what I have been called to in this season.  I need many things and I need to prepare now while we are still a family of three.  

Reminders that we are dependent, lost, hopeless, complacent people are good things!  These are the moments that build character and perseverance.  These are the moments that show us our humanity and the great need for a Savior.

Romans 5:3-5 says: "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

 Be encouraged today lovely people and know that today, right now, wherever you are in life, in your mind, in all your situations that God is with you and He will love you when your love is inconsistent, He hears you when you think you are all alone, and He has perfect love for a person who feels unworthy of any love.


Why Cycling is My New Favorite

I have always tried to stay active and fit when life allowed.  I usually would go with the default, 'go for a run,' mentality in hopes that one day I may really love it.  But honestly, sometimes it is just so dang hard to muster up energy and motivation to run!

I like running for the purpose of exercise but also for the fact that it is travel outside of a car.  I love that I can go and run to the hospital two miles away and I got there with my own legs!  Something about the freedom in that is so exhilarating.  Which brings me to cycling.  The thrill of going new places has gotten so much bigger since I started cycling.  I find myself wanting to travel to new streets or areas with my bike because I can get there faster and cover way more ground than I could running.

Cycling is also super low impact on the body-which is great since I am not 6 months pregnant with our second.  A couple months ago I noticed that running was feeling a little uncomfortable and wasn't having the same fitness affect as I had wanted.  The weight of the growing bump was not the best feeling as I was bouncing up and down with the impact of each stride.  Cycling was introduced at the perfect time.

Cycling lets you really feel the wind in your face!  Going down hill of any kind gives me a bit of an adrenaline rush!  I love feeling the wind in my face as I zip away on a downhill slope.  The momentum that it brings for that next hill is a plus too!

Typically cycling at a steady pace for 1 hour will burn about 1000 calories.  And honestly when I am riding, that really doesn't feel long because of how adventurous it can be!

Cycling can be a great family activity.  Now that we have a Chariot for Riley to ride in, we can all go cycling as a family.  This can be a challenge for a lot of people especially if you do have kids and still want to run or exercise.  Having the option to all go together or bring Riley is so convenient and it gets all of us out of the house for some good ole fashion exercise!



I'm writing with the word 'two' resonating in my ear with Riley's adorable little voice.  We have been prepping her for the last month asking her "how old are you turning?" It has been such a treat to see her so proudly answer.

I was looking back at some posts when I discovered Riley's One year blog post about all the things she could do and say.  I thought it would be so great to include a list of things she does and says, but am learning quickly that I will for sure be leaving words out, because on the daily she says new words.  I wanted to include a few of my favorites.  I'm pretty sure her third birthday will be me documenting full on conversations that we have the rate she is going.

Currently saying: New words every day, phrases even!  She can sing, "let it go," say"this way" "all done" "help please."

She can use certain words at appropriate times to get what she needs and wants.  She is really good about asking for help when she cannot do something.  Also she can be very stubborn and let her temper fly when she cannot do something.

We are right in the thick of toddler hood and it is frustrating, exciting, hilarious, messy, lovely, heart-warming and beautiful.

Just a short while ago we really starting praying with Riley before bed.  Full on holding hands and everything.  There are nights sometimes where we put her to bed not thinking to pray and she reminds us.  She will reach her hands out and say 'pray' ever so gently reminding us of a tradition we need not fail with.  I appreciate the sponge-like moments like that where we truly are instilling behaviors inside of her that are so powerful and are so life-long.  It really is a two edged sword raising children.  I know we have already made mistakes, but I also know the impact of consistency even at this age as Riley will remind us of little things we forgot to do that day.

She loves dancing, even when nobody else is,
she loves her friends so much and asks to see them just about everyday.
 As long as she is around new people at least once in the day she is happier
Playing around in the garage with Dada and Joe can keep her entertained for a couple hours.
She love her baby stroller and tries to sit in it
She asks to be outside daily
Not into coloring with the exception of tracing her feet and hands
She is much more inclined to seek the attention of males
Her timid/shy intro lasts all but 3-5 minutes with new people and sometimes none at all
This girl is sensitive to noises and songs and really already has a great rythym
She loves her freedom and walking around.  Being in the cart while shopping is right on the cusp of being phased out
Doesn't like slides
Loves reading
Can count to ten
Can say her ABCs
Can say her name
Come on
lets go
stop it
Okay Mama

This girl is so amazing in all she does.  I am so thankful for another year of health and growth and truly have loved watching her the past two years.