Thursday, May 22, 2008
But sometimes the race is hard and long. The finish line can't come soon enough. It's difficult to stay disciplined and remember that God will complete the job He started. It would be so easy to give up and throw in the towel, but then we'd miss out on the growth God has planned for us. Looking back in my life, it's the challenges and obstacles that God has used to continue to refine me. The process is painful, but once I'm on the other side, I realize that I'm a step closer to becoming more like Him. One step closer to the finish line where hopefully I'll hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Life isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. A race with obstacles, challenges, and moments of blessings.
Hebrews 12:1 (The Message)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Monday, May 19, 2008
My date for the evening AND one of the best sisters in the whole world!
Missing Jon and Luke!
My parents. Aren't they such a cute couple?!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Yesterday marked my first Mother's Day in which my son was actually present at the celebrations. I fully believe that if you are pregnant on Mother's Day then you are ABSOLUTELY entitled to celebrate! However, it is so special to have your little one participate in making the day memorable.
Luke and Austin woke me up with their present and cards. Luke told me that in order for Austin to truly pick out the card he wanted, his daddy held up various cards and bought the one that made Austin laugh the most. I love it!!! I can just see the two of them on the card aisle picking out the best one for me. Then it was off to breakfast with my boys followed by lunch later with my whole family. I also got to take a nap later that afternoon before we had steak for dinner. It was a wonderful day and I'm so thankful that I get to be the mom to the best little boy in the whole world! :)
Friday, May 9, 2008
Family vacations. It seems that almost everyone takes one but not every family has the amount of fun that we do! Whether it's Disney World, Canada, or just a trip up to the lake, we always come back with more family jokes, souveniers, and pictures galore. The first vacation Luke took with us turned out to be quite a surprise for him. He had no idea that a family of girls would do as many activities as we did. I'm pretty sure this was one of the more pleasant surprises in our marriage! :)
College. There will never be a more stressful, carefree time in your life. But when it's all said and done, you won't remember the "honest D" in your hardest class, the group project in which you did all the work, or the professor that could never be pleased. You remember late nights with friends, intermural sports, and the glorious freedom of sleeping past 8 in the morning because you don't have a class until 12. That was one chapter in my life that I didn't realize I'd be so sad to close.
My wedding day. This is probably my most special memory, and being a part of the wedding planning for Britt has allowed me the pleasure of remembering every moment and emotion leading up to the big day. I waited and waited for May 22, 2004 to come, and once it did, it seemed like it was over in a flash! While most of it is a blur, there are some things that are not. Luke's face when I walked down the aisle. Celebrating a special day with friends and family. Losing Luke's ring right before the ceremony. (This is now a tradition that has continued...let's see if we can put a stop to it on August 9th!) Brittany singing our first dance with the band. And finally, leaving the reception as Mrs. Benjamin Luke Keiffer. How blessed I am to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend!
July 17th, 2007. This is the day that Austin made his big debut. At the end of a very long 9 months and 9 hours of labor, Luke and I were looking at a perfect combination of the 2 of us. Suddenly we weren't just a newly married couple, but we were officially a family. And it's gotten better everyday. He is such a blessing, and we've enjoyed every moment of his little life so far.
These are just a few of some of my treasured memories. There's a verse in the Bible that talks about Mary pondering things in her heart. It's referring to the time after Jesus was born. I've decided that this will be my goal. To savor every moment and "ponder them in my heart" as well. :)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
"Hey mom! These beans are really good!"
"Let's see...is there any more left in here?"
"Why yes there is and it is still SO good!"
"What's that you say? A bath?"
"Oh no, mom! Not a bath!!"
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
All this to say that this year is no different. Now that I am officially a mom I realize the importance of celebrating this woman who has changed dirty diapers, done laundry, kept the house cleaned, and listened as you graciously gave her the rundown on who likes who and as an added bonus who's fighting with who. Not to mention all the encouragement she gives or how she sat in the backseat and held her breath while you drove on the highway for the first time. I mean come on! There is ABSOLUTELY nothing I could buy that would come close to thanking my mom for all she's done. The other day at lunch I was asking her what she wanted for Mother's Day hoping it would inspire a fabulous idea. Of course she said she didn't know and then lamely offered the idea of a CD. Seriously, mom? That's the best you could do? So then I asked her, "If you could have ANYTHING in Target what would it be?" That made us all laugh, especially when my sister reminded her that the dollar spot had tons of lip gloss and pads of paper. Frankly, I'm shocked she didn't beg for one of those tiny bikinis that never seemed to be sized correctly. And now that you've come this far in my blog for the day hoping to read my brilliant solution for the perfect Mother's Day gift...don't hold your breath. My mom reads this blog and I still haven't come up with anything. Feel free to comment with ideas! So the search continues while I hope that the fact that I do my best work under pressure will prove true for this situation as well.
In the meantime, I've begun thinking about what to get Luke for his birthday and our anniversary. Luckily, I have a couple of weeks. Thank goodness!! He's not easy to buy for either.
In conclusion, May is not only the month that we break the bank celebrating the people in our lives, but it's also the month that I drive myself crazy trying to come up with unique ideas for their gifts. So hey, if you're shopping at Target in the next couple of weeks, look for me. I'll be the one laughing like an idiot on the card aisle! :)
Monday, May 5, 2008
However, as we all know, life doesn't stay the same and before we knew it, we were getting ready to welcome yet another member to our family. There were many thoughts on my mind in the 9 months leading up to Austin's birth one of which was how to help Savannah adjust to having a little person in our house. I was determined that, like it or not, she would adjust and someday they would be the best of friends!
At first, their relationship was more nonexistent than anything. She was curious about him and he simply ignored her. As he became more aware of his surroundings, we discovered that dogs were one of his favorite things. The best part was that it seemed the bigger the better in his mind. And Savannah has stayed the same. She's still curious and loves to lick him. Austin just laughs and reaches his little arms out to encourage more attention from the dog that we've begun to refer to as "Austin's pony" :)
So much has changed over the last few months and that doesn't even include how much Austin has changed. Some days I feel like time is flying and there's no possible way to soak in every moment, but then other days I wonder who I am outside of being a mom. Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom and being here for every new discovery and milestone. However, there are things that I find myself longing to do. Things that used to be a part of my everyday life before Austin. Needless to say, I finally had a meltdown at lunch today with my mom and sister. And yes, Austin was fussing and throwing things on the floor of the restaurant the entire time.
It felt good to just verbalize what I had been feeling and even better to come home and put Austin down for his nap, which means some much needed time to think. I would love to say that I immediately got out my Bible for comfort and wisdom but that would be lying. Instead, I sat down at the computer and went in search of a song that had been in my head for the last couple of days. I finally found the song: All We Are by Matt Nathanson. And even though I wish my first instinct would have been to read my Bible, I'm thankful that God can use even a simple, non-christian song to minister to me. My favorite line in the song says "And every day is a start of something beautiful, something real." It brought to mind the verse in Lamentations which says, "But I have hope when I think of this: The Lord's love never ends; His mercies never stop. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, "The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him." (Lamentations 3:21-24) Words cannot express how much this encouraged me, but being the overly verbal person I am, I have to try.
First of all, morning is my absolute favorite time of the day. Maybe it's the quiet or the fact that the day is fresh and full of possibilities. Then again, it could be that while my mornings start much earlier these days, it's the only time that Austin wakes up singing and talking in his crib. Whatever the reason, I love it and call me crazy but I think the Lord loves it too. Before I read this verse I was beginning to lose a little hope and I was definitely discouraged. I had begun to ask myself, "Will I ever stop changing dirty diapers? Will I always be cleaning spit up off my floors and clothes?" The answer to these questions and countless others was a resounding NO in my mind, but God knew I needed a little perspective. When I've lost hope, God hasn't. When I feel anything but new in the mornings, God doesn't hesitate to fill in. Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning and that His loyalty is great even when we choose to look for a song rather than spend much needed time with Him. Because of this I can truly say that the Lord is mine so I hope in Him. I don't have to hope that one day my son will be potty trained and my clothes and floors will be spit-up free. I don't have to hope that someday our yard won't look like "hell's little half acre" or that the left over boxes will finally be unpacked. I can hope in the Lord and know that because of His grace and mercy I can make it through another challenging day. But most importantly, because of His love I can wake up to a day filled with new possibilities, adventures, and mercies!
As the “cosmetic remodeling” began Luke was off to Dallas for a mandatory training…for THREE weeks. In addition, the Keiffers found out they were being transferred to Dallas so we were on a major timeline to get our house move in ready before they moved. It was so neat to see how God worked out the details of their move as well. We hated to see them go but knew it was God’s plan. I took care of all the details of the remodeling, which included but was not limited to picking out counter tops, backsplash, paint colors, light fixtures, etc! We had a wonderful contractor who made it so much easier on me. Once move in day finally came I was blown away by 2 things: 1) how much different the house looked and 2) how much stuff we had! I quickly realized that moving and unpacking with a baby is no easy task and I feel like God used it to work on my patience and perseverance. I’m not exaggerating when I say that at one point it looked like the UHaul store exploded in our entry way!
Austin did very well, though, considering all of the change and activity going on. I can’t believe how much he has grown and changed since we first arrived in San Antonio. He’s rolling over, sleeping through the night, talking constantly in his cute baby talk, and so many other things that are so fun to watch. He’s definitely gone from just laying around to moving and exploring. He keeps me on my toes for sure. One of my most favorite things is his little laugh. I can already tell that he is going to be a joyful, people person. However, he is also stubborn but I’m thankful that he will have a strong personality that can be molded to sticking to his beliefs and values. Ready or not, Luke and I have begun the “train up a child in the way he should go…” phase.
As far as looks go, most people say he looks like me in his little face. He has the shape of Luke’s head, his fingers and toes, AND his laid back personality, which is the most important thing. His hair is getting thicker and is a light brown color. I love the color of his eyes which are a stormy grayish blue, but the best thing about his eyes is how they light up when he smiles.
I’ll close with this thought that has been on my heart for the last few days. When I was pregnant with Austin and still adjusting to the surprise of getting ready for having a baby, God gave me this verse.
James 1:17“Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows.”
All the change was overwhelming for a girl that doesn’t do change well and the promise of him being a gift from God got me through the morning sickness, fear of labor and delivery, and the apprehension for what was to come. Now that Austin is here, I can’t get over what a blessing he truly is and how perfect God’s gift is. He is the perfect baby in every way, even when he is a challenge. It’s these times that God uses to grow both Luke and I and reveal how perfect His strength is when we are weak. And with that I’ll post a few pictures of the little man
So cute in his highchair :)
Our fall family pic at the pumpkin patch...this will officially become a tradition :)
He is smiling alot! I can tell that he recognizes me and Luke and it's just the best feeling to see him smile at us because he knows who we are and loves us too. He's also discovered his voice and likes to use what we will call his "outside voice" once he knows what we're talking about. We're still working on the shape of his head, but I think we're making good progress. He also still tends to scratch himself alot so every once and a while we put on his "boxing gloves" so people don't think we're bad parents by all the scratches on his face. As far as his looks, I cannot get over how much he resembles my dad in his face. His fingers and toes are definitely Luke's fingers and toes. He doesn't take super long naps so I'd say he's like his dad in that respect. However, he does seem to take cat naps often and already sleeps pretty late, which are definitely qualities that belong to me. One thing is for sure, he is the best combination of Luke and I and we couldn't ask for a better son.
In other news, Luke and I just found out that we will be moving to San Antonio at the beginning of next month. He will be working for AT&T starting November 12th. We are so excited to be closer to our families again, especially now that we have Austin. However, I am sad to leave all of our friends and family here in Tulsa. I have also loved living here in Owasso and will miss our first house. Since we got to pick out most of the interior features, I feel like it has the Keiffer stamp on it. I keep telling myself that God has allowed everything to fall into place so far and He has the perfect house in San Antonio already picked out. On that note, I am praying that our house will sell before we leave and that we will get the most we can out of our investment. I am also praying that the leaves will change before we leave but obviously the first prayer request is a little more important. All in all, we are super busy these days trying to sell our house, pack and say goodbye to everyone we love here in Tulsa. We would really appreciate all of your prayers in the next few months.
Now that I've written a novel, I'll close with this. It's no surprise that the appeal to this website is seeing pictures of the littlest Keiffer so I will not disappoint since it's been a while since I've posted anything. We'll keep you posted on the big move and of course Austin. :)
One of my favorite outfits: his t-shirt and basketball shorts:
We like to talk to each other:
My two favorite people:
Our perfect little family:
So far we've taken 2 pictures of his feet. The first one was taken at the hospital right before we brought him home. The second picture is probably my favorite. Luke and I were watching a movie while Austin slept on the couch on his stomach. Luke looked over and saw his little feet sticking out from underneath the blanket. We both thought it was adorable so of course I had to take a picture!
We discovered that Austin's first talent would be holding his toes:
My favorite picture of Austin's perfect little feet: