Friday, December 17, 2010

He has promised...

I know. It's been forever since I've blogged. I'm blaming it on the pregnancy, which my mom will claim is my fifth time to pull the Pregnant Card. To which I say, it's actually the third and compared to some women, I'd say I'm doing pretty good at not being "that pregnant girl!"

It's good to have moms that keep your reality in check, isn't it? My mom is so good, she can give me a look...or complete silence...and I know EXACTLY what she's thinking! It's a blessing and a curse, really. I hope to master that talent someday.

But I digress.

Luke and I went through some of my "keepsake boxes" yesterday. And by boxes, I mean four or five MOVING boxes. It's funny what you deem Keepsake Worthy when you're in elementary, middle, and high school. And by funny, I mean sad and pathetic. Can someone just praise Him with me right now that I'm not the girl I used to be back then?! I won't give details, but what I will tell you is that somewhere along the way I thought it would be a good idea to keep my diary...

And then let Luke read it...

I'm not saying that someone slipped something in my drink at lunch to make me think that was a good idea....I'm just sayin' it's possible.

As I sat there going through hundreds of notes from friends, birthday cards, and pictures...OH THE PICTURES!...I realized that Keepsake Boxes are really only good for one thing besides complete and total embarassment.


From the moment we found out there was going to be a Keiffer #4 in our not so distant future, we have been trying to figure out what to name our baby. What we learned is that we like simple, traditional names that aren't too terribly common. Unfortunately, the majority of our aunts, uncles, and cousins feel the same way and have used some of our favorite names. We discussed millions of possibilities. Basically, I thought of names with potential and Luke vetoed most of them.

We finally settled on the middle name for each. Allyn for a boy {a combination of my dad and Luke's dad} and Elizabeth for a girl.

I debated for a long time on the middle name for a little girl. At first, I thought Faith. Then Joy. And like any other woman, I changed my mind again because if we were going to have a little girl, I wanted her to have my middle name. I felt bad because the other 2 choices seemed to have so much more significance to the season of life our family has been in lately. Not to mention that they are character traits we pray for both of our children. The good news was that I could still change my mind, but in the meantime, I decided to research what the meaning of the name "Elizabeth" was. I've always known what my first and last name meant but not my middle name. There's nothing like having a baby to get you all fired up about the meaning of a name.

If you're familiar with the Christmas story, then you've probably heard about Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist and cousin of Mary. The mother of Jesus. You may know Him. He's kind of a big deal. She was also the woman whose husband questioned an angel name God hit the mute button. Elizabeth, on the other hand, gave immediate praise to God for the miracle He had done. {Luke 1} I guess I would have too if my prayers consisted of asking God for a baby along with a miracle cure for gray hair.

Once you've read the story, it probably won't surprise you that Elizabeth means "God's promise." Suddenly, that middle name seemed much more fitting.

My life {much like yours, I'm sure} has been filled with God's promises. Yesterday, while going through The Boxes, I realized that so many of those promises have already been fulfilled.

He promised that He would never leave me or forsake me...even if others did. I may not have the same friends I did back in elementary, middle, or high school but I still have Jesus walking right beside me every step of the way.

He promises only the best for me...even if it's different from my version of The Best. Well, gosh, all you have to do is read notes passed back and forth between high school girls just sure their lives were the only ones full of drama and disappointment.

He promised that if I would put Him first, He would grant the desires of my heart... Enter Luke. Best. Promise. Fulfilled. Ever!!

He promised that Austin would be a gift. Second. Best. Promise. Ever!!

I could go on, but I think you get my drift.

Two years ago, I began praying that God would give us a little girl next. I knew my chances were 50/50. Obviously. But Luke is from a family of all boys. My dad is from a family of all boys. My mom has a brother. Luke's dad has 4. Luke's mom has 2.

I think you understand why I chose to believe in the power of prayer.

Praying for a little girl became more of me pouring the desire of my heart out to the Lord, while at the same time believing with total confidence that His will is ALWAYS best...girl or boy! I wish I could explain the feelings that came next but I honestly wouldn't do them justice. Let's just say that whenever I would picture a Keiffer family of four, there was always a little girl in our midst.

Lord! I prayed, Please protect me from wishful thinking! I want to be thrilled no matter what!!

Even still, I continued to feel a connection with this little girl in my mind. I began to feel like I already knew her and loved her as much as Austin.

When we found out I was officially pregnant, God promised me that this baby {timing and everything} would be a blessing and a reward. Our joy that would come in the morning. I felt like God continued to tell me in little unexpected ways that He would grant the desire of my heart.

And still, I had a hard time believing it.

On October 26th we found out that the next little Keiffer would be a girl.

And on December 5th we decided to name her Brooke Elizabeth Keiffer.

Because He promised.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

His miracles are unforgettable...
Psalm 111:4

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

another letter...

Well. The time has finally come. Little Keiffer #2 is officially on it's way!! We are beyond thrilled!!! We found out so early that at first, I was afraid it wasn't real. Then the morning sickness hit.

It was real. Too real sometimes.

Now we are knee deep in take-out, fatigue, and frequent bathroom breaks. But we are also loving all the preparations and conversations about the next little piece to the Keiffer puzzle. I can't wait to be a family of four. Why not take this chaos to a new level? As long as I've got my best friend by my's all good, right? :)

Please remind me I said this about 2 weeks into that family of four business.

As good and somewhat easy as Austin has been, this next one is bound to be the child that constantly forces us out of our comfort zones and challenges us in ways we never knew possible. But we're ready. Mostly because we have siblings that did the same to our parents and are proof that the wailing and gnashing of teeth is worth it in the end.

There are alot of unknowns right now, but of one thing I am absolutely certain. This baby is already a blessing! This summer has been difficult and full of the unexpected. There were times that we told God we knew He was in control but we sure didn't know exactly what He was doing. Still, He has been faithful and so patient with us. I knew as soon as I saw "Pregnant" instead of "Not Pregnant" that this baby was the "joy that comes in the morning." For as long as I live, I will remember this as the summer God required much of us but in the end gave us much more than we deserved!

And on that note, I'd like to end this post with a letter to our next reward. We can't wait to meet you, sweet baby!

To our next Little One:

You are already in my heart, and when I pray for your brother, I pray for you too. Even now, you are so precious to us. Your Daddy and I talk about the next piece to the puzzle that is our family often. We wonder what you will look like, what your personality will be, and of course, whether you will be a little brother or a little sister for Austin.

Speaking of your big brother, I cannot wait for you to meet him. I have no doubt that he will be the best big brother anyone has ever had. We call him "The Only" right now because he's living the life of an only child. And loving every minute I might add. However, I'm convinced that he doesn't know what he's missing and won't want to go back once he does. I don't know if the two of you will play trucks together or if you'll make him sit and have tea parties with you. But this I do know, he will love you with his whole heart because that is what he does when it comes to family. He loves deeply and without reservation. Something tells me that you may even get an extra dose of this love in the form of protectiveness. When it comes to your relationship with him, I pray that the two of you will form a bond that cannot be broken. I pray for loyalty and a spirit of unity so that long after your Daddy and I are in Heaven, you will still love one another as deeply as we love both of you.

It seems like I think about you more and more these days. Mostly, it's in the quiet of Austin's room as I rock him to sleep. I think about what it will be like to have two little people in our house. I wonder how our lives will change, and what things will stay the same. I tell God alot of things in those moments. I ask Him for a healthy baby and His protection over your life. I tell Him that I would love for you to enjoy just being close to us. In other words, I need a little one that likes to snuggle a little more. Your brother has places to go and things to discover. I love that about him, but it will be nice to have a child that loves to just sit and be with me. But above all, I pray that you will come to love the Lord with all of your heart! Even now, He is forming and creating every little thing about you. He will always know you better and love you more than anyone in this world.

There are so many things we don't know about you quite yet. So many things that require me to walk in faith and trust that God has already recorded every detail of your life long before you even came to be. However, this we DO know: you are our joy that comes in the morning. God has given us you and we are honored to be called your mommy and daddy! We are anxiously awaiting your arrival and cannot WAIT to welcome you into our family!

I love you:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

in a blink

Well. Once again, I've neglected the blog. There's so much to document since I last wrote and I'm not even going to attempt to do that in one post. Therefore, I've decided to dedicate this entry to a certain little boy who recently turned 3!

Just yesterday, I met you for the first time. It must've been a very touching moment for you since you cried for over an hour.

Just yesterday, you fit perfectly on my chest and could sleep there for hours.

Just yesterday, we were thrilled to witness your first sweet smile.

Just yesterday, we were listening to your laugh for the first time.

Just yesterday, we were discovering what a happy baby you were.

For only a moment, you could wear the cutest onesies.

For only a moment, I could snuggle you close while I fed you your bottle and rocked you to sleep.

For only a moment, you loved your paci. In an effort to keep you happy all through the night, we would line three or four up in your crib. You know, just in case you lost the one in your mouth.

And then, in a blink of an eye, it was your first birthday. We celebrated with family, presents, and cupcakes. What a special day it was!!

Not long ago, you were walking for the first time. Your chubby little legs were adorable as you toddled around the house.

Not long ago, I quit shopping for onesies and started buying big boy clothes.

Before we knew it, your fun personality was revealing itself.

Before we knew it, you were starting to say words.

Before we knew it, you were into all things boy...dirt, cars, and being silly.

And then, we were celebrating your second birthday. This time we had a pool party and invited some special friends.

All of a sudden, your baby face turned into a little boy face.

All of a sudden, you weren't just saying words but complete sentences.

All of a sudden, you took up my whole lap while rocking you at night.

Today, I savor every moment with you because it won't be long before they are few and far between.

Today, I treasure the fact that I am the most important girl in your life. The fact that you told your uncle that I'm your girlfriend melts my heart.

Today, I soak in the sound of your sweet voice as it echoes through our house.

Today, I enjoy your mini concerts as the song in your heart goes straight to your mouth.

Today, tomorrow, and always you are my little boy. No matter how big you are or where you go, a part of me will always be with you. I love you with all my heart!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

life rearranged

On May 22, 2004, I woke up to the sound of my parents playing "Goin' To The Chapel" in celebration of a day we had planned and waited for with great expectation.

My wedding day.

After the hair appointments, pictures, and last minute touch-ups, I began the long walk down a church aisle to my best friend. I will never forget the look on his face when he saw me, or the excitement I felt when we were introduced as Mr. & Mrs. Luke Keiffer for the first time. I thought about how I had never loved him more than on this day. But more importantly, I will never forget the committment we made before God to each other that day. I held his hands while I pledged my love and loyalty in sickness and health, for richer or poorer...for better or worse. Who could imagine on such a happy day that "worse" would come when you least expect it or that God could use the worst in such a mighty way?

On May 22, 2010, I woke up in a hotel on the Riverwalk with the love of my life. Despite my best efforts, Luke was the first to say "Happy Anniversary."

Because he always wins that game.

I had been looking forward to this day for a while. I couldn't wait to catch up and reminicse with my best friend. I did my hair, put on a dress, and took a picture with my husband much like I'd done on our wedding day. We were just as happy then as we were six years earlier. But little did we know that at that very moment, Luke's dad was being flown to a hospital in Dallas after having an accident at his lake house. We got the call as we were leaving the hotel to go out for the day. You know that feeling you get when God is preparing your heart for bad news? Yeah. Me too.

Even though, Luke's mom assurred us there was no reason to drive up yet, I felt like the Lord was telling me we needed to go. Austin was with my parents for the weekend and our bags were already packed. Clearly, He had gone before us and worked out every detail. We threw some extra clothes in a duffel bag along with an unopened bag of mustard pretzels.

Because these are the crazy things I do when there's a crisis. Let's just say I know my southern roots run deep when I'm thinking about the possibility of people needing food while at the hospital.

Hey! Don't judge. Mashed potatoes and fried okra would not have traveled well.

So there we were, driving up to Dallas without a clue as to what we would find once we got there. With each phone call we realized that things were much worse than we originally thought they would be. At this point, I had completely forgotten that it was our anniversary. It seemed like weeks instead of hours since we had discussed our gameplan for the big six year celebration. All that mattered was that my husband needed me and the Keiffer family needed us.

For the rest of the night and most of the next day, we sat with many of those that had celebrated our marriage with us. In a matter of a few minutes, our lives were rearranged. All of our plans and the things we thought we would be doing were not what God had planned.

May 22, 2010, marked the day that I began a long walk through a "worse" with my best friend. I will never forget the tears we cried as we prayed together and begged God for His mercy and grace. I will never forget the way he told me with complete confidence that he trusted God with his father's life and the lives of those he loved most. I thought about how I had truly, never loved him more than at that moment. I held his hands as I told him how proud I was of him and how honored I was to walk this road with him. But more importantly, I will never forget how God showed up in the midst of a great trial.

These last few weeks, the Keiffers have logged many hours at the hospital and even more on our knees. We have witnessed miracles and seen the hand of God in every detail of this situation. Let me say it again. You know, just to be clear.

We have witnessed miracles. We have seen the hand of God in every detail of this situation.

Our new normal has given me eyes to see the eternal works God is doing. The hospital is not just a place where we spend time with someone we love most. It's our own personal mission field. Those that ask us how things are going are another opportunity to give God glory for great things. 2 Corinthians 4:1-11 says it best:

1-2Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

3-4If our Message is obscure to anyone, it's not because we're holding back in any way. No, it's because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won't have to bother believing a Truth they can't see. They're stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we'll ever get.

5-6Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

7-12If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!
{The Message}

When this first happend, I wondered if our future anniversary celebrations would ever be the same. And now I would say that I pray they would not. I pray that we will never forget the anniversary gifts God gave us on May 22, 2010. He gave us the gift of more time with someone we love very deeply. He gave us the support of family and moments of laughter during a time filled with tears. Above all, He gave us a front row seat to his awesome power. A chance to witness first hand why He is called the Great Physician.

I love that we started the sixth year of our marriage being the hands and feet of Jesus to two people we love. What a blessing it has been to praise the Lord together for the eternal work He is doing in our lives and the lives of those impacted by this situation. It has been a privilege to serve others alongside my husband as we seek to glorify God in our words and deeds.

Six years ago, I didn't just pledge my love and loyalty. I promised to do life with Benjamin Luke Keiffer. For better or worse.

And I pray that when we go through the worst, someone would get in on the best.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

Monday, May 17, 2010

the best wait...10 years of my life!

This weekend Luke and I will celebrate our SIX year anniversary!! But wait. There's more! We've been an official couple for TEN YEARS!! I honestly can't believe it. To think that there was a day, way back when, that I thought I would never meet The One let alone marry him, blows my mind when I look at where God has placed me today. Nevertheless, here I am. Married to my best friend and soul mate. I'm so thankful God always goes above and beyond our wildest dreams!!

Six years ago this week, wedding preparation was in full swing. Friends and family were on their way to Texas, and I wasn't a bit nervous. Yet.

Six years ago this week, I was about to begin my journey as a wife to the most wonderful man. Ever. So in honor of this week, I'm dedicating my blog entries to Luke and the One that brought us together. Here's to my Heavenly Father and my earthly hero. You two sure do know how to keep me in line! I love every minute almost as much as I love being called "yours."

I'll end this entry with one of my favorite reminders of what being a wife is all about. I have no idea who wrote it but I found it among my most treasured things.  

When I created the heavens and the Earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman, I fashioned. I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you. Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity of Me. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects the man's life. I chose the strong yet delicate rib which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Your characteristics are as the rib, strenth yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organs in man, his heart and lungs. His heart is the center of his whole being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to his heart and lungs. Support him as the rib cage supports the body. Around this one bone I fashioned you. I shaped you; I created you perfect. Your eyes, don't change them; your lips, how lovely when they part in prayer; your nose, so perfect in form; your hands, so gentle to touch. Oh yes, I've touched your hands, I've held your heart. Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like me. That is why I made you the mother of life. You see, you, woman, reside in Me. Adam walked with Me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see Me or touch Me. He could only feel Me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with Me, I fashioned in you. My holiness, My strength, My purity, My love, My support, and My protection. You are special because you are the extension of Me. Man represents My image, woman My emotions. Together you represent the totality of God.

So man, treat woman well. Love her; respect her for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt Me. What you do to her, you do to ME. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart and lungs. Woman, support man as the rib cage. In humility show him the power of emotion I have given to you. In gentle quietness, show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

The Man said,
"Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!
Name her Woman for she was made from Man."
Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.
Genesis 2:23-25
{The Message}

Now that is a good word!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a day in our life

6:45  Say goodbye to Luke. Not entirely sure what he's wearing since it's still dark in our room. However, of this I am sure, he looks good. Can't wait for him to get home already.

7:10   I hear "Mommy! Is it light in my room? Come and get me!!" over the monitor. Love his sweet voice!

7:11  Stumble out of bed and feed Savannah...who has been shoving me with her nose in an effort to convey that she is STARVING!! Message received, Sannah. Thanks.

7:15  Tell my little ray of sunshine good morning while getting his clothes out for the day.

7:16  Ask him to bring his little bottom over here {while pointing to the ground in front of me} so I can get him dressed.

7:17  Ask him to get out of bed the right way and "Please hurry! I really have to go to the bathroom."

7:20  Finally dressed!! Headed downstairs.

7:25  Toys are out and Mickey Mouse is on the tv. Time to play!!

8:00  It's not long before certain areas of my house look like this...

...maybe we should break for some breakfast.

8:05  Orange juice and a "cookie" {or cereal bar}~ Breakfast of Champions

8:30  Walk into the living room to see Austin hiding beside the couch. When asked if he needs to go potty he says,


Note to self: Hiding means that some serious business is going on.

8:31  While changing a dirty diaper, I explain to Austin the importance of telling Mommy "before you go poo poo so that we can go sit on the potty."

8:32  Marvel at the fact that this time 5 years ago I was about to get married. Translation: Potty Training Pep Talks were no where near my radar. 

8:35  Austin informs me he needs to go pee-pee on the potty. So off we go. 

8:37  Success!!  

8:38  Marvel again at the fact that in the last 2 years I've traded sleeping in for a 7:00 wake-up call, lunch dates for play dates...

...quiet for constant chatter, planning get-aways for planning Easter traditions...

...and grown-up conversations for high fives over small accomplishments. I wouldn't trade a single day! God is good.

10:30  Showered, dressed, and heading out the door to run some errands.

10:40  FINALLY in the car. Austin decides to tell me then that...
I think I'm going poo poo again....  Uh oh. Not again!!

My thoughts exactly.

10:41  We're out of the car and headed BACK to the potty.

10:43  Turns out jokes on me and Austin doesn't really have to go potty. Awesome.

10:50  Back in the car again. Praying, in Jesus name, I don't end up changing a dirty diaper in the back of my car at Costco.

11:00  Walking around Costco makes me think of Brittany and how much we miss those Yeagers!

11:05  Hello, Stuffed Salmon. Hello, Dinner! Score!!

11:25  Headed to the check-out with food, a book for Austin, and some flowers I decided to bless myself with. Three words: Worth. Every. Penny.

12:00  Lunch with Papa B!! Earl of Sandwich is calling our names.
We're only too happy to answer that call.

12:30  Ask how Claire is doing. Realize how excited I am for summer. Looking forward to some quality time with our C!

1:00  Home from lunch. Nap time but not before another trip to the potty. Success again. Turns out peanut butter M&Ms are quite the motivator. However, when they're not motivating, they're mocking me. Unfortunately, M&Ms of any kind are not on my diet. Bummer.

4:00 Still waiting for Austin to wake up from his nap. Say what?! It's been almost THREE hours since I put him down?!

4:30  Austin's awake. :) Trying to decide if we should go run. Think I'll just snuggle with Haha on the couch while we watch a little behind the scenes at DWTS on Oprah. Don't judge.

5:00  Talked to Luke who will be home any minute. YES! Running can wait.

5:30  Off to run. By myself. The boys are off to Academy. You know...the right stuff, the right price. Or something like that.

6:00  Let the torture begin. At least I got to see my mom for a minute. Too bad Austin wasn't with me. He does love his Gigi.

6:30  Headed home to start dinner. Remember the stuffed salmon? Hoping it tastes as good as it looks.  

7:30  Dinner. A half-hearted attempt at best. But hey! At least I made it instead of "bringing it from afar."

8:30  Austin's in bed, kitchen's cleaned, and living room is picked up. Time to relax.

8:45  Luke informs me that he may have bought his birthday gift...
And his anniversary gift...
Glad to know I'm influencing him in the important areas of life. 

10:30  Time to call it a night. Final thought of the day: didn't do my quiet time :( At least tomorrow's another day.  Still. Today was a great day!

Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Isaiah 26:8

Friday, April 23, 2010

nothin' but time...

Hurry up and wait.

That's the motto I feel best describes my life these last 2 weeks. Over the last couple of months, Luke and I have been on a mission to get things done on our house. It all started with the washing of the downstairs windows.

All fourteen of them.
By ourselves.
No. We were not smoking crack at the time. Although we were strongly considering it toward the end.

Anyway. Most of you know that we did a TON of work on the house before we moved in. And by "we" I mean our contractor Richard and myself. Luke got sent to Dallas for 3 weeks right after we closed, otherwise, we would've done more ourselves. But alas, God said no. And I said "OKAY!" because I was a single parent to an infant at the time.

Due to the fact that our new house did not have a money tree growing in the backyard, some of the bigger projects were put on the back burner for a little bit. We saved for things like landscaping, wood floors, and tile for the upstairs bathrooms. And oh yeah, the panty in the kitchen.

Don't ask.

Well. We waited, God blessed, and we were able to tackle the landscaping last year and the flooring just this last week. After getting a couple of estimates, we decided to hire people to prep the floor downstairs for wood and tile the upstairs...aaaand the pantry. We helped my brother and sister-in-law put wood floors in their house about a year ago so I was confident we {or more accurately LUKE} could do a fabulous job again. And now I would like to say a big thank you to my father-in-law who took one for the team and came down to help my husband, therefore; allowing me to do what I do best, which is supervise.

Everything was going according to plan {and Luke and I know how to work a plan like nobody's business}until the tile guys got thrown into the mix.

I waited the first day. They showed up 5 hours late.
I waited again the next day. This time only one of them paid us a visit. An hour and a half late. I thought,

Hey! We're making progress.

He left after working for about 4 hours.

And then, of course, I waited some more the next day. Apparently, I forgot to take off the sign I usually wear around my neck when Austin's climbing into his carseat. It reads:

Don't worry. I've got nothin' but time on my hands.

Four words: Hurry. Up. And. Wait.

I tried to remind myself to be Jesus to these guys. That I may be the only glimpse of Him they get. But I have to be honest and tell you that patience, well, it's still a virtue I don't have alot of yet. So I vented to my dad. And Luke. And my mother-in-law. Aaaaand my mom. When I was finished and my doorbell rang...much later than I was expecting... I smiled, opened the door to our home, and offered them a bottle of water when I started feeling guilty about my bad attitude.

When it was all said and done, they did a great job. Minus all the waiting. So good in fact that Luke talked to them about re-tiling our shower.


All this waiting has given me some good opportunities to reflect on some areas in my life that may need a little work. Or rather, it's given Jesus the opportunity to give me my next "assignment" if you will. Not that I've completely mastered the others. Much like our house, I'm a work in progress. I'm so glad He's always gentle with us, aren't you? Let me tell you, if I were Him I would've given me a serious attitude adjustment long before now. I imagine it would've looked alot like the Trips To The Car we threaten Austin with from time to time. Even if you don't have kids, you know the ones I'm talkin' about because we all experienced it a time or two. And some of us may have felt them as well.

Looking back over this past week, I've realized that if Jesus gave report cards, there would be an "N" {for Needs Improvement}next to Patience in mine. When will I learn to savor the fact that it takes a toddler FOR. EV. ER to do something because he's just so busy soaking up life? When will I accept the fact that it takes the love of my life a little more time to express his thoughts because he's doing a good job GATHERING them all? And WHEN will I embrace the fact that His timing is always different from mine because it's perfect?

I feel like I spend so much time hurrying from one thing to the next that I'm not taking the time to fully be in this moment before it passes. I already know time is flying, but the moments are flying even faster. It doesn't matter how much money we spend on our house. It's all a waste if the time spent here isn't sweet.

Whenever Luke and I reminisce about our childhoods, we don't remember the house. We remember the time spent there with our families. We remember playdates with neighbors. Modeling pictures by the pool. Pizza nights and sleepovers. Family dinners and lots of laughter. All these memories might not have been made in our moms' dream houses but they were the stuff dreams, or more importantly, legacies are made of.

I've given alot of thought to what I want this house to be to my own little family. I want it to be a place of refuge. A place we know we can return to and let the cares of the world fall off our shoulders as we walk in the door. I want it to be a place that you can feel the presence of Jesus. I want His name and promises spoken here everyday. I want our home to be a place of rest and relaxation. I want those that leave here to feel refreshed and ready for what may lie ahead. I want this house to be filled with memories made with friends and family. I want our home to be a place where we can laugh, have meltdowns, and just be...together.

This week, I realized that I need to stop stressing about the floors that didn't get mopped. Or the dirty dishes in the sink. Or Mt. Laundry spewing dirty clothes all over the floor.

This week Jesus whispered to my heart that it's not the floors or furniture that makes a home. It's the time spent here and what we choose to do with it.

So I'm choosing to celebrate the fact that for this season we've got nothin' but time on our hands.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Monday, April 5, 2010

has it really been a month??

I can't believe it. It's been over a month since I've posted. I guess it goes without saying that alot has happend in the last month. Nothing earth shattering, just a bunch of random stuff. I promise to share it with all of you but first a little Easter recap. You know, before I forget the details.

We had a great weekend! Austin went to College Station for a couple of days to get spoiled by his Uncle Jon and Aunt B or Bwitty as he calls her. That means that it was just Luke and I for a couple of days. After we got over the weirdness that was complete silence whenever one of us was not talking, we thoroughly enjoyed our quality time together. We decided to go to church on Friday night so as to avoid the massive amounts of people that were sure to be present at the remaining weekend services.

Good call on our part.

Besides the obvious, the highlight of the night was watching Luke's face light up while he played with our friends' son Jack. In fact, about .2 seconds after I stole him from his Mommy, Luke stole him from me. You will never see 2 people get more excited about a tiny foam book about farm animals. Just when I think I can't love him more, he does something like that and completely melts my heart. I got myself a keeper for sure!

On Saturday, we met up with Brittany and Jon in Bastrop to pick up the light of our lives. Claire came with us, which was a real treat. Since I wasn't driving, I appointed myself as the Roadtrip DJ complete with a few spontaneous dance moves.

Luke asked me if I'd been drinking.
I think he was just jealous.
And so were the people in the car next to us.

I worked up quite an appetite after all that dancing. Luckily, our lunch stop was at this hamburger place called Roadhouse. It. Was. Amazing! Voted "Best Burgers in Bastrop" as a matter of fact, which is a real accomplishment in a small town. Oh, I kid.

We had the best time. We laughed, took pictures, and caught up. I felt dangerously close to tears as I hugged my sister goodbye. I officially lost the battle when she started crying. You see, Brittany and Jon are moving to Boston this summer after they lead a mission trip to Greece. The reality of how quickly that day is coming has hit me square in the face, giving my husband a few good opportunities to practice his Comforting Skills.

You're welcome, Sweetie.

I guess that's why times like Saturday are so sweet. All too soon, those opportunities will be harder to come by. I take comfort in the fact that we got a little taste of how fun those times together will be last Saturday. I am so proud of the two of them. God is going to use them to impact the East coast in mighty ways! I just hope Boston is ready.  

Sunday was pretty low key. We had my parents and grandparents over for an Easter lunch and of course we hid eggs for Austin. I felt so guilty about the two pieces of pie I ate that I went to visit the Bauerlein Gym. In other words, I had a date with their treadmill.

Today we're recovering from the fun times that were had by all. So far, I've cleaned our bathroom, done some laundry, and said goodbye to my other sister. It was refreshingly less sad seeing as how in just one short month, she'll be home for summer. I can't wait!! And speaking of summer, how great is this weather we've been having?! I wore a dress today and couldn't be happier about all the green I've been seeing. The bluebonnets aren't bad either.

I hope your Easter weekend was just as wonderful as ours. We have alot to celebrate. Because of His sacrifice, we have the privilege of living an abundant life. Happy Monday, friends!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

to my son

I was just thinking the other day about how I want to be better about writing letters to each of our children to have in the future. You know, telling them stuff I'm sure they'll appreciate when they're teenagers and think Luke and I are just SO COOL! Not only am I getting a late start with Austin, but I also decided to write them on our blog so as not to lose them in the sea of papers floating around our house in various rooms. Lucky for me, my firstborn was a son so I'm pretty sure his feelings won't be hurt that his letters started 2 years after his birth. Thank you, Lord, for boys without ridiculous emotions. ;) It will be long. Afterall, I have 2 years worth of catching up to do, and if there's one thing I am not, it's brief. Feel free to skim or skip this entry all together. But here goes. My first letter to my third favorite guy! May it bless him the way he blesses me daily.

Dear Austin:
I wish I could say that I'm one of those women that is always on top of things. Contrary to what I'm just sure you believe, I'm not super mom and so some things get started a little later than I would like. However, late start or not, I have loved you from the minute I found out we were having you and have told you everyday since how special you are to me. Now you'll just have proof!

When I was pregnant with you, the Lord specifically gave me this verse:

James 1:17
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

And what a gift you were and have continued to be!! You are our unexpected reward from our Heavenly Father. You have filled our hearts with abundant joy and gratitude for the Lord's blessing. There are so many things I love about you, and the list grows longer each day. I love that you love to laugh just as much, if not more, than I do. Before you could say Austin, you would call yourself Haha. What a perfect name for a little boy whose mouth is constantly filled with laughter! It's become a nickname now, and I doubt we will ever quit calling you that on occasion. It is obvious that you are joyful just like your Papa B and possess his zest for life. I can't wait to see how God uses this in the future.

Before you were born, I determined in my heart to share you as much as possible with our families because I wanted you to love them as deeply as your Daddy and I do. Well. It paid off. Sometimes a little too much since we cease to exist any time you have the undivided attention of your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. But despite my sometimes ridiculous insecurity, I love to watch you enjoy each member of the family for unique reasons. I know in my heart that I have a special place in your heart that no one else can fill. At the end of the day, I am your hero, even if for just a little while, and I will never take that for granted. Never doubt how much you are loved by each and every person in the Keiffer/Bauerlein family. No one adores you more than them. Well, with the exception of your Daddy and I, but they're a close second.

I love to watch your little personality develop. There is no greater joy as a parent than to begin to recognize a little bit of Luke and I in you. In fact, you are the perfect combination of the two of us. You are observant and tender-hearted like your Daddy. And you are verbal and passionate like me. You're a rule follower and ask me every night,

What are the rules?

To which I say,

Lay still, be quiet, and close your eyes. You can get out of bed when it's REALLY light in your room.

You still won't get out of bed on your own, and we are just fine with that. I love your gentle spirit and that when I call you "sweet boy" you look up at me and say,

Sweet girl.

I love that you want to be just like your Daddy. You will not find a better role model on the planet and oh how he loves you!! He has such a way with you, and you listen to him more than anyone else. Lately you've been telling me that you "need him." Mostly this is what you say when you're in trouble with me, but in the mornings you ask where he is. Sometimes you even get a little teary-eyed when I tell you he's at work. If there's one thing the two of you share right now, it's your eagerness to start the day. I doubt you will ever sleep late because your Daddy never did and probably never will. I predict alot of early morning activities together while your Mommy gets her beauty sleep. But for now, a big thank you for forcing me to be a morning person and acknowlege that 5, 6, & 7:00 do exist!

There are so many things I pray for you. I ask the Lord for continued good health and safety. Something tells me I will not be good about broken bones and gushing wounds. It goes against every girly tendency I have to be ok with all the dirt, bugs, and burping! Thank you for stretching me. I pray that you never lose your joy and that you will always have a song in your heart. You bring a smile to everyone's face, even those who do not know you. Your happiness and love for life is contagious, and I know God has used this already to bless so many people.

But more than anything, I pray that you will be saved at an early age. It is my ferverent hope that you will come to know how wide, how high, and how deep the Father's love is for you! I pray that as He holds onto you that you will cling to Him. I ask the Lord to make himself known in your life, and that for as long as you live, you will love Him even more deeply than you do your family. He is it, Austin!! Greater love, you will never find! Follow hard after him and He will change your life daily.

I knew I would love you so much but I had no idea just how deep that love would be. You are more than I could ever hope for or imagine. The perfect fit for our family. Though our relationship may change with each new chapter of your life, my love for you will not. You may not know it now, but God has big plans for you and I'm so glad He gave me a front row seat! I love you, sweet boy.