Just Gonna Praise

***I wrote this post a reeeeeeeeeeally long time ago but didn't write the end until now. Definitely for the best. You know God and His timing. ;)  ***

There are so many good things going on in my life right now...

1. A new baby girl is expected in our home in a few months! I cannot even begin to tell you the excitement in our home about this!!! The cool thing about this one coming so much later than the other three is watching the three be SO excited about this little lady. Harmony is always studying the Week by Week Pregnancy Book, they went through the baby name books and picked names (which is actually pretty funny considering the younger two don't read yet!) My stomach has never gotten so much attention ever!!! At dinner the kids argue over who will sit next "to the baby," they always hug and kiss her goodnight and they like to "hold her hand" when crossing the street! :) They make sure I am eating food she likes and are checking off lists of things she will need to live in our house. It is the coolest thing ever.
With every pregnancy, Chase has gotten more excited and he was so ecstatic to find out he is getting another girl! So he is busy loving on me: checking off lists to make sure I have what I need, I am getting the food I like and have a hand to hold. He is just so stinkin awesome.

2. Life in Texas is good! It hasn't been anything like we expected (but when is anything just like you expect? Uh-never.) We trusted God that He knew what He was doing when He moved us from our home and church we adore in Arizona to a completely new place-Texas! And of course He knew what He was doing! He does what He does for our best interests and for His glory. Next month we will have been here a year and are feeling like we belong. We have a sweet church with sweet people. Pastor Stan is one of the most humble men I have ever met and I have a lot to learn from him. He is fabulous! His wife, Becky is amazing and I love her to pieces!!!
I am really enjoying my Sunday School class and am making friends-which is a really big blessing because you all know that a stay-at-home mom could use an adult conversation every once in awhile! ;)
We LOVE our teens here. They are passionate about changing the world and we are praying that with Christ's help they do just that! It is so hard to be a teenager and it is much harder here than for our teens in AZ. I don't know if it is because we were more rural there or because it is such a Mormon community there or what, but the difference between the North Texas culture and the White Mtn of AZ culture is night and day. Really interesting. Anyhow, just means we need to be praying even more and sharing truth with our teens even more fervently.

3. We have had the super amazing blessing of knowing my dad and his family! A couple of months after we moved here I got a message on Facebook from my Dad! As in, my biological dad that I have never met (at least not since my very first Christmas!) It has been so cool to know him. He apologized for a lot of things and has been working his tail off to make things right...but I am happy just to have him. He texts me just about everyday and calls often. He checks on me when he knows I am struggling and was patient with me when I went into "relationship self-destruct" mode. I had big plans to guard my heart so it really scared me when I fell for him so quickly-I am definitely not used to giving "strange" men such power over me. But I gave in. At some point he may really disappoint me or hurt me but he is only human and I am just as likely to hurt or disappoint him so...just the way it goes. :)
I do think God and His timing are funny. He always has the best timing. I waited to have my dad my whole life...just NEEDED him. And it wasn't until after I had learned a few things about Christ being the only One I need, He is the Savior-not a dad, not Chase, not my pastor, not any other family member or friend could be all that I needed-that is His job and only He is capable of satisfying and bringing that kind of wholeness...anyway it wasn't until I had learned a bit of that that God brought my dad into the picture. Boy should my dad be glad!! Haha! God also did that out of mercy for him too!!! ;)
Anyhow, I love my dad. He is definitely the best. I am looking forward to meeting him in person one of these days. :)
Another cool thing about knowing my dad is knowing about more of my family! Get this-after my dad emailed me I got an email from his sister, my Aunt Lisa! Guess where she lives??? In the town next to ours!!! No kidding!!! She is the coolest thing since chai tea (which if you know me is an unbelievably big compliment!) Her super cool family has welcomed us in and we just love them! Lisa has a women's prison ministry in Dallas which -I cannot even begin to tell you the cool things happening down there!! Hopefully soon I will write about my experiences there. God is moving and working suffice it to say for now. ;)
Aunt Lisa and her faith is such an encouragement to me. I love people who admit that they are a mess and that makes God even cooler because He loves them anyway! Makes me feel a little less like a weirdo. By the way, I don't really think she is a mess...but her saying it makes me feel better. ;)
I also am getting to know my Grandma who is quite the sweetheart! I am hoping to meet her someday soon!
I also have another sister and brother!!! I got to meet my sister Alecia a few weeks ago when Aunt Lisa flew her and my super duper cutie niece out for the weekend! It was so cool to spend a couple of days with my sister and get to know each other! Kinda funny, day one was spent asking a million and a half questions about the other one, their family, childhood, other siblings, mommy stuff, relationships, religion!!! It was fun! She is a sweetheart and we have lots in common and got along well. She lives all the way in Washington which is just too far away! :(
I also have a 14 year old brother and we kinda talk on Facebook-you know, as much as 14 year old boys talk on Facebook...to weird girls. He is cute though, I want to kiss his cheeks! Is that allowed or would that REALLY freak him out?!? ;)
Anyhow, it is nice to have more family!!!

3. Have I mentioned that I have the best friends ever?!?! My girls in AZ still put up with me even though I am so far away and have been gone a year! They are always there when I need prayer, an ear, a laugh, or a lecture! (Sometimes all is needed!) They are a remarkable group of women and I am so thankful for them.
There are also some amazing friends here in Texas too!!! I am friends with ladies here that would let us move right in off the street with them-seriously, they did that! My friends here adopted my kids and take care of us. I have been known to call one of them too in the even of needing an ear, etc.... Gosh I am sounding needy.
Anyhow, God has blessed me with friends near and far and an always looking to add some more! (You know, it is always best to spread out the neediness so it doesn't eat alive a couple few people! ;)

4. God has given me His Word! I am going to be real- over the past several months Satan has worked overtime it seems to rob us of joy. I am not being dramatic. It has been scary, depressing, discouraging...not everything has fallen into place like we expected when God moved us.
We would hear discouraging news about our old teens, we would get discouraging news about our house in AZ, things didn't immediately get great with our teens here, we moved into a house we hated thinking it was temporary only to find out it may be a whole lot more permanent than we ever could have dreamed. Members of our family and friends have had horrendous, heart-wrenching loss that we just couldn't fix...and it goes on and on and on... And for the past several months every time I have been super duper happy-a light shines through and reassures me that we have not been forsaken and abandoned-God IS taking care of us! And then halfway through my praise-chorus we get more bad news, another insult, another loss, another problem to fix. So now I am getting dramatic. But in all seriousness, that is how it has been. Literally half way through a praise chorus! It has been miserable. God is so gracious to give us those glimpses of His love and provision. And sometimes His provision isn't what we want-it IS what we need. It isn't what I expected, but He is teaching many lessons on perseverance, trust, contentment, faith, prayer and praise. I hope I am picking up a few things!
But I say that His Word is a blessing to me (finally getting back to my first statement on this point) is that it always has the answers! ALWAYS!!! Honestly I don't always think to look there first for direction, encouragement, lesson review etc. But that is also the point. I have been asking God for more and more love for His Word-that it would be a part of me like nothing else. What better way to nurture a love than by driving me to it??? Seriously! He is making me so hungry for HIS peace, HIS direction, HIS reassurance that I am His and He is mine, He is even making me hungry for correction. I want Him to point out where I am not reflecting His image, fix it, and then get the glory!
Now I know this is all kinda basic Christianity, but it has been deeper. It has been a hold on for dear life kind of ride. And now I am thankful. Chase may forbid me from praying to love God's Word more, (haha!) but He is not letting me get comfortable in my relationship with Him-and I like it that way.
Praying scripture has done wonders for my soul. There have been so many days where I want to talk to God, but I don't even know where to begin or am overwhelmed with thoughts, worries, frustrations, what other people are thinking or am just plain exhausted. I know talking to Jesus and giving it to Him is the answer but what do you do when there is so much???
God led me to the back of "Get Out Of That Pit" by Beth Moore. I am going through that book with a couple of my girls and I picked it up one day, flipped through and found the praying scripture section!!! It is perfect! A section each day for confessing, praising and asking. Exactly what got me through some days without getting horrifically violent or dramatically hysterical (let's not forget there are a lot of preggo hormones running around right now-Chase will tell you!) His Word is perfect, sharp, true-miraculous. Ahhh!!! It is just good stuff! Also, when I realized the wonders of praying God's Word, I was led back to a book I used many moons ago called 31 Days of Praise and wow. SO many good scriptures to pray and the preface is AWESOME. There she talks about how when we are discouraged we especially need to praise God and how it changes our attitude and strengthens our faith by telling Him how awesome He is! How often the last thing we want to do is praise God...I know I would much rather throw a pity party and eat an obscene amount of cookie dough ice cream, personally. ;) Pity parties don't help us though and they certainly don't serve others! I want to be a usable vessel that He will use, so I need to be full of praise, His Word, and faith. Again, basic but down to the nitty gritty. So.......I choose praise thanks to His grace. And I am so thankful for all He is doing in my life. Every bit of it.

Love y'all!!!

p.s. Here are the links to check out the books I mentioned! ;) Let me know if you read them and what you think! :)
Get Out of That Pit
31 Days of Praise

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