Monday, December 31, 2012

New New Year's Traditions...

I am still working on my new year's resolutions, but I've also been inspired to write another list...

The Blessings of 2012

I'm so thankful for social media. I love that on Twitter, I can follow people who have no clue who I am or how much they inspire me.

For instance, Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a book called Boundaries: When to Say Yes and How to Say No...

This book was transforming for me!! Seriously, reading it and applying it has changed my life!

And now I follow Dr. Cloud on Twitter. He actually retweeted & responded to something by Bill Hybels tweeted...

This totally inspired me to make my own list of blessings!! So, I'm going to be working on this list to share with Lee and our kids...or possibly just me and Lee when it's quiet after our kiddos go to sleep...

But my next project is from Pinterest (and I've seen it on Instagram and Facebook as well)...and it's going to start on January 1, 2013 for next New Year's Eve...

Thank you, social media, for giving me opportunities to create new traditions that will help me be able to reflect on the good things God has done for me and my family within a year!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Write New Year's Resolutions

It's getting close to that time of year again...

Time to make New Year's Resolutions.

When we were starting in our cousins and friends and I would put our resolutions in a box and open them together the following year. It was a lot of fun for us...and our crazy dreams...some of which happened...and some of which didn't.

I really wish it was something that we could do together now...Maybe we'll have to create a virtual one...or just mail the actual ones to Syl and have her put them in a box...but the fun part was opening it the following year.

The thing about the box though was that I almost always forgot what I put in it. Like 99% of what I put in it. I think one year I even copied what I had written for the box...but I just didn't keep looking at it.

So, this year for my goals, I am going to keep them in front of me...something that I plan to be able to see written and read it on a regular basis...

And I'm not going to make a ridiculously long list of unrealistic goals that cannot be me, I had plenty of those in the box over the years.

I have learned that goals are something that can be measured...and there should be attainable steps or benchmarks to get to it.

I can't just say, "I want to lose weight..."

I need to say, "I want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months...and I will do this by doing my 30 day shred video 3 times a week...cutting out cokes...and eating a salad as a meal once a day for 3 days a week."

That's more realistic for me. I don't want salads every day. I know I won't workout 7 days a week or even 5 days a week right now with 3 little ones at home. I have to be realistic in my goals...what I resolve for the next year.

So, I'm going to be working on this list for the next few days. I will keep track of it on my phone...and it will go in my journal. I may even share those resolutions on here as a form of accountability.

My plan is this in a nutshell:
1. write 5 specific, measurable goals with steps/benchmarks to achieve them
2. Put a brief version of these 5 goals on the wall in my bathroom so I can see them on a daily basis
3. Have a specific reward for when I reach each of those goals

I can tell you that I'm excited about this...and I'm looking forward to looking back at the end of 2013 to see how much I've accomplished throughout the year!

Right now for me, it's a new year and new beginnings!!!

How do you feel about New Year's Resolutions??

Friday, December 21, 2012


I've started writing about half a dozen blog posts and then stop...

Some kind of interruption...something is going on.

Everyone has been sick - except for Breelee thankfully! - Bella was even too sick to participate in the kids' song for our Christmas production. My song was the next song after that, and I ended up taking the kids home as soon as I was finished. It wasn't what I thought it would be for sure!! But I'm glad it went well!!! We had the largest crowd since our launch day in September! That is exciting!!!!!

The week has just been hard. Bella's teacher said yesterday that she noticed Bella wasn't her usual self. This sickness has just wiped all of us out. I feel like I can't catch up on cleaning anything...

But thankfully last night was a vomit-free night...the first in a week.

We've had to adjust to Lee's work schedule too. With the training and then the holidays, he's stayed busy, and we know that will slow down after the new year. He is only working our financial support team members & other friends who have given to us are helping us be able to be a part of the church plant.

I've only felt overwhelmed a few times. It is at night when we are all getting tired and Lee isn't home yet...that is when it's a little hard. And Breelee has had some fussy evenings.

But we are making it. Again, this is the best I've felt after having a baby. It's a true blessing that I don't want to take for granted. If I would have been the way that I was after I had would not be a fun time for any of us.

But I'm able to go out with 3 kids - even to the mall. I like going with Lee before he has a shift or even meeting him on his lunch break and eating with him. It's on my way out alone that I usually get looks and comments of "you have your hands full..." or "you are brave..."

Well, thank you...I'll take that as a compliment! I do feel brave, even when Brennan starts screaming as we leave a store. If I wasn't brave, I would stay home all the time, and I just can't do that. I don't want to do that.

I'm considering getting one of those sit-and-stand strollers. That way I'll be able to contain 2 and Bella can walk along side of it. Right now I can carry Breelee in my ring sling, which is wonderful and easy, but like today, I didn't have it in the car like I thought I did...and I carried her around the mall instead of Brennan running around and having to chase him. Thankfully she's still pretty light and Brennan stays in the stroller for the most part!!!

It really is interesting being a mom of 3. Again, it is a blessing from God that I don't want to take for granted...I know there are many women who would love to be in my shoes...even on my craziest of days...

I have my challenging moments...but I mean, I had challenging moments when Brennan and Bella were newborns.

Bella is a wonderful helper. Brennan is too. They both love love love Breelee so much. so much. And I know that it could be a lot worse. The biggest problem is when Breelee is screaming and Brennan wants to be held and Bella needs help putting on or taking off her princess dress. Or when Brennan and Bella are chasing each other and screaming...all in fun...until someone gets hurt.

But, I am thankful that God has chosen to give us 3 happy, healthy babies. And if my blog writing slows down for a little bit because of some distractions and interruptions, I'll take it!!! I can always write more in the future, but I won't ever get this season of life back again. Bring on the interruptions!! (as I've been stopped writing this about a dozen times by Bella asking me to paint her nails...It is so special to be a mom!!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Christmas time is here. It's a fun time of celebration with our kids.

Buford the elf has been visiting our house for a few weeks now. The first thing that Bella does when she wakes up in the morning is rush downstairs to see where Buford has moved to. She loves it!! It is fun to watch her face light up with delight. If Buford is at a place low enough for Brennan to touch him, she freaks out and begs us to move him so Brennan won't touch him...Because if Buford is touched, he'll lose his Christmas magic.

We really haven't talked up Santa too much. She makes a big enough deal on her own. But if you ask her what Santa is getting her for Christmas, she says "A Leap Ipad..."and if you asked her what Meme and Popie are getting her for Christmas, she'll say, "A Leap Ipad..." And it's probably true...Popie is more of a Santa Clause than the real one...always has been :)

And if you ask her why we celebrate Christmas, she'll say, "It's Jesus' birthday!" And yes, we do celebrate Jesus' birthday. Cake and all.

And she's super excited about our first Christmas production at Connection Church this coming Sunday (December 16th at 10 am at Mountain Ridge Middle School...check out for more info if you are in the Denver area!!!) She has been practicing her song for the children's part...and we're going to go shopping for a new dress...and she's even practicing my song for the production with me. This girl loves to sing! top it all off...there's snow! That's something new for all of us!! And now that we have the right boots and gloves for Bella & Brennan, they love playing in it!!! They even had a snowball fight with each other!!!

Last night we made our annual Blakney gingerbread house. The hardest part was keeping Brennan from eating the candy before and after it was on the house! He is still trying to get to it today!!!!

It really is a fun time for our family. This is such a different, new season of life for us...but we are enjoying each moment...we are embracing all that God has for us this Christmas. Bella told us last night, "This is the best Christmas ever!" And it is true...each year of celebration for us is better than the one before.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Not What I Expected

It has almost been 6 months since we moved from Louisiana.

I can say that things have not gone like I thought they would - good or bad...

I didn't think that we would get a house 4 doors down from Shawn & Amy (our pastors and friends who invited us to move up here to be a part of this adventure at Connection Church!) And we love love love our house. We are still renting - even though it is for sale by owner - and we are planning to buy it as soon as we can. 

I wasn't really sure where we would be living...but I'm thrilled we are where we are. We live in a fabulous neighborhood with the most wonderful neighbors!! We love it!

I didn't think it would take Lee over 6 months to get a job. He applied for the Apple store back in April before we moved, and he talked to them as soon as we moved here in June. And then he went through 4 interviews. 4. And the last one was back at the end of September or October. His first day was December 1st. 

I still believe God's timing is perfect. And the Apple store is the perfect part-time job for Lee. The hours are flexible...and he will be able to still focus on the work he does for the church as well as be with our family. He has loved the training he has been a part of...and I know he's going to excel working there. And Bella will be excited if we ever go to see him on a lunch break - the mall is her favorite place to go. Such a girl!!!

I didn't expect God's provision to come to us through such extreme measures. Diapers on our doorstep, a huge box of meat and meals delivered in the mail, checks in the mail, and meals provided by people we have met within the past few months...It's overwhelming to think of His goodness...and how good His people have been to us. We are blessed!!

The holidays seem so much harder to be away from family and friends back in Louisiana (and Lee's family in Texas). We know that God has called us here...but that doesn't always make it easier. And we have great friends now here...and actually, our love for Louisiana draws us closer to each other. There really is no other place like it. Just today on our way to drop off Bella at school, we passed up a pond...and Bella said, "Look Mom, that's my swamp...the alligators live there." And I wasn't able to convince her that alligators don't live there...she will have to see them next summer when she goes back to visit Louisiana. 

I didn't think I would be doing this well after having a baby. I wasn't extremely negative...I was trying to be realistic. I knew my hormones would be crazy...but besides the few baby blues days I've had...I've been really happy...I've enjoyed taking care of all 3 kids (and Lee too...and he's been wonderful at taking care of me.) But my weight loss is going good...I feel biggest frustration is finding a pair of jeans that fit!!! 

I've said this before, I don't think I knew what to expect when we moved. This is so different from everything we've known and done for all of our lives. 

But it is an exciting adventure that we are on...and God has been (and will continue to be) with us every step of the way. I'm so glad that His ways are higher than ours...and with Him, we are trying our best to live a story that is worth telling. 

Taking a risk for God is totally worth it. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

In a Year's Time: A Miscarriage and A Newborn

Around this time last November (the day before Thanksgiving to be exact), I was having a D & C procedure to make sure that everything was taken care of for the miscarriage that I was having.

And a year later, I'm holding a baby in my arms.

It's something that I don't quite understand.

I do believe that God is in control...and He always has been. Even though I don't understand why things happened the way that they did.

I don't understand why a lot of things happen...

I don't understand how those who don't necessarily want to get pregnant seem to be fertile myrtles, and those who are dying to have a baby of their own can't seem to get pregnant...and some even spend thousands of dollars on medicines to help them without a guarantee.

I just don't understand. I know that there is frustration involved...probably on both sides.

My heart goes out to the women who are like Hannah from the Bible. She desperately wanted a baby of her own...and no one around her seemed to understand...even her husband.

Proverbs 14:10 says,
New Living Translation (©2007)
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.

Hannah prayed she was sobbing...pouring out her heart to God...and she was a mess...a much so that she was accused of being drunk! 

After crying out to the Lord, God answered her prayers. (You can read more of Hannah's story by clicking here)

But that answer doesn't always happen that way for every woman who prays - even with that desperation. 

And that is what I don't understand...

My dad has a special faith to pray for women to have babies. I don't know why...but he does. One of my co-workers at Buras Middle School had severe medical issues and was told that she would never have kids of her own. My dad came to the school for a grandparents lunch to eat with my nephew...and my dad stopped by as I was talking to this lady. I told him she was hoping to have a baby, and he didn't know any of her circumstances...he just put his hand on her shoulder and said a simple prayer...

Later that year, she became pregnant and has a healthy little boy...despite what the doctors told her. 

But even all of his prayers don't get answered. 

There were 2 women that we prayed for every night at dinner time while I was growing up...literally, every evening...

And one of them had 2 children, and the other didn't. Even though my dad had prayed for both of them equally. (And these ladies are still best friends!!)

Faith requires believing without seeing what is ahead...trusting that things are going to work out...that God is working on my behalf...and that He has my best interest in mind. Even though it usually doesn't seem that way during the hard times!! That's what faith and trust are about. 

I'm thrilled to be holding my baby girl in my arms. I am finding myself savoring the moments even more now...I know that she is a miracle...and how quickly time will pass and she will no longer be so small. In just a few days she'll already be a month old. 

I'm thankful that God has chosen me to be a mother. I have accepted this role, and I know that these seasons of life will change before I realize it. 

I will continue to pray for my friends who desperately want children of their own...And I know you probably don't want to hear this, but it's so important to not get caught up in what you don't have...but focus on what you do...those in your life who need you now...the things that God has called you to do now. And I believe God is working on your behalf if you trust Him to. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now It Is Part of Our Story...

I'm doing much better after my bout with Baby Blues.

I can't believe how good I feel after having a is just 2 weeks.

It's crazy to think that 2 weeks ago today, I had a baby in my belly. I'm so thankful that all of that pregnancy, labor & delivery stuff is behind me!!

God continues to bless us here in Colorado.

On Monday night at about 9 pm, I was on the phone with my parents. Just talking and catching up. About 9:30 pm, I told Lee that Bella needed a few things for her lunch at school the next day, so he made his mental list and opened the front door to go to the store.

There on our doorstep was a jumbo pack of pampers swaddlers size 1 diapers...

Written in black marker, it simply said, "God bless!"

No other knock on the door to say they were there.

It brought tears to my eyes. I know that whoever left those diapers there had to get in touch with someone (like Shawn & Amy) to find out where we live...but I'm ok with the anonymity. The mystery of it all makes it all the more exciting.

I've heard stories of this happening to other it is part of our story. 

And we know that we are living a story worth telling.  It's not easy at times. But a good story is built on conflict, climax, and's what keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next.

Most of the time, I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I don't know how God is going to provide. But I know that He is. And most of the time when I haven't driven myself crazy by worrying, I'm excited to turn the start the next day...and see what He is going to do.

From family, neighbors, and friends, we've been given over 200 diapers - more than enough for the first month of Breelee's life. Plus, we've been given so many other things for her...and we're still getting checks in the mail to get other things for her that we need.

And as humbling as it is at times...God is using other people to make our story better. We were not created to write our story alone or for ourselves. We were meant to live and share our lives with those around inspire each encourage each other...

We want to continue living a life worth telling...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby Blues

I did great for the first week. I felt great. Physically, emotionally, even spiritually...I was doing good.

Then Friday rolled around. A week and a day after I had Breelee...

And the baby blues hit me like an avalanche.

I cried all day long. About everything.

It started with a frustrating moment with our trash pick up service (or lack thereof)...which is a whole different story...but anyways, that frustration triggered an onset of emotions.

Frustration brought on tears...and then the tears didn't stop all day. Everything made me cry.

Then I started feeling homesick. It's cold here. The holidays are approaching...and I haven't seen my family since May. And I know it will be a while before I get to see them again. And everyone is going to be at my parents house for Thanksgiving this year...even those who haven't been in years...

And it's hard in a hormonal, emotional state to decipher what's reality and what's fleeting emotions.

At least I was aware that no major decisions would be made on Friday or Saturday (yes, the crying continued into part of Saturday, too).

I know my hormones are going through a 3-ring circus right now. Everything is changing in me physiologically...which is affecting my emotions...and I refuse to make decisions based on my emotions alone.

So, I just cried.

I couldn't talk to Lee without tearing up about whatever words were coming out of my mouth...if I could even get the words out of my mouth - whether that was about the stupid trash or which neighbor was bringing dinner over that night or the beautiful table that he refinished...everything - good or bad - had me a big ball of mess.

And then part of me feels like it was just the slightest bit spiritual. Just a little. I hate over-spiritualizing things.

But, I had just written a blog post the day before about how much peace we felt from God in our house. Now, looking back, I feel like that was being challenged by the enemy. And I feel like I didn't rely enough on God in my crazy state of emotions.

I'm not beating myself up about this now...I started feeling much better yesterday, and then last night we had dinner with Shawn & Amy, and we laughed together, and they encouraged us, and we walked from their house to our house feeling refreshed...

I did journal on Friday and Saturday. I did write honestly about how I was feeling...even if it was irrational. And I believe that is part of what helped me through this bout of baby blues. And I know that when I look back on it in a few days I'll be able to learn even more about myself in that experience.

(*Side note - now when I want to journal and the kids are awake, I turn on some worship music and get out a notebook for each of them and they draw and "write" like I's a good time for all of us.)

 Hormones are a crazy part of pregnancy and post-partumn. They can wreak havoc on a woman and affect the rest of her family as well. I do not want to stifle my emotions, but I refuse to let them control me. I don't feel like I did or thought anything that I regret - I didn't act on those emotions. That's why journaling is so safe for me. I can process it first that way.

* I can say that after having Bella, I now think that I had post-partumn depression and just didn't get treated. The description of it says that if you don't want to take care of your baby or yourself, then you have it. Well, my problem was that I wanted to take care of her, and nursing wasn't working out for us. I cried too much...even though I was taking care of her and myself ok. I still should have gotten help. (Don't let that be the part of the description that is keeping you from getting help if you need it!!)

This is a whole new experience for us...3 kids...1400 miles away from all we've ever known...a new community...a new way of really is a whole new trusting God experience.

But, we are living a story worth telling. And even when my emotions are in a chaotic state, I can trust God that He has my best interest in mind.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week 1 with a Newborn...

Breelee is officially one week old.

She's been a part of the outside world for a whole week now. a whole week!

God has really given me grace for this time around post-partumn.

This is the best I've's unbelievable to me.

I've hardly had the baby blues...I have only cried a couple of times. My hormones feel pretty balanced.

Physically, I feel great. I mean, I'm still a little sore...and my back hurts as my hips are readjusting, but I am getting around great. Ladies, this is a bonus for going natural!! :)

Breelee is a phenomenal sleeper. I don't want to take that for granted at all. At all...

Bella was a fussy baby from the get-go...Brennan had his days and nights mixed up and was nursing every 2 hours. But this girl...she likes to sleep (definitely her momma's child there!) Since we've been using the gas drops, she's been sleeping 3 hours...wakes up, nurses...and stays away for 20 minutes or so and then goes back to sleep. Hallelujah!! Last night, she slept for 4 hours, nursed, went back to sleep for 4 more I slept great! I'm soooo thankful for that.

I can say that being prepared before hand - the whole "knowing my trigger points"- has helped tremendously...(click here to read that blog post)

I'm glad that I got my hair cut before really has helped me feel better. I love it and it's super easy to fix...but it has made me feel more like I'm just glad that I didn't wait until after she was born...

Also, I have been doing my make-up every day, even if I'm just staying at home and I know no one is coming just helps me feel good.

And, since I hadn't gained a ton of weight this time, my belly has shrunk tremendously. Clothes still don't fit the same since my hips feel about a mile apart from each other...but I have 2 black maternity t-shirts that I'm wearing the threads out of. They fit really good and I feel good wearing them. So, I just make sure that I wash one soon enough to wear the next day...because they have both been spit up on already :)

And with the flexibility that we have right now, Lee is able to be home to help me as much as he can. It's wonderful being together as a family of 5. We really are the Fantastic Five. Our kids love Breelee...they are thrilled to have her here. And because she's such a wonderful sleeper, I'm able to lay her in her Rock and Play sleeper (thanks to my Mom and Dad!!) and spend time snuggling and playing with Bella and Brennan. It's been fabulous.

Thank you to all who have prayed for our family. Sure, it has been sad knowing we are sooo far from friends and family. I'm thankful for Skype and FaceTime, but it's not the same as my mom and dad actually getting to hold my newest little girl...or having everyone come over to our house.

We've been blessed to be a part of a great community and family here, though. The Thornton family (living here as a transplant from Vidalia) brought a meal to church for us on Sunday, and Amy was able to bring it to us on her way home. Lara, our friend and fellow member of our launch team, came over last night and cooked for us and watched tv with us (which is one of our favorite things to do)...and then Rachel, a neighbor who lives down the street (living here so her husband can go to seminary), brought us dinner tonight. And there are other friends who are planning on bringing food, too!! Plus, our neighbor Kelly has come to get Bella to play with her 3 year old daughter...which makes Bella very excited!!! We are just so blessed by all of this - even at 1400 miles away from home!!

Thanks also to all of you who have blessed us financially. We've been given things for the baby...including diapers!!! And the cards and checks that come in the mail are so encouraging...and knowing that God is taking care of us during this time is encouraging us more than you'll ever know. He is our provider...and He uses His people to be a part of His provision. It is humbling and exciting all at the same time!

There is a great sense of peace that is permeating our home. We know that the presence of God is here with us. It's almost a good way...such a beautiful thing. When it could be chaotic and out of control...we are resting fully in the fact that we know that God is with us, and He is in control.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

So I Had a Baby...

Highlights of Baby Blakney #3

I would love to write the detailed story of Breelee Claire Blakney's entrance into the world, but honestly, so much has happened in the past 6 days of her life...I feel like in journaling when I haven't written for a long time and I try to play catch's almost overwhelming...

So, I'm just going to write a few highlights and work on the story as I can...

1. My contractions started around 6:30 am on Thursday, November 1st...NOT Halloween...and I delivered her at 2:07 pm on Thursday, November 1st.
I am so thankful that it was a faster process than the last 2 times, but my hurt.

2. I was able to deliver epidural. Oh my word it hurt...I screamed a whole lot more this time than I did in the last 2 deliveries combined. Lee had to help hold one of my legs while the nurse held the other. He did such a great job. He was a constant encourager and comforted me just enough during the whole process.

3. Breelee weighed 8 lbs and 8 oz and was 21 inches long. They let me hold her for a very long time before they took her over to take her measurements...and then they brought her right back. Her skin was so soft and smooth...she's perfect...and we decided her middle name at the hospital...

4. We have wonderful friends who took care of our kids. It was such a relief knowing that they were ok...they were happy and comfortable. Lara came over early Thursday to stay with Brennan while Bella was at school...and then she and Renee stayed with them that night...and Renee stayed with them at Shawn & Amy's on Friday night. It was so comforting knowing they were ok!!!

Lara and Amy brought Bella & Brennan to see Breelee at the hospital on Thursday (and they brought me & Lee Five Guys!!) The first thing both kids asked me was, "Mom, are you ok?" It was the exact time that Breelee came back to us from the initial nursery check in. Bella was interested for a few seconds...but Brennan was in love. In Love. He sat on my lap and said, "Mom, I want her..." and while I was helping him hold her, he put his hand on mine and said, "No, Mom, I want her..." Shawn & Amy brought them back on Friday, and they were just as thrilled...I'm sooo glad that my babies love each other!!!

5. My recovery was amazing. Girls, if you can go it!! I was up and walking around our hospital room within hours. (You cannot do that with an epidural...) We had a wonderful nurse, Emily, who got us all set up and spent a lot of time with us. I just felt alert...I was a little sore, but considering what I had just gone was nothing! I just felt great...and I still feel great!

6. Our parenting confidence levels are out of the roof!!! Lee & I were so cool, calm, and collected. The experience of being parents of 2 has let us know that everything is going to be ok. Of course there have been a few new things with this little one, but we know that it's all going to be ok. Breelee nursed well, but not consistently. This drove me crazy with Bella...even with Brennan...but now I know that she's going to eat when she's ready...and if she's pooping and peeing...she's good! By the way...Lee changed her first poop diaper - just like he did for the other 2! He's such a great dad!!!!

7. We were able to share our story with nurses and doctors...and we feel really blessed with the doctors we have found here. They've been wonderful to us. We brought Breelee in for a routine 3 day check up. She is doing great...and there were a few concerns about mucus and gas (she's screamed for an hour every night - even in the hospital)...but the doctor put us at ease. That's priceless.

8. Lee's parents surprised us and flew in on Saturday and were here not long after we got home from the hospital. They were able to play with Bella and Brennan...hold Breelee...and Bro. Rob was able to help Lee with our new dining table project (which I will be posting about soon!) It was a great help and relief to have them here!

And thanks to technology, I was able to talk to my parents soon after the baby was we'll be able to FaceTime and Skype and keep up with us!!

9. Lee & I are referring to ourselves as Team Blakney and we are the Fantastic 5...we feel like we really are. We feel like we are blessed...we are going to have a blast raising 3 great kids to love and serve God. We know that we are going to have our challenges, but we also know that God has given us grace and responsibility to be a family of 5.

10. God has blessed us with another happy, healthy baby. She's beautiful. She's already gained 6 oz since she left the hospital. She sleeps a lot...she is nursing well...and after using the gas drops before every feeding, she had a wonderful night without crying...which means we all had a great night.

Go Team Blakney!!! Thanks for keeping up with the Fantastic Five!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

It's a waiting game now.

I don't want to be all. I really want to go completely natural with this baby - just like I did for the last 2.

For the last 2 babies...I woke up around 7 am with a contraction. I knew it was a contraction, and I knew I was in labor.

So, every night I go to bed thinking, "Is tomorrow going to be the day?"

I know that the contractions are coming soon, but it's awful not knowing when!

We are pretty much ready to bring a new baby home. The clothes are washed, the sleep & play rocker is put together and ready (and Bella & Brennan have practiced with a baby doll in it), we have bottles and nuks and diapers...just enough to get us started.

I've been told that I'm huge...and then other moms who have had babies have said that I look great...

I feel good about how I look. I mean, my belly is protruding quite a bit. But I'm at the end. Soon, I'll be at least 10 pounds lighter if not more. That's a good feeling. I mean, I don't like that my belly will still be big...and it will become like jelly instead of being firm like it is now...but I'm looking forward to moving with a little more ease than I am right now!! This is just difficult!!!

It will be interesting to have a new baby at home. Brennan and Bella will be quite excited to hold, kiss, role will probably be more of a bouncer to keep them from crowding in too much :)

I'll keep everyone posted on how this is all going. According to my doctors, they are telling me that I'm a pro at this and I shouldn't have any worries. I hope that they are right. I'm ready for a quick, easy labor and delivery...I'm sure the delivery part will fall under that I'm just praying that the labor will be quicker.

You can be sure that I'll have it on Twitter and Facebook when I start having contractions...and definitely will put when we are on the way to the hospital. Plus, there will be pictures once Baby Blakney #3 has entered the world.

It's just for now, we have to hurry up and wait...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trigger Points and Trip Wires

Several years ago, Lee & I did an Campus Missionary in Training (CMIT) internship for Chi Alpha at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

We learned a lot that year...a whole lot...

One of the things that I remember was a special session that Sean Smith did just for the 4 of us interns.

He talked about Trigger Points and Trip Wires...

Trip Wires 

These are the things that trip you up. The things that bring you down. The attacks that the enemy of your soul uses to get to you...

This can be temptations or things that happen regularly that you need to be aware of. 

For instance, Lee often recognizes that when he gets really tired, he starts getting negative. He'll say, "I just need to shut up and go to bed." I think that takes a lot for him to recognize that. He could keep talking to me...even if it is negative about whatever is going on in our life...and it really wouldn't hurt anything - or so I think. But instead of allowing the poison to spread...he just stops and gets ready for bed...or a nap...

Dr. David Remedios, a wonderful man of God who is a nationally known surgeon, pastor/evangelist, and a husband and father of 5, taught us about "HALT" - you should always halt (stop) when you are:

Lee and I have lived by may take us a little time to recognize that we need to stop and meet one of these needs because it is influencing our attitude and behavior or thoughts...

Another trip wire for me is pride. I can get caught up on what I am good I am feeling about what I'm doing...instead of being humble...instead of bringing glory to God. Or I have a sense a false humility...which is awful. 

Just being transparent here. 

There are more trip wires in my life. And some of them I am not aware of until after I've tripped and fallen into the trap. It's important to recognize this...and journaling has really helped. As I re-read and reflect, I can see something that I may not be able to see in the moment. That's why it is important for me to be honest and consistent in my journaling. 

Trigger Points

These are the things that bring you up....that lift you up when you are down. 

This can be songs, Scripture verses, people, places, prayer times, journaling...

It's important to also be aware of these things in your life. Even when you don't feel like getting out of the pit that you are in, it is vital that you get back up!!! These are the things you need to make that happen. 

There are people in my life who I know I can call, text, Facebook, bring encouragement into my life. It's too easy now with technology for me to try to stay alone and wallow in my sorrows. And most of these people are not around me every I have to reach out to them...and be honest about where I'm at and what I need. And they don't mind helping me!!!

I also have a worship playlist...and an up-beat dance playlist on my computer that I can listen to...and it really does lift my spirits!! 

Trust me, there are times when I don't want to seems more fun in my pity party. But Jesus didn't die for my sins for me to have a pity party...

John 10:10 (NIV)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
I don't want my life to be destroyed...I want to live it to the full!!!
It's important that if you do get tripped...get up!! Be more cautious about what is causing you to trip...take note of the people you are around, the things that you are listening to and watching... and be ready to have the things in your life to lift you up.
I had baby blues really bad after Bella. I think I had post-partumn depression, but I just didn't get treated for it. I was a mess, and Lee didn't know what to do with me. It was so rough. So when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Brennan, I prepared myself as much as I could. I got new haircut...and I had specifically saved money for things that I knew would make me feel better. Honestly, I'm doing the same thing for this pregnancy as well. I'm preparing myself. I have a series of things that I know will make me feel better. I have a ton of books (most for free) on my Kindle that I'll be able to read during feedings and times when I may be at home by myself. I invested my birthday money in skin care that I know will adjust with my changing hormones. I want to be prepared to keep myself lifted!!!!
We all go through seasons...and some seasons are more difficult than others. But there is no way that you can "stay up" all the time...but when you know that you are is your responsibility to get yourself "up" - NOT someone else's!! So do your best to know what trips you and knocks you down and then what (and who) can help lift you back up again!!  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Is Who I Am

I can get so easily overwhelmed with my blog.

I want it to be something that I outlet to express what I'm passionate about...what I'm interested in...

But I know that there is a lot of potential in blogs.

For instance, I could make money off of my blog. And there are so many ways to do it!

Google Ads (which I have on the side but am not really making anything from yet)...
Sponsoring posts (which I haven't really done yet)...
Letting people advertise on my blog (which hasn't happened yet either)...

There are so many more ways to go about it too! And I would get paid to do something that I love...writing...expressing myself...and staying at home with my kids.

I know that there are a lot of professional bloggers out there. People who are making a lot of money - huge incomes - through this field of blogging.

And I'm not there yet. At all...

And there is so much that I don't understand about graphic design and layout...and I get sooooo frustrated with...

And I don't know if it's worth it to try to try to understand. I mean I know it is...I just know that it will take me more time than a lot of other things that come so easily to me...and I don't exactly have a lot of free time with 2 little ones and one coming any time now.

I have made the decision that I don't want to change my blog just to make money. I don't want to start talking about fashion and style...that's just not me. I mean, if I come up with a cute outfit and want to share, fine...but I'm not going to go out of my way to talk about it. And I am NOT a crafts kind of I won't even pretend to go there...

My blog is's about relationship with relationship with my I feel about being a wife, a mom, a daughter of God.

This is who I am. If I happen to make money off of this blog, great. If I don't, I will still keep writing. It's a way for me to share my life...what God is doing in me and through me...with hopes of inspiring someone else in their journey of life...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

God's Creative Provision

God is providing for us financially in such unique ways!!!

Lee never did get the job with Apple. They said that they like to have people "on the bench" waiting and ready for when they need them. That's great - but it doesn't help us now!

So, after filling out a ton of applications and even doing some more interviews, he has a job as a pharmaceutical rep for a new company.

He's considered an independent he's not going to get paid until doctors write prescriptions for this new medicine. And it's not the easiest thing to convince a doctor to use a new medicine...or to get a doctor to spend 5 minutes with you other than when you are sick and paying them for the appointment!

So, he's doing a lot of work up front with no pay in sight just yet...that can be quite challenging. Especially with the pressure of having another baby any day now, taking care of our other kids and his pregnant wife, and the responsibilities of the church...There's just a lot going on.

But, even though we are waiting to see doctors write prescriptions...God is still providing miraculously!!

Just yesterday, we got some checks in the mail. We are still supported by family, friends, and churches as we make this transition from Chi Alpha missionaries to staff members at a brand new church that cannot support us...And our support team people have blessed us tremendously!!!

But we also got a check in the mail from a home-based business that I started several years ago...Arbonne...a health & wellness company, which I have kept up with to receive the products and order whenever I need to for me or friends and family...anyways, I got a check from them from orders that have been made! Just enough to treat myself to something nice before (or after) the baby!!! :)

Lee & I have lived on 1 salary since we've been married. The past 5 years as Chi Alpha missionaries have taught us to live on faith for our finances...and amazingly, this new season in life is requiring even more faith for our finances!!

And we know the importance of giving back to God through our tithe (10% of our income) plus offerings.
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

We have both been feeling this kind of well as an irrational peace. Completely unexplainable. And we know that comes from God.

I believe whether we have a salaried job or we are self-employed...all of our income is from God. He is our Provider. And He is getting so creative in how He is providing for the Blakney family!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anticipating Labor & Delivery

I keep wondering when I'm going to wake up to contractions.

The last 2 babies happened almost the same way. I woke up at 7 am after a major event with contractions that started in my back. I knew I was in labor. The contractions happened almost every hour and a half and just kept getting closer and closer throughout the day.

With Bella it all started after Freshmen Jumpstart at UL Chi Alpha. Michele (who was helping with it because she just knew I was going to have the baby early) had triple booked herself, and she told me I couldn't go into labor until after that last Freshmen Jumpstart...and crazy enough, I went home Wednesday night after finishing it and swiping athletes in at Athletic Bible Study. I woke up the next morning in labor and had Bella about 24 hours later. Not too many pushes - about 10 minutes worth - and she was out... I did have 12 stitches with her, but my recovery was super fast.

That was a whole crazy experience in and of itself. We were moving from a 1 bedroom apt to a 2 bedroom apartment. I was literally having contractions as I vacuumed and cleaned our old apartment. Lee was moving all kinds of stuff across the parking lot...It was just insane!

Then, 2 years later, Brennan came after one of the craziest weeks of the semester at UL Chi Alpha...Welcome Week. I started having a few contractions on Friday night at our first Chi Alpha International. And I woke up the next morning in full-on labor and had Brennan about 24 hours later. For him...I knew more of what to expect. When I felt the pressure to push - which is the most unmistakable feeling in the world - I told the doctor, who had just walked into the room. She said, "OK, push when you are ready." So I did. She and Lee both said, "I see the head..." that was enough motivation for me...and 2 more pushes and he was out - with no tear this time!! And he was huge - a whole pound plus bigger than Bella! Again, my recovery was super fast! The doctor told me that was a textbook delivery - 3 pushes in 3 minutes!

Now, I keep wondering if it's all going to happen like that. I kinda expected to wake up on Monday morning with contractions...but it didn't happen.

I definitely feel more aches and pains at the end of this pregnancy than I did with the last 2. I didn't really notice the Braxton Hicks contractions before, but I'm feeling them this time!!! They are still pretty random, but they are getting longer and stronger!! I just don't want to go to the hospital for false labor!!

I am not at all looking forward to the contractions of labor. The delivery almost doesn't worry me as much as all the pain leading up to it. I know that it is temporary, and it's totally worth it...but I'm still not looking forward to the pain.

I know I will do everything in my power to not get an epidural. I have had 2 friends who have had serious nerve damage done due to epidurals...I don't want that to happen to me.

My friend Ali told me that once you make it to 7 cm's over and any medicine taken at that point will probably take an effect after the baby is already delivered! Well, it does take me a long time to seem to get from 1 cm to 4 cm...but once I get to 4 cm, it's downhill fast for me! So, I'm going to go in with that mentality again. I appreciate the speedy recovery of a natural delivery...and now I have stairs to go up and I need to feel the best that I possibly can when I get home with a new little one!!

There are a few big events this week: our first Night of Worship for Connection Church...and then our Sunday if this baby can wait until next Monday...she'll be following in the footprints of her older siblings...

But if she doesn't wait...we are prepared...and it will show us a little bit of who she is...and who she's going to be :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

37 Weeks & Counting

Currently my stomach is quite lopsided. I just made Lee get up from his chair to see from the top how crazy this looks. The right side of my huge belly is sitting high while the left side looks like it could be empty.

I'm happy that this baby is moving...

I thought I was going to have to call my doctors' office on Wednesday because I hardly felt the baby move all day. I'm supposed to do "kick counts" 3 times a day...and the baby is supposed to kick like 10 times every few hours. And normally, I don't have to count more for more than 10 minutes...sometimes 5...sometimes 2. But Wednesday was different. I hardly felt her move at all...even at the usual 5:30 am Zumba session that happens in my uterus.

I'm not going to lie. This pregnancy has had me scared more than the last 2. Not just my own miscarriage, but knowing that women have lost babies at 37 weeks...up to even 39 weeks...right at their due dates.

And I can't help but wonder if that would be me too...

We've prayed for a happy, healthy baby and pregnancy...we've been believing for it. And I do feel like God has so much to show me through this surprise baby.

But I still do wonder...and try not to worry. Days like Wednesday don't seem to help those feelings.

Through it all, I am still trusting God. I am believing that I will naturally go into labor and deliver a perfectly healthy baby. And we'll come home and be a family of 5...2 parents raising 3 world changers.

This weekend makes 37 weeks. That means I have 3 more weeks to go. Bella was 10 days early...Brennan was 1 day early...we'll see what this kid does. I'm now considered it could be any day now! That's crazy!!!

The baby has made up for that slow-moving Wednesday. She's alive and active....making my belly jump. Lee & I went on a date on Tuesday night...and we had Five Guys burgers and fries...and maybe she was in a carb coma. Yes, I said "she..." Even though I'm uncertain...I can't keep referring to this baby as an "it."

More than ever before, I realize how much a person's life is a miracle. No matter what stage or age, a human being that is alive and breathing is a miraculous thing. It's something that I don't ever want to take for granted.  This pregnancy has definitely made this more of a realization in my own life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marriage Maintenance - A Foundation of Trust

I trust Lee with all of my heart. I really do. And I know that he trusts me too.

I know that we don't have a perfect marriage...and we've both done things that have disappointed the other.

But we still trust each other.

I trust that he has my best interest in mind.

I trust that he's going to take care of our family.

I trust that he's not going to cheat on me.

Trust is a precious, valuable, personal possession.

Once my trust is broken, (this is for me on a personal level), it takes a lot for someone to gain that trust back.

I have to choose to trust again.

And I have. I have given second chances...mostly because I've been given second chances.

In some marriages, there are some hurts that run deep, and trust is badly broken.

But I believe that God desires for us to restore that trust. It doesn't happen overnight, but with His help, trust can be rebuilt.

Lee and I have a marriage that is built on a foundation of trust. There are times when I don't want to be completely honest with him...or I don't want to ask the hard questions...or I don't want him to ask me the hard questions...

But we are honest with each other. We are able to tell each other how we feel...even though we know that the other may not want to hear what has to be said because it may hurt our feelings. But it doesn't do any good to hold those feelings in...

And it certainly isn't good for one of us to tell someone else (especially someone of the opposite sex) how we are feeling and not each other.

I don't ever want to tell someone something that I wouldn't tell Lee. And I trust that he feels the same way about me. If I can't tell him, then no one should know about it...I can journal it or take it to my grave.

There are attacks on our marriage. I am aware of this. But because our foundation is built on Christ and trust in each other...that's a Rock that cannot be shaken.

If there is a foundation problem in a house, the house can's not's a danger zone.

I want our marriage to be a safe place for each other and our's the greatest gift we can give to each other and our kids...

Friday, October 5, 2012

4 Things on My House Wish List...

We are thinking about buying the house we are renting.

Here's a wish list of what I want to do if we do buy it...

1) Paint it! - inside and out.
The outside of the house is like 3 different colors and was poorly painted. The inside has a lot of patched holes, and it just needs a fresh coat of paint to make all of the difference. I can't wait to pick colors and actually make this house look more like a home.

2) Install a gas fireplace.
Yes, there are lots of installed-after-the-house-is-built fireplaces here in this neighborhood. It would require a professional and some time, but it would be sooooo worth it! I have always dreamed about having a fireplace (it was one of my favorite features of our house in Broussard - and now it's more of a necessity here than something just for fun!) But to be able to have a beautiful fire and warmth at the flip of a switch...yes, please! Something to save up for once the house is ours!

3) Add on to the back deck...
This will have to wait until the spring now. But we love, love, love the view we have from our back deck. It's gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. I'd love to add on to the deck a little to have a table outside so we can eat out there during the times that it's not snowing. Right now our swing outside is perfect for relaxing, but I'd just like to have a little more room.

4) Install wood floors.
I love wood floors. So much more than carpet. I know that wood floors will be colder during the winter, but I'm so tired of spills on our carpet, and we have many more years of potential spills ahead of us. And I just love the look of wood floors.

So, that's just a few things I'd like to do to this house...if we do end up buying it. We are prayerfully considering that right now.

We feel like God has strategically placed us in this house and in this neighborhood. I mean, we're 4 doors down from Shawn & Amy, which is a fun, huge blessing!

And our neighbors across the street seem to reach out to us more than we reach out to them! We love this community that we're living in...and we are believing for God to make a way for us to get this house. I know we have been given divine connections here.

I am not at all opposed to renting...there are many benefits to renting (like when something breaks and we aren't responsible for paying for it) and knowing that we can't do these things to the house while we rent. But our landlord is ready to sell the house...whether it's to us or not!

We will see how it all works out. I'm not panicking at the moment...I'm living in confidence knowing that God is in control...He knows what is best for us...and He knows the desires of our heart...including my wish list for this house!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What if It's Not a Girl...

I am currently doubting the ultrasound determining the gender of this baby...

I don't know why...I can't seem to accept that it is a girl. I mean...they aren't 100% when they do these things...and although it looked like a girl...I just don't know...maybe I was secretly hoping for a boy and can't get over it...

It hasn't helped that when I go for my regular check-ups now, the heart rate is considered a boy rate (which is slightly slower than a girls)...and it has much so that the nurses have asked if I'm having a boy...not much of a confidence booster there!!!

One of the nurses told me that is an old wives tale...but most of my pregnancy symptoms have been similar to my pregnancy with Brennan instead of Bella, which was why we went into our ultrasound convinced that we were having a boy!!

I'm at 35 1/2 weeks. I could go into labor in a week and a half and have a full-term, healthy baby.

And, of course thanks to this wonderful preggo insomnia, I'm awake at 5 am (and have been for over an hour now)...and this "feeling" of uncertainty is driving me crazy! And I really have no one to talk to about this paranoia! :)

I'm even looking into the imaging centers in Denver to have another ultrasound done!!! (OK, so I'm not really going to get one...but I'm thinking about it!)

And part of...ok, all of the pressure I'm feeling is brought upon myself...I am in control of how I respond to these feelings...and I shouldn't let anyone else be the determining factor of how I feel...

Getting things ready...having a name picked out...what to bring to the hospital.

Really, none of that matters. I'm not a huge fan of "gender neutral" things, but what I already have has been used by both my little girl and little boy - except for the plethora of clothes that were mostly given to us.

Either way it goes, this baby will be fed, clothed, and have a place to sleep...which is pretty much all that is required. And I am sure I'll go into labor naturally...and I have no clue whatsoever when that will be...

And I plan on bringing girl and boy clothes to the hospital with us. Last 2 times I lucked out...well, kinda...

Bella was so tiny...the clothes that I had brought for her were all too big...even the newborn dress she came home in was big on her!

So, I assumed that Brennan would be a small baby. Not at all. I just remember rolls everywhere. The first thing I said when they laid him on me was, "Oh my, that's a big baby..." And the clothes I had brought for him were too small! I had one outfit that fit him, luckily...or he would have come home naked! :)

Anyways, this baby Blakney #3 has been a surprise all the way around. God has a purpose and a plan for all of this...the pregnancy, the baby, our family...even to the point of timing...I'll be having a baby around the same time that I had a miscarriage last year...and I believe God's timing and will are perfect...

So, I know that this is not worth stressing about.

If you are thinking of sending a gift or something to us...diapers and gift cards are much appreciated!! I do plan on finishing our registry at Babies R Us this week. There will be quite a few gender neutral things on it - just in case!!

And we don't mind at all if you wait until after the baby is born to pick it out!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Showing My Keurig Some Love

I love my Keurig...just love it.'s not really's Lee's. He got it for his birthday...but I have benefitted from it just as much if not more than he has! I love that I don't have to make (or waste) a whole pot of coffee...I can make a cup of coffee whenever I want or need it...

Last year we brought it down to my parents for the annual Latham family Thanksgiving. It was a huge hit!!!

Not everyone in the Latham family drinks coffee - especially not my parents. They don't dare touch the stuff.

But, of the other 50 some odd people there Thanksgiving Day (and weekend) thoroughly enjoy a good cup of coffee. We brought the K-cups (the special coffee cups with a filter that the Keurig uses) we had at our house and a huge box of the sampler (it's like 80 K-cups; 5 of each variety in the box)...and everyone who used it loved it.

Aunt Rhonda was so impressed with it that she bought one for herself and her 2 daughters (possibly her other kids too) for Christmas! And I regularly see pictures of my cousin Sylvia making fun cups of coffee with hers! 

It was a real hit...and we were thrilled to share it with everyone. It's just so neat to me that everyone can have whatever kind of drink desired - whether that be coffee, tea, regular, decaf, hot, cold...anything!

My parents still don't have one...don't want one kind of thing...but that's just pure Latham living in Buras stubbornness... :)

Part of the reason I'm thinking about this is that October is here...and next month brings Thanksgiving...which is my favorite holiday of the year. And normally we spend it in hometown...with the crazy Latham family that I love and miss so dearly....

And because I'll be having a baby some time in the next 4-6 weeks...we aren't going to Buras this year. It's just hard to know when I'll pop this kid out...and I don't really want to plan a whole trip around is too expensive and stressful trying to make that happen.

So, this year will just look different...which is a part of life...

We will enjoy Thanksgiving with the community we have here in Colorado. We may even have a visitor come in to celebrate with us!

And we will continue to enjoy our Keurig!!!

I know you may think it's kind of expensive, but once you invest in it, you'll be hooked!!!
And if you already have one, you know what I mean!!

What do you think of the Keurig???

Monday, October 1, 2012

8 Things about This Stage of My Pregnancy

1) I'm exhausted...and even though I'm tired, I can't always sleep...Insomnia haunts me at night - really at about 5 o'clock in the morning...and I just can't seem to catch up.

2) My weight gain is the best it's been in 3 pregnancies...I've only gained about 20 something pounds and I have 5 weeks to go.  My other 2 pregnancies were pushing 40 pounds (possibly more) by the end...

3) I'm more active than I was for the last pregnancy. I walk about a mile regularly to our neighborhood park with our kids. I go up and down stairs multiple times a day...and I'm chasing a mischievous little boy who seems to get into everything he's not supposed to if I'm not in the same room as he is.

4) I feel like I know what to expect. I have aches and pains, but I know that they are different from the contractions I had when I was in labor the last 2 times. I'm pretty sure I'll go into labor on my own, and I will know when that is based on the type of contractions I have.

5) I feel like I know what to expect after the baby. I'll not be as worried as I was with Bella...and nursing, schedule, sleeping...I'm prepared for all of that. And if breastfeeding doesn't work, I'm not afraid at all to switch to formula. I'm not waiting.

6) I have a plan on how to make sure I feel good before and after the baby...thus the new hairstyle, my skin care regimen, and even clothes (thanks to Goodwill!), are helping me feel confident about myself before the baby comes, which I think will help me with the baby blues afterwards too.

7) I am very confident in my new doctors and hospital. Moving 1400 miles away from great care is hard...especially our pediatrician...he is a wonderful man whom we miss dearly...but we've found a new pediatric office that I like. And my personal doctors are wonderful as well. This was a huge concern when moving here, and God has taken care of this completely!!!

8) Lee and I have spent more time together since we've moved to Colorado than we have in a long time. We're working together to make things happen for Connection Church, which I am thoroughly enjoying...and then we both have individual responsibilities to take care of. But, we still have to work on communicating clearly as well as, making time for our marriage. Dates don't happen unintentionally...we still can misunderstand each other...and even feel a little neglected...but we know that to have a happy family, we MUST take care of our marriage.

It's been an interesting adventure. We weren't planning on having this baby at this time at all...and it's weird to think that I'll be having the baby around the same time that I had a miscarriage last year. It's all showing us that God is in control...and we are trusting His plans over our own. And I have peace in that. I know He knows what He's doing....He's taking great care of us. And this little world-changer in my belly is going to bring even more joy to the Blakney family!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

That's What This Church Plant Is About...

I'm going to be reviewing a new book soon...

It's about church planting...starting a new church from the ground up...which is why we moved to Colorado!

It's by Trinity Jordan...and it's called "Jesus Never Said to Plant Churches...and 12 more things they never told me about church planting..."

It really has been an adventure moving here and starting this church.

Our way of life for the first few months when we got here look totally different than it does now.

It's exciting though! It's a great adventure to be a part of.

Some weeks are busier than others - like this week...our ladies' event tonight, an outreach on Saturday...and then the normal getting things together for Sunday.

For instance...I am teaching in our Adventure Kids' Church again this weekend...and one of the games requires us to look for treasure...which is not worth as much as wisdom!

So, I went on a treasure hunt of my own for a treasure chest!!!

I found one at Goodwill - totally worth it! We'll be able to use it for more rewards and games...just fun times for our kids!!

There is a lot that goes on during our week...and some of it looks the same from week to week...and some of it doesn't!

But it's all worth it.

We had 3 people accept the invitation to become a Christ follower at church on Sunday. There are 3 more people who are celebrated by us and all of heaven because they made the decision to make Jesus their Lord and Savior!!

That is what this is about. That's why we are doing what we are doing!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some Blakney Colorado Firsts...

We have had (and will have) a few firsts this week...

Bella's first birthday in Colorado. We've already started celebrating! She's received cards and gifts in the mail, made a birthday cake with sprinkles, and got a card and crown from her school. She's a fun age, and we are looking forward to spending the rest of the week celebrating our beautiful, fun-loving, kind-hearted little girl...well, more of a big girl now...

On Sunday, it was my first time teaching Kids' Church in Colorado...and teaching it in general in a VERY long time. It went well, and the kids were a ton of fun. I'm looking forward to teaching again this next Sunday...I've already started preparing now! I don't consider myself a conventional teacher...and I definitely want the kids involved in that's taking some planning and creativity!! But those Adventure Kids are worth every bit of it!!!

Our first Joli Women's Ministry activity is this week, too. We are going to a place called Arts on Fire. If you've ever been to a place like Painting with a's similar to that - except this is pottery pieces and glass fusion get to select the project you want to paint and then they will fire it up for you to take home. 

I'm really, really excited about this. Our ladies will have part of the studio reserved, and we'll get to laugh, paint, and just have a great opportunity to build relationships with each other. And thanks to the generosity of a friend who wanted to invest in these ladies of Colorado, Joli has a starting budget to pay for the studio space and some snacks for the ladies...each lady will just have to pay for her own pottery piece she's selected!!! And there will probably be some money left over for the next event!! That's humbling to me!!!

I'm also excited that this is just the first of many things we'll be able to do with the ladies of Connection Church. I really am looking forward to volunteering with these ladies at local places, having fun get-togethers, doing Bible studies...the possibilities are endless!!!

I know that we'll keep having more "firsts" as time goes on...our first snowfall, our first holidays here, our first baby born here in a matter of weeks...just a lot of things ahead!! And they are going to be happening in no time!!!!

And it's an adventure that I am loving...and I love it even more that I get to enjoy it all with my best friend. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Need Your Church & Your Church Needs You

Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is an interesting area to start a church.

If we were in Louisiana, people would at least fake being excited for us. "Oh that's great..." and then engage in conversation about who they know in the area who needs to go to church...

But here, it's different. 

I handed a girl an invite card today at a local store. 

She looked at it over and said, "What kind of church is this? Catholic, methodist..." It seemed like whatever I said, she wasn't interested. 

The other girl said, "Oh, do you have like youth group stuff? My mom is looking for something for my younger sister..." 

No promises or even fake promises to be there or check it out...nothing. 

But, I feel like I've done my part. I invited them. They wouldn't know about it if I hadn't invited them. And who knows...someone else from our church may invite them too. 

And they may not come this Sunday...but they may come next Sunday. 

I'll never know...but I did my part. 

I read an interesting blog post by a girl named Jennifer. 

She's a college student, and I started following her blog because she posted some stuff about graphic design and etsy shops...and to tell you the truth, graphic designing has been one of the most frustrating parts of my life lately!! 

I just wish that I knew what I was doing in that area...but since I don't...I rely on people like Jennifer to help me out :) 

Anyways, she wrote a blog about finding a church closer to the school she's attending. She listed the things that she is looking for in a church. (You can read her great blog by clicking here

It intrigued me so much...and I actually find myself reading over it again and again. 

I have actually been emailing with her...kinda interviewing her...asking her specifics...

And she's kindly responded with more details about what she's liked...and what she hasn't liked about churches she's been to. 

(and also giving me a few pointers about my blog and email setup, which is always much appreciated!!)

What I've taken away from it is that she wants to feel like a person. She wants to be greeted by name. She wants to have the opportunity to build relationships with others and journey with them as they all grow in their faith together.

I grew up going to church. I was involved in almost every ministry there - it was a small church and mostly made up of my family. I was helping teach children's church at the age of 11. 

When I went to college, I was fascinated by the big churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Fascinated. 

And I was ok with just attending. I helped occassionally, but I was so involved in college I didn't feel the need to be involved in a church...

Getting to church right on time, sitting in a chair, not really talking to anyone, and leaving as soon as the service was over. 

Only once did I have an usher tell me that he had noticed I hadn't been there for a couple of weeks. It was during a holiday time or I was skipping or something...

My roommate went to smaller churches and played piano for them. Even on Wednesday nights. I don't know if I was burnt out by the time I got to college...but now, I feel like I missed some opportunities to be involved...opportunities to use my talents. 

I'm glad that there are people like Jennifer who know what they are looking for in a church...and they are willing to commit once they find it.

I know it's ok to visit different churches, but it's important to commit once you found one that fits you...and you find that it needs you just as much as you need it. 

Eli Gautreaux says that you should marry your church...for better or for worse, in good times and in bad...stick with it. Your church needs you just as much as you need it!!