Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Sweet Giveaway...

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.

I love that there's a week dedicated to this. I went through 3 years of infertility. Those were three of the hardest years of my life. I'm thankful for those years, but can still remember the emotional and physical pain. I remember questioning God each and every month that just wasn't our month. I remember having to leave baby showers early and crying the entire way home. I remember wanting to skip church on Mother's Day. I remember everyone around me being pregnant (or so it seemed) and feeling like I had a huge infertile stamp on my forehead. I felt broken.

But infertility also brought me closer to God. At times, it felt like He was the only one that did understand. He was the only one that could heal my broken heart. The only one that could replace my sadness with joy. He's the only one that could open my womb and give me a child. I started focusing more on Him and on others and less on myself. I was able to rejoice over someone else saying, "I'm pregnant!" I was able to throw the baby shower. I actually got to the point of being able to praise Him for my infertility!

And that's when it happened. Before my third IVF cycle. I was driving in the car, had the praise music on, and was having a conversation with Him. I heard Him say, "it's your turn now." I heard so clearly, it was as if He was sitting right there in the passenger seat. Sure enough...that's the cycle that He gave us our sweet baby girl.

I don't write these words to brag. I write these words to give hope. To encourage you to ask Him, listen for His answer, and believe what He says! Kelly had a great post where those who have struggled with infertility could leave a message. You can go there and read the answered prayers and also pray for those who are still waiting. I have several friends who are still waiting and I cover them in prayer each and every day. I believe with all my heart that God is going to bless you with a baby of your own. His timing is perfect.

I want to do a giveaway for all of you who are still waiting. Sure, I could give away a book about infertility, but if you are anything like I was - you already own all of them. And besides, who wants a book when you're heart hurts? Not me. I want cupcakes!! HAHA!! So that's what I'm giving away! A 1/2 dozen cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop in New York! They will arrive fresh on your doorstep, ready to eat!! I've asked Susy who lives in NY if these are good and she replied with a big YES!! I may have to order some for myself! :)

So simply leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win these yummy cupcakes!! Remember, this giveaway is a special giveaway for those struggling to conceive.

Best Seller 1/2 Dozen Collection includes: Red Velvet, Cookies and Cream, Devil's Food, Peanut Butter Cup, Squiggle and Cookie Dough. will choose a winner on Sunday, May 2nd! If you don't have a blog, make sure you leave an email address for me to contact you.

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD!" Psalm 113:9

Love to all,

Atlanta - Day Three

So this is my third and final post about Atlanta. I don't feel as though I can do this trip justice in just three posts, but if I wrote everything that's in my head about the weekend, this post would be EXTREMELY LONG. I know that I will treasure the time that I spent with all of these fabulous women and will do my very best to take what Beth taught and put it to practice.

Sunday morning we woke up to Joy saying, "y'all, it's almost 7:30!" I must have been tired the night before, because I set our alarm for PM instead of AM. OOPS! This caused us to wake up an hour later than planned. Don't get me wrong was still early! So we ran through Starbucks and then found this place to grab some breakfast. We don't have Dunkin' Donuts in Arkansas. It was quite delicious.

My traveling companions...

So I stepped up to the counter - snapped up pic of this little guy - he gave me my lemon-filled donut - I told him that he had a great smile - and we were on our way!

Through Alabama...

Through Mississippi...

Stopped for a little refreshment...

We were so happy that the rain had stopped (it rained the entire day on Saturday) and it was a BEAUTIFUL DAY to drive home!

I missed taking a picture of the Tennessee sign, because we were only in Tennessee for a matter of seconds (it seemed) before seeing this beautiful sign! Home sweet home!!

Upon arriving home, we went straight to my church. I wanted to hold Amelia so bad. Though I had a wonderful time at the conference and really needed that time away, I was ready to get back to my girl. I hid, while Joy had my camera. Alex brought her down the hall and I started calling out her name...this is before she could actually see me.

When she actually saw me, she decided to snub me for the first 5 minutes. (LOL) This is something that she has done to Alex when he goes on business trips. She also did it to me when I left her with Joy to run some errands. I'm starting to think she knows what she's doing! HA!

Alex said when I would call home and they would put me on speaker phone, she would pout her bottom lip and almost start crying. :( She missed her Mommy! :)

Giving me kisses, but still not making eye contact!

Oh how I missed her while I was away!!

I think this is so funny...I just have to share it. When I first saw her, I asked Alex why she was wearing her froggy slippers (essentially house shoes) to church. He replied, "they were the only shoes that I could find that matched her outfit!" HAHAHA!! How cute is that!? I'm just glad her clothes matched. HA! He really did a wonderful job in caring for her. He's the best father to her and I love him even more because of it.

Thank you to my sweet husband for allowing me to have this weekend away. I also need to thank my M-I-L, F-I-L, and S-I-L for coming and staying with Alex and Amelia. They were here the entire weekend to help care for Amelia and cook for Alex! I love you guys!

Love to all,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Atlanta - Day Two

We woke up Saturday morning and grabbed a Starbucks. This is a MUST when waking up at the crack of dawn! After making a coffee-run, we went back to the hotel to meet up with the girls.

Here's sweet Faith. She was gracious enough to be our driver on Saturday. I love this girl. I wish she lived next door to me, so we could have coffee and chat it up, daily. How cute is she in this picture!?

This is Amanda. She was so honest and funny. I loved that about her! She had us all rolling in the car!

And here's Laurie. This girl made me laugh SO HARD. I'm not kidding. I wish these girls lived closer so that I could just sit with them and laugh. Laughing is my most favorite thing to do, so I'm drawn to funny people. All of the girls on this trip were a hoot!

Me, Mom & Joy at the conference. I'm so glad they were able to make this trip with me. They're two of my best friends and we always have a good time together. :)

I'm sure you all know these two. :) Caroline & Jenna...oh how I love these girls. I wish that I had two more brothers, so these girls could be my sisters. They are precious!!

Mandi & Jennifer. Mandi had such a sweet, quiet voice. I got to spend some time with her and her PRECIOUS boys at the hotel...loved her. Jennifer is pregnant with her second baby (I'm guessing it's a girl!). She was so cute and funny!

Kelly, Laurie, Me & Hillary. Hillary and I had met up for lunch the week before this trip. She too makes me laugh and is so much fun to be around! Bless Kelly's heart, everywhere she went, there was a line of people to meet her. In my opinion, a line worth standing in. :) She's a sweetheart.

Me and my girl, Faith. We laughed, cried, and worshipped together. Our time together was so special. I've waited a very long time to meet her and this will not be the last time we hang out. :)

Betsy & Ashley...they were so nice. I've heard Betsy's name around blog land, but didn't know her blog. Until now. :) I love their faces in this picture...they were so adorable!

Me, Mom, and Joy with Caroline. Don't you love her flower? I can't look at her without smiling. Even at the end of the day, when she was exhausted and had very little sleep, she would still give you that beautiful smile!

Me and Trina. I was so happy to meet her. She is one of my newer blog friends. I want her to come to my house and teach me how to put on make-up. Because I'm 33 and don't know how. Her skin and eye make-up were so pretty! She was so stylish and such a sweetie.

Erin & Megan. I wish I had been able to spend more time with these two! I've been reading Megan's blog for quite some time...she is so funny. I found Erin through Megan and love her blog as well. Aren't they both so pretty!??

Me & Kim. I can't believe this girl has four kids...she is so cute and SO TINY!! You can see how tiny she is in this picture...I was a giant compared to her. I felt like I could just pick her up and carry her around on my hip! (LOL) She's also incredibly talented. I'm looking forward to when she starts taking more orders. Kim, I want to be at the top of the list! ;)

After hanging out with all of these wonderful ladies, the conference started! We were in the OVERFLOW, so we were actually watching on big screens.

I only made it a few chapters into the book, but after going to the conference, I really want to finish it. I'm so ADD when it comes to reading - I really should have bought it on cd! :) Beth pointed out things about insecurity that I've never heard/thought of before.

Some of the things that really stuck out to me:

1. Insecurity is not a weakness it's UNBELIEF.

2. Insecurity is a form of PRIDE. When we're insecure about something, we're always focusing on ourselves. If we would stop trying to manage our strongholds and be FREE from them, we would be able to focus our attention on others.

3. It begins with our thought life. Make the decision in our mind and act secure - even if we don't feel it yet!

4. I love when she said "grace takes up the space in a secure woman." We're to GRACE others the same way Christ GRACED us. We're to forgive! And if we pull our insecurity out of the mix - how much more likely would we be to forgive! We're to imitate our Heavenly Father.

5. Death to the old me - Life to the new!!

I could go on and on. God spoke directly to my heart on some things and I'm extremely thankful that I was able to attend this conference.

After lunch, Beth came by to visit us in the OVERFLOW and did a little Q&A!!

After the conference, we all went to Copeland's and had some dinner. It gave us a chance to visit before heading back to the hotel.

Once we got back to the hotel, I visited with some of the girls a little more and then found my way back to my room. Once my head hit the pillow, I DIED. I was so tired. I wish we would've had one more day, but I had to get up early the next morning and head home!

More to come...

Love to all,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Atlanta - Day One

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to a Beth Moore Conference in Atlanta. I was extremely excited for this trip, because I love me some Beth Moore and this conference was on her new book, So Long Insecurity. What girl doesn't need some help in that department, right!? Another highlight to the trip...I was going to get to meet some of my blogging friends for the very first time!

So on Friday morning, I kissed Alex & Amelia goodbye. This was the first time that I've ever left Amelia for more than a few hours, since she was born. Leading up to the trip, I couldn't even think about leaving her or I would cry. So Friday morning came and I kissed her goodbye.

And I started crying.

I continued to cry in the car, but promised Joy that I would stop soon! (LOL)

Look at this would have cried too! :)

We met up with Mom in Memphis and she was our driver for the remainder of the trip. :)

Joy was gracious enough to let me have the front seat, since I get carsick. (LOL)

And then we hit the road in Memphis and headed towards Atlanta!!

It was a lovely scenic drive...

These are cows - just incase you didn't know...

No sweeter site than a Sonic...

This is Talladega Speedway. All I could think of when driving past this place was, "I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!!"

And then we saw this!!

Upon arrival, we went straight to the hotel, checked in, changed clothes and headed out for some dinner. We decided on The Melting Pot. The three of us had never been before, but have always wanted to go.

We started with the cheesy spinach-artichoke fondue. Delicious!!

For our main course, we had filet & chicken. The waitress told us that we were going to cook it ourselves and I was like, "Say what!??" I personally don't understand the whole "going out to eat and paying someone so that you can cook your own meal."

But we went with it.

This was my least favorite course.

I think it was my least favorite, because I needed some cheese to dip the meat in...

And I was afraid of not cooking my meat properly and getting E. coli, so I over-cooked it and it tasted like rubber.

Yet another good reason for a REAL chef to be on site to cook my meal.

But then she brought out the third course...

And angels sang.

We chose the chocolate peanut butter fondue. And they gave you all sorts of goodies to dip.

I actually had to lift my hands in praise after having the first bite.

You think I'm kidding. I.AM.NOT.

It was like an out of body experience.

It made cooking my own rubber filet & chicken worth it.

Definitely going back for dessert at The Melting Pot!

At this point, it's about 10pm (or later), so we head back to the hotel. I text my friend, Faith to see if they're at the hotel and she responds with a positive. So I head on up to meet these girls for the very first time. I was so stinkin' excited!! Caroline answered my knock at the door. We both did a happy dance. Then I see Faith and Jenna and I think my heart will just explode! We hugged each others necks and I make my way in to see who else is in the room. Kelly, Ashley, Betsy, and Mandi were there also. One word for all of the girls pictured below...PRECIOUS!

In the pic: Me, Faith, Jenna, Mandi, Betsy, Kelly, Caroline. All of these girls are just beautiful on the inside and out! And I can't forget Betsy's sweet daughter, Ashley, who took the picture for us (pics of her to come). :) I'm hoping we've talked her into starting her own blog very soon!

After visiting with the girls for a bit, I went back to my room and tried to get some sleep. TRIED being the keyword. It was hard to shut my mind off at that point. Eventually, I fell asleep and rested up for day two in Atlanta!

More to come...

Love to all,