"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On the Princess Thing


When I became a mother, I had a list of things my children would never be allowed to indulge in. The list started with the obvious things like obnoxious TV shows, foul language, disrespect toward any one, and violence of any sort. I'm pretty sure those are all just givens for most parents.

And then my list became a little more narrow once I found out I was having girls. An overwhelming concern started creeping it's way into my heart for how the heck I was going to raise girls in this society. This society that values physical beauty more than anything else. This society that teaches us to "follow our hearts" and "do what feels right." This society that seems to have lost the idea of a solid Truth.

And in my head, the root of all that silliness was to be found in two places...Disney Princesses and Barbie.

They became the devil to me.

I forbid them entry into my home.

I told everyone never to purchase anything Disney Princess or Barbie related for my children or they would be cut out of the will...

not that there's much they'd be missing out on, but still, that's how serious I was.

But every other little girl on the planet loves Princesses and Barbies and so, my girls inevitably were exposed and that began a process of me realizing that trying to stop a little girl from loving princesses was like trying to hold back the tide. Not possible.

It began with Ariel. Both of my girls LOVE Ariel. We bought the movie. And then some bathtub toys. And then eventually the doll. And my heart began to soften a bit when I saw how much they enjoyed doing her hair and pretending with her and how they play "mermaid" in the bathtub. Ah. Dor. Ah. Bul.

And then there was Giselle. She's really not so bad. Kind of sweet actually. And she does have pretty dern good taste. I like her. And, there's no exposed belly button or those sea shells so, that helped.

And now, it's Belle. And I gotta say, I really like Belle. She's my kind of princess. She enjoys the simple things in life, she's not interested in other people's expectations of her. She doesn't judge a book by it's cover. Pretty cool chic, if you ask me.

And then I began to question what my girls were learning from these princesses? Are they learning that happily ever after can only come once they find their Prince Charming? Are they learning that you have to be considered physically beautiful by the world's standards to be valuable? Are they being inundated with this naive idea that "True Love breaks the spell?"

And then I thought about it some more. And you know what I decided?

I don't give myself enough credit. I mean yeah, who doesn't love a pretty princess. Heck, I'm even fairly enamored with them. But when it's all said and done, my girls...they're looking at ME. I will be the one to help them answer those questions. I have more say in how they define beauty and value than I realize.

I mean, what am I really teaching them when I stand on the scale and mutter obscene things under my breath when the number isn't to my standard? What am I teaching them about value and worth when they see that I can't even take a compliment? What are they learning, when they hear their mother compare herself to the world?

And this whole idea of "True Love breaking the spell?" Well, it does. True love really does turn a beast into a prince and a servant girl into a princess. It really does wake you from your sleep. It really does conquer all. But, true and perfect love isn't found in any Prince Charming we'll meet on earth. Yes, marriage to your earthly Prince Charming is absolutely a tangible example of Christ's relationship with us and it's wonderful. I highly recommend it. But marriage can be hard. Tough. It doesn't always feel like "Happily Ever After."

But the Love of Christ. Now that's a "Happily Ever After" we can count on. That's a True Love. A perfect Love. That's the one that breaks the spell!

So perhaps this Princess thing isn't all bad. I mean, I could really work it in to some pretty meaningful life lessons. I could really shape how my girls view beauty and love and value.

And I'm glad.

Because I have to admit, I could watch Enchanted till the cows come home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sufficient Grace.

I'm back. This has been a long week. I spent the weekend with my hubs (which was Ah. Maze. Ing. ) and since my return, things have been a bit out of sorts.

It's not all bad. In fact, if I really stop to think about it, it's actually all good. Just a bit uncomfortable, is all. Okay, really uncomfortable.

My girls have needed to be, eh-hem, readjusted a few times a day since having 4 days with their grandparents who spoiled them rotten ;)

And my house is...well...it's a wreck.

And there is laundry all over my bed, which hasn't been made in a week.

And I've only made it to the gym twice this week.

And, well the list goes on.

Have I mentioned that I'm a perfectionist? I am. I really dislike that about myself, but it's true. So all of those things I just mentioned...they're driving me bonkers. Like, seriously insane.

I'm a perfectionist who has a lot of flaws. So the thing I'm usually most frustrated by is myself. I can really get under my own skin. It happens quite often. Like, daily.

Did you know that I became a Christian when I was 9? I did. Now, I'm not sure if the reality and importance of that decision hit me till I was about 15, but nevertheless, I professed Jesus to be my Lord and Savior at 9 years old and I believed it without any doubt.

There are ups and downs to coming to know Christ at a young age. And don't misunderstand, I'm not complaining. The ups vastly outweigh the downs, but there are certain trials that come with having been a Christian for the majority of my life.

Knowledge. I've been under some really solid Christian teaching for a LONG time. I'm very blessed to have sat under some very profound teachers. I've learned So much about the Bible, about God and about myself. Knowledge is great to have. It's helped me in talking with others about my faith and its helped me discern my own heart. But it can also be a huge obstacle to a Christian. We can get prideful. We can base or spiritual maturity on how much knowledge we possess. We can forget that our knowledge doesn't save us.

Good Deeds. OH man, that's another one that can really drag us down if we're not careful. We can spend all of our time doing, doing, doing and going, going, going. And as good as good deeds are, they mean nothing if we're only doing them for our own glorification, or in an effort to EARN our salvation. We can't earn it. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad. It's just a fact of life. Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of believing that if we're "good" enough, then THAT is our salvation. But it's not.

I struggle with these things in an immense way. I like lists. I love to check boxes. I am a perfectionist. I don't like...imperfections, mostly my own. And if I think on all the ways I fail on a daily basis, it could really send me into a tailspin. A reeling, depressing, downward spiral of despair.

But that's because I'm forgetting something.

I'm not saved by the boxes I check, the "to do" I cross off, the knowledge I possess or the things I do right.

In fact, it's in the things I do wrong that my salvation really shines through.

Because, it's by GRACE that we are saved. The imperfections I possess, the more I mess up, the more HIS GRACE and HIS POWER and HIS PERFECTION envelopes me into a strong, warm embrace and says, "Annie, it's okay. This isn't about you...it's about ME."

All that being said, I don't believe we should go hunting down areas to fail in or fall short. I just think, that when we do fall short and fail, because it's inevitable, we don't need to beat ourselves up (or others for that matter). We just need to sit. We...I, need to sit at Jesus' feet and ask for forgiveness and ACCEPT that He's already granted it, and move on, making sure we ask forgiveness from anyone else we've hurt with our impurities as well, of course.

But I think the thing I find I need to remember, is that I'm not SUPPOSED to be perfect. If I could be perfect, I wouldn't need Jesus. And needing Jesus, is kind of what makes my world go round.

I hope that in all of today's ramblings, you found some hope. That was my only goal. For you...and for me as well.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trip to the Farm and Some Romance

I'm going out of town for a few days to spend some much needed, eh-hem, quality time with my hubby.

My wonderful Mother and Father-in-law are here to stay with the girls and I'm looking forward to a weekend of sleeping in, staying up late and doing things in my own time without having to stop to wipe a nose or kiss an owie.

Don't get me wrong, I'll miss my girls terribly and I'll probably talk about them non-stop and call home 10 times a day,

but I need this.

Still, I wanted to leave you with some fun pics I took this past week during a trip to the farm with my dear friend Becca and our whole brood of girls.




3 baby chickens

Izzy's new friend

momma and baby



6 little piggies

Have a wonderful weekend! I know I will!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Childhood Friends

We are supremely blessed to live in a neighborhood chocked full of girls.

All Girls

There are 3 of us on our cul-de-sac who each have two girls, a 4th neighbor with a 2 year old girl and a 5th neighbor who just brought home a brand new baby girl on Friday.


Since it's begun to warm up, you can usually find most of us in someone's yard chatting it up while all the girls run around chasing one another, screaming at the top of their lungs.


All of the girls get along quite well too. I mean, there will always be occasional argument about who will get to wear the Ariel dress this time or who will be the groom whenever playing wedding, but for the most part, they are all good friends and enjoy one another's company.


This has worked out to my benefit in a huge way. We have found that swapping out babysitting works quiet nicely and we take turns watching each other's kids to give the other a night out with the hubby or just a break in general.


The other night, I had Becca's girls, Merrin and Eden. And then, Michelle brought over her two girls for dinner and so there were 6 little girls all together, with only 4 years between the youngest and the oldest.


And we had ice cream for dessert.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Trip to Virginia Beach


...was a blast! There was a lot going on.

I ran in a 5K with Kim,

Kim and I post race

and Brittany celebrated her 20th birthday.

Brittany and Eva

and got a kiss,


and did this when I wanted to take her picture?


Do you still love me, Brittany?

And Brianna was pretty,

Beautiful Brianna

as always.

We went to the Farmer's Market to restock Kim's yummy jam,

Farmer's Market

and had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

B Wubs

Jake partook in his First Communion,

Before Church

and he was happy.


Ryan got tackled by kids,

Ryan being tackled

but he's used to this.

The boys wrestled,


and the girls colored,

And Girls will be girls

and Izzy was cute,


and Mike fiddled with his iPhone,


because he's a Cortez man,

And that's just what they do. All of them.

Mitch cooked lumpia,

Son of a Mitch

and let the kids get away with this.

Uncle Mitch lets them get away with things that Mommy doesn't.

We went to Williamsburg to shop, and then this happened.

3 asleep

and Mitch was apparently, very tired.

Do you still love me, Mitch?

That was our weekend in Virginia Beach with the fam in a nutshell.

P.S. Make sure to go check out this blog. The author is beautiful woman who has been a spiritual mentor and second mother to me all my life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mother's Day

...was quiet and delightful.

I was greeted in the morning in my bed by two little monkeys.

two little monkeys

We went to church, where Eva made me the sweetest (literally) gift...


brown sugar facial scrub,

Eva's gift

tucked into a bag that she made "all by herself,"


complete with a picture of her and I that she drew.

Eva and I

I think I'm the red-head:)

We came home and the girls each had a peanut butter sandwich with Cheetos and I had leftovers.

The girls took naps, and I had a cupcake...

Hummingbird mini cake

or two, but who's counting? Not me.


My friends Matt and Michelle brought me flowers,

Tulips from the neighbor

and this little cupcake compact mirror, which I adore.


My Mom had some flowers delivered to me as well.

Flowers from Mom, Dad and lil Sis

Thanks Mom. I love them and I love you!

I edited some photos and watched a movie with the girls.

I put away some laundry.

My friend Becca brought me home-made Manicotti for dinner. It was delish.


And my camera battery died so I had to use my iPhone.

The girls went to bed, and I only had to put Izzy back to bed twice.


She asked me to sing "Don't Cry" which is really just the Amy Grant version of the River Lullaby from the Prince of Egypt.

And Eva wanted to sing "Smile" with me.


I had a cup of Winter Mint tea with honey and watched a couple episodes of Lost.

I went to bed happy and content and truly blessed.


It was a very good Mother's Day.

I hope yours was too.