Sunday, December 20, 2009

Impressed


Before:

Next time I get a haircut, I think I'm booking my appointment at Canine Clips in Gautier. Check out the amazing transformation they accomplished with Piper. Absolutely unbelievable. I couldn't believe he was the same dog. What do you think?

After:



Friday, December 11, 2009

God's Sense of Humor

After much deliberation and hesitation, we finally decided to return Gracie to the rescue. Since her aggressive behavior towards guests and neighbors was becoming increasingly problematic, we decided the best thing for her and us was to make sure she had a shot at being adopted by a family that was less busy than ours. Thus, she'll make her debut tomorrow at Petsmart's adoption fair. Best wishes to Gracie!

This morning in my quiet time I was really sad about having to return Gracie. I know it sounds silly, but I had gotten attached to her and felt guilty about giving her up. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. I prayed that God would help us find the right dog for our family, since Gracie was apparently not the one. Later that afternoon, I decided to do a pet search on craigslist and noticed that someone had just posted an ad for a miniature schnauzer. I emailed the lady and found out the dog is one my dad's clients.

We met the little dog tonight and liked him so much that we decided to adopt him. Since the lady knew my dad and thought we were a nice family, she dropped the rehoming fee and sent our new pet home with a couple of outfits, a pet bed, toys, food bowls, leash, and pet snacks. What a blessing to not have to pay for a housebroken pet or any of his supplies!

What sold us on the dog?

Guess what his name is...

Piper.

It was predestined.




***For those of you who missed the punch line, Dr. John Piper is Bryan's favorite pastor.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tough Decision

We have now had Gracie for a little over 3 weeks. While she has been a great dog in many ways, this weekend she began to exhibit a new behavior that is not going to work in our family. Gracie has never been anything but gentle with Abby, Bryan, and me, but she has started to become more and more aggressive and territorial with visitors and our neighbors. Hoping we can work it out, we have agreed to let the Animal Rescue Foundation send a pet behavioral specialist out to examine Gracie and see what we can do differently to modify her behavior. However, my parents are doubtful that we can "untrain" her from this sort of thing. It looks like we may be saying goodbye to Gracie and wishing her the best in finding a family that has less of a social life than ours. While we appreciate having a dog that is protective of our family, we also need a dog that is friendly and part of our ministry team too. So sad... If you need a good watchdog, I have the perfect one for you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

When God Seems Silent...


The past 24+ hours have been very emotional in our family. Bryan and I have some big decisions to make and are trying to patiently wait on the LORD as we seek His will in them. We have come to a crossroads of sorts and only God knows the best way. After seeking God very intentionally and very transparently, we still are waiting for an answer. I've heard many people mock and say, "God will provide." However, I believe it to be true with all of my heart. I have seen God provide in the past few years of ministry in a way that I have never seen before. Right now, as I am emotionally vacant- emptied before God, I know He will fill my cup. As I stare at a situation too big for us, I remember that I am engraved in the palm of my Creator's hand. As far off as God "feels," He is closer than I can comprehend. I will wait on the LORD, yes, I will wait on Him. Until He intervenes (I know He will), I will remind my soul to rest in Scripture- to bask in His glory and be made whole.

After all, life isn't about me. It's about Jesus.

Lamentations 3:17-24
"My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings,the wormwood and the gall. My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in Him.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Abby's 1st Birthday Invitation!


I know most of you have already seen this, but I just wanted to post this for those of you who haven't. I love how it turned out! Abby had a blast destroying this cupcake. Too fun!

By the way, I cannot believe she is almost a year old. Where did the time go?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gracie- Abby's New Friend

Since Abby LOVES animals, especially dogs, we have been looking for the right one for a birthday/Christmas gift for her. I have scrutinized many, many dogs and puppies in the past few weeks, and there have been several great animals out there. However, when we met Gracie, we decided to give her a 2 week trial in our home (the usual process with this animal rescue organization). At the end of the 2 weeks, we can choose to complete the adoption process.

After only a couple of days, we are pretty sure that Gracie is perfect for our home. She has a very quiet, gentle demeanor and is incredibly patient with Abby. Gracie is already housebroken and crate trained. She responds well to several simple commands and walks well on a leash. We have enjoyed her company.

Here you go, introducing the newest member of our family.... Gracie, the friendly collie/beagle mix.

P.S. Gracie even gets along well with Mr. Peeperz. Quite a plus in our home!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heavy-Weight Stuff

Abby and I spent time with the only childhood friend I have kept in touch with over the years. She has a terminal illness, and the doctors anticipate she has less than a year to live. Spending time with her today reminds me how short life is (for all of us) and how much we mismanage our priorities. Walking along this journey with her has been tough. What 24 year old thinks about death and wonders if she will make it to Christmas? I'm young, but she is even younger than me. She'll never get married or have kids. Days like this I wonder how people make it without Jesus... sure is tough enough for me with Him. I am thankful for His presence and constant reassurance. I can rest in His Word. In Jesus alone- I find peace.

Jesus, come soon.
This world needs your restoration.
So many sick, so many hurting.
Only You can bring order to this madness.

Redeem us.
We are a fallen people.
Desperate. Defiled. Lonely.
Helpless.
As we are, we come.
As I am, I come.
You are all I need.
Hold me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Boba Giveaway



I loved my Sleepy Wrap- the most amazing baby carrier to date in my book. Since my chunky monkey has outgrown its usefulness, I am very interested in the next step up- the Baby Boba. It's a soft structured carrier designed just for toddlers. The pricetag is pretty hefty in my book, but a mommy blog is hosting a giveaway. Check out the link below. I sure would love to win one!

http://www.justmommies.com/blog/2009/10/a-review-of-the-boba-baby-carrier-and-a-giveaway/comment-page-1/#comment-2079

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ancient Words... Timeless to Me


For the past two weeks, our church has been reading 10 chapters a day in the New Testament. By the end of this month, we'll have read it in its entirety- pretty cool. That's our way of celebrating the Bible and Reformation Day, October 31st.

Some things I have noticed from keeping up with our reading assignments:
  • It started off really slow and difficult. The first 5 days were the toughest, but now, I am really enjoying my time in God's Word... not that I don't usually read but the quantity has definitely been greater.
  • My mind really is being transformed according to the Word- it is living and active.
  • I have been a better wife & mom because of the Word's effect on me.
  • Joy has been pouring out of my soul like a fountain- you know the way it does when all you can do is sing one song after another like you're living in a musical.
  • I am listening to God again... more often... more clearly.
  • I am really burdened for our church and for how "different" things are in the present from what things were like in the early church when they were doing things correctly. We need to be more Jesus-saturated.
  • Self- I am more aware of when I am getting in the way and how I need to be less and He needs to be more.
Seriously, take this Scripture reading challenge for a month. Drop the hours on the internet, phone, games, tv, or whatever your vice may be. Spend more time in the Word, and be transformed by the renewing power of His might. You'll get more than what you bargained for.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch



Our little girl is 10 months old this October! Can you believe it? After designing and creating Abby's little pumpkin shirt, I was very happy to see her in it enjoying a local church's pumpkin patch yesterday. Though it was overcast, I still think my lil' pumpkin glowed as she played and experienced pumpkins for the first time. Here are some photos. Enjoy!


Abby LOVED this huge pumpkin- it was almost as big as her!

Mommy's Lil' Pumpkin

Enjoying every minute of her new experience

Yes, she is our family comedian. Telling the pumpkin jokes.


A photo of Abby & me at the Pumpkin Patch- courtesy of a local photographer/friend

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bitter Relief


A few weeks ago I was subpoenaed to appear as a witness for a patient I cared for while a nurse at Blair E. Batson. Austin Watkins, only 4 years old, was murdered cruelly by his aunt and grandmother... one of the worst starvation cases Mississippi has ever seen. At his death, Austin was only 19 pounds. He had been given only water for 2 weeks- no food at all. His organs inevitably shut down. The case against his family was this month, and I have to admit I have been dreading it. Austin was a precious kid, and I was really attached to him. I have really had a hard time understanding how someone could treat a child this way. I just received a phone call from the District Attorney's office, and both his aunt and grandmother plead guilty this morning. They now have been given life without parole in prison.

While I am very thankful I will not have to be part of this stressful trial now, I feel bitter that his unrepentant relatives have received such a merciful sentence. I think it is unfair to taxpayers to have to support wicked people for the rest of their lives. I think it is unjust that those who took Austin's life will get to relax in an air conditioned cell, eat until their bellies are full, and watch soap operas for the rest of their days. Murder should be treated seriously. Take a life intentionally- expect to lose yours. Starve a child- expect to be starved- not well fed. Our justice system is twisted.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life For Us


Well, I sure get annoyed by bloggers who use their digital space as an open forum for complaint, so I try not to. Gosh, I sure am tired of being sick. Before Abby was born, I rarely got sick, but my immune system has not been up to par since. This is the 3rd week of being sick in a row- all different viruses. Yuck! I will be more thankful for my health from now on! Say a prayer that I get over this "funk" quick, because life has not been slowing down for us in the Cirlot home. Either way, God is still good- all of the time!

On a business note, I've been designing quite a few holiday photo announcements this weekend. Many new samples to be posted soon. Here's a fun thanksgiving one. I'm partnering with at least one local photographer beginning in October (maybe two) and will be printing my own photo announcements in their package deal. We'll see how it goes! Should be fun. =c)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Abby & Her Book

Abby & her love/hate relationship with the blank Golden Book.

Click here if the video doesn't play.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyZ5sQ1Rszc



Abby & Bryan Worship Time

Abby decided to join Bryan on the piano while he was singing and playing the guitar during family worship.

Click here if the video doesn't work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaxHOqDWBIU

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lessons from Roseola


This past week has been less than fun. Abby has been genuinely sick for the first time, not just afflicted by food allergies. I have been playing nurse for 24/almost 7. Abby has run a fairly consistent high fever almost nonstop until yesterday, and she has been very emotionally fragile. Every moment of it has been heartbreaking to me. My "nursing self" knows logically that the full body rash she now has is a good sign that this virus is ending and that her body is fighting it off, but my "mommy self" hates seeing my child suffer- even on a minor level.

As I was holding Abby this morning and watching her fitfully try to fall asleep, I was saddened. God, in the quiet whisper He often uses in my heart, spoke to me about an area I have become quite shamefully hardened on. He pointed out that as much as it makes me sad to see Abby sick for a short time when I know she will get better- how much more grievous must it be for the moms all around the world right now who are watching their babies breathe their last breaths all because they did not have enough food, water, or basic medical care! The horrible thing about it is that in my heart I care more about "stuff" than preventing that from occurring. Just because I cannot see their faces, I rationalize why I am not the one who should be responsible for them. I excuse myself from caring, because I can distance myself from their pain and suffering in my air-conditioned home with every luxury dispensable.

At this point, you're probably convicted and finding plenty of excuses too.

It's true. Jesus tells us to care for the poor and to have radical abandonment to the Gospel. My Bible doesn't have excuses for people like us.

May we become selfless givers for global missions so that Jesus will be lifted high... so more moms get to keep their babies in their arms a little longer... so more babies get to grow up into adults who care about Jesus and love others too.

The bottomline is we will stand before Jesus one day and give an account of all we have or have not done for His name's sake.

33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:33-46

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why I Don't Want to Be a Dumb Primate


An excerpt from Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover"...

Eric Butterworth tells of an interesting system used to capture monkeys in the jungle. The captors use heavy glass bottles with long necks. Into each bottle they deposit some sweet-smelling nuts. The aroma of the nuts attracts a monkey to the bottle. When the monkey puts its hand into the bottle to get the nuts, the neck of the bottle is to small for its fist to come back out. The monkey can't take his hand out of the bottle without dropping the nuts, which he is unwilling to do. The bottles are too heavy to carry away, so the monkey becomes trapped by nothing more than greed. We may smile at these foolish monkeys, but how many times has our freedom been taken away by nothing more than our greed?

The answer- "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else."

“Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Lately, God has been really dealing with me about the topic of money. Staying at home and learning to live off of one income (a fairly modest one at that) has been frugality boot camp for us as a family. No matter how much we have or will have one day- I want to be content with what I have, a faithful steward with what I am given, and I want to be a ridiculous giver for the glory of Jesus.

P.S. Our church is offering Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course this fall. We're offering two free previews within days. One on August 30- 5 p.m. The other on August 31- 6 p.m. Hope you can come- it'll be life-changing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stages of Bliss


Abby sporting camo and sitting like a champ with her owl that Papa Allen gave her.

Life is moving so quickly now that Abby has enhanced our days. I blog quite a bit less now, because our busy bee is constantly on the go buzzing around our house in exploration of a new adventure. I'm still taking plenty of photos... quite honestly, I'm addicted to it. Here are a few to show some of our most recent moments in the Cirlot home.

Abby is pulling up incredibly well (almost walking) and has figured out that surprises are behind cabinet doors. Safety locks to be installed this weekend!




Oh the joys of learning to brush her teeth!










Constantly crawling and on the go...

Learning to eat "big people food" by herself.

Playing with her toys like crazy... so cute!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beautiful Diversity


If the idea of mixed marriages makes you cringe, maybe you should cut the book of Ruth out of your Bible. Ruth was a Moabitess, and Boaz was an Israelite... neither were two people of the same skin color or ethnic background. It was a divinely arranged love story that ends with a beautiful marriage... the kind that mirrors what will be one day between Jesus and the Church. An ethnically diverse Bride presented to a loving Groom.

Check out the sermon series on this book by Dr. David Platt. Incredible.

http://www.brookhills.org/media/series/love-story/

Friday, August 7, 2009

Suspense

So, according to our GI specialist's allergy plan for Abby, I was supposed to eat something with gluten in it this month. Afraid to do so, I almost didn't.

With Bryan's encouragement, I did. A glorious Ed's Chili Cheeseburger. A very worthy glutinous delight.

That was at a lunch- no reaction so far. NOTHING!

We can't believe it.

We KNOW it was not gluten free.

Eeek! Could this really be over?

To Be Continued...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air


Money can really stress me out. Do we ever go without? Absolutely not. God has provided for us incredibly in every step of our ministry journey as a couple. From me making a terrific salary as a RN to being a thrifty stay-at-home pastor's wife, we have never lacked anything that was truly a need. In fact, God has blessed us so richly that many wants are satisfied as well. Even still, I have days where I feel financially overwhelmed (as I am sure you do too). I had one of those days yesterday- no reason really, I just did.

Then, last night, God provided a financial gift through an unexpected means to go towards Bryan's seminary tuition that is due at the end of this month. God is good. God is faithful.

I read this article today, and it was truly a breath of fresh air. What an incredible testimony! If you ever feel overwhelmed or trapped by money, I encourage you to read about this amazing family and our Sovereign God.

http://www.epm.org/artman2/publish/eternal_perspective_ministries/How_Did_Eternal_Perspective_Ministries_Begin.shtml

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Days at the Camp

Here are a few happy snapshots from some good Mommy & Abby time at the camp a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe she is 7 months old!
I'm a little tardy posting these photos, but better late than never.

Abby is wondering why I'm taking pictures instead of playing in the grass too.

Such a pretty side profile.

Abby inspecting the ground for objects to chew on.

Crawling & keeping me busy between snapshots.

Abby was definitely interested in tasting grass. Yum!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Introducing the new logo of Cambridge Baptist Church



I really love doing graphic design work- I'm having fun using it to boost our ministry at Cambridge.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

FINALLY... Delicious Gluten & Casein Free Bread



After too many failed attempts to publicly admit, I have baked a satisfactory (yes, smugly satisfying) loaf of gluten and casein free bread from scratch. Thank you, Mr. Cuisinart for your assistance. The final product...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One of those days


"Only one life t'will soon be past, Only what's done in Christ will last."

I love being in the ministry with Bryan, but some days it's hard.

This morning, a man died that rejected Christ from beginning to end.

It's one of those awful things to witness and know...

God extends us every grace and mercy, but those who reject Him have no hope in this life or the next.

An eternity without Jesus... Hopeless.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Husband Is Impressive!




This past week we celebrated 3 amazing years of marriage.  Looking back, some of the hardest times have brought us the closest.  Though, we have had many good times too!  I'm so thankful for all that we have shared and look forward to many more good years to come.  Being married to my best friend is the most incredible 
blessing imaginable.  This year, Bryan really impressed me with an unbelievable anniversary surprise (just so you know, it is very difficult to truly surprise me).
We went to my parents' camp on the river for this past week to celebrate our anniversary and to vacation.  When we arrived, Bryan led me on an elaborate scavenger hunt through many wonderful childhood memories until I arrived at my gift.  I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did!

*************************************************************************
#1  "Memories light the heart's fireplace,
Bloom with joy and give us grace.
But nothing can quite exceed,
The joy of planting memory's seed.
So, here's to sowing one more field,
Hearts of joy, forever sealed.
It starts with one, but maybe two,
On each card, you'll find your clue.
With each, you'll stroll down memories lane,
And wonder how many more remain.
To find the next, you'll have to gaze,
Of playing house in former days.
This ancient relic beneath us sits,
And often housed your dirty sticks.
So go now and find your clue,
Beneath an imaginary pot of stew."

(The antique stove I played on downstairs as a kid)

#2  "Very good, and well done.
Maybe now we're having fun.
Go find the lighter version now,
Upstairs it waits to show you how.
It came at Christmas, I've seen the picture,
It sits below a nice old fixture.
Cooking, still, is the game,
But its texture isn't the same."

(My Party Kitchen Stove Still Housed in the Camp's Living Room)

#3- "Back and forth the motion goes, 
Can you reach the tree, with your toes?
Again and again you used to try,
Your dad must have thought you'd die.
It sits just one, all you need,
Fewer helps increase the speed."

(My Childhood Swing Underneath the Camp)

#4- "Now, another ancient piece,
I'd replace it--- good grief
But you have liked it for some reason, 
Though it's a little out of season.
When you look, it looks back,
And can hold your coat like a rack.
Candles, trinkets, and other junk
It's right beside the place we bunk."

(An Antique Armoire My Grandmother's Uncle Built By Hand)

#5- I hope you've had some memories come,
You've followed well, here's one last crumb.
This bag mocked and tempted before,
Made you hope and long for more.
Maybe this time it won't disappoint,
This final word will make my point.
Memories are made each passing day,
This new toy will help them stay.

(A Nikon Case that Houses My Grandfather's Antique Movie Camera)

What I Found Inside the Old Nikon Case...
My Nikon D60!!!!
YAY!


Many More Photos to Come!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Radiant

I decided to design a logo to make our new women's ministry more "official." Tell me what you think. I'm really excited about this new ministry and all of the potential it has to reach many, many women in our area for Jesus that are eager to connect with other women their ages. We're having an official kickoff for the upcoming Bible study Tuesday, July 14th from 10-12 p.m. If any of you are in the area, you're welcome to come! Check out our church website at http://www.cambridgebaptist.net for more info.

Monday, June 22, 2009

VBS Update

I'm writing this tonight with very sleepy eyes in Louisville, Kentucky as I hang out with Bryan and the Cirlot's (Abby is already tuckered out and in bed). I am completely spent from an insanely busy week of Vacation Bible School at Cambridge. Can I just say that I am super excited about all God is doing in Gautier? The missions team that worked with us from Kentucky were wonderful. We had a fantastic turnout from the kids in our community. 1 child even accepted Christ- amazing! I am super pumped about our mom's Bible study that we had during the week. We had 7 of us attending so faithfully that we had to extend it an extra day due to popular request. Incredible! At the end of the week, we all agreed to continue the Bible study. God is drawing people to Himself and changing lives for the glory of His name. Please pray that God continues to work and use us as He sees fit. How true it is...

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." - John Piper

Oh, how I agree!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

6 Months of Joy



How much richer we are for the 6 months Abby has been part of our lives!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Stealthy Fly Killer



Apparently, since Bryan has been teaching through the Exodus in the past few months, God has seen fit to help us understand the plagues better by our recent invasion of flies. They have been everywhere in our house. It's been almost 3 wonderful years of marriage with Bryan, and I am just now beginning to appreciate his incredibly swift fly-swatting skills (Umm, yes... it is a skill. If you could only see him in action, you would appreciate this as a skill too). I, however, am severely deficient in fly-swatting ability, so I have had to resort to my tenacious ability to research out an answer to our problem. I have the solution- Windex. Little did those pesky insects know what was hitting them. A fine mist on those flighty little wings turns them quite crispy and down they go... slow enough that even I can swat them. So there you have it. Windex is incredible. You can clean your windows and kill torturous flies all in one squirt. Apparently, the Greeks know what they are talking about (i.e. My Big Fat Greek Wedding). In the words of Gus Portokalos, "Put some windex."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Surprise, Surprise

When I went to get my hair cut yesterday, I had asked to have it trimmed to shoulder-length. Apparently, my communication skills were lacking, because I was given a much shorter style. However, hair grows- mine quickly- thankfully. At least it will be much cooler this summer with my new do. But, poor Bryan... he took the cut the hardest. He misses my longer locks.

Having Abby has really changed my perspective on life. A year ago I would have cried over a botched cut- now I am just happy I found the time to get the split ends hacked off. Amazing how much life changes! Abby is helping me keep my vanity in check. =c)
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