Monday, August 11, 2014

On depression. And celebrity death. And ISIS...





Well I'm heartbroken to hear of another celeb taking his own life as an end to a long battle with depression.  Depression ALWAYS makes me sad because for some reason, someone decided that it's a shameful thing, and you shouldn't talk about it.  I can't stand that.  It makes me angry and it makes me want to just HUG every person battling depression.  Like... everyday.  800 times a day.  And tell them they're loved.  And LISTEN to them talk.  And spill their feelings and their heart and whatever is going on inside.  I can't imagine feeling so hopeless AND feeling like a fool for feeling that way.  I believe it's a clinical illness, but I also believe it's an instrument of Satan.  One that he knows is powerful and brings along with it so many other complications like guilt and shame. 

Celebrities carry SO much weight in this country.  Because we watch them every day.  We hear about them.  Their voice & INFLUENCE are heard on politics, fashion, religion, lifestyle.... EVERYTHING!  It's silly, but it's the truth.  Whether we like it or not, they carry some MAJOR weight when it comes to impacting the lives of the people in this country.  And so... a celebrity suicide is a big deal.  It's a PUBLIC example of a person who, despite "having it all" according to cultural standards, lost ALL HOPE.  Completely and totally felt worthless and hopeless enough to end life.  That's  a BIG deal.  And it's a SAD deal.  Because it's a soul who did not know that there IS HOPE in CHRIST.  I believe that as a follower and lover of Jesus Christ, i SHOULD be bothered and UPSET by that. 

Am I bothered by ISIS and all of the terrible things happening in that part of the world?  ABSOLUTELY rips at my heart and my gut.  I THANK God that their souls are HIS.  I thank God that whatever TERRIBLE death might await those people who are hiding out in the mountains, trying to avoid being murdered or raped or torchered, they will be in eternity with Him when their time here ends.  I PRAY and BEG that He will rescue them from the horrific stuff I've been hearing about.  But again, I am ENCOURAGED by their faith.  That they are taking their belief in our God with them to the ends of the earth at ALL costs.  I am humbled and destroyed by it. 

So with all that's happening in this lovely world we live in, I will say this:  Nothing surprises me, but the reality of suicide, of religious genocide, of people being torchered by other humans OR by Satan himself... will NEVER stop breaking my heart.  I accept that it's a "fallen world" but my heart will ache for the peace of His Kingdom come ALWAYS.  In the meantime, I will pray for the celebrity battling depression, for the innocent child being torchered because he happens to live in a country where Christianity is unacceptable, for the homeless guy I drive by every week, for the orphaned children ALL over the world who are INNOCENT, for my neighbor who is struggling in her marriage... there is no struggle undeserving of compassion and prayer and no tragedy unworthy of attention and tears.  Not in my book.  Because as I understand it, that's how it is in God's book.

Our Father in Heaven, HALLOWED be Your name.  Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on Earth just as it is in Heaven! Thine is the KINGDOM and the POWER and the GLORY forever!!!!  Have mercy on Your people, God.
 

Friday, August 8, 2014

We must become Greater...



"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook." 

         -author unknown

....because we were not created to just live life for our OWN enjoyment.  We were created, fearfully & WONDERFULLY, to live life to the FULL.  We were created IN HIS IMAGE.  To be HIS hands & feet in a world full of everything that tries to steal our attention away from His greater purpose.   In a world that tries to sell the idea of "making it", finding "success", celebrity, "happiness", etc.  We must PUSH ourselves beyond our comfort zone so that HE has room to fill us and move IN us and then THROUGH us and INTO the world and the PEOPLE around us. 

THIS is what drives me.  THIS is what ACTUALLY stirs my heart and my mind and my SOUL from the very deepest place that exists inside of me.  It's what makes me WANT to be uncomfortable.  It's what makes me KNOW that I shouldn't be sitting pretty and complacent anymore. 

I'm THANKFUL that the Holy Spirit whispered into my ear loud enough..or maybe just enough times... so that i finally HEARD.  STOP being afraid of the awesomeness God placed inside of you.  IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.  It's 180MILLION% about HIM, HIS kingdom, HIS people... 

So.  Here am I, Send me.  Still learning to LISTEN so that I can learn what that means for each DAY.  But I can tell you that He has rocked my world over the last year & a half. And I can only hope, pray, & ACT in a way that I believe is fulfilling His calling to me.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

When I Grow Up....

So I'm pretty sure that when I was a leeeetle tiny child, I NEVER thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I probably wanted to be a doctor, and a gymnast, and a professional playground climber, etc....   I was never the chick who planned out her wedding, dreamed about becoming a mom and what all my kids' names would be... I just...didn't think that far ahead I think.  I'm not even sure.  BUT.  It wasnt until college, halfway through actually, that I actually verbalized and committed to what I "wanted to be when I grew up."  I committed to a course of study (Kinesiology), with plans to apply to PT school.  But like everything, I lived in the moment.  I put relationship before schoolwork.  I thought PT would be awesome, but didn't ever set any type of goal.  I just... lived each day as I saw fit.  I served the Lord as I knew how, I made friends and poured myself into those relationships, I worked with the youth group at my church and LIVED for that work.  I think I secretly dreamed about becoming a youth minister one day, but I'm pretty sure I never said that out loud, either.  I was probably afraid it wouldn't please my parentals, who were paying for a college education that had NOTHING to do with youth ministry ;)  (I was always afraid of disappointing people and being considered a "failure" back then).  I did NOT do my best in some of my classes, which was so unlike my high school self...but there was no one to disappoint, which had been my driving force all through life.

Anyway, I just got to thinking about my DREAMS today because my eldest Bradford Babe, Averton Waverton, started asking me about when I was little girl and what I wanted to be "when I grew up." 
"Did you want to deliver storks when you were little, mommy?" 
"Actually no, sweetie, I never even knew this job existed when I was a little girl! But it's so fun!"
"Did you want to help people workout?"
"Well...not when I was little like YOU, but when I went to college like Uncle Reid, I starting learning how to help people workout and I LOVED it!"
"I want to be LOTS of things when I grow up, mommy.  I wanna have a lot of jobs like....Shakeology, helping people workout, delivering storks...."
"Well sweet pea, you can have allllll kinds of jobs when you grow up!  Whatever you wanna do, you just have to practice.  Who knows what kinds of stuff you'll discover when you're a grown up!"
I LOVE how the little ones think.  Nothing is impossible.  THere's no pressure.  Nothing is too much or too silly or too difficult or too ANYTHING.  It just...is.  And I love it. 

I really do hope and need to start PRAYING that my girls never feel limited by anything that ANYONE tells them!  I need to pray that God will nurture the belief that they can literally do ANYTHING because whatever God calls them to, no matter how mundane or super adventurous, will be good and perfect and worth doing. 

It's so funny to think back to myself in high school, and then in college, and then even 3 or 4 years ago.  My mindset has SO shifted.  I'm still the same old me.  BUT...I feel so much...wiser. NOT in my own rite, but because God has just seriously opened my eyes and my heart to some truths that I just didn't pay attention to before.  I am secure in whoever He wants me to be in the present moment.  I don't always feel equipped (knowledgeable, experienced, cool enough).  I don't always feel PUMPED about whatever it is.  But I can honestly say that when I just obey Him and LISTEN to His calling for me, He GIVES me the excitement, or the direction, or the open door, or even the roadblock that is necessary for me to succeed on HIS terms.  AND...I can honestly say that these days, I don't really give a crap about "my terms."  Sure, for a second I might be annoyed that something doesn't go a certain way, but for the most part, I feel fully satisfied in KNOWING that HE is my rock, HE is my portion,  HE fills my cup, and HE is my SOLE PURPOSE for this life.  Every breath, every action, every relationship, every day.... is only given to me so that I might use it for the good of THe Kingdom.  I measure my success.  Ohhhh do I measure it.  BUT... My satisfaction in myself is unaffected by my income, my client-base, my "popularity"... it is only truly affected by whether or not I know I am giving my all to my God-given purpose for that day/hour/season/moment.

I am starting to better understand that I can and SHOULD set goals for myself.  Actual tangible goals.  I've started doing that a little bit more, and I'm finding that it keeps me driving forward toward whatever opportunities GOd places in my path.  I have less complacency.  I DO have more "stress", but I think that's a good thing.  I have been reminded lately that I shouldn't ALWAYS be so comfortable because my life is WORK.  It's WORK as GOd's hands and feet and as His servant....following his call, serving His people. pressing into Him and all that He wants to do in and with and through me in this lifetime.  I would say that now...."when I grow up"...I just want to be a HARD WORKING daughter of my God and my Savior.  An intense lover of His people.  A tireless seeker of relationships and opportunities to be in people's lives.  A desperate worshiper and FAN of the ONE TRUE GOD.  I want to dig into His word and to KNOW HIM more closely with every day that passes...so that I can impress on my hearts of my children the love and the TRUTH that is their Creator.  And so that I can be a good and perfect helper for my husband.  ANd so that I can be a bright and shining light for HIM...not to make a name for myself.  Not to be praised or admired while I'm on this earth.  But to just be a tree whose fruit are so plentiful that baskets are constantly overflowing!  Because that means victory is HIS. 

Anyway.  I finally get the whole "goals" thing.  I think I just kind of see it a little differently than what those who always tried to teach me had in mind haha.  I want to impress these values on my little babygirls, and I just pray that it's His message for them.  Even if they grow up and people tell them they're aimless or doormats or too complacent.... HE is their master and their judge ... and if they can value that above all else... YAY!  THat would make my momma-heart burst with thanksgiving and praise and reassurance.  So maybe someday I'll grow up...and maybe someday I'll have an answer for that age-old question ;)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

aves, camo, & palmy-pants on Feb. 4, 2014





Aves is getting SO old.  Brian and I can't take it.  She is obsessed OBSESSED with dinosaurs.  She wants to watch national geographic documentaries about archaeological digs and dinosaur fossils and "monster diaries: the dinosaur" ALL the time.  Speaking of watching TV, she would watch TV for 12 hours a day if i let her.  This used to SERIOUSLY bother me.  That she constantly asked for Tv.  BUT- I relaxed a little about it haha.   I ADORE that she loves to feed her little brain with new information.  :)  She's our little talker (although Cam is doing her part to try and follow suit in this department!).  On the RARE ocassions that we get alone time with our little Averton, she will just chat up a storm.  Whatever her eyes fall upon, whatever song she hears on the radio, whatever random thought pops into her mind... all things are worthy of AT LEAST a 10 minute conversation.  She loves facts.  But she also loves to think beyond the surface level.  She wants reasons and motivations and consequences and processes.  She wants to THOROUGHLY UNDERSTAND why things are the way they are.  WHY God created certain things certain ways.  WHY people cry when they're sad.  WHY dogs are pets.  WHY dinosaurs can't be alive now.  WHY planet earth is the one we live on and not Jupiter.  The questions can DEF get exhausting, but B-Riz and I REALLY try to answer and continue encouraging her to be curious!  It's SO challenging sometimes, to keep from tuning her out and defer to autoresponse... "i dont know... i dont know... uh-huh... yep.... coooool....".  BUT- we try!! :)  Because we NEVER want to discourage her from exercising her little brain as much as she pleases!!  My other fav part of Aves is that she LOVVVES to draw.  She comes up with these ornate pictures of allll kinds of things.  Most common are detailed portraits of our family (plus some friends) and/or dinosaur "habitats" hahaha.  But- she'll draw landscapes of all kinds, monsters, animals, hospitals... you name it!  I see our biggest girl as being a great reader of character and an INTELLIGENT woman.  Which can be a gift and a curse all at once!!!  I pray that she stays humble in the midst of her intelligence and stays gentle and compassionate despite her "realist" perspective!  I also see that she seems to be so in tune with other people's emotions.  Even when they're not verbalized.  It's funny, she's SUCH a pleaser.  And a PERFECTIONIST.  She shuts down when she feels like she has disappointed or messed up.  I think of her as an introvert because she always has this crazy storm of emotions going on inside of her.  And she seems to have trouble expressing them and then moving on.  Or MAYBE she actually LIVES IN them and lets them cycle through so that she CAN move on.  I don't know.  I'm still working on figuring her out :) All I can say is that I adore her. 

Camo is growing up too!  My little middle nugget is just a sweet little caretaker.  She still LOVES dressing her dolls and her bears and packs their backpacks and takes them to school and puts them down for naps and makes them lunch and takes them "to the movies"... I love watching her take care of everything adn everyone in sight.  Another little quirk that has shown itself lately is that Camo LOVES to organize and put things away.  Like.  She LOVES it.  And you know what?  I LOVE IT even more than SHE does!! She is perfectly happy to follow Palmer around and put away all the tupperware that she pulls out of the cabinets.  She neatly stacks it all up and puts it away all pretty and perfect.  BUT... if I am ever the one to introduce the idea of cleaning up...she is usually not super pumped about it.  Unless of course Avery gets mad.  THEN Cameron decides it's her duty to put on a happy face and set the example for her seester.  haha...they are so confusing sometimes ;) 

Palmer is starting to get so old too!  Even though her sisters walked at 8.5 and 9 months, respectively, she's still pretty content to speed-drawl all over the place.  Her fav stance, however, is to get up on one knee, like a Soccer Team picture, and inch around the room in that position.  SHe's a goofball.  She's loving to walk around as long as someone holds her hand!  And everrrry now and then, she'll take a few steps on her own.  She's def still timid though. Maybe it's because I treat my sweet little thang like she's still 4 months old.  I am perfectly happy with keeping her a baby for a LONG time.  She is just the sweetest, most precious, blessing to ALL of us.  She is happy and content.  She is joyful and engaging.  She is innocent and beautiful and tender-hearted.  But she loves to giggle and loves to have the attention of SOMEONE in the room :)  I love my sweet baby and SERIOUSLY blessed by her every second of the day. 

It's funny.  I felt the same way about avery when she was a baby.  ESPECIALLY after I found out I was preg with Camo (I think Aves was 7 months old when we found out?) I wanted to soak in every POSSIBLE second and make her feel SO SO SO special and loved before there was another little tiny human around to steal her thunder haha.  Cameron was NOT the easiest baby by ANY means.  She was colicy, she cried a lot, she RARELY smiled, but we adored her nonetheless.  But now... you would NEVER imagine that she had that temperament as a baby.  SHe is SUCH a lover.  A lover of fun, and of people, and of her sisters and her mommy and daddy.  She makes my heart melt CONSTANTLY.  Because she is just REAL.  She doesnt put on an act or try to manipulate.  She never strays from the truth. What you see is the TRUTH.  If she's sad- she shows it.  But she is as resilient as any kid I've ever seen!  I totally see her as the defender of her sisters and of our family.  She loves fiercely and will NOT stand for hurt feelings.  If someone is sad, she cant continue with life until she makes a VALIANT effort to make everything all better in that person's world :)  LOVE THAT LITTLE BUG.  I can see her being SUCH a nurturer.  And a LIGHT.  The LIFE of the party.  I pray that she can use that part of her personality to let The Lord reach through and OUT of her into the hearts of the people she's around :)



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On being a Girl-Mom



So as a girlmom, I feel SUCH responsibility to teach my girls to be grateful, humble, bold, gentle, confident, gracious, compassionate, loving, hungry for JESUS... and for justice...and for peace...and for love.   

MAN!  Parenting is a tough job.  It's such a responsibility.  Such a GIFT.  One that I NEVER could have dreamed up in my head.  The joy that I experience EVERY single day because of my 3 little beauties.  The meaning that my life holds because of their lives and because of their dependence on me.  The PRIDE that I feel.. in who I am in Christ.  The confidence that I have discovered in...really EVERYthing about myself...because I am who God created.  I am who I am because that's what God CHOSE to make me.  And He CHOSE me to be "mommy" to Aves and to Camo and to Palmer. 

I feel SUCH peace knowing that HE is drawing them to Him ALL the time.  That HE will NEVER fail them....even though I do daily.  I feel such an INTENSE and burning desire to do them justice in exemplifying everything that God calls me to be as a person, as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter, and as a mom.  And I feel SUCH excitement at the thought of teaching and raising and correcting and loving on and enjoying and relishing in my 3 sweet babygirls.

It's a funny feeling to know that I am SO unworthy, but at the same time....to feel such trust in myself.  Although...I guess it's less in myself and more in my God.  I am just sooooo thankful that He loves me, that he created me, so that B-Riz and I could create and LOVE our little babes!  Thank you Lord.  May you CONSTANTLY be re-directing my path as I am CONSTANTLY stepping off the narrow course.  You are so good, and I am so thankful.  May my 3 daughters be PILLARS in Your Kingdom!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Season 2013. A Whole New World!

Christmas Season 2013:  Our first real tree.  THREE babygirls to love on.  A new city.  A new casa.  New jobs.  A clearer understanding of Jesus and why we get to celebrate this superfun and joy-filled holiday.  A REALLY cute advent calendar that helps us do just that (thanks Olivia June Designs...check her out on etsy!).  Closer proximity to familia, which means more family time. 

This Christmas season is DEF bringing with it some new experiences.  We are SO thankful for a God who gives us The Holy Spirit to lead us, speak to us, and draw us nearer to Him.  Despite the challenge of adjusting to a place withOUT so many of the people we LOVE with our whole hearts, we are enjoying this FESTIVE time of year feeling as sure as ever that God has lead us to this place we are in, and that His purpose is good.  Because HE is good :)

SO THANKFUL that God continues to work.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome to 2013

Well!  A lot... LOT... has happened since 2013 hit the books.  Our presh little SweetP, Palmer Elyse, was born on January 24.  SUPER easy delivery (after getting stuck 872 times trying to get a successful IV running!).  The big girls adore her, as do we.  They are the greatest helpers and love to hug her, pet her, hold her, and read her books.  If she frets in the slightest, they are right by her side with something to cheer her up! :)  Sib-love.


B-Rizzle finally landed the job he's been eyeing for the better part of 2 years.  We are now in the Houston area while Brian dives into the surgical world!  Still with Alcon, which is definitely a blessing.  Seriously a terrific company, great people... our entire family is so blessed to have found them! That happened in April.

B and I jetted off to the Dominican in late April... our final P-club trip with the pharma side of Alcon.  It was SO nice to get away and spend time TOGETHER....no distractions :)  Plus, we always love spending time with Brian's Alcon counterparts who live elsewhere (yes you: Hays, Andersons, Englands...) I got some intense sun-poisoning (EW), but it cleared up just in time for the bro's wedding in Nashvegas.  Thank goodness.  Also- the DR is where the hubs gave me the go ahead on a 4th child if my heart so desires when the time comes to decide.  :) :) :)

Rileton and Miss Becca Lynn tied the knot in May up in Nashville.  We spent an awesome 4 days hanging with them, celebrating with them, showering them with attention and preparation assistance.  Who am I kidding?  With 3 childrens in tow, I wasn't much of a helper, but I was there to keep the mood light!  ;)  So incredibly thankful that one of my 2 fav brothers found the woman of his dreams and can finally call her his WIFE :)  Miss you guys!

Major major curveball in our little fastball world:  We moved away from our "home" of McKinney, Texas.  We left behind an amazing family of some of the most cherished people in our lives.  We will cherish them forever, but the adjustment from doing life with them daily to catching them on insta or chatting on the cellular periodically is a tough one!  There is no doubt that God has led us to where we are, and we are loving the time spent with my fam and friends in The Shoog, but our hearts are not whole without a few precious pieces that were left back in the D-F-Dub.  We love and miss you so, Wegs, Simants, Longinos, Stengles, Raineys, Selphs, Burbanks, Berrys, Yanceys, Judds, Webbs, Barbers, J.Pars/almost-Cooley, Claytons, Cabans, Carrols, ... (whoa alliteration!)...


We are now living WITH my parentals, in my hometown, and are building a new home in Spring, Texas.  It is a complete start-over...but one we are excited about!  It's exciting to feel led...it gives a feeling of peace and anticipation... and TRUST that God will just continue to provide for us in so many unforeseen ways.  For now, we are THANKFUL that my parents invited us to shack up with them.  We are using the heck out of their pool...and maybe contemplating putting in our own up in spring! I am super thankful for the time I'm getting to spend with my lifelong friends here in SL.  And trying to use this weird timeout from life in the way God means for me to :)  Relaxing, being still, nurturing some relationships that have been difficult to nurture for the last 10 years, and soaking in Curry-time! 

That's 2013 in a nutshell for the Bradfords so far!


 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baby Numero Tres!!

So.  We found out shortly after our trip to Hawaii (which took place back at the end of April, but I have yet to blog about) that we are expecting out third little nugget!  SUPER exciting news.  We have been pretty anxious over the last few months to find out the gender of this one.  I felt a little worse in the first tri than I did in my first 2 pregnancies with the gals, so a BIG part of me has been thinking "boy".  Plus, Avery can't stop talking about wanting a "baby brudder", EVERYONE in both of our families would LOVE to add a boy to the grandkid/niece mix... so... boy talk has been pretty normal around these here parts.

A great friend of ours (Angela Yancey, our FAV L&D nurse in the world/ wife of B's great college buddy) called us down into Dallas to do an early sonogram to find out the gender, because at my doc we weren't going to find out until almost 22 weeks along!  AH!  We have been praying for a boy for quite a while and basically just... NEEDED to know :)

So... on Wednesday, August 29th, we found out that we are expecting ....


Yes.  That is correct...another girl.  It will be 3 girls for the Bradford Familia... expected end of January 2013.  Woohoo!! Bring on the craziness & girl-drama!  :)  3 sisters... I can't lie...I'm pretty pumped to experience a lifetime of the 3-sisters dynamic, especially since I never had a sister myself!  And, I hereby declare my public permission for B-Rizzle to add a few man-outings each year!  Poor guy will NEED some extra man-time in his life :)  Best daddy ever.  And I have no doubt that ALL of his daughters will be completely in love with him for their wholllllle lives. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Silly Gilly Gumble.

A few months ago, Avery became totally enthralled with scary stories. I literally have NO clue where this came from, as I am not a fan myself... especially when it comes to the munchkins. However, Avery created this scary story of her own that she would share with us ONLY while huddled on the couch, hiding underneath a big blanket w/ a flashlight. Goofy child. (Video coming soon. Child loves to perform.)

The main character of said "scary story" is a Silly Gilly Gumble. What is that, you ask? I have no friggin clue. But Aves & Cam talk about it all the time. Aves tells stories about it. They say that it's at our front door and they run & hide from it. Well...apparently, its scariness has worn off, because a couple of days ago as I was eavesdropping on the girls' naptime chatter, I heard them talking TO the SIlly Gilly Gumble. They were comforting him and telling him that it was okay, his mommy would feel him all better. Then, C-Lil dropped something, Aves asked the SGG to pick it up, and Cameron SHRIEKED with excitement, "Oh! THANK you Silly Gilly GUMBLE!!"

Toddler imaginations are quite hilarious. Always entertained around here :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers Day 2012!

The more life I experience, the more aware I become of what an amazing dad I have.  The Randster has been SUCH a massive blessing to me and to my bros.  He loves us so fully and tells us CONSTANTLY.  He taught us so many important life lessons, exemplified a life that honors Christ and loves people. He has served and provided for his fam with JOY for as long as my memory goes back. I am so thankful for the love, confidence, joy, passion, generosity, and kindness that he has taught me :) Love you sooooo much pops!!

On to my hub... B Riz is a special dude. A super awesome daddy.  Our little ladybugs are so BLESSED to get sooo much time with their daddy :)  He plays with them, wrestles with them, snuggles with them, reads to them, tucks them in at night, eats dinner with them, helps them with their prayers.  He teaches them how to throw and catch, disciplines them when it's needed, laughs with them, sings with them, dances with them...

He loves his daughters completely and I'll venture to say that they will NEVER have to wonder about the truth of that statement.  :)

I'm SO thankful for a guy who is such a tremendously AWESOME father to my babygirls! Love you B riz. You are the #1 man in our lives and you make all your girls super happy! :) Happy Fathers Day!!