a dress for date night (and a $75 giveaway!)

PinkBlush Maternity cute maternity clothes, maternity clothing, cute maternity dress, maternity boutique, maternity clothes, maternity dresses, trendy maternity clothes, pinkblush maternity, pinkblush maternity on Many Sparrows Blog

http://imput.ru/zcache/normal/stihi-na-den-materi-27-noyabrya.html стихи на день матери 27 ноября This little babe I’m cookin’ hit 31 weeks, and I’ll be honest: I’m feeling it. I’m to the point in pregnancy where most items in my wardrobe don’t feel quite right and changing from sweatpants to leggings feels like a victory.

With three kids and another on the way, Jonny and I usually collapse on the couch once the kids go to sleep. Evenings consist of PJs and Netflix, and date nights seem like a thing of the past. It’s tough to find the energy at the end of the day to go out together. It’s cold and wintery and it’s always a challenge to find the right babysitter.

http://opora-rso.ru/wp-includes/theme-compat/sitemap4.html в пятом разделе единого плана счетов представлены But date nights are worth fighting for, even when you’re in your third trimester and you feel anything but beautiful. I’m so grateful for a husband who kisses me on the head and tells me he loves me when I’m eating ice cream straight from the carton, but I also yearn for that time away — just us.

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http://rdlnk.co/wp-includes/theme-compat/sheyniy-osteohondroz-lechenie-narodnimi-sredstvami.html шейный остеохондроз лечение народными средствами We’ve been planning a Valentine’s day dinner out for the past month — and I was super excited about it — until I remembered I have this ever-growing bump that adds another roadblock to the date night challenge. Why is it so tough to find non-matronly maternity clothes?

http://camera-photo.ru/tantsevalnie-konkursi-dlya-detey.html танцевальные конкурсы для детей Thankfully, I stumbled upon PinkBlush Maternity, a cute (and affordable) online maternity boutique. I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites because there was so many cute pieces to choose from. I settled on a few, and then asked Jonny what his favorite was for our Valentine’s day date night. We settled on this darling black chiffon bell-sleeve maternity dress from PinkBlush Maternity.

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х мастер иркутск каталог I love that I found a maternity dress that is super comfortable while still being stylish.

I paired it with a thrifted necklace and some Noonday Collection earrings, and some patent heels I’ve had in my closet for around five years. It’s amazing what a LBD can do to lift your spirits when you’ve been living in lounge pants watching your belly expand!

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лале антилоп тамбов каталог Date nights are worth fighting for, and while real love goes way beyond a dinner out, sometimes we need a little nudge to feel beautiful and keep that spark alive, so I’m teaming with PinkBlush and PinkBlush Maternity to offer a $75 giftcard giveaway to their online boutique. There are so many stylish options for date night, and since they’re affordable, I’m sure you’ll be able to get more than one favorite item with the giftcard!

To enter, visit my Instagram. For Many Sparrows readers, you get more entries below, too! (PinkBlush has super cute non-maternity clothes, so even if you aren’t expecting, you’ll want to enter!)
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the dangerous definition of love

Flowers What is Love What does God say Love is? Valentine's Day 2016 Many Sparrows Blog guest post

проект здоровая семья здоровый ребенок Everyone wants to be loved. And most people want to love others in return. But do we truly know what love is?

Today, my friend Katherine Henson is here sharing a guest post about love. Below, she so eloquently delves into the deep divide between God’s love and culture’s misshapen version of it. I’ve been married for 7.5 years, and her words were convicting to me. Katherine shares a bit of her love story, and then digs into scripture to discover how the creator of all things defines love. Believe me — this post will be healing for your heart.

Every where you turn, culture is giving you a “10 Ways to Know You’re in Love,” “The True Meaning of Love,” “Is He Really the One,” “Your Perfect Match Based on Your Zodiac Sign,” “How to Have a Love Like the Movies,” and so on. This culture has folded the corners, ironed out the wrinkles, and placed love in a tiny box with a red bow to hand out. Everyone an expert, and not single one afraid to tell you why you are not.

http://izdeliya-iz-kozhi-ruchnoj-raboty.ru/xsdf/rap/bolshoy-teatr-adres.html большой театр адрес At some point, we all become victim to this “love-in-a-box” dilemma. We buy in, just hoping that forever is real and we won’t be alone in it.

I cannot think of a better way to depict cultural love than to look at my history of “love.” I can assure you that most of my high school and college years – okay, all of them – where a result of these ideals. There have been few who have come and stayed, let alone come and showed me I was worth a love without requirements. http://0321.ru/system/smsgate/sitemap45.html западный угольный бассейн сша на карте I jumped from relationship to relationship searching for something that might fill this every-growing void of worthlessness and need to be seen.

All I knew was that in order to receive you must give, give, give, and give. So I gave, gave, gave, and gave. Whatever they wanted. Then I waited. I am sure you can assume that the waiting was never satisfied. Not because I did not receive in return, but because what I received was not the answer or the essence of what I truly deserved and longed for.

бульвар юности 7 белгород на карте It looked like this:

By now, she has trained herself to hold back, the good and the bad; little momentous, secretly sweet moments accompanied with forceful shadows. She knew not to disturb, after all, no one wanted to see the dirty and how dare she throw fireworks up in the air for her own good day.

At least, that is what she had come to know as truth. She had come to believe that in order for love to exist, life must fit within a perfect level of functional, folded precisely in her tiny box of a soul. Careful not to get too close to one extreme or the other, wading across the line, just hoping not to lose balance.

It took me until I was nearly twenty-three to understand that love was not about picking and choosing what to hand to someone else out of fear for what they might reject.

поздравления сестренке с днем рождения трогательные Now let me try God-defined love:

Love does not come from outward adornment, such as what we can give of ourselves to another. Rather, it should be that of inner-self. The mingling of a thousand heart strings with another.

God-defined love does not require one to deny reality of who they are – good or bad. There is no need to pretend to be anyone here, because this love says “I see you, and I love you” or “I am flawed, too.” Raw, unprotected, no gimmicks. No matter where we have come from, this love surrounds us with a sincerity of calm and force that reverberates through every bone in our body.

http://rkd74.ru/pourochniy-plan-pismo-strochnoy-bukvi-b.html поурочный план письмо строчной буквы б Here is the difference.

влияние сми на политику A cultural love is dependent upon a feeling rather than a commitment. A feeling that is, most often, fleeting or dependent upon what we may or may not receive. A Biblical love is a feeling, yes, but more so a commitment based on a personal choice.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

смешные цитаты из аниме  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:28-31

список литературы по экологическому праву 2010 2015 A cultural love depends on the other person, whether they are lovable or worthy of our love. Or, looking back on my ideal of love, what they can give us that benefits us. A Biblical love is again a choice; we can love the unlovely, the downcast, the simple, the faulty, the quiet. There is no greater example than that of Christ. Christ died for us while we were still enemies of God. He knew what was on the table, He knew the state of humanity, and He loved us anyway. He chose us when no one else would. He chose us when we had nothing to give, but a life full of sin and depravity.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

No record of who gave what, who did what, or who was right and wrong. This love is less about self and more about communion with another, a forever clean slate. It is about meeting the needs of another before asking for ours to be met.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Many times, the world’s idea of love is to love those who can further your career or those from whom you can get something that you need; this is not a Godly love. Biblical love is not limited to only the beautiful people, or the rich, or the successful. A love without regulations or limits. A mingling of grace and force reverberating through our veins.

http://nebo.life/midi/sitemap52.html перевод песни rasmus Look at the lengths God went to to show His love to us. A love without limits to the extent that He gave His Only Son to show us such a limitless love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

виды организаций в рыночной экономике Maybe at times the cultural love we see every day is more appealing, perhaps more rewarding in the moment, but there is no love in this world that could match the love that God has shown to us. That is the same love we are called to. Selfless, self-giving, built on a foundation beyond our own selves.

http://isida79.ru/wp-includes/widgets/chaynik-termos-skarlet-instruktsiya.html чайник термос скарлет инструкция Our culture today has constructed an idea of love that is moving further and further away from true love that is found only in God. Trying to build a false reality of intimacy and truth. When it comes to love, humanity’s version is but a pale shadow compared to the truth of God’s love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

штатные расписания учреждений культуры Follow Katherine on Instagram and be sure to check out more of her writing here.

what my toddler’s tantrum taught me

life lessons from toddlers motherhood advice Many Sparrows blog Kayla Craig

“Mommy, I NEED chocolate milk! Right now!”

I placed the baby in her swing and made my way to the kitchen.

“Can you ask nicely, buddy?”

“Chocolate milk, pleeeeeease?”

He asked as he ran to the fridge, swinging open the doors and standing on his tip-toes to reach the chocolate syrup bottle.

“I get it, Mommy!” My two-year-old declared as I reached inside, grabbing the milk.

I snagged a small plastic cup from the cupboard (why do we go through 100 every day?) and placed it on the table as my impatient toddler worked intently on opening the syrupy goodness.

I poured the milk (“A BIG glass, Mommy! BIIIIG!”) and took the syrup from his hands, squirting the liquid gold into the milk, a bit spilling over the side of the lime green IKEA cup. And that’s when it happened.

Threat level midnight. Meltdown of epic purportions. Sobbing and screaming that didn’t stop.

I sighed of exhaustion and prayed for an ounce of patience. “Bud, I’m making you chocolate milk. That’s what you asked for.”

“Nooooo! You’re not doing it right! Nooooo!”

Cue more sobs and me rescuing the brimming cup from flailing limbs. My attempts to mix syrup into soy milk were increasingly unsuccessful. The full-fledged tantrum was escalating quickly. It was only a matter of minutes before the baby — who had finally fallen asleep — would be awoken by her tornadoing brother.

I inhaled deeply, wearily eying my messy kitchen. Nothing I was doing was pacifying the eye of the hurricane, so I grabbed a dishcloth and started wiping the counters, stepping away to let the storm run its course. I tried tuning out the angry screams and flailing limbs.

After a few minutes that seemed like eternity, I felt two arms pulling my legs, a little head ramming into my shins.

“Buddy, WHY are you crying? WHAT do you want?”

I kneeled down and tried to pull out the ounce of patience I had left. Big brown eyes with tears around the rims looked up at me.

“I want you to hug me.”

That was it.

Cut to the heart, I scooped him up and held him close. He wiped his runny nose on my shoulder and his cries turned into soft sobs as he snuggled in. He twirled his fingers through my hair. I rubbed his back. His heart rate slowed to a calmer cadence.

I sat with my growing boy on the crumb-laden kitchen floor, rocking back and forth. I wondered how many times desiring to be seen, heard, and loved manifests itself in screaming, anger and ugliness from us grown-ups. How often does hurt show up as anger, loneliness as pushing people away?

http://boxingforall.ru/wordpress/download/shemi-noskov-s-kosami.html схемы носков с косами How many times have I been the screaming toddler?

http://ledel70.ru/themes/stark/merkuriy-115k-instruktsiya-kassira.html меркурий 115к инструкция кассира How many times have I glossed over others lashing out in pain, not seeing the hurt hidden in their hearts?

I don’t think my son even knew the needs tucked away in his little soul. He recently had to relinquish baby status to his little sister, and he’s aware another baby is on the way.

I kissed his forehead as the tears subsided, and we headed back to the table, together.

снежинка из пластиковых бутылок с инструкцией Sometimes it’s hard not to cry over almost-spilt milk.

eliza’s adoption story: part 4

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

схема ремня грм I thought I’d get to this part in Eliza’s adoption story much earlier. (If you’ve missed it: part one, part two, part three.) чёрные списки должников по кредитам  But the stories we live aren’t often quick and concise — they’re made up of moments that take us up hills and down valleys we could have never imagined. Now, though, I want to share one of the purest moments of profound joy I’ve experienced.

I experienced it when I stood at the back of a church in a big white dress, arm-in-arm with my father, as the big doors opened and I looked down the aisle and saw my future husband standing at the altar. I experienced it when a Nigerian nanny placed a snuggly, sleeping six-month-old in my arms and told me, “Here is your son.” I experienced it when I looked into the bright eyes of the newborn son I had just brought into the world and my own eyes couldn’t stop my own tears.

And I experienced on December 21, I experienced it when we met our daughter.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

Her foster mother gingerly placed her in my arms, and in that moment, each fear and worry I had locked away in my heart melted away, leaving only a raw, all-consuming love for this tiny baby.

She was more precious than we could have imagined, with a mop of curly tendrils. Almond eyes, button nose, beautiful mocha skin. I held the bundle tight in my arms, close to my chest. I studied her little fingers and watched her breathe and whispered in her ears that I loved her. That I would love her forever.

“We’re here now, baby girl. We’re yours.”

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog
I breathed in her sweet baby smell and finally shared, placing her in her daddy’s arms. I watched him and quietly thanked God for the compassionate man I walked down that aisle to seven years ago.

The small meeting room was full of social workers and foster parents and notaries and adoption agency staff, but to us, we were the only ones in the room. The stresses of the piles of intimidating adoption paperwork we had just completed dissipated as we soaked in the glory of the moment.

We had a daughter, and she was more perfect than we could have ever imagined.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

This sweet moment in a crowded meeting room is one that I’ll tuck away in my heart forever.

It was a whirlwind to get to her, but God made a way. As we looked into her eyes, we knew. We knew that we would spend our lives loving her. Encouraging her and empowering her and advocating for her. We knew she was joining a family that was overjoyed to welcome her. A wild family that was a little bit loud and a little imperfect, but boasted big hearts. I knew my boys would fall in love with her (spoiler: they did). I knew that in that moment, I was mama bear, and I had been given a precious gift to nurture and protect, and someday send into the world.

I don’t know what else to say except that this sweet baby has blessed us in ways unimaginable. That every time we look into her precious eyes, I’m reminded of God’s grace. The way she snuggles on my chest. The way she looks into my eyes and smiles when she sees me after waking up. The way her heartbeat slows when I pick her up when she’s upset. Just by being her, she is a gift beyond measure.

We’re smitten with Eliza — all of Eliza. An extra chromosome will certainly bring her some challenges, but in this precious daughter, we haven been given a gift. Only because of God’s grace will we have the amazing opportunity to experience life in a new way because of Eliza.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

We have seen the goodness of so many friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers. We have been recipients of generosity that we could have never dreamed of and will never be able to be repaid. We were lavished with love through so many ways I’d need a new blog post just to list them. And through incredible private donations and contributions, we will be be able to fully pay Eliza’s adoption fees without debt by the time her adoption is finalized.

Our lives are just collections of the yes moments.

I don’t know what God is whispering in your heart, but I pray that you’ll experience the same profound joy that comes to saying yes. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He just wants our willing, imperfect hearts.

When we hold Eliza, we’re just a little bit closer to heaven.

What an amazing gift of grace she is.

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

Eliza’s Adoption Story:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

[Top photo by Everyday Moments Photography]

 

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eliza’s adoption story: part 3

Down Syndrome adoption domestic adoption Many Sparrows Blog

This is the third part of our adoption journey to Eliza, our precious daughter. You can read part one here and part two here.

I would say that as soon as we put our yes on the table and joyfully learned a sweet two-week-old baby girl would soon be our daughter, things started falling into place. But I can’t say that because this story is so much bigger than happenstance. We’ve been privileged to be part of this amazing narrative that God is crafting, and when he writes a love story, his ways are so much bigger than ours. No plot line is forgotten. No chapter goes unfinished.

The creator of all things drew so close to us and I can honestly say that we felt reality of his presence in new ways as we began to piece together the journey to our sweet girl. The day we learned of Eliza, Jonny talked to a friend, a fellow Iowan and pastor in our denomination. He and his wife have three sweet daughters with Down Syndrome via birth and adoption, and he was an amazing resource for us to ask honest, real questions. In an after thought, really, he happened to ask Jonny where this waiting baby was. It turned out that his mom had a beautiful home in Florida she wouldn’t be at for the time we would need to be there.

Through this precious family, God provided ample and amazing housing for us for the entire adoption wait. When we thought we’d be pinching pennies for a cramped hotel room, God made a way we could have never come up with on our own. He does not leave us on our own. He is the good shepherd who cares for each one in his flock.

We knew we’d be driving all around the state for different appointments and paperwork, but a rental car for what was looking like at least a two-week wait was more than what our meager budget could handle. Friends of ours from when we lived in Des Moines now live in Florida, and very, very generously offered their second vehicle for us to use as our own. Another detail that we worried about, but God had already taken care of. When I think on the love and generosity so many poured out on our family, I am brought to tears. We truly got a front seat to the compassion of the body of Christ…and friends, this was only the beginning.

A whirlwind may be putting it lightly.

We got the call, tried to process life-changing news, and ran around our house, haphazardly throwing clothes in suitcases. We packed diapers and a dear friend brought over two huge boxes of newborn clothes and baby gear for us to borrow. That Saturday morning, we managed to celebrate Christmas with our boys, go through a last-minute home study visit with our social worker, and drive to Kansas City. The airport there had the most affordable plane tickets, and my parents were planning on being there to visit my grandma for Christmas. We would be able to leave the boys with my family, and fly out early Sunday. My amazing mom, who never has time off, happened to already have the next week off, due to Christmas, so she could watch the boys for us.

The timing of everything was something only God could orchestrate.

When the world says no, God makes a way.

God always had a plan for Eliza. Always. And I’m so thankful that we get to be a part of it.

When we finally boarded our plane at 4 a.m. that Sunday morning, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and if I’m being honest, I was terrified, too. Despite God’s clear faithfulness, I was scared. What were we doing? Others would surely think we were crazy. Were we crazy? Were we making the right decision? I missed my boys already. Anxiety mixed with pregnancy and I actually threw up. I felt fatigued and over my head. I pushed my head back on the plane seat and put in my headphones, turning up a new album Jonny had just downloaded. As we ascended into the clouds, I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. Of course, God met me there, on that plane. This is what I heard:

Skies spin their dance within Your breath. Time runs it’s race within Your hand. And my mind runs wild to comprehend what no mind on earth could understand.

Your ways are higher, your thoughts are wilder. Love came like madness, poured out in bloodwashed romance. It makes no sense but this is grace. And I know You’re with me in this place.

Here, now. All I know, is I know that You are here now. Still my heart, let Your voice be all I hear now. Spirit breathe like the wind come have Your way. Cause I know You’re in this place.

Faith makes a fool of what makes sense. But grace found my heart where logic ends.

Cause I know that You are here now. Heart and soul, God I know that You are here now. Fix my eyes on the things that I can’t see now. And all I see is the glory of Your Name. (“Here Now” by Hillsong United)

Tears streaked my mascara as I dwelled in the reality that even in the unknown, God keeps his promises. His ways are beyond what we can understand — and so. much. better. I took a deep breath and let God’s grace fill my lungs. I knew in that moment that there was so much I didn’t know, and that was okay.

It is so much better to do hard things with God than to do easy things without God.

In every corner of my whole heart, I believe that. We love because He loved us first and He loves with an intimate, outstretched love that I’ve only been able to begin to understand in the times in my life when I relinquish control and rely on his fullness to fill my brokenness. Fear only takes over when I start forgetting that I’m not in this alone. Perfect love casts out fear, and I wish I could tell that scared mama on the plane last month that every single worry would wash away when a tiny baby would be placed in her arms just a few days before Christmas, when so many around the world would celebrate the tiny little baby that changed everything.

I began writing this third part of Eliza’s adoption story believing it’d be the final part, but the words seem to keep coming. Thank you to all who have read along so far — there’s still so much more to share about our journey to our precious, perfect daughter.

I’ll leave you with the words to the next song that played as we flew through the clouds: “Lord I hear You. I know You’re there. Closer now than my skin and bones could dare. Breathing deep within me, you are always with me. I can see You where eyes can’t stare. Brighter now than the sun could ever dare. Breathing all around me, God I know You’re with me here.” (Closer Than You Know, Hillsong United.)

(To be continued)
[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]

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