Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Londyn Grace's Dedication {Part Two}

We planned to have the dedication service on Sunday evening, July 28th at 6:00. With both sides of our family being in ministry, they needed to be at their home churches for the morning services so it worked best to have it in the evening. They grabbed a quick bite to eat and then made the 3-4 hour trip from Maryland and Pennsylvania up to Jersey. It ended up raining pretty heavily and slowing them down a bit. My parents, sister, brother in law and grandmother made it at 5:00 and Daniel's parents, grandparents, and brother got her around 5:30.

I spent the afternoon cleaning up the house in preparation for their visit while Daniel attended an ordination service for a college friend. I really wanted to make sure LG got a long nap so that she would be rested and happy for the evening. I rocked her and she finally went to sleep around 3:00. To my surprise she slept for nearly two hours! Such an answer to prayer! She woke up just before my family arrived. I quickly nursed her and dressed her in her white smocked dress. She was so excited to see everyone! The look on her face when they came in the door was priceless.

We headed over to the church to put the finishing touches on the dessert reception. I had the same family friend make the dedication cake that made Daniel's birthday cake so my parents brought it with them from Maryland. We set out the cake and cupcakes and also brownies and fruit tarts my Mama, Mom Mom and Daniel's mom made.

I had set everything else up on Saturday evening. I decided to go with lace and burlap decor to coordinate with Londyn Grace's outfit. I was really happy with how it turned out. Simple yet sweet.

I made a lace and burlap garland to hang above the dessert table and used a lace tablecloth with a burlap runner. I had a few of the portraits printed (Thank you Costco one hour photo! It was my first time using their photo service and I was impressed! I typically use Shutterfly, but didn't have a week to wait on them, this time!) and framed them to set on the table, too.

I wrote Zephaniah 3:17, the verse I chose for her, on a chalkboard and used it on a table with the favors. Lauren, Ruth and Jason helped me make 4 dozen almond sugar cookies that I bagged and tied with lace and jute. I found the cutest cross cookie cutter at Party City so we did some crosses and some round cookies. I iced them with a simple brown sugar icing.

For the guest tables, I used my bubble milk glass vases filled with babies breath and tied a jute bow around them. Again simple yet so pretty! I set them in the middle of the table on white doily and a square of burlap.

After making sure the reception area was ready, I rushed downstairs to practice a song with my Mama, sister and brother in law that I wanted to sing for the service. At this point it was 5:45 and the service started at 6!

Thank the Lord for natural family harmony! We were able to run through it a few times and be semi-comfortable with it!

Daniel led the congregation in our opening hymns and then introduced our family to our church for those that had never met them.

I followed by singing the song we had quickly practiced. A friend of ours wrote the song, I Will Stay Faithful, and graciously allowed me to sing it. It had been on my mind in regards to the dedication and the letter I posted previously.

My family then sang, A Goodly Heritage. The fact that my sister and brother in law were able to be here and sing was such a HUGE blessing as Johnny spent the entire month of July in Johns Hopkins due to his Crohn's disease.

Our pastor challenged us from Psalms chapter 127 and reminded us that salvation is of the Lord alone. It is a duty to raise her in His ways, but ultimately her decision to trust in Him for herself.

He then called us up into the pulpit along with our family and allowed them to give us any advice they had regarding parenting. He concluded with calling on Daniel's Grandpa to pray.

She was so good throughout the service. She "talked" some, but a few puffs helped occupy her when she got a little noisy!

It was such a special time!

My family sang, Family Foundation, in closing.

After snapping a few family photos, we headed to the gym for dessert! 

We served the cake and desserts I already mentioned along with watermelon and lemonade.

Everything is better with a monogram, right?! Even cake!
We so enjoyed the sweet fellowship with our family and church! 

It meant so much that our family was able to share this with us. It is hard to live so far away, but knowing that LG will be blessed and impacted by their examples in spite of the miles that separate us makes my heart so very happy!

We ended the evening with pizza at our house since our family had been traveling and skipped dinner in order to make it on time! (Yes! We ate dinner after eating dessert! :)

I'm so thankful for the memories we made and for the God that is ever faithful to us making it possible for us to be what we need to be for this precious (and super silly!) little girl!

{If you haven't seen Londyn Grace's dedication portraits yet, see them here!}

Monday, July 29, 2013

Londyn Grace's Dedication {Part One}

{This will be a post in two parts with lots of pictures! I took portraits of LG in her dedication dress on
Friday night and then had a sweet girl from church take pictures during the service so I have several to share!}

I wrote this letter to our baby girl yesterday afternoon.

I never want her to think that she is okay just because she goes to church or is a pastor's daughter.

I want her to know how wonderful Jesus is for herself.

And, oh, how wonderful He is!

He has blessed us beyond measure with this little lady and we don't take the responsibility of teaching and training her lightly!

She is a gift that we want to steward well!

 Lovey Lou,

         Tonight, your Daddy and I will dedicate you to the Lord. We call it a baby dedication when in reality it is a parent dedication. When Hannah dedicated the son, she had long prayed for, to service in the temple, it was more about her heart and willingness to surrender Samuel than it was about his. He was but a child and unable to fully grasp the enormity of her sacrifice.

When we stand in front of our church and precious family this evening, you will wear a sweet smocked dress, matching bonnet and a pair of white shoes that were Mama's when she was a baby. You will smile and probably jibber jabber not knowing what is taking place. You will be unaware of the commitment we are making, but that's okay.

Dedicating you will do nothing to save you. You will have to decide on your own when you are old enough to understand what Jesus did. It doesn't guarantee that you will be a "good Christian girl" and never give us any trouble.

It means we are claiming Proverbs chapter 22 verse 6. We will train you and trust Him to keep you from departing from it. Daddy and Mama are promising to raise you in a way that
pleases God before our church and our closest family members. We are committing to pray for your salvation daily. We are desiring to live out our love for Jesus before you so that you will see the reality and blessing of knowing Him personally.

Oh, Lovey, how I hope you see Him in me. I hope you see how wonderful He is. I hope you see the Truth of His Word working in our lives. I hope you fall in love with Him not because we want you to, but because you are captivated by Who He is! I pray that church will never be just somewhere we go on Sundays, but that it will be a place that you learn to love at a young age.

Tonight is really more about Daddy and Mama and our desire to be the best parents we can be by pointing you to our Heavenly Father each day.

You also have amazing examples in your grandparents. Such godly men and women who raised Daddy and I up in church and live so faithfully for Jesus. Pop Pop taught Mama about being honest and godly in all aspects of life. Mimi taught Mama how to sing and to use the talents God blessed me with for His glory. Grandpap taught Daddy so much about ministry, and your Grammy has been an example of quiet strength and trust in God even through sickness. Your grandparents, great grandparents and even great great Mamal (you are her Scooter Bug!) love you so much and pray daily for your salvation. You have a goodly heritage, for sure.

Your Auntie M and Uncle Johnny have just gone through the hardest month of their marriage, with Uncle Johnny's Crohn's, yet they will be here tonight. You are just that special to them! Uncle Ben is coming, too! He started calling you Booger, but Grammy didn't like that so he settled on Squirt!

You have so many people that adore you yet all the effort we put forth will not be enough to ensure your entrance into Heaven one day. You must know the Lord for yourself. It is our desire to point you to Him, darling girl. 

Tonight is a night I imagine looking back on with thankfulness when you trust Jesus as your Savior, but that won't happen without faithfulness in the days to follow. Faithfulness to our walks with the Lord so that you have an example to look to. Oh, how I need Him to equip me for the great task of training you, sweetheart!

Right now, you are too small to see the sinner Mama is. You know me as your comfort, the source of your beloved "milky," the one who is with you 24/7, but as you grow I know you will see Mama's failures. I just pray that you will grow up seeing me fall at the Savior's feet again and again. I pray that you will know how I long to be the best mama I can be to you.

I pray you see Him in me. I pray that He is real to you.

Going to church every week, singing "Jesus Loves Me" and saying grace at the dinner table will profit you little unless you know the One who died for you. Daddy and I will be praying that the day you ask Him into your heart is sooner rather than later.

I chose this verse for you, 

   The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I pray that you will soon see how mighty He is, how He desires to save you and bring you joy that only He can! You already love music so much so my hope is that you will praise Him with your voice one day!

We love you, Londyn Grace, and praise Him for blessing us with the privilege of being your Daddy and Mama! 



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pictures in the Park {just because}

A couple Friday nights ago, Daniel had an open gym night scheduled at church (where guys shoot hoops and play a few games of basketball) so LG and I took advantage of the beautiful evening and went to Grover Cleveland Park just down the street.

FUN FACT: President Grover Cleveland was born in our town hence the name of the park and the name of the street we live on (Cleveland Street)! His birthplace is now a small museum!

We dropped Daddy off at church and picked up Lauren, a sweet godly teen who has been a huge help to me since having Londyn Grace, who chose to spend her Friday night with us versus watching the guys play!

The park was nearly deserted when we arrived so we had a lots of pretty places to take pictures. I wanted to get a few of LG in her vintage smocked sailboat dress before she outgrows it! My mama scored it at Goodwill for $2.50!

I was so happy with how they turned out! There's nothing sweeter than a precious babe in smocking!

I love how happy she was in this one! Mama knows just the right tickle spot!

Her serious looks are just as stunning as her smiles!

Lauren was great at getting her to smile, too!

I snapped these two while Lauren was pushing Lovey Lou in her stroller. They are my new favorites!
I got one printed in black and white for my living room gallery wall!

After our photo shoot, we spent some time at the playground! This is the place where Goosey tried out the swings for the first time back in April! I can't believe how much she has grown since then!

I can't believe that we are less than three months away from her first birthday. I love planning parties, and I am so excited about celebrating the year we've had with our sweet girl, but I keep putting the planning off hoping that somehow time will slow down! I have been pinning ideas and inspiration since she arrived last October so I do have a good idea of the direction I want to take.  

We have several events at church that will keep us busy for the next few weeks, but after that we will enter full party planning mode! 

As the sun began to set, we headed back to the van so we could go pick Daddy up. He wasn't quite finished playing so watched the last quarter of the game before heading home.

It was a lovely night for pictures in the park!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The BIG 3-0

 In anticipation of Daniel's 30th on the sixth, we had a small party in Pennsylvania on Monday night! It was originally planned as a surprise party, but he ended up finding out about it at the last minute! Oh, well!  I did manage to keep the theme, cake, and his BIG gift hush hush!

We had the party at our home church's new building! After five years of renting various meeting places, we are praising the Lord for a permanent place of worship for them. 

I went with a Michigan football theme and a sweet family friend 
made the amazing cake!

It was so realistic that a few people were wondering where the cake was thinking it was an actual helmet!

Although very different from the frilly pink parties I'm used to planning, I enjoyed planning this one for my sweet hubby!

We had the party later in the evening so we served cake, ice cream, chips and salsa, pretzels, and watermelon. 

Londyn Grace seemed to enjoy herself!

She even helped Daddy blow out his candles!

His BIG gift was a new bike along with a trailer for LG to ride in! He was surprised and loved it!!

After a rainy day, it turned out to be a gorgeous evening celebrating my amazing hubby!

Happy Birthday, Babe! Lovey Lou and I love you more than words could ever say! We couldn't ask for a better husband and daddy than you!