No Land, No Animals, Just God...

I recently did a study on the book of Joshua with my quad & now I'm doing it again on my own (along with a study on Ephesians) but today I read Joshua 13 and it really hit home. There's no sense in me writing about it though, my friend Tasha (also in my quad) already wrote about it and she did a far better job writing about it than I would, so check it out here: http://tashavia.blogspot.com/2012/10/no-land-no-animalsjust-god.html

Friday Flashback #3...on Monday: A Picture

It was a busy week last week and when Friday got here, I was just ready to spend time with my family so my blog got neglected. For my Friday Flashback, I wanted to share a picture of one of my favorite things I did with Laney this summer:

Yep, play in her kiddie pool. Almost every Friday Matt & I didn't have something going on (because Friday is family day and we tried to plan fun things to do with Laney) we filled up her pool and spent most of the day in the backyard. As I write this on such a dreary & cold Monday...I'm missing that pool time. It's going to be a great fall/winter, but I am looking forward to those warm spring & summer days that we can put Benjamin & Laney in their kiddie pool and let them splash around. :)

ps- Look how little she looks! She has grown so much in just 4 months...time flies WAY too fast!


Do I Really Love and Serve That Way?

One of my favorite ways to worship the Lord is through music...unfortunately, I am a terrible singer. My family swears I'm tone deaf, although I'm not THAT bad but I'm definitely not gifted in that way. God often teaches me things through listening to worship music.

This past week I heard Chris Tomlin's song..."I Will Follow." I have heard this song a million times and I actually wrote a blog post about it about 2 years ago. It's one of my favorite worship songs, but when I heard it this past week God really spoke to me on one particular part of the song.

Part of the chorus says "Who You love, I'll love and who You serve, I'll serve and if this life I lose, I will follow You" When I heard that, I began asking myself "Do you really LOVE the way God loves, do you really SERVE the way He serves?"Over and over, I felt like God was saying "Magan evaluate yourself...you do a great job of acting like you really LOVE people and serve them, but do an attitude check. Do you really LOVE people who hurt you, or do you act like you do, but "secretly" have an attitude about it. Do you SERVE people even when they do nothing for you? It's not about getting something in return...its about glorifying MY name and making me famous." Wow! He's right...my attitude towards people who don't necessarily do me the way I think they should is not always great. I do like to serve people, but do I always do it with a grateful and cheerful heart? I was really convicted.

His word says "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and a servant of ALL" (Mark 9:35) and "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." (1 Peter 4:10) It also says to "serve the Lord with gladness." (Psalm 100:2) This means with a happy heart & with love. Speaking of love, He does not call us to love only those who treat us right, or those who we choose to love. In fact, one of His greatest commands is to "LOVE one another" (John 15:12 Matthew 22:39, & 1 John 4:11) This seems so simple, yet it's not. It's one of the hardest things. Sometimes I don't understand why I have to LOVE people who hurt me or treat me the way I think I should be treated. Well, it's because HE loves ME and I don't deserve it. He died on the cross for MY sins. He calls us to take up our cross daily and FOLLOW him. Not when it's easy, not when we want to, but daily...and this means showing people love and grace, just like He did for us when he died on the cross. This is something I know I struggle with. It's easy to serve and love people I don't know...but what about people who I do know. It's not about what I want or what I can get out of something....it's about a LOVE far greater that I will ever comprehend. Jesus gave his life for ME so I could LIVE for him...and this means sucking up my pride and my selfishness to LOVE and SERVE like he does, even when "I" don't want to. 

We all have those people in our lives. Who is that difficult person to love and serve? WHO will YOU LOVE and SERVE today? That's the question I'm asking myself today, ask yourself the same.


Currently...2 Months Later

3 months ago I got the idea from my friend Sara to write about what was going on in our lives "currently." I thought it would be fun to write the same post and compare what was going on in our lives 3 months ago to now...since SO much has changed for us. You can check out the original post here.

loving: life, we're still crazy busy but in a different way. Our sweet little Ben is my main focus during the day right now but I've also taken on all of our day to day responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.) for the most part since I'm home all day.
reading: I am reading this time! I'm rereading the book of Joshua & Ephesians and I'm also reading (slowly, but I'm doing it!) a leadership book called "Developing the Leader Within You," by John Maxwell. I am such a slow reader, but I am determined to do it while I'm on maternity leave.
waiting for: not much...I'm trying to enjoy these 8 weeks off and take it all in. I guess if I'm waiting for anything I'm waiting the 2nd weekend in November. We're going to Boone for an Appalachian football game.

excited about: Getting our new routine established...we're HUGE on having a consistent schedule for our kids. It also helps Matt & I not forget things. 

missing: Same as last time, my best gal friends AND sister time (who is a best gal friend)

Sorry ladies...this it the ONLY picture I have of all of us

trying to: Soak in my maternity leave & enjoy rest. I'm not one to sit and do nothing...watch tv, read, BLOG more...but I am enjoying it!

working on: ME...God is teaching me a lot about myself & trusting him MORE in this season of life.

enjoying: Fall, this weather is AMAZING!

using: My fall candles...I love the smells of pumpkin and apple pie that fill my house during the fall.

wearing: Normal jeans!!! Yes, I am! I'll be working on getting back into all of my clothes once I've had my 6 week check up...but for now, I am slowly returning back to my normal clothes. SO LONG maternity clothes. Anyone need them? ;)

planning: Meals for the week...it's a busy week!

singing: Yeah, I don't sing...but I've been enjoying some Fernando Ortega on Pandora lately.

needing: A normal routine...we're working on it, but Ben doesn't love to nap during the day but I'm determined his schedule will work out. Laney was a piece of cake, but Ben seems to be a little more stubborn.

learning: I'm RELEARNING that I am a DAUGHTER of THE King. Learning to love myself again & see myself as HE sees me.

listening: Rascal Flatts on my pandora.

wishing: I was back at the beach...yep, same as 3 months ago. I sure do love that place!

doing: Enjoying a little "Magan" time to write a few blog posts while Ben sleeps. 

praying for: My family, as God teaches us how to be a family of 4!

dreaming of: Christmas...I LOVE Christmas & all it brings.

So, what are you currently up to???



Happy 1 Month Birthday Benjamin!

Ben is 1 month old today! My sweet little boy is growing SO much faster than his sister did. Like I said in yesterday's post...time flies by so fast! I'm enjoying being a mom of 2 and we're adjusting just fine. Laney doesn't seem to jealous..she hasn't reverted back to any "baby" tendencies...in fact, she rocks his swing when he cries or runs over to where we are when we're holding him just to kiss him. When she wakes up in the morning she has to give mom, dad, AND Benjamin a kiss.

He's sweet & snuggly, loves his momma to hold him (yep, I got my momma's boy!) and he is such a handsome little man. More than anything, he's healthy!  Benjamin Scott Keith, you are a HUGE blessing to our family..mommy & daddy love you more than you will ever know little buddy!

Friday Flashback: Vacation 2012, Part 2

Today's Friday Flashback takes us back to the summer...toes in the sand, not a worry in the world, ferry rides & Laney's 1st birthday!

By the way, before I get started I must apologize to my friend Whitney...I didn't realize her Friday posts were Friday Flashbacks too. Sorry girl, wasn't trying to be a copycat.

While we were on vacation, I wrote a post entitled "Vacation 2012" but I didn't finish it. I said there would be a 2nd post with more pictures and I never wrote it. You can read about our trip in that 1st post, below are the pictures I promised...

We really did have a great vacation, I can't wait to go again in 2013. Oh, how I love the BEACH! 


It Won't Be Like This for Long

I'm not a sentimental person, in fact, I don't usually cry about stuff. I don't cry during movies, at weddings (normally), and I just don't usually get emotional about stuff. However, there are a few songs that really get to me...like I usually don't make it through the song & I have to turn it off. One of which is "It Won't be Like This for Long," by Darius Rucker. It used to make me think of my mom and how it kills her that I'm so far away (ok...2 hours, but to her I live a planet away). Now it makes me think of my own children. I remember the 1st time it hit me that this song was going to be my story...I was driving home from Wendell Middle one afternoon (when I was teaching) and I was about 7 months pregnant with Laney. I called Matt on the phone and just broke down...poor Matt.

Anyways...I recently wrote a post about how Matt reminded me in the middle of the night that Ben's sleeplessness in the middle of the night was only a season, that it wouldn't be like this forever. Since then, as I wrote about, I've really tried to embrace every moment...no matter how tired or frustrated I get. Today, I was getting ready and Ben had just started screaming (because right now he won't sleep for more than 45 minutes during the day and I can't figure it out) and THE song came on my pandora station. Ugh, really? I just wanted to be in a bad mood because he wouldn't sleep and I am tired and seriously?!?! Ok God, I got ya...I'm changing my mood to a "happy heart" right now.

My Benjamin is a month old tomorrow...it's already flying by!

And my Laney...she's 15 months old!!! What in the world?

You know people always tell you, it won't be like this for long...yeah, they're right...so to all my other mom friends...lets embrace this time! They grow up WAY too fast!

ps- If you aren't a Darius Rucker fan or you don't know the song...here's a link


2012 State Fair

Yesterday Matt took his day off for the week instead of Friday and we loaded up the kids for the state fair. We knew this would be a completely different experience from our "normal" fair trip because we were toting 2 kids who really couldn't enjoy the fair to it's entirety yet. Laney would enjoy the animals & the food...and well Benjamin, poor guy, would just be along for the ride. We set out about 10:30 for our day and we had so much fun showing Laney around the fair that we didn't get home until 5:00!

Matt & I LOVE the NC State Fair, I've written posts about it before...so I won't bore you about how much we love the fair. To make it short...we don't normally ride anything. We go for the exhibits, the food & to people watch. Several people had volunteered to watch the kids so we could go by ourselves, but we wanted to take Laney because she loves animals so much and we figured Benjamin would be fine just riding around. Some of you reading probably think we're crazy for lugging out kids to the fair at such a young age but we were up for the challenge. Unfortunately, we did an awful job at taking pictures but with 2 kids so small...we honestly just forgot. We did get a few to document our trip though and you know what, we had a GREAT time! We did a lot of eating...for us it's tradition to start out with a pickle...

Then get our meal (either lunch or dinner)
Laney enjoyed a hand dipped corn dog, Matt & I the usual foot long hotdog and ribbon fries.

Ben enjoyed his bottle (notice the sticker...give to him by some old lady in passing)

and end the trip to the fair with dessert.

This year Matt & I shared dessert...we tried deep fried girl scout cookies (carmel delights). My inital reaction was that they were pretty good to try but not my favorite fair food...by last night I was wishing I had more!   

Laney had cotton candy as her dessert...she LOVED it! 

We did manage to take Laney to see some animals and Laney was in awe...I'm not sure she knew what to think. They were a little bigger than her fisher price barnyard animals!
And if you're wondering what Ben enjoyed...he enjoyed napping in his stroller seat in the awesome fall weather.

Oh and by the way, if you still think we're crazy for taking our littles with us...yes, we did survive and genuinely did have a good time. Although, we did feel somewhat like an exhibit ourselves at times. You see...it was senior citizens day and every old lady & man we came across wanted to tell us how precious our kids were and wanted to know if we were having more...bless their hearts!


Friday Throwback: Laney's Birthday Party

I'm introducing a new mini series on my blog today, "Throwback Friday." Not a very original name, but for lack of energy sake...it's what I'm calling it. Over the next few weeks, at least while I'm on maternity leave, I'm using this series to attempt to catch up on all of the important things I wanted to blog about over the past few months that I never got to. This week I'll be writing about Laney's 1st birthday party.
Growing up birthday parties were a HUGE deal in our house, there are 4 kids in my family and all of us were born close to or on holidays. (I was born on Easter, my sister the day before Thanksgiving, my middle brother was born on Father's Day and my youngest brother on Christmas Day) My mom always wanted to make us feel extra special on our birthday since we had to share it with a holiday. We always had themed birthday parties and from the time I was 6 or so until I graduated from high school I had sleepovers for my birthday. Matt & I decided back when I started planning Laney's party that I couldn't break the bank planning birthday parties for our kids (because after all, I LOVE hosting parties, I love planning parties and well...I love to party!) but we could go "big" for our kid's 1st birthday parties. It's a milestone for Laney, but also for us...that we survived our 1st year as parents. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to plan & I like to host parties...So, here's a list of things I took into consideration when I started with planning her party:

1. Laney's nickname is "Laney bug." We've spent the year in sort of a lady bug theme. She was a lady bug for her 1st Halloween and I knew that after this year, I wouldn't get much say in what the theme of her party was...so picking a theme was easy. We went with a picnic theme...of course using lady bugs.

2. The location of her party was easy...we'd do it in our backyard that is perfect for entertaining, even though we never use it. (Disclaimer...I won't ever plan a HUGE party in our backyard again though, I stressed way too much over rain and it did rain so we had to move present opening inside and crammed about 35 people (most of which were kids) in our tiny living room, which now is quite comical) Nevertheless, the location was still perfect for her party...

3. Laney's birthday is July 10th, right in the middle of vacation season and right in the middle of the summer...when everyone is super busy. So, I decided to go simple with food. We'd do hotdogs, chips, a few fixings & cupcakes. No need to go elaborate & it needed to be kid friendly...because our friends have a lot of kids. I made the cupcakes because I'm not a fan of grocery store cake & who has $100 to spend on cupcakes from the fancy bakeries we have in Raleigh. (This was a big deal for me...the last time I attempted to make cake icing, it was a disaster! Kuddos to my friend Amanda for teaching me how to make easy and delicious icing!)
4. Decorations had to be cheap. I could not reason spending a bunch of money on decorations for a 1 year old's birthday party, but I like to decorate...so I gathered what I already had around my house and only ended up spending money on construction paper, gingham material & some white daises (I think I spent about $50 total and I plan to reuse the gingham material for Ben's 1st birthday part and then I'll make something with it, because the material was a little pricey...but it was cheaper than buying table cloths) Instead of using tables & needing decorations for tables, we decided to lean on the picnic theme and have people bring lawn chairs & blankets...which turned out great for the kids! I made her banner & we made a banner to display every month of her year... I was so proud of my creations & the way decorations turned out. I will always make decorations in the future...so much cuter than wasting money on stuff and a great keepsake for a memory box!

(Excuse my awful pictures...I for some reason didn't take any close up shots...but you get the idea)

5. I wanted to have party favors, but what kind of party favors do you have for a 1 year old's birthday party? I didn't want to do traditional party bags & waste a bunch of money on toys for bags (because there were about 25 kids here), so I made chocolate covered pretzels that looked like lady bug antennas. I was super proud of my creation and everyone loved them!
6. Her outfit came from my best fried from 5th grade, Krystal. She is amazingly talented and makes the cutest little outfits...personalized for kids with their name on it. You have to check out her work, the profits from what she makes goes towards their adoption fund. Her website is www.krystaloriginal.com 


Overall, her party was probably the highlight of my summer and a memory we will always have! I kind of feel like I am bragging on myself a little for the way her party turned out, but seriously I was SOOOO proud of myself for making all of the food, including cupcakes and making all of the decorations (with the help of my amazing partner in crime, Matt who did an awesome job on her invites and picture banner) and for pulling off an awesome 1st birthday party for our sweet Laney bug! She had a great time & we got some awesome pictures to remember it thanks to my awesome and very talented sis-in-law!

(By the way, it ended up being quite the large party...which we probably won't do again until she turns 5) It was fun to plan, but I will admit, was a LARGE party and we can't do THAT big every year!



On Monday I promised I'd write about the "slap in the face" God gave me during my time with him Monday morning...then the week got away from me. So, here we are...Thursday and I'm finally getting around to it. Just warning you...I'm about to really open up & be real...

I always start my time off with God by journaling whatever is on my mind...to clear my head in preparation to be in the word. Sometimes, God speaks to me then and the stuff I had planned on studying gets thrown out the window. On Monday I was writing about how I'm so tired of change...we've gone from no kids and working in "corporate America" to 2 kids and BOTH of us working in full time ministry in just 2 years...yes we have more flexibility in our daily schedule, but it's been a huge change for us in many other ways (financially, mentally, emotionally, etc.). I was writing about how God has a plan for our family & how I know he knows whats best for us, but I want to feel normal. I'm sick of change every few months. I've gotten to where I'm always wondering "what's next," instead of enjoying our time where God has us. That's when he slapped me in the face. I came across Proverbs 3:5-6 (which I could say to you in my sleep because we spent the whole summer of 2005 teaching about it) when I was digging for scripture on trust & praising God through different seasons of life. The verse says "Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart, LEAN NOT on your OWN UNDERSTANDING, in all your ways acknowledge him and HE will DIRECT your PATH." That's when he slapped me, "Magan, it's not about you...it's not about what YOU want or what YOU understand. It's about ME and living your life for MY GLORY. I gave my ONLY SON for YOU." I was then reminded that at 3:00 Monday morning when Benjamin could not get comfortable and would not sleep and I was complaining, Matt rolled over and said to me "Magan, this is just a season...it won't last long. He'll be sleeping through the night soon." It's just a season...it won't last long...

WOW, put both of those thoughts together (God's slap in my face & Matt's wisdom at 3 am) and I was a ball of mess. I started digging harder for scripture and God gave me much more encouragement for my weary, but selfish heart... Psalm 33:21 says "For our heart is GLAD, because we TRUST in His HOLY name." GLAD because I TRUST in HIS HOLY NAME....He also gave me Ephesians 2:1-10 and Romans 5:8 to dwell on. After reading all of this, I had to ask myself,"Am I glad because the God of the universe (Heb. 1:1-4) has a plan for selfish me? Am I soaking in this season of my life?" Ben & Laney won't always be little and I'm missing out, we won't always be "broke" and if we are...who cares? (Let me revise this part of my post...my friend Robin reminded me that I shouldn't use the word "broke." I am not "broke," I am immensely RICH. God had given me many blessings, far beyond what I deserve. I have the best husband in the world, 2 amazing, healthy kids, lots of great friends, an awesome extended family, a job that I don't even consider a job because I get to help people follow Jesus, and so many other things that I could list off...thanks Robin!) It's not about ME, it's about HIM. I must stop wanting something different and enjoy this season and glorify him, be GLAD because he chose this time and this life for me. I've got stop complaining about what keeps changing and make sure I am living a life that is glorifying to the God who gave his ONLY son so I could live...

What a way to start my week! He's given me little nuggets all week to be reminded of how much he cares for me and for my family. I'm working on me. I've got to stop complaining and start living a life that truly is glorifying to God in all areas...not just the ones I choose!

Hymned Again

I'm a sucker for hymns...I grew up in a Southern Baptist church singing old hymns every Sunday. We laugh now and often joke about growing up singing old hymns with a piano & organ every week. (No offense to those of you who still do, it's all a preference thing and there is NOTHING wrong with it so don't get your panties in a wad...I just said I love hymns) Anyways...we don't sing hymns often at Journey, but when we do I LOVE IT...especially when we do one that has a modern/new twist...with a new tune or different sound. There's just something about the words of an old hymn that have been written that have such truth...not that the new worship songs out there don't, but a lot of old hymns get neglected & looked over these days. I was recently introduced to a station on Pandora by a friend at Journey that plays old hymns...type in "Fernando Ortega" and you'll enjoy the bliss :)

It's good stuff, but I'm writing specifically about a new album that Bart Millard recently released, (He's the lead singer in Mercy Me for all of you Contemporary Christian fans)...it's called "Hymned Again." He has simply taken old hymns and put a new twist on them...it's different, but I like it. It's almost got a New Orleans twist to it...you should check it out here.

Happy Tuesday!


Our Little Boy

What a wild ride the past 10 months have been...I remember calling some of my girlfriends just 9 months ago and crying my eyes out because I was pregnant again. That sounds so awful, but really we were not planning to get pregnant when our little Laney was only 6 months old. Apparently, God had different plans for us and OH BOY! I am so glad he did. On September 19th, 2 weeks before his due date, little Benjamin Scott Keith made his grand entrance into this world.

I won't bore you with my labor story, but lets just say when I went to the doctor on Tuesday the 18th the doctor told me Ben wasn't coming anytime soon. Well, he was WRONG! God, once again, had different plans when I started having contractions that night that progressively got more painful as the next 16 or so hours went on. Finally, I was admitted to the hospital on the 19th around 2 pm and Ben was born at 6:14pm. He weighed  7 lbs and 9 oz, he was 20, 1/2 inches long and looked just like his big sister...except he had WAY MORE hair. He's even got sideburns like Elvis :)

New Seasons

This morning I sat down to have some quiet time after I put Benjamin down for his nap. I was just planning on reading some the study I've been doing on the book of Joshua and journaling a little...and of course enjoy my cup of pumpkin spice coffee. My quiet time turned into a slap in the face & some asking the Lord to forgive me and change my attitude... (more to come on all of that later)

I was also inspired to do exactly what I said I was going to spend my maternity leave doing...writing, blogging, reading & having the Magan time I NEVER get to have. (Kelly Via, that's for you!) My Magan time, as a working mom, is usually early in the morning, during a lunch break or before I go to bed at night...when I say Magan time I mean Me & God time, Magan time to do whatever I want & sometimes Matt time. This time comes in spurts...I never have more than 30 minutes at a time to do just what I want to do. I want to really enjoy this season of life & get the most of it...after all, it only comes one time!

I have so many blogs that I've wanted to write...vacation from JULY!, Laney's 1st birthday party, what God's doing at Journey, in my life, the arrival of our sweet little Benjamin, and all kinds of other things....from "my favorites list" to what God is teaching me right now. So I'm apologizing now for the "flash back" posts that are to come, but they are for me...after all, my blog is my way of documenting things for memory sake. I don't want to miss a beat!

On a different note, this weather is AMAZING today. I have fall candles lit, a cup of pumpkin coffee beside me, and an over-sized ASU sweatshirt on today. My kids are both bundled up & look so cute in their fall clothes.

Life is grand & I'm enjoying the start of this new season!