Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“I see Princess!”

Those are the words I’ve been hearing around my house for the last two weeks! It goes something like this…

“I see Pin-cess (princess)!” says Cori.

“Who was your favorite Princess?” asks Mommy.

“Ti - bell!” (tinkerbell)

“What did Tinkerbell do?”

“Fly! Boom!” (the boom is in reference to the fireworks that went off around the castle after Tinkerbell flew from the top of the castle. Oh, the wonderful minds of children!)

Last Tuesday Dave and I packed up the girls and took them to Disney World for Cori’s 2nd Birthday. Most people say that kids at age two are too young for Disney because they won’t remember, but I disagree! Not only does my girl continue to talk about the princesses daily, but she had SO much fun in the moment while she was there, and that’s what matters.

It’s actually quite funny – each day when Dave gets home from work, he asks Cori how her day was. Ever since we’ve gotten back from Disney she has responded, “I see Pin-cess!” with more excitement on her face than I can even describe. Apparently, she is obsessed with the princesses! :) It’s all she can talk about.


Family Picture - Magic Kingdom Enterance


Our family had such a great day at Disney! Finley would nurse, hang out in the stroller, then fall asleep in the Ergo. She pretty much repeated that pattern all day long. Cori was a trooper! She walked most of the time, but also took rides in the stroller and on our backs. She completely skipped her afternoon nap (we were at the park from 9:30am-8:30pm) and did GREAT!

The first thing we did upon entering the park was visit with the princesses. CB sure did talk a big talk about meeting those princesses, but when it actually came time to meet them, she was not so sure. I had to hold her as we visited with Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora. She held her hands in her mouth the whole time (as she does when she is nervous). I really do think she liked getting to see them though. It was ALL (and still is ALL) she can talk about afterwards!!

Cori & Cinderella ps


Cori was tall enough to do the Race Car ride with me. She also rode the tea-cups, the carousel, the magic carpet ride, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, Adventures with Pooh, the Haunted House, the Flying Space Ships, and climbed the Swiss Family Robinson Tree. She had a blast!

Teacup fun!

Magic Carpet Ride – this was her FAVORITE!!

Loving the Carousel

Yep, we rode it twice!

Trying hard to pull out that sword!!

Waiting in line with mommy!

Waiting in line with daddy!

Sooo tired by the end of the day!


We watched the show in front of the castle with all the Disney characters. She loved that!!


And, of course, we took a family picture in front of the castle. (Just don’t pay attention to the guy and his daughter bent over behind us – HA!)

Family Picture - Magic Kingdom Castle


It truly was a spectacular day and I already can’t wait to go back! We got a 4 day pass to use before we leave for Birmingham. I never thought I’d look forward to heading back to Disney world this much in my life! It was magical! :)


The following day, we headed to Animal Kingdom. I took my 3rd graders to Animal Kingdom every year for their end-of-the-year field trip and remember it being such an amazing place for kids. And, I’m sure it is, but our day there didn’t start out as planned. The first thing we did upon entering the park was to go see “A Bugs Life.” Well, I must have blocked out how very scary that show is for kids!! The bugs are mean and HUGE plastic spiders drop from the ceiling for crying out loud!!! Cori was NOT a fan and spent the entire show with her face buried in her daddy’s chest. After that, she was pretty timid about everything!!!

Animal Kingdom does have a new Finding Nemo musical that she enjoyed. But her FAVORITE part of Animal Kingdom was the “Dig Site play area.” We spent about 45 minutes just playing in there. She loved it!!


Unfortunately, rain hit around noon and the radar showed it raining ALL DAY! So, we cut our day short and headed to Ikea (my favorite store of all time!!). We may have to use one of our days to take a trip back to Animal Kingdom. But we will NOT be seeing A Bugs Life again!! :)

Until next time…

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Dose of Hope

I just got back from my second annual Premier Regional Rally. I’ve been a part of Premier Designs Jewelry for about a year and a half now and I’m more excited about my job today than I ever have been. Who would have thought that I would turn from a teacher, to a stay at home mom, to a jewelry lady?

I think I may have mentioned this before, but I struggled for a long time about actually being a “jewelry lady.” I struggled with it not being a very “prestigious” job. After all, I had gone to college and gotten a masters degree in teaching. That was a “prestigious” job, right? But being a jewelry lady is so much more than selling jewelry. It’s actually not about jewelry sales at all. I mean of course, I need to make sales in order to make a living, but those sales aren’t the focus of my business. People are! You see, Premier Designs is a business focused on HONORING GOD and SERVING PEOPLE. Luke 22:27 is a verse straight from the mouth of Jesus that states, “I among you, is one who serves.” That is the verse you will also see outside the Home Office of Premier Designs in Texas. Wow! Premier is a business that stands on the Word of God. Now, that’s a business I want to work for.

Andy Horner (Premier’s founder) spoke at Rally on 3 words that would change our lives and our businesses. They were GIVE, SERVE, and LOVE. It wasn’t about something we could do to make our businesses more productive, to sell more, to sponsor more people. It was about being more like Christ. It’s about giving others a “dose of hope.”

GIVE. Premier is a company that believes in giving. Why else would they GIVE their jewelers 50% of everything they sell? Why else would they GIVE hostesses 30% of everything sold in free jewelry? Why else would they GIVE back to missionaries and ministries in 60 different countries around the world? Because Acts 20:35 says that “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” And Premier is a company that acts upon the Word of Scripture.

SERVE. Premier believes in meeting people’s needs and serving others who are sometimes hard to serve. Good customer service is rare to find these days. But service adds value to the product. We must ask ourselves how we can SERVE our customers. Christ was the greatest example of a humble servant. Premier wants us to be more like Him.

LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Andy Horner said, “Love is the most magnetic thing you will have in all your life.” I believe that is true. Premier is a company focused on LOVING others, right where they are, whether they buy jewelry or not. We are called to show them Christ’s love.

You see, I have been reading Acts in the last few weeks. I’ve been reading about Paul proclaiming the name of Christ over and over again to people all over. His purpose in life was to do that. I think sometimes we feel like we have too much going on in this life to focus on proclaiming the name of Christ. We think, “Well that was Paul’s sole job. We have jobs we actually have to go to. Paul just traveled around the world, sight seeing. If that was my job, I could proclaim the name of Christ too.” What we forget it that Paul’s job is our job too. Whether we are accountants, doctors, teachers, college students, cashiers, babysitters, dog walkers, or jewelry ladies. Proclaiming the name of Christ is OUR JOB, OUR PURPOSE. I have the opportunity to go into women’s homes and meet them where they are. Bring them hope. Encourage them. Walk along side them. And proclaim the name of Christ. Wow! Now, that’s a prestigious job!!

Something else I love about Premier is that all my best friends from different stages of life have entered into the business with me. I LOVE that! Ashley was my very best friend in high school. Kristy H. was my very best friend in college. Kristy S. is my very best friend from mommy hood. Lacy, who was a friend from college, has certainly become my very best friend in Premier AND my Premier Mama! Stephanie, who has her training show tomorrow, was my very best friend from teaching. And, my mom is a part of Premier too. WOW! Now, if I could just get Lauren, my very best married couple friend (her hubby Lance is BFF’s with my hubby too!), and a few other girls who are near and dear to me, to join the business too, my Premier family would be complete! :)


Rally Lakeland 2012 015

Rally Lakeland 2012 023

Rally Lakeland 2012 030

Left to Right: Kristy S, Lacy, Ashley, me, mom, Kristy H

Front: Rita

Lacy is my amazing Premier Mama, and the rest are my amazing Premier daughters. We were missing daughters Tina (who was there, just not in the picture!!), Stephanie, Melissa, and Courtney. As well as, my granddaughters Terri & Rhonda (who where there, just not in the picture), and Arielle.

I can’t tell you how much being a part of Premier has meant to me. Premier allows me to stay at home with my girls, helps provide financially for my family, gives me something to do that’s specifically for ME, allows me to build into the lives of other women, and proclaim the name of Jesus. Why do I do Premier? Because I LOVE it and because God is going to do BIG things through it. Wow, I can’t wait to see what 2012 holds in store! Certainly, a dose of hope!

Monday, January 16, 2012

There is Love

That’s the title to the song Miss Cori Belle requests to hear when we get into the car these days. I love that my girl desires to hear music about the Lord. It’s a Chris Tomlin song and the kids from the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda, Africa sing in it. When she requests it, she actually asks to “hear the kids, mommy.”  You can listen to it here, if you’d like! She repeats over and over, “Oh, la, la, la, Oh, la, la, la.”

Love is the answer

Love will find a way

When we love one another

It’s a brighter day

There are so many things about a two year old that melt my heart. The things she says, the compassion she has, her hyper-activity at times, her imagination, the truth in her heart, the way she isn’t ashamed of Jesus, the way she loves, her desire to learn, and the list goes on. Oh, how I pray for her to know and love the Lord with all her heart. There is NOTHING more important than that in this life.

Cori in the grass

My sweet Cori – 2 years old

33 1/2 inches

24.4 lbs

Saturday, January 14, 2012

6 Months

January 1 not only brought in the new year, but it also marked the day that Miss Finley turned 6 months old! Wow! 6 months. What a milestone!


Finley Grass


what i love button

week 22-28

Here’s to playing catch-up!


  • The way your cheeks are always so rosey!
  • The way you love to trace my face with your fingers. You are always reaching up and touching my face – my eyes, my nose, my mouth. Sometimes you take both hands and touch both my cheeks. I LOVE those moments with you.
  • Watching you try to crawl. You have been pulling your legs up underneath you and pushing up on all fours. You aren’t really going anywhere yet, but you certainly are trying!! You do like to roll over and over in order to get yourself closer to the action – aka, your older sister! :)
  • Your excitement to try new foods! I just wish solids didn’t make you so constipated!!
  • Your current sleep schedule of 7:30 pm to sometimes 8 am!! Girl, these last 6 weeks have been up and down with sleep routines. Your momma has spent quite a few nights up with you and I’m SO thankful for the sleep you’ve given me for the last few days. PLEASE, let’s keep it that way! :)
  • The BEAUTIFUL laughter between you and your sister.
  • Watching you interact with your toys. You have some favorites and you love playing with Cori’s dollhouse people.
  • Snuggling with you, hugging you, kissing your sweet face, gazing into your eyes,  holding your hand, nursing you, etc. etc. etc.
  • Being your momma, plain and simple!

Sweet Finley,

In your 6 months of life you have added so much joy to our home. You are such a precious baby and we love you more than words can even express!! You had your 6 month old check-up yesterday and here are your stats…

25.5 inches long

13.11 lbs

You are just as petite as your sister who weighed 13.2 lbs and 25 inches at her 6 month check-up. I LOVE my little girls!! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The HEART of the matter

It’s 6:57 am as I start my blog post this morning. It’s been a great night/morning. I got a full night’s rest from 11pm-5:30am this morning when Finley woke up to nurse. I made a warm cup of coffee and sat down in the kitchen with my bible. Cori did wake up at 6:30 and think it was time to start her day, but I kindly escorted her back to bed. :) I started a new bible study last night called Here and Now … There and Then. A Lecture Series on Revelation by Beth Moore. Wow, is it good. Although I expect nothing less from a Beth Moore bible study! My sister is doing this study with me and I’m SO excited about that!

“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.” Rev. 1:3

Oh, wow. That is good. How many times have you read the word of God and shut your bible thinking, “Check. I’ve read my bible today. Done.”? Hmm, I hate to say it, but I have. God’s word is so much more than words on a page. I want to hear his word and most importantly, take to heart what he said.

I’m reading Acts in my daily study of scripture. In Chapter 15 verse 8, Paul talks specifically about God knowing our hearts. Jesus came to show us that all God cares about is our heart. Our actions and everything we do and say come directly from our hearts. Oh, how I pray for my heart to be changed by the word of Christ that I may take to heart all that he has said.

In the middle of Act chapter 15, my bible has a few maps drawn in it. The maps of Paul’s journeys to spread the Gospel.



Did that guy travel, or did he travel?!? Talk about a guy who read the word, heard the word, and took to heart the word of the Lord. His sole purpose in life was spreading the love of Jesus all over the place! Shouldn’t that be our sole purpose as well? In all we do and everywhere we go?

When I look at that map of Paul’s Missionary Journeys I feel a very strong calling to be more like Paul. I tell David all the time that I feel like God has something like this in store for our family. It’s something that we will be praying about and seeking the Lord for guidance, but something in me says that God desires for our family to live elsewhere (like another country elsewhere) to share his love to others. I think it’s a few years down the road, but we will see what God has in store.

Praying for a heart transformation, for you and for me, that we may truly have a heart changed for the glory of the Lord.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Blog Thoughts

Welcome 2012! It’s taken me a little while to get my blog thoughts up for the start of 2012. Mostly because Cori Belle has decided that 7 am is a good wake-up time for the new year so my quiet time/blog time has been cut short by an HOUR!!! I’m going to have to start waking up at 5:30 am it seems. Heaven help me!

Yesterday at church we sang two songs that moved me to my core. One I’ve shared with you before, but the other one is new to the blog. Both are Hillsong worship songs. I LOVE Hillsong. They take worship music to the next level. They write Anthems, and those are my most favorite songs to sing to the Lord. (David, if you’re reading this – I’d LOVE to go to a Hillsong concert. hint, hint!)

I’ve shared “The Stand” before.

I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
I'll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours

The other is called “Forever Reign.” You can listen to it on youtube here. Cori and I watched the video this morning (several times) and she sang the name of Jesus. Every time the worship leader sang “Jesus,” Cori would repeat him as she swayed back and forth on the couch. Precious. The lyrics are so good and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus


As we enter 2012, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this year to look like. I’ve been reading Radical by David Platt, which has really challenged me. It talks a lot about putting aside the things of this world and living radically, with heart abandon, sought solely after God. It’s a life that looks different. A life that says it’s not about me, it’s about God. A life that points everything back to God. A life that leads others to God. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? When Jesus walked the earth, he made disciples of people. That was his purpose. Well, that, and to save us all from our sin! Which I’m pretty sure are the same thing! When Jesus died, he made sure his disciples knew what he wanted them to do. To carry on the gospel and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, to the ends of the earth! That’s why we are here. We aren’t here to climb the corporate ladder, live in fancy houses, have nice things, etc. We aren’t here to be comfortable. This life is NOT about us. It’s about Jesus. And EVERYTHING we do should point back to him. We should intentionally be living to show the love of Jesus to others. Intentionally making disciples. That was the last thing God asked us to do. Are we doing it? Wow, does that change your perspective on life when you think about it that way. At least it does for me.

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go.

Those words say it all. God is MORE than anything we could ever want. He makes us whole. He gives us life. He is GOD and of all else I’m letting go.

So, this year I have but one thing I want to accomplish. A life that looks more like the life of Jesus each and every day. It’s a big thing to accomplish and I know it will take YEARS of God teaching and refining me, but I’m so willing. I know I will mess up and make it about me at times. I’m human. And, because of that, I’m so thankful for God’s grace. I will never be perfect, but I will choose a life that is radically seeking the Lord. When this life is over, I want people to remember me as someone who did it HIS way (God’s way) even if that looks a little strange to some. It only matters to One. Jesus.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Monday, January 2, 2012

Good-bye 2011

Well, before I can officially start blogging about the new year, I need some closure on 2011. I print our blog each year as my digital scrapbook full of memories. I LOVE looking back and reading about where we were and where we are now. So, let’s remember 2011 and celebrate the JOY it brought us!

January started out with us being the parents of a ONE year-old! We thought she was so big then. Just look at her now!


In February we found out that baby number two was officially a GIRL and we even decided on her name. Finley Grace Smith. Cori was already practicing her big sister skills with her baby dolls.

Home from the grocery store 017


March brought David and I FIVE YEARS of marriage! Wow! We left Cori Belle (age 14 months) with her grandparents for the first time and went away for a few days to celebrate. We headed to Savannah, Georgia and it was such a wonderful trip! Looking at this picture makes me want to go back there!! That lunch we had at the Wilkes House was the best lunch EVER!! YUM!


In April, Cori met her cousin Taylor for the first time. Taylor and Aunt Rebecca came down for a little Spring Break visit from the cold Northern Tundra. So glad we could share that Florida sunshine with them!

Easter 006 ps


In May, Dave ran his first marathon! We traveled to Chattanooga Tennessee for a marathon in the mountains. He did awesome and is already looking for another one to do soon. Did I mention he also wants to do a triathlon this year too?!

Scenic City 013

Scenic City 025

Scenic City 028


In June Cori celebrated 18 months of life and our family headed to the beach for the annual Smith family beach vacation. I look forward to this week ALL year long and am so thankful that we have started this annual tradition. I really do think family vacations are so important!

Yikes, what a belly!!!


July 1st brought us a precious newborn baby girl named Finley Grace. What joy she brings us!

Family - Finley Birth and 1st Day 014



Cori also graduated from her ISR swim lessons at the end of July. She was such a great swimmer over the summer! Hopefully with a refresher course next summer, she will be good to go!


August is always birthday month as I turned 28 and Dave turned 29 this year. I had another delicious meal at The Melting Pot and Dave was in for a SURPRISE when I decided to throw him a Gator themed surprise party this year.

Surprise b-day!! 009


In September we really tried to get into a Tot School routine, but with a new baby in the house, we just weren’t as consistent as I hoped we’d be. This is one of my new year resolutions!!

first day of school 044


October brought some Halloween fun and the girls dressed up as Cats. I made their costumes and we had such a fun time Trunk or Treating.

Halloween 2011 071 ps

Halloween 2011 073ps


In November David and I were invited to attend the Noche de Gala for the Sebastian Ferraro Foundation. It was an honor to be there and such a wonderful evening!


December ended with our firstborn turning TWO and all the Smith cousins together for the holidays!




Another year came and went. I just can’t believe how fast the time goes. It definitely feels like it goes faster once you have children. As we close out the year and head into a new one, one piece of scripture comes to mind…

“May you run with endurance the race God has set before you.”

Hebrews 12:1

Happy New Year!