As a parent, I always thought life would get simpler once the girls were all married. And it has in some ways for sure. Cooking supper and grocery shopping is simpler. Getting dressed for church and having the bathroom all to myself is definitely simpler.
But the part about being concerned for them and worrying about your kids is no different. Definitely not simpler. Now I think about all kinds of other stuff. Where they live. Where they go to church. Are they getting groceries. Do the grand kids have all they need for school. I could go on and on.
I'm not a worrier by nature. I'm really not. My family can testify to that. I'm pretty laid back about stuff and just go with it. I'm finding that is easier when it's just me and Nick involved or when the girls were still under our roof. Now that they are gone, it's harder to watch them struggle with things and not want to step in and try to fix it. I never thought of myself as a fixer. But I'm morphing into one.
I say all that to say this… A couple of weeks ago, it seems like all three of the girls and their families had needs all at the same time. Stuff that was out of my hands. I couldn't fix them. That day at lunch, as Nick thanked God for our food, he prayed for our girls and their families as he always does, asking God to provide for them and to use them for His glory in every circumstance and he then said something I've heard him say a thousand times through the years…
"Lord, You love our girls even more than we do."
Those words were like a slap in the face and a big warm hug all rolled up in one.
As much as I love my girls and their husbands and my grandchildren, it doesn't even compare to how He loves them. And whatever He is allowing in their life..good and bad… it's for a divine purpose.
I found so much comfort in that prayer that day that I've heard their daddy say so many times.
Our God is a loving Father who wants to load us down with good things.
He wants us to experience life to the fullest with much joy.
He goes the extra mile for us always and spares no expense when it comes to His love.
Such a great reminder. Such a great example for us as a parent.
I try to go the extra mile to make my girls feel loved and special.
I can't fix things all the time for them. I'm not supposed to.
But I do want to live a life making memories.
And that's what we did for Lauren's birthday last week.
It was her first birthday away from family. If you've followed us long enough, you know we whoop it up for birthdays. (here, here and here are just a few examples. Oh..and this.)
I love to celebrate their lives and do it up grand.
So Lauren was a little bummed none of us would be joining her on her actual birthday.
Lydia had to work so were planning to come the next day and stay the weekend. But it just so happens that Lydia was able to take off ….so we took off.
And surprised the birthday girl.
Strap in and grab a cup of coffee…I'm about to bombard you with pictures.
But this is my little place to document our families adventures.
Sadly, I don't do photo albums like the good old days.
Feel free to scroll to the bottom now if you want.
It won't hurt my feelings. I promise. ;)
The Birthday Girl
This pic was part of a fun photo shoot by our friends and incredible photographers, April and Paul.
Apparently Lydia has never seen cotton up close which I'm still not sure about the accuracy of that.
But nonetheless, she was mesmerized and possibly might have picked a puff.
But this is where she got really excited.
She plopped down. Stuck a pose. And was like "bring on the presents".
We did not disappoint.
One of my favorites. This is so Lauren.
The next day we had a little morning fun with the self timer.
And my personal favorite.
|These rad shirts are from my friend, Tiffini. She has awesome stuff at her shop House of Belonging.|
Then we went thrifting. But first Startbucks. It was buy one get one free the entire time we were there so that worked out great. I also discovered you can get half the syrup so it's not as sweet! Holla! This was life changing! I also learned big buns were not made for the backseat of Lauren's car.
After spending all day riding in the back seat, this is my "I'm really carsick but I'll smile if I have to" face. Note to self: A venti Caramel Chestnut Latte on an empty stomach in the back seat does not work for you.
Blakey Poo met us for supper. Cutie pies.
Our first full day there was a blast.
This pretty much was the theme of Day 2.
It was all about the food.
Kicking it off at The Tin Cow. If you are ever in Pensacola, and you like burgers, go there. You won't be disappointed. The pic is a little blurry but you mark what you want and give it to the waitress. You can choose from all kinds of burgers…venison, bison, Angus, Kobe, Chicken….and the toppings are endless. Stay away from the truffle infused ketchup though…blegh! But by all means, get the house bacon mayo!
This is us feeling happy about our selections. ;)
After stuffing our faces at the Tin Cow, we walked a few feet down the sidewalk to this little bakery. We had us a groupon. $11 for $20 worth of food. We were like "I'll take one of these and one of these…" The sky was the limit. Or so we thought. Apparently $20 doesn't go very far at Adonna's. We might have had to pay a little extra. Hashtag oops.
After all that we had to walk it off some. And stop and take pics in front of pretty walls.
Then we had to stop for a little street entertainment…
The girls were ready to head home and put on PJ's after this public display.
On day three we got to go worship with Blake and Lauren at their new church. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Getting to meet their pastor and his wife was a blessing. He preached the Word with sound doctrine, full of passion. It blesses me to know they are being fed and shepherded.
After church we went to the Mellow Mushroom for lunch. This was my first time. I liked it.
That's my baby pizza on the bottom loaded down with vegetables. It was super good. Kind of pricey…like, I'd probably only go back if I had a coupon but I'm cheap like that so don't mind me.
Then these two tortured us with this as we waited in line at Starbucks.
(But it was last day for the buy one get one free…so we kinda had to)
We came home and put on our PJ's and never left the couch until the next morning.
Except to answer the door for the delivery guy when he brought our Chinese food for supper.
And even then… we made Blake get up and do it.
Our last day started with a big dog pile on top of Lydia.
Then we did a little shopping. And for all those who thought this was Elizabeth's pregnant belly when I posted it on instagram….come on y'all. She would have to be pregnant with a small elephant if it was. But I get y'alls excited hearts that made you jump to a rash conclusion…you was hoping it was her because that meant she would have been there too. Sweet.
Big bun probs again. And I totally made Lydia sit in the back seat and I wasn't the least bit sad.
We somehow ended up at Steak and Shake during their half price shakes happy hour.
Then it was time to head home. It was a great birthday weekend for Lauren. The only thing missing was Elizabeth. I don't think any of us will ever fully get used to not being able to all be together all the time. But God gives us the grace to embrace it. I'm already looking forward to next month's visit to see Elizabeth and her crew!
The next day I spent a good portion of the morning catching up with my favorite person in the world. I'm so thankful for him and his willingness to always bless me and our girls with time together. He totally gets our girl needs. And our constant schemes and dreams and plans we come up with for our adventures.
He is the best example of a good father.
He's an incredible example of a lover of my soul.
I learn so much about the Lord through the way he lives his life before me and the sacrifices he makes for me.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17
Can I just claim my title as Holden daughter number 4?? Pretty please?!?! You ladies are so fun! I love following along through here & insta! Thanks for letting us get a peek into your life! Also, someday I hope I've got this type of relationship with my sweet Emma (& future daughters)!!! xoxoReplyDelete
I love to see the adventures you girls go on. How fun it must be to be a Holden. ;)ReplyDelete
Also might I say that all three of you have flawless faces...the make up you all use is incredible. I must have some of what ya'll are using. :) God Bless!
Love it! I especially love how you share your clothes. ;) The first part of this post reminded me of Slaying the Dragons in Your Life by David Jeremiah. We are studying it in Life Group. The first lesson was on fear. Mercy. I had to step back and let it soak in a little before I could digest it all. If you haven't read it, you might want to check it out.ReplyDelete
And you boosted my spirits and gave my heart a lift to see how you miss your girls yet make the most of the time you have together. I'm going to take lessons from you when my girl and her family move in a couple of weeks. Thank you for that.
beautiful photos and a beautiful family!!ReplyDelete
What a beautiful birthday girl and looks as though she thrououghly enjoyed being celebrated. What fun! Always enjoy your posts and your beautiful family.ReplyDelete
i'm with you on the sadness of not being all together! I have 4 out of the house and only the baby (who just turned 16) left at home. Where oh where did the time go?? Thanks for the encouragement to "go the extra mile" and create new kinds of memories!ReplyDelete
Loved this post!! Love y'all's relationships!! Gorgeous pictures!ReplyDelete
Wow, what a great time you must have had. Looks like a blast and you all looked so chic! BTW, the birthday girl has crazy good hair!!ReplyDelete
your relationship with your girls seriously encourages me friend. i look forward to days like this with my girls in the future. we all feel so scattered right now. everybody has their own agendas...their own tired busy days. these reconnection days are pure gold!ReplyDelete
Boy Steph do I love seeing your adventures! You and your family LOVE life like I have never seen or experienced, but as I CRAVE with every ounce of my being. Thanks to you and yours for being a light, for always smiling, and for making me dream. xoReplyDelete