Thank you!

Thank you so much for your prayers for our little guy! It seems as though something he ate didn't agree with him last night because he slept through the night and progressively started acting more like himself throughout today. Yay! We prayed so hard it wasn't a stomach bug! I am SO thankful for the ways our Father takes care of Riley.

It's going to have to be a short post tonight because I'm in the middle of working on a shutterfly book that's due TOMORROW in order for me to get the good deal! And you know us Bramlett's, we're all about getting the good deals! :) I hope you all have a wonderful night!


Mr. Piano Man

I mentioned in a previous post that Daniel was going to Maryland to get several items from my parent's house. One of the large items was my mom's piano that she gave us. She received this piano as a gift from her parents when she was 12 years old. Daniel and I were very excited when she offered it to us! I was skyping with my parents Saturday morning before Daniel got home from MD, and my dad said he couldn't wait until Riley was tall enough to reach the keys and bang on them. I sarcastically said, "yeah, you and me both!" Later that afternoon I sent a picture to my mom's phone saying that neither of us had to wait very long...

This is his new favorite "toy" in the house. He giggles every time he touches a key and it makes a sound.

Riley was born with very long fingers and everyone who saw him during the first few weeks of his life said he was either going to be a piano player or a basketball player. I haven't seen him attempt to shoot hoops yet, but he's well on his way to the former prediction!

If you think about it, say a little prayer for this sweet boy. He vomited a couple times tonight and we're not sure if it's just something he ate earlier today or if he has a virus. It's hard to see him in pain and know there's not much we can do. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended!) as to how tomorrow goes!


The Church

I remember when I returned from South Africa in November of 2004, I was not too thrilled about returning to the American church. I felt like I had experienced true worship in so many of the African churches I attended. I didn't want to return to surface-level, get in-get out mentalities. I realize now that my viewpoint then was very biased and some of my gut reactions were based on what's called 'reverse culture shock'. When Daniel and I met in 2006, I was still struggling in a BIG way with the American church, and I had no desire to serve on staff in said church. Obviously, God had other plans! :) As I got to know and fall in love with Daniel, I couldn't help but learn about his passion for the church. There is no doubt in my mind he was created to shepherd God's people. He LOVES the church and he wants to do everything possible to protect it, challenge it, and encourage it. Throughout our time of dating and engagement, as I heard him talk about the importance of the church, my heart and mind began to slowly (and I do mean slowly!) change. I had been hurt by some churches in the past, and I was having a hard time letting that go. He challenged me to spend a large amount of time praying for God to change my heart. I did, and He did! I never dreamed I would be a pastor's wife, but here I am and I am SO thankful for God's plans. They are ALWAYS so much better than mine!

So here we are in Hughes Springs, TX...

I remember when we first moved here I wondered if it would ever feel like home. It's taken almost 7 months, but I feel more and more like this is home. Our house is wonderful, and we are SO thankful for it, but more than just the building we live in, the people who come to the church on the other side of our fence week in and week out have made this our home. They have welcomed us with open arms. They have invited us into their homes, and some have even adopted us into their families. Riley and I spent most of the day today with one church family who have loved on us so much, and there's no way "thank you" could ever express just how grateful we are for this family! I could tell story after story of family after family who has gone out of their way to care for us. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us here! Thank you for entrusting my husband as the pastor of a healthy church where the people WANT to try new things, reach out to not just our neighborhood but the world, and desire to grow in You! Thank you for bringing us to a great town with incredible people. Thank you for ministering to us through your church body. We are so unworthy, yet YOU are so merciful and gracious!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25


Chocolate cake, please!

3 posts in one night...I'm pretty excited! :)

For Riley's 1st birthday party, Daniel and I decided to do a party/open house and invite the church. We've been wanting to have an open house since we moved here, and after much procrastinating, we figured his birthday was the perfect time! So, once the date was set, we told both of our families and plans were made. My parents came from MD (gotta love Southwest!) and spent 10 days here with us (more on that in another post)! Daniel's mom and grandmother were able to come, too, so I had very good, hard-working help! We prepared lots of finger foods and most importantly, the cakes! When I was planning for the big day, I thought, what is Riley really "into" at the ripe old age of 1? Cell phones, of course! :) In his mind, a cell phone can make any bad moment instantly better. So, I made his personal cake in a mini-loaf pan and then decorated (obviously an amateur!) it to look like a cell phone.

Daniel and I together then decorated the big cake. One of our nicknames for Riley is "Riley-bug," so the phone brand was "Bug Cel". :) Needless to say, neither of us is going to quit our day jobs and take up cake decorating!

Riley wasn't too sure what to do with the cake at first. He poked his finger in it and kept trying to wipe the icing off onto the tray of his high chair. I finally brushed a little of the icing onto his lip, and once he got a taste of it, he took off! As you can tell, he definitely enjoyed his first cake! If you look closely, you can see a tear under his right eye...he was NOT happy when daddy decided he should only eat half of the cake!

If you want to see more pictures from the party, click on the picture above, and you can see all of the fun we had celebrating the life of our sweet 1-year-old!

I think 3 posts is going to have to be it for tonight. It's definitely past my bedtime, and no matter what time I go to bed, some little munchkin is guaranteed to wake me up around 7:00 am! :) I need to go rest up for a full day of just me and Riley!

Who needs music?

If you'll remember, I mentioned last month in this post how much Riley enjoys dancing. Here he is one Sunday after church. As is our custom, I brought him straight home and immediately stuck him in the high chair for lunch. As he was eating his carrots, this occurred (sorry it's a little blurry)...

He cracks me up! I just love this kid so much!

No Guilt

I have been wanting and trying to write a post for weeks now, and it just hasn't happened. I've been reading friends blogs and feeling so guilty for not keeping mine up to date. Let's just say, I am the queen of guilt...guilt over not parenting "right," guilt over not serving enough, guilt over being selfish, and the list goes on and on...guilt, guilt, guilt. The Lord spoke so clearly to me the other day. There is NO CONDEMNATION (no guilt) for those who are in Christ Jesus! Even if it's something as silly as a blog, I cannot allow the enemy a foothold in my life. I created this blog as a fun way of updating friends and family on the happenings in the Bramlett family. No one forced me to do it, and no one is calling me every day saying I must update it so many times a month. So anyway, all of that to say, I am not going to apologize for not writing sooner. :)

To update you, our little man (who's not so little anymore!) is 13 months and growing! He's not walking yet, but I don't think it's going to be long before he takes his first step. He's cruising around the house and standing in one spot on his own for several seconds at a time. Here he is last night on the back porch. Daniel began another project (surprise!) on our back porch, so Riley and I went out to join him. As you can see, Riley had a great time with the hammer. I asked Daniel if he was proud that Riley liked the hammer, and he said, "I think he'd be doing the same thing with a spatula from the kitchen..." Time will tell! :) Not only did he enjoy the hammer, but he loved crawling around in the dirt. In fact, this picture was taken about 5 minutes before he found a dirty rock, placed it in his mouth (while mama wasn't looking) and sucked the dirt off. To my dismay, he wasn't even upset by the taste of the dirt! Needless to say, we brushed his teeth extra well before bed!! I laughed while I did it, too, because I sing a song to him while brushing his teeth (courtesy of Lesley Branscum), and the last line is "keep them white, keep them clean, brush the dirt away." I never knew it would be literal for my son! :)

My other favorite Bramlett male is currently on his way to Bel Air, Maryland. He and one of his best friends from college, Mark, are driving to my parent's house to pick up some furniture and boxes that are ours. I figured since I'm 31, it's probably time to finally get all of my belongings out of my parent's house and have them in one central location (my house!). If you think about it, say a little prayer for Daniel and Mark as they drive through the night and all day tomorrow. It's about a 20-hour trip. When they get there, they'll load everything up, grab a bite to eat, sleep for a few hours, and head back this direction. Daniel is very much an optimist, so he thinks they'll be back in Hope, AR by 8:00 Friday night. I'm more of a realist (not pessimist...ha ha) and think they'll get back sometime early Saturday morning. Either way, I'm praying for alertness, safe driving, no mechanical problems, and good fun. Daniel and Mark are quite a pair, so I'm sure they will have many stories to tell when they return!

I'm not making any promises (because if I don't fulfill them then there's the possibility of feeling guilty...you know how it goes!), but I'm going to try to do some make-up posts and share about the past month of our lives. If it doesn't happen, though, remember: NO GUILT! :)