Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ten Decades Worth of Happiness Wrapped Up Into One

I can scarcely believe it to be true but it has already been ten years since I first held that beautiful little boy in my arms.  In that very instance something amazing happened, a transformation that I could have never anticipated.  There weren't any swirling winds or dramatic background music but a transformation took place in me non the less.
Ten years ago on this day I went from being "Me" to "Mommy". 
I went from thinking I knew what true love was, to feeling emotions I never knew existed.   

I can remember watching his little chest rise and fall and thinking, "How did God take my heart and put it in this little body?"  Suddenly in a single moment I became more vulnerable than I had ever been in my entire life.  I realized it was much easier to protect my heart when it existed inside of me but now it lived inside this fragile little creature that depended on me.
All the trivial concerns of  the day before suddenly didn't seem to have a place in my life anymore. 

My little man has changed my life for the better and I am thrilled that God saw fit to charge me with the awesome responsibility of rearing him into the man he was called to be.

Sweet little bullfrog, I love seeing the world through your beautiful and unique perspective.  You are so full of life and you care so deeply for others that your compassion is contagious.   I am so proud of the way you freely love others and the giving heart that guides you.  I love you more than you will ever know...even when your making all of those very loud and oh so energetic sound effects!  

Happy Birthday Sweet Little Man!
(I can't believe I have a little one that is in double digits.... I guess it's only the beginning!)

                            Bullfrog's List of Faves

Favorite Toy ~ Ninjas
Favorite Movie ~ Train Your Dragon
Favorite Game ~ Lego Star Wars
Favorite Food ~ Steak
Favorite Color ~ Red
Favorite T. V Show ~ Poke Mon
Favorite Bible Character ~ David
Favorite Time of Year ~ August and December
Favorite Sport ~ Football
     Favorite Thing to Do Outside ~ Camping and Fishing
        Favorite Thing to Do Inside ~ Play With Action Figures
                                           Favorite Time of Day ~ After School
                                               Favorite Day of The Week ~ Saturday and Sunday
                                                Favorite Place To Go ~ Disney World
                                              Favorite Number ~ 9

Favorite Person in The Whole World ~ Mama (okay so I added that one myself)

 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Psalms 127:3-5 
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Horizon

Have you ever stood at the end of a very long and difficult night staring at the horizon, just waiting for a glimpse of light to shine across the darkness in front of you.  Anticipation begins to build as you catch a glimpse of the black hues that begin to fade into shades of  blue.  You know that in a moment all of the struggles and difficulties that were laid out before this moment are about to look different in the light of a new day, so you wait with excitement.

Then across the horizon the blues start turning into majestic shades of red and breath taking colors of orange and yellow begin to illuminate the world around you.... you made it!
A new day has begun and with it will come the potential for new beginnings.

I guess you could say that is where the Bramlee Family is in our journey.  We have lived through some difficult struggles on the way to where we are right now.  But we wouldn't change a thing, it is those difficult times that have made us who we are today.  We are not the same people that packed up everything they owned four years ago, gathered up the little ones, held hands and jumped off into the dark unknown.  

Our struggles have given us new perspectives of life, as well as a new compassion for others living through difficult times.  We would not choose a life without struggles because we would not be the same people.  It is because we have lived through hardships that we can have a fuller appreciation for our blessings.  The world around us never looks more beautiful than it does when we are looking at through humbled eyes

 Just think how much more we appreciate that beautiful horizon when it appears after a long and difficult night.

The darkness brought on by the struggles of the last four years were well worth it, our horizon is finally here and I can't wait to see God's glory shine around us.

Graduation Day
May 26, 2012
September 2009 ~ The Beginning of the Journey
We know that this horizon is not the end of our journey, just the beginning of a new chapter.  We understand that like the other chapters of our life, this one too will be filled with it's own struggles but we also know that with them will come great blessings.  We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us on the next leg of our beautiful journey!

I am so proud of you honey, thank you for loving us enough to never give up!!

Philippians 3:14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Winning Their Hearts

I see the same reoccurring theme with parents that have managed to develop and maintain deep and  meaningful life long relationships with their children.   
There is a very unique bond these families have, a bond that brings them together and keeps them close even after the children have grown.
If you were to write a parenting "how to" with their secret trick it would be the shortest book ever, consisting of only one sentence.  It would simply read, "There is nothing more importance than winning your child's heart".

I think that children should be born with a warning label that reads:
"Warning: If you don't win the heart of your child, someone or something else will."

Understanding the foundation of what it takes to win these little hearts is simple and obvious, but sometimes it is the obvious that is so easily overlooked.  I believe that by  following the three A's  we will win the greatest treasure on earth.....our children's heart!

So what are these magic three A's??
Affection,  Attention &

When we meet these emotional needs of our little ones, a deep, natural and mutual respect develops.
Anytime we put quality ingredients into something we produce a quality product, this is true everywhere in life and it is no different in child rearing.

Now, I said "understanding the three A's is simple and obvious," however implementing them can be quite different.
The first A could stand for Amore (the Latin word for love), but love by itself isn't enough. Our children need more, they need affection.
Affection is when we express our love through our action.  It isn't enough for our children to just hear that  they are loved, they need to physically feel it... daily.  We can never assume that these little ones "know" how we feel about them.  We must freely give them affection even when they aren't seeking it.

The next A is for attention, something we all know our children need.  Most of us have every intention of giving our children all the attention that they could possibly desire, but life tends to get in the way.  It is so easy to put off our children until "tomorrow" but it won't be long until our little ones stop counting on "tomorrow" to every come.  It is easy for us to use the excuse, "it isn't the quantity of the time we spend together, it is the quality."  Well, to that I say, you are only half right.... it is the quality but it is also the quantity, they are equally important.  
Children are smart and they realize early on that people make the desires of their hearts their priority.  How easy it is for us to sometimes confuse our needs from our wants, leaving our little ones craving attention.

The final A is for affirmation, a basic desire inside all of us.  Everyone needs to feel valued, needed, and that they have a purpose.  Our little ones have so much to share with us, so many stories, ideas, feelings and concerns.  They need to know that the words that come out of their hearts go directly into ours.  How often do we give them our undivided attention looking into their eyes as their words flow from their little mouths?  t Sometimes it is so hard to turn of the demands and chaos of the world so that we can even hear them speaking.
Most of intended to.... we plan to... 
but minutes turn into hours, hours into days and before we know it, our best intention are left just that....intentions.  The problem is that our little ones get tired of waiting on us and eventually they loose interest in sharing their hearts with us.

I wish that I always got it right....
I wish that I could focus my life so intently on my children that I never miss an opportunity to win their beautiful little hearts.

Oh how I do love those moments when I do get it right.... those moments when I can SEE that I am winning their hearts.  I have seen it in light that shined from my son's face after I said, "I believe you," when he insecurely asked, "Do you believe me mama?"  I've heard it in my daughter's voice in the way she said, "I love you mama,"  after I responded with more compassion than she had anticipated.  I feel it in the special kisses of my sweet little girl who often struggles with being able to give them and in the way my baby girl tugs my legs in desperate attempt to be lifted into my arms.

We may not ever have it all together
but we will always get it right if we never give up.

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I will choose to follow...

Quite frequently you hear a new christian say that they have decided to follow Jesus, but I can't help but wonder if they really know what they are agreeing to.

There is even a song, "I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back....no turning back."  

Webster defines the word follow as, "to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order."  But do we Really comprehend the full meaning of following someone like Jesus.  A lot of people misunderstand what it means to be a Christian, buying into the idea that once we make a commitment we are "fancy free".  Some even believe that life will become easier and all of the stress will be gone.
The truth...
When we commit to following Jesus we must first understand who He was and what His mission was about.  The Gospels tell us that Jesus traveled long hard journeys, never knowing where He would rest His head or how food would come to Him... He simply knew His father would provide.  Jesus's feet were dirty and sore from traveling on rough terrain but he never complained or questioned God's purpose for His suffering.  

If you plan to follow Jesus you better put on your hiking boots and roll up your pants because the road you are about to embark upon isn't paved or smooth.
God doesn't promise a life without pain, what He does promise is that He will always sustain us and be with us through our journeys, just as He was with His son.  
Prepare to suffer and be ridiculed.... remember we are following Jesus so we go where He goes.

Jesus was hungry, tired, and anguished at times...... 
                                                                          are you willing to be hungry, tired, and anguished?
Jesus put aside His own burdens to carry the burdens of others..... 
                                                                             are you willing to carry the burdens of others?
Jesus did the illogical and walked on water....
                                               are you willing to do the illogical?
Jesus told God, "Not my will but Yours be done.".... 
                                                  are you willing to lay down your own desires for the will of God?
Jesus was brutally crucified for the inequity of all people....
                                                     dare I even ask???        

So why would anyone accept this journey?
For the same reason Jesus did, because the prize far out weighs the cost.  Earth is not our reward it is our place of preparation.  We are being molded and shaped into the people that God has created us to be, but our journey is sometimes painful.   
 We can endure this kind of journey because
God tells us that, 
"... I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. " Isaiah 41:10

Choosing to follow Jesus provides us with all that is missing from our lives. I think most of us would agree that in the deepest place of our hearts we all long for the same thing, something that if it was unobtainable to us, would leave us in a state of mere existences...
Where would we be without HOPE? How would we face each day without the hope of something better than the pain of yesterday and the uncertainty of tomorrow?
It is because we have a God that is bigger than our circumstances... that we have Hope!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.   Jeremiah 29:11-12 

The fact is we all choose to follow something, it could  be another person,  self desires,  or power.  But these things will only leave us wandering in endless circles, leaving us frustrated and exhausted.   Why choose to follow Jesus down the difficult narrow path?  Because God promises to never leave us or forsake us... if we choose this path we will never walk it alone.  When we follow close behind our savior, trusting in His guidance and direction,
 He will lead us right into eternity.

And for that reason I choose to follow Jesus.......

 "Do you not know? Have you not heard?  
The LORD is the everlasting God,  the Creator of the ends of the earth.   
He will not grow tired or weary, 
   and his understanding no one can fathom. 
 He gives strength to the weary 
   and increases the power of the weak. 
 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
   and young men stumble and fall; 
 but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint."
Isiah 40:28-31

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Face of a Miracle

My sweet little nephew was an answer to uncountable prayers..... and although it may have taken him a while to get here I have to say he was well worth the wait.  

I believe that all children are miracles and that they are true gifts from above, but some babies are special miracles because of the means taken to get them here.  

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that those who pray for children and don't ever conceive are being ignored by their Maker.  I truly believe that God hears our pleads and knows our  hearts desires, but not always do our prayers match "His plan".  I know that God doesn't always fulfill our prayers the way we see fit, however He does ALWAYS fulfill our needs.  Sometimes when mothers ask for their arms to be filled with a child God chooses to answer their prayer differently then they had imagined.  
Some babies grow in their mother's womb and some grow in their mother's hearts.  

I am the product of that kind of love.  My grandmother may not have conceived my beautiful mother in her womb but she did in her heart.  She loved and prayed for my mother before she ever saw her face or touched her little body.  My mother could not have known a greater kind of love.  I am so thankful God chose to answer my grandmother's prayer with "His plan". 

No matter what situation we entered this world through we were all born of a great and beautiful love, our real Father doesn't make mistakes... only beautiful creatures with great purpose.

This time the prayer met with "His plan" and we will forever be grateful for the blessing that we have received this week.  I can't wait to see what big plans God has for this beautiful little miracle.

Slayton Miles Bramlee

You were loved into life by the hands of God and when the light hits you just right I can almost see your wings!!

My sweet Slayton, I am so thankful to have been chosen to be your Aunt....
you have already brought so much joy to this world!

Psalm 127:3   Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Your Blessings Are Waiting

God doesn't want to be the magician of our lives, performing tricks for us, He wants to be the Lord of our lives covering us in His blessings.  Sometimes I think that we inadvertently give our "Santa list" to the wrong "Big Guy".  God isn't there to simply answer our requests, that would only limit us to what we could come up with for ourselves, He desires to give us what we NEED in order for us to have the beautiful lives that we deserve.

We all to often get attached to our own idea of what this life is suppose to look like, loosing site of what we were truly created for.  I for one am glad that God's plans for me and my life are bigger than the ones I had for myself.  We can never out dream or out think God.  

His knowledge stretches farther than the borders of this world which allow His plans to exceed our limited understanding.  I have learned to pray for God's will in my life so that I won't limit Him to my small agendas, allowing for His grander ones.

God gives blessing to those who..... look for them before they come
and remember to give praise for them after they have been received.

If we aren't receiving God's blessings it isn't because He doesn't have any for us but rather because we wouldn't recognize them if He did.  When we decide to keep our eyes focused on Him then and only then can we 
feel His presence, see His plan., and receive His bountiful blessings.

God has more for you than some temporary magic trick that only appears to be real...
He wants to give you the world.... but first you must give Him you.

Your blessings are waiting for you!

Galatians 3:14

The Message (MSG)

 13-14Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham's blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God's life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Wish List

Daddy's List
Spend two weeks at the beach
  Go camping and fishing
Spend time with the family
 Not be in medical school
Get work done on the house

Mama's List
Learn more about photography
 Run a race
Organize all lessons before the beginning of the school year
Paint my house (inside)
Do a big service project as a family

Bullfrog's List
Game Night with just daddy
Get better at football
Go to WVU Basketball game
See a police car
Learn to whittle

Big Butterfly's List
Play Soccer
Get nails done
Go to an Art Museum
Go camping
Take a pottery class

Middle Butterfly's List
Get nails done
Take dance
Go swimming
Go to the beach
Go see Hannah

Little Butterfly's List
Spend time with mommy and daddy
Grow Hair
Gain weight
Play... a lot
Learn new words

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Love Letter

To My True Love,

I have seen dark times in my life, times where all seemed lost or impossible but now there is a light that shines so bright that I can't help but feel alive.  There was a time when I couldn't believe or see potential in myself but your love has shown me a more beautiful reflection of a person that I never knew existed   You loved me when I couldn't love myself, when I thought no one could.  You have taken my imperfection and and made them perfect in your sight.  You have given me life and revealed to me my gifts.  

Noises and voices of this world use to clutter my mind, telling me that I wasn't good or deserving enough, but your loving voice now overshadows theirs and reminds me of all that is good and beautiful.  I never deserved your faithfulness and yet I received it, never was I worthy of your love but now I am filled with it.  There is no place that I can go that you don't go with me, no pain that I feel that you don't feel too, no problem that I face that you don't endure with me.   

You are my true love, my source of comfort and strength.  I can scarcely remember the me that existed before you, nor do I want to.  It is so amazing to see how your love has changed me and the way I look at this world now.  Your peace fills me, allowing me a freedom that I never knew existed.  Because of your love I have joy in every circumstance, hope during moments of chaos, and strength in the midst of my storms.

I am flawed and have failed you at times and yet your love for me remains steadfast without conditions.  I strive to be the person you see when you look at me, and I long to appear as lovely to the world as I do in your eyes.  

I have heard your voice, felt your touch and seen your face in my heart.  I rest in the palm of your hands knowing that if I am with you than there is none that can truly be against me.  I will walk through the trials of this life with peace and joy knowing that despite my pain there is love waiting for me in your arms.  

Your love has shown me that I am more than the choices that I have made, that I am worthy of forgiveness and grace, beautiful and deserving of admiration....forgiven and redeemed.  There is no greater love than yours and I am grateful to have received it.  
I love you for all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you will be.

Yours Truly & Forever, 

Romans 8:37-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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