600th Post and a Giveaway!!!

It's almost too crazy for me to imagine, but when I signed in to blogger tonight, I realized that this short, little post I was planning was actually a pretty big milestone!  Somehow, this is my 600th post!!  Can you believe that???  As it turns out, I have turned this little "hobby" into a regular part of my life (well, some weeks it's  more regular than others!).  And for some reason, lots of people I do and do not know, continue to read my random thoughts and updates...all 600 of them??  That seems so wild to me, considering I started this blog because we thought it would be a good way to keep our long distance families up to date, with pictures and descriptions of what our life is like.  Now, I keep lots of people up to date and this blog has really become like a family scrapbook for us.  My DREAM is to have this blog printed and bound each year, so that we will always have it to remember these years and all that the Lord has done and taught us.  So much of our life has been chronicled here, for better or for worse, and I'm so thankful I was brave enough to sit down one night and figure out exactly what a blog was and how it works!  Occasionally I will go back in my own archives and read what I wrote for the last few years.  Is that weird??  I do it because it's so fascinating to me to see just how God answered so many of our prayers or how He used different things in our lives to paint the picture we see today.  Maybe that's why I love journaling so much...I love the gratitude that pours out from a little self reflection.  It's so easy to think God has forgotten me or that He isn't working in my life...But when I see how He uses the good days and the bad days and somehow makes them all work together, I know that He is always working and always faithful to complete what He started in me. 

Soooo, thanks for all the sweet comments and encouragement so many of you have taken the time to leave me for these last few years.  I've been blessed by them at least 600 times!  It amazes me to think of some of the sweet relationships I've made with lots of you, people I've never actually met in "real life" but through our blogs and the thoughts and cries of our hearts, I feel like I've known you for years!  I love how God has used blogging to do that in my life. 

In light of that and because this is my 600th post, I don't think I should let this post just pass me by, I think I should celebrate with a little giveaway!!  Why not, right??  Because I just ranted and raved about how much I love to journal and because it's such a wonderful part of my personal walk with the Lord, I would love to give you...

A beautiful journal
From my favorite store Archiver's
Along with a set of my absolute favorite pens...The Sharpie Pens. 
If you've read this blog for very long, you know that I have an obsession with sharpies and I am IN LOVE with the Sharpie Pens.  They are basically all that I write with!  I especially love to use my sharpie pens in my journals...they just make all of my thoughts and prayers look so much prettier on the page!!  Ha Ha :)

So, I would love to send you these things that are a regular part of my life and my time with the Lord most days.  I use my journal to record my thoughts and insights about what God is teaching me through His word, what's happening in my life and what I'm struggling with.  I pour lots of myself into my journals and it's been a wonderful way for me to develop my prayer life in a more authentic way.  If you are the winner of this giveaway, and if you DON'T have a Bible, please let me know that so I can send one along too.  It would be my pleasure to send one to you.  Journaling is such a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship (or  begin one) with God.  It's an easy way to have a conversation with Him and to see Him working through you.  I know you're going to love it!!

Sooooo, are you wondering how you can win this giveaway??  I'll make it very easy for you.  Just leave me a comment with your name and email address and tell me how you found my blog and how long you've been reading.  Just because I think it will be fun for me to read that!!  If you've been along since the beginning or if this is the first time you've found me, let me know.  I always get a kick out of seeing the people I know and don't know yet, who end up here! 

Now, in other news, we are still in Texas and today was a hard/sweet day.  Travis did the funeral service for his Grandma and he did a wonderful job.  I was very proud of him.  It's a privilege that he's been able to do this twice, for both a Grandpa and a Grandma.  I was thinking about that today and realizing that what a special honor he has, that not many people get, to do something so hard and so sweet for the people who have loved and help raise him.  It's always emotionally draining and we both felt the immediate release of all that pent up stress.  Now we are able to just relax and enjoy some much needed time with our family.  I've been taking lots of pictures but I forgot to bring my usb cord with me, so all you get tonight is one picture I took with my cell phone!

Miss Ava is making her Texas-born and raised Daddy proud this week, eating some barbeque brisket like it's going out of style!!  She is having a blast with 8 of her little cousins following her every move and passing her round and round.  We did run into a little snag today, when after the funeral and while driving around so she would fall asleep, she instead decided to throw up all over her cute dress and her freshly washed car seat.  You can imagine the fun we were having, while standing in the Texas heat, cleaning up vomit and trying not to repeat the occasion ourselves.  It was almost more than this pregnant woman could take.  She seemed to be fine immediately after and hasn't missed a beat tonight, but I can now smell the traces of vomit every time we get in the car.  Perfect. 

When we get home, I will share our pictures and announce the winner of the giveaway!!  You have until Friday to enter so tell your friends and play along!!  Can't wait to see who you all are!! 


Mary Avery said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog, but I've been reading since around the time you were pregnant with Ava! I'm so excited for your second baby. I usually never comment, but I am now! I love your recipes too!

star said...

Congrats on your 600th post! I have been reading your blog for a long while now! I am not sure how I found your blog, but I do enjoy reading it!

Hannah J said...

Congratulations! I started reading while you were pregnant with Ava . .. I kind of think I saw a link to your beautiful nursery and then came over that way. Either way, I love your family and your testimony.

Rebecca Jo said...

OK... I'm a pen sorta nut too & I've yet to try a Sharpie pen... I'm going to get one next time I'm at the store just to give it a go now!!!

Wow - I dont know how long its been since I've been here... I know it was awhile before you were pregnant with Ava & your thoughts & prayers on wanting to be a mommy... now look at you!!! I also loved that you & your husband are so involved in youth ministry too - can give you sympathy on that one! haha!!!

Its been fun watching Ava grow & now excited to see this new addition!!!

petrii said...

Hmmm, I am so not sure how long I've been following you ~~ a long time, and I'm not sure how I found you, maybe through Kelly's blog, but I'm not sure. It might have been through The LPM Blog.... hmmm I'm just not sure.


I love to come over here and read your words and feel your heart for the Lord.

Have a Blesse day friend,

Faith said...

600 posts, wow!! I've been reading for over two years I guess I would say. A lot has happened in that time! So happy for your family!!

Toni :O) said...

Yay for you...what an accomplishment! I think maybe I found you through Heather's Life at Sonic Speed blog would be my guess and it's been since you were pregnant with sweet Ava. I love your spirit, your faith and of course checking in on your wee one. I can't wait to follow along with your second sweetie. Congrats and thanks for the chance to win a prize, such FUN! I LOVE journals (and pens, I'm a FREAK!), maybe if I win I would be inspired to keep it more regularly than I currently do!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,

My name is Annie and I've been reading your blog for probably three or four months now. My email is - my full name is Stephanie. I think that's what initially drew me in, was the fact that you and I share a name! Now I love just reading your blog and hearing all about your exploits with your daughter Ava - she's so cute!


Erin said...

600 yippy!! Did you see my post I did about ALex book I had made, if you didn't you should check it out.

I love it and we will cherish it forever! I would recommend it!! :)

Mary said...

I found your blog through Kelly's Korner some time ago and I've enjoyed reading about your little precious girl!

Candace said...

Hi, I found your blog through Kelly's Korner(I think!) And I have been along for the ride a couple of months before you found out you were expecting Ava! My little one is two now and I am trying for another, so it is fun for me to read your blog since we are following the same path! I also love reading about your faith, it is nice to see someone who shares that passion and feels the same as I do! I hope I win! Looking forward to more fun post about your new little one! Just in case, my email is

Rebecca said...

I found your blog about 1 and 1/2 years ago through Kelly's Korner and have been following you since, I love reading your blog!

Melissa @ i carry your heart said...

Hi, I'm de-lurking myself finally. I'm Melissa and I live in Minneapolis. I found your blog through Kelly's Korner and I actually went back and read it from the beginning! I am so inspired by your story and I'm so happy for you. I recently started my own blog at Happy 600th post!

Tales of a Peanut said...

I'm Jennifer and I've been reading since around when you found out that you were pregnant with Ava.

Happy 600th!

Talesofapeanut at gmail dot com

anonymous said...

hi! i think i found your blog when someone else linked a recipe of yours to their blog. it was teriyaki chicken, i believe? anyways that was a long time ago! you were pregnant with ava when i started reading and have so enjoyed reading ever since! i have a 2 year old and a 9 month old so i'm right there with you with the 2 18 months apart! it is busy, but fun and i think it's great to have 2 close together. so excited for you, and looking forward to keeping up with your family through your blog. what a fun giveaway you are hosting! i am working on the quiet time aspect of my life and have wanted to begin journaling my prayers for awhile now. something about having the fun accessories makes it seem that much more exciting! good luck to you and your sweet family!
laura m. in ohio

Sharon said...

Hi Stephanie!
Please do not choose me for your generous and fun giveaway, but I wanted to jot you a little note anyway.

I have been reading your blog for quite awhile -- even before you were sharing your feelings about the pregnancy that ended too soon....

I love your honesty, your heart, the way you weave God's goodness and faithfulness into your posts, the way you express your love for Travis and Ava, and even this new little baby yet to be born.

You truly are an inspiration, and a gifted writer as well! I think you should PUBLISH someday, Stephanie!

Anyway, I pray today that God will bless you and your sweet family, and that He would grant you favor as you simply continue to love Him more each day, which I know you do!

Congratulations on #600!
Sharon Critzer

Anonymous said...

I have been reading along almost 2 years....i found this blog on a bathroom wall,brow waggle!

Alyce Poyner

April said...

We don't know each other but I've been reading for about a year I think after linking from Kelly's Korner. Your family is adorable and I enjoy reading you share your heart. I just started a blog of my own to document my little family!

April Klingler

HopefulLeigh said...

I stumbled on to your blog about 6 or 7 months ago but I can't remember how I ended up here. I am a big journaler too so even though we have different life circumstances, you are a woman after my own heart:)

Laura said...

I've been reading for around a year. I can't exactly remember quite how I found your blog, although I think it may have been through a friend's or maybe it was a random search on google. Although you wonder why a stranger would read your blog, I read just because I love to follow other people's life stories. I am not a mother, but I find your thoughts on motherhood so touching and similar to what mine would be if I were a mother, if that makes sense :). Thank you for your honest writing!

Marah said...

I found your blog through my college roommate. She introduced me the "blog world" during our freshman year. She knew of you because she visited the church that Travis worked at in NC sometimes. I enjoy your blog because it's really neat to see how God is blessing you so abundantly! Plus, Ava is SO cute!!

Kruger Kids said...

I haven't a clue how I found your blog, but it was when you were pregnant with Miss Ava! I've found your faith, your words, your recipes and everything just fabulous! I've commented before, a few times!
Congrats on 600- that's crazy fun!

Sonya said...

Congrats on 600! I love the sharpie pens too! I'm excited to see that they come in a medium point now too! I'll have to look for them!

I started reading your blog from Kelly's Korner when you were pregnant with Ava.

My email is

bcl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bcl said...

Well, I found your blog through your link on Facebook. I believe I started reading around the time you announced you were pregnant with Averi, maybe a little before then. I enjoy your honesty and sweet pictures and all the updates on your growing family. God bless you!
-Cherie L