May 31, 2013

the way i see you : week 9

 a weekly collaboration of bloggers capturing our loved ones the way we see them.
{iphone week}

TWISY posts will be taking a break for two weeks. we are excited about coming back with hopefully a few changes!don't forget to link up your posts! we love looking through them!

May 30, 2013

the days we have

there are days, many days lately, when i feel like i've been unfaithful with what the Father has entrusted to me. days when i feel like all i've accomplished is house work, meals made, toys picked up, children corrected, diapers changed. & i start going through a huge list of "what i'm not getting done". i worry so much over not shepherding & discipling our children's hearts well. & then in the middle of my unloading all of this on my gracious husband... he reminds me... we ARE discipling them. they are watching us live. they are learning just by being with us day in & day out. (& that's a whole other worry... THEY'RE LEARNING BY OUR LIVES! oh goodness! give us grace Father!) 
i can get so worried about not doing it well & if we have a proper "plan" in place for "doing it well" that i'm often times not actually living in & taking advantage of the days we have (messy plan or no plan at all)! yes, we can always improve. the Father can ALWAYS sanctify us... because we are sinners & moment by moment we need Him! maybe that's what i'm teaching my children now. our moments & days are always changing & no matter how much "we accomplish" we are always relying on the grace of our God anyway. so it is all in His sovereignty & purposes for us that these days happen the way they do. not one day, hour, minute, second is a waste. it is all for His glory & our sanctification & good. & it is not a waste just because i didn't have "a perfect plan" in place.

how do you make the most of your days even when they aren't going as you had hoped?

May 29, 2013

the brentons

dear dear people!!! _MG_0240_MG_0122PicMonkey Collage

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May 24, 2013

the way i see you : week 8

 a weekly collaboration of bloggers capturing our loved ones the way we see them.
{dslr week}
Inspiration for series from You Are My Wild

thanks for reading! share your #thewayiseeyou on instagram & tag it so everyone can see!

May 23, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (to care for them well)

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i have this heavy heavy burden to love my boys well! i want to much to care for their souls well, to make sure they "feel" loved & cared for, i don't want to mess up, i don't want to waste my days with them. i watch them & want them so much to love others well, to love the Lord & to know they are loved. this is a great calling... to raise boys who will grow into men/husbands/daddies & then in turn raise boys who will grow. are we doing it right? do they know they are loved? i can get so caught up in the "how" instead of just doing it & resting in His all sufficient grace & strength.

our Father cares for our hearts & He is burdened for us to know Him & to know that we are loved. He cares for us well. He sees us... we're not just a number. we're not just "one of the kids". He calls us by name. we are His. everything He does is for our good & sanctification... He is making us more like Him, our Father. He is gracious & compassionate. thank You Lord!

we're starting an instagram community for "the gospel in her home"!!!
throughout the week share a picture & a few sentences that express how the Father is teaching you about the gospel in your home. make sure to use the hashtag #thegospelinherhome ! then look through all the ladies that are sharing on #thegospelinherhome to be encouraged & to encourage! what a great way to fellowship with women around the world!

May 21, 2013

lately grams

first off... the winners of the burdees giveaway are constanze & amber!!!! yay! congrats ladies! email me your addresses at afterHissmile at gmail dot com & let me know which pair you want! :)
now for some lately grams...
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follow me on instagram... @albark
(my account is private so please request to follow)
1) sammy caught a caterpillar & took him for a ride on his tricycle. 2) the derby parade! 3) ready to head to nashville on a surprise getaway with my man. 4) down by the river watching the steamboat race. 5) sitting & reading. 6) riding. 7) favorite wall! 8) we're into our 2nd week of swimming lessons! 
funny/favorite/current things...
*jude... when he's talking about multiple people, "them chothers".
*jude has seen "mary poppins" once & now he calls every chimney a "chim chimney".
*sammy... when he thinks i have a good idea, "dood idea mommy".
*sammy... when he doesn't know, "um, i-an-know".
*sammy's name for "flip flops", "bip bops".
*amos... when he wants to help, "i hep you".
*amos... when he wants to be held, "i hode jew".
*and they all call a bumble bee a "buzzy buzzy bee".
*we are love love loving daddy being home everyday.
*and i am so so proud of him for all his good grades & finishing the semester well! this man is SMART!!!!

got some lately grams? share your link below. ;)

May 20, 2013


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do you ever have days when you feel like your brain is just "blah"? honestly i think there is a lot to say for NEEDING time with other adults, time to be creative without little ones around, time alone to get out of the house. what a blessing it is to raise these little ones & be in their "world"... but that "world" for me is the world of a 4 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 year old & a 2 year old. our brains are maybe not getting the challenging & stimulation they need on a daily basis. i've so enjoyed blogging for that reason. it makes my mind work more than it has to 24/7 with 3 little boys. & burdees has been fun for me for that reason as well. it gives me a creative outlet just like my photography. i also really enjoy cooking & decorating because it gets my head working on something other than breaking up fights, picking up toys, playing games, answer questions. ;) i can sometimes feel selfish spending time on these other things, things that i enjoy & give me life, but we also NEED to be happy/healthy/mentally awake mommies... so these things, in a way, are making us better mommies & therefore blessing our families as well. :)

what do you like to do to keep yourself going/challenged/creating?

don't forget the burdees giveaway ends tomorrow morning 8 est! enter away!!

May 17, 2013


burdees logo
hi sweet friends! i'm soooo excited to announce the re-opening of burdees! 
burdees are hip, fun, handmade (by me!), simple earrings at handy prices! 
stop by the store & check them out...
for today & tomorrow only use coupon code "BURDEES10" & get 10% off your order!
to celebrate the launch of our spring line we will be giving away 2 pairs of earrings! (see details below)
rules of giveaway:
there are 5 ways to enter the giveaway...
1. facebook- share this blog post link or the etsy shop link.
2. twitter- share the blog post link or the etsy shop link & use the hashtag (#burdees).
3. blog- share the blog post link or the etsy shop link on your personal blog.
4. share a picture of your favorite earrings on instagram & tag me (@albark) & use the hashtag (#burdees).
5. "like" our shop on facebook (

*for each entry you complete, leave a separate comment below.
*two winners will be chosen at random & announced on the blog. 
*the winners will choose the pair of earrings they want!

**the giveaway ends on tuesday at 8am EST**
get to entering!!! thanks friends for your support!

thanks to jenna of for the amazing new burdees logo!
we like it A LOT! ;)

the way i see you : week 7

a weekly collaboration of momma's capturing our children the way we see them.

email submission:

instagram contributors: use hashtag #thewayiseeyouchallenge to be featured here
    @dawnellesarlo                                  @bowdenism 

rules of link up: 
your post must be shots of the ones you love the way you see them.
you must link back to this post  

next week is DSLR week:)

something exciting is happening today!!!!!!!!
follow the link here!

May 16, 2013


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our Father came & died for us. He chose to make us His. it wasn't just something that happened... He chose to love us. 

"do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." philippians 2:3-7

everyday i have to choose to love my sweet husband & my boys. i have to choose to serve them & lay myself down for them. it doesn't just happen because i have the title "mommy" & "wife". i have to choose it & choose them. do i count them more significant than myself? do i look to their interests before mine? do i empty myself daily for them & take on the form of a servant? often i act as though they are "taking something from me", like "i deserve more." in rachel jankovic's book fit to burst she wrote an amazing chapter about this! this is how she encourages us to imitate Christ in this... "we esteem others greater than ourselves, & that turns into action. you will be humbled. you will have opportunities to humble yourself further. choose to do so gladly, not resentfully."

are we choosing them & giving of ourselves, our lives & our time gladly? or are we counting all the things that we don't have time for anymore, the things we can't buy because we are spending more money on them, whining about how tired we are, falling apart because we can't get our bodies back to what they were before we had kids? are we giving ourselves or acting as though they're stealing it from us? 

what a joy to love & serve these ones that have been entrusted to us! may we be found faithful by His grace & through His strength!

May 15, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (His kindness)

"God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance"
romans 2:4

i can be so impatient & unkind toward my boys. in their moments of disobedience & sin i want to make sure they know i'm serious. so i may raise my voice or look at them sternly. but that is not showing them Christ. how are we to be firm with our children & yet be loving & patient & kind? my anger will not lead them to repentance. the kindness of God will lead them to repentance... for their sin of disobedience, their sin of selfishness, & all the sin that is in their hearts at just a few years old. the kindness, generosity, compassion, goodness, affection, graciousness, forbearance, gentleness, patience, tenderness & sweetness of our God is what will draw them to their knees in repentance before Him. Father, give me grace to show them the same kindness You have shown me & that drew me to repentance. in my moments of weakness may i show them Your kindness as You draw me to repentance for my sin toward them. oh i need You! & i've seen Your kindness for many years & Your tenderness toward me amazes me! show me how to show them who You are!

& none of this is to say that we do not discipline them for their sin. just as our Father loves us & disciplines us... we love our children & this is what He commands!

"my son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." proverbs 3:11-12


May 13, 2013


ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! isn't the new logo way way cute?!!!!! thank you thank you to hillary of checkout her work & order a custom print! she was super great to work with & got my order done so quickly! yay for my amazing husband too for helping me update everything! will you take a moment & "like" my blog on facebook? just to the right & scroll down a bit. >>>>>>

stay tuned for exciting stuff happening in the next few weeks!!!

May 10, 2013

the way i see you : week 6

a weekly collaboration of momma's capturing our children the way we see them.

instagram contributors: use hashtag #thewayiseeyouchallenge & your photo could end up here!
@carlisleelizabeth                @thegraygang                   @masonmama525

inspiration for series from You Are My Wild

katie is thinking about adding a link up for next friday if anyone out there wants to join along. just link up a blog post with your loved ones, the way you see them:)

May 7, 2013

all our days

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here i am, living in the middle of all i've ever wanted & dreamt of! a wife & mommy is what i've longed for, prayed for, worked for, it's what the Father created me for... & here i am! i'm caring for 4 hearts. i want to be faithful! what a high & great calling it is to disciple little hearts to know & understand who God is. what a huge responsibility to teach them ALL THEY NEED TO KNOW! what a great honor to walk beside my husband & love him & serve him & complete him as he leads our family. am i being faithful? there are many evenings that i look at our day spent & think, "their bellies are full, the toys are put away, the clothes are clean, but are their souls cared for?" many days are wasted & many are not & i'm thankful that He works in all our days. He is faithful to complete His work always, even when i am faithless. be glorified in our family, Lord! use me! make me steadfast as a wife & mommy. may my goal always be to make much of You in our home!

May 6, 2013

& so we are

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"see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 john 3:1

May 3, 2013

the way i see you : week 5

a weekly collaboration of momma's capturing our children the way we see them.

iphone week:
instagram contributors: 
 @thegraygang                       @mrschhanger
email submission top 2 pics:)
thanks everyone for joining along for iphone week! next week is not an iphone week, bc we will have a normal week again! be sure to use hashtag #thewayiseeyouchallenge to be featured as an instagram contributor!

May 2, 2013

adoption & the gospel pt 11

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what a year has done for our family of 5! our amos feels more & more like our son & brother everyday! we cannot imagine our family without him... it would be too quiet! ;) our boy is clinging to our family way more than he did a year ago or even just a few months ago. he can still get confused & become best buds with anyone who will talk with him, play with him, or hold him (which we still don't prefer because of his need of consistent attachment to us). he can still get easily confused of who his family is & who his caretakers are. when he got confused about who his family was a year ago he would run to anyone who seemed to care & now when he's hurt or scared he'll run straight to mommy & daddy! he knows we're sticking around! he's learning & finding his place! he feels safe & at home & confident to be himself. i pray he has peace about us & his birth mom & dad as he grows. i pray he sees the gospel demonstrated through his story. yet, i know he will wonder. i know he will still be unsure of us at times & question if he would be happier somewhere else. 

oh we spend our lives searching for someone or something to care for us. many times we look to the things of this world, to other people, we look to comfortable circumstances... yet THE ONLY ONE we need is near! & when we find Him it takes months & years to be comfortable in His care. & He has proven His love by coming to rescue us & He is always with us. He will never abandon us! & we grow more sure of His love & we grow more confident in that we are His sons & daughters. we may question Him in this life. we may even say we've walked away & found something better. but we will return to Him! He cannot lose one of His own! & we will remember... what He's done for us & who He is, who He's always been. 
our Father, You are good!

(pt 1pt 2pt 3pt 4pt 5pt 6pt 7pt 8pt 9 & pt 10)

May 1, 2013

"the gospel in her home" (unchanging)

i feel like our family is always changing! it feels like a roller coaster most weeks. we will be in a really good/fun/easy/joyful season for a few days or weeks & then the next day it feels like we're spiraling downward! i'm often annoyed that we can't just be consistent... "WHY CAN'T EVERYONE JUST GET ALONG?!" ;) oh but we're human & goodness we're utterly lost & hopeless apart from Christ. i'm reminded in the middle of the ups & downs of 3 crazy boys, 1 tired mommy & 1 sweet husband that is busy with homework... that my Savior never changes! 

"every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." james 1:17

oh what else can we (failing, changing, emotional beings) do, but cling to our Father?! by learning to hold fast to Him during the mundane ups & downs we are learning to be immovable in tragedy, pain & changing circumstances. 
He is all we have!

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