Monday, February 28, 2011

project 365 - day 59

today i am thankful for my friend laura

happy birthday to my beautiful friend laura! if you have every heard my testimony, laura is my friend who brought me back to the Lord in 2004. while the guys were on their first deployment, laura invited me to church. even though i hadn't been in several years, she took it easy on me. she didn't even flinch when i showed up with a margarita hangover or wet hair because i was running late. laura is the best example of loving someone right where they are. remind you of anyone? exactly. Jesus. she has done such an amazing job of being the most non-judgmental, loving friend i have known. she is always an encourager, incredibly faithful to pray, and her smile is contageous! i love you!

happy birthday my sweet friend!!

i can't wait to see you next week! the picture above is when kennedy was 5 weeks old and laura brought her 3 amazing peeps down to meet her. we saw each other again in september but i guess we forgot to take pictures! looking forward to taking many next week.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

project 365 - day 58

thankful for the trying times in marriage

caption reads: all marriages are happy. it's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.


our small group is going through the "sacred marriage" study by gary thomas. it has been such a blessing in our lives. today we talked about how God brings us through difficult times and the refining power of marriage.

gary writes, "if marriage is the union of one person who stumbles in many ways to another person who stumbles in many ways, occasionally having sex and making little people who stumble in many ways, why are so many people surprised when they discover how difficult marriage can be?"

i think back to the difficult times in our marriage and realize it was God's refiner's fire for our relationship. the purpose of many of our trials prior to losing matthew (and even now) was for us to realize we had to rely completely on God, not ourselves. because we learned to lean on Him through these times, when the unimaginable trial of losing our firstborn son came, we knew exactly what to do. we had to lean heavily into God. it wasn't easy and i'll be the first to admit, we didn't always get it right. but God's unwavering grace got us through that time (and it still does!)

in the midst of ugly, it's hard to see beauty. when you're in the throws of horrible, how can you see happy? i believe God gives us exactly who we need in a marriage partner. in the good times and the bad, we have to turn to Him to make sense of it all. i have always loved the description of a triangle when it comes to marriage. God is the top point and each spouse is on either side. as each person grows closer to God, they grow closer to one another. i've always said it takes 3 people to make my marriage work. God, me, and ken. thank goodness for the third party! ;-)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

project 365 - day 57

today i wasn't feeling all that great and my sweet husband got up early with kennedy, let me sleep in, and when i woke up he made me breakfast. then later when i still didn't feel well and my head was pounding, i took a nap leaving him flying solo. today my husband took care of everything, including poopy diapers and messy feedings. late in the afternoon my headache went away and i felt a ton better. instead of having his choice of outback takeout, my hubby let me decide and he picked up yummy cheesecake factory food (and of course dessert!) i am thankful i had a day to be a slug with virtually no responsibilities because i have a sweet, wonderful husband who doesn't shy away from the heavy lifting. :) thank you honey...i love you!

Friday, February 25, 2011

project 365 - day 56

thankful when God says yes

sometimes i believe things with God are more probable than they are possible. what that means is i doubt God's perfect timing in His plan for my life. i ask God for something but instead of believing He will give it to me, i doubt and my earnest prayers start to sound like begging. however when the very thing i pray for is given to me, i'm so thankful, but honestly sometimes i'm almost surprised.

why would i be surprised? God wants to bless his children. i found this quote from melissa j. a blogger for families.com that i thought was really great:


"oh, that You would bless me indeed..."

you can hear almost hear the cry of Jabez' heart to God, "bless me indeed." as bruce wilkinson shares in his book "the prayer of jabez," some might view this prayer as a bit selfish. but God wants us to come to Him. just as our children know they can come to us for their needs to be met, it's okay to ask our heavenly Father for our needs to be met as well. how would you love to have your children seek you for your wisdom, relationship and desire for what is good in their lives? this is what jabez appears to be doing before God. He acknowledges that God is the giver of goodness and blessing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

project 365 - day 55

thankful for my sis!

today is my beautiful sister, Ashley's birthday!! happy birthday Ash! i hope you have a beautiful day with your patients and a fun dinner celebration with your hubby. wish we could be there there to help you celebrate!! we love you very much!

here's a couple of pictures of us...then and now (taken last June at her wedding). :)



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

project 365 - day 54


i'm thankful for a God who puts his hand over my mouth.

trust me friends, it needs to happen more often than i allow it. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

project 365 - day 53

i'm painfully aware i hold myself back. so many times i say no because of my fears. i'm not sure if i will be successful at something so rather than risk failure, i don't risk anything at all. i just say no. can anyone relate?

i often wonder how much more we would get accomplished if we weren't always focused on our insecurities and shortcomings. if God is asking something of us, how can we think he would just abandon us and wish us luck. often the only thing God needs from us is....yes. he just needs a willing heart. there's not a verse in the bible i know of that says, "i can do all things through myself."

sometimes saying yes doesn't mean you'll find success. sometimes our saying yes is met with failure and that failure serve a purpose. to teach us something about ourselves, others, and life.

i'm thankful for a God who is patient with me, who doesn't lose it when my stubbornness or doubt shines through. when i say i'm not sure, he graciously takes me by the hand and says....I am.

Monday, February 21, 2011

project 365 - day 52

thankful for writing time

today because of the president's day holiday, my husband gave me the incredible gift of 5 hours of uniterrupted writing time at starbucks. i am so thankful for this time! i took about 2 months off from writing my book around the holidays and matthew's birthday because i was just too emotional. but now i'm in full-on writing mode. however, my child only naps 30 minutes in the morning and maybe 45 minutes to an hour in the afternoon so that doesn't leave much time for writing since i have household chores, bible study, and a shower to take in that time. 

i am so thankful that God has given me the words to write the stories of our precious son, matthew phillip; ken's brother phillip raymond, and our best friend matthew seth. it is a difficult story to write, but one i feel like needs to be told. i have no idea if this book is for me and a few others to read so we can all see how God has connected the dots and is faithful in His provision or if it will actually be published. God said write so i'm doing it.

today i'm thankful to a husband who had our boat and several household projects to work on, who unselfishly gave up his day off so i could go and write. i love you sweetheart!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

project 365 - day 51

let me be honest, i'm just thankful i'm still disciplined enough to be doing project 365. LOL! i knew it was going to be quite an undertaking to write something i am thankful for each day. especially since i don't even like to open up the laptop every day.

sure, i've fallen behind a day or two here and there (actually this post is a catch-up written the day after...ahhh, the irony!), but i'm so thankful i am still determined to continue with this project. why? well, honestly i had no idea it was going to change my perspective on life this much. each day i am constantly looking for something to be thankful for. and guess what? while i'm looking for something to be thankful for, i'm less focused on something to complain about or something negative. thank you Jesus for putting this project in my mind! i'm so excited to see how it continues...and we're only on day 51! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

project 365 - day 50

thankful for great friends

this weekend our friends bill and joni came to annapolis to introduce 1 month old liam. bill's mom, brother, and one of his sisters (and her husband and daughter) live here so we get to see them pretty often. it was great to be able to share a wonderful meal (thanks cynthia!) and some laughs with them. even if at one point, 4 kids were upstairs crying! liam had grown to be 7lbs 5oz and his adorable big brother jack continued to dote on him. we love these boys; seems kennedy will be able to choose between an older man or a younger one when she gets older. :)

we are so blessed by the danjczek's...they are the kind of friends you want to grow old with. loyal, caring, and generous. (bummer, i didn't get a picture of us this time.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

project 365 - day 49

thankful for grace anew each day
i'm always amazed at the amount of grace i can use up in one day; well, really in an hour! i'm so thankful that God's mercies are new each morning. (lamentations 3:23) i think it's amazing how much our God loves us that he never says, enough is enough. you are constantly screwing up and i'm just about sick of this! sure, sometimes we have to learn tough lessons over and over, but God walks through them with us, never giving up on our human shortcomings.

my husband and i have this little thing we do. if we start getting "off track" and aren't communicating well and nothing positive or productive is getting accomplished, then i just look at him and say, "can we just start over?" then we greet each other again, like it was the first time that day, and start from scratch. i've even been known to send ken outside and have him walk through the door again :). while we can't achieve giving one another the kind of grace God gives us each day, we do try and follow His example.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

project 365 - day 48

thankful for sunshine and good weather!

i was so excited today...it was 65 degrees out! it's been cold for quite awhile and my texas bones can't take much more. i need warm weather! apparently it's just a tease and it will be back down to 50 and windy on saturday and we might even have snow on tuesday...ughh! enough winter already...time for spring!

as soon as kennedy got up from her nap we ventured out to the park. since she was too young and small for the jungle gym and slide, we stuck to the swing. i had such an awesome time spending the afternoon with my little girl outside! i just wish the weather would stick!




Wednesday, February 16, 2011

project 365 - day 47

thankful for this officer and a lady...

i'm sorry...but is there anything else sweeter??

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

project 365 - day 46

happy birthday phillip raymond!

today would have been my brother-in-law, phillip raymond's 40th birthday. but we're unable to spend it with him because after battling cancer in 1994 at the age of 23, he went home to Jesus. i never got a chance to meet him and i really wish i had. everything i have heard about phillip tells me he was such a tender, beautiful  soul who was kind and generous.

phillip holds a special place in my heart because my son is named after him. and after everything i have learned about phillip, i wouldn't have picked any other name. i know our precious matthew phillip helped his uncle celebrate his 40th in a big way today in heaven. all of us who here on earth who are left missing him have to trust in the hope of seeing him again in eternity. we love you phillip raymond! happy 40th birthday...you're still such a special blessing to your family and friends...and even those who didn't know you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

project 365 - day 45


has anyone told you today they love you? after all it is valentine's day.

did you know there is someone out there who loves you?

 so much so, He gave his life for YOU!

i am so thankful that we have someone who loves us this much.


We love him, because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son
John 3:16

Sunday, February 13, 2011

project 365 - day 44

today our small group started a new study called sacred marriage and i'm really excited about it. the question that the study begins with is, "what if God made marriage to make you more holy than happy?"

we talked openly about what our ideas of marriage were before we actually found ourselves right smack in the middle of it. and for the most part, we were all surprised about the reality of self-sacrifice that marriage required. needless to say most of us agreed the first couple of years were tough. but then you make the adjustments needed, ask God for guidance and pray like crazy. you have to learn how to communicate, compromise and cuddle. i'm not saying it's a cakewalk after you get all of this down, but hopefully you learn early on the tools necessary to make it through, even in the midst of life's most difficult trials.

what happens next? parents get sick. children die. jobs get eliminated. enter change, heartache and grief into the equation and you find out what your marriage is made of. after all of this, what is left?

maybe, just maybe, as we draw closer to God, finding out more about his character, in the good times and bad, we become who we are meant to be. we become full in Christ, which makes us full in our marriage.

i'm so thankful for this study and look forward to sharing what i learn!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

project 365 - day 43

thankful for my sweet mom


today is my precious mom's birthday. she doesn't look a day over 35...don't you think? wait, i'm 34...i'm pretty sure that's not possible. i wish we could be with my mom on her birthday but we did have a chance to skype today and kennedy and i played her a happy birthday song on kennedy's piano. 

my mom is the kind of mom i wish everyone could have as their mother. she is kind, generous, caring, wise, and funny. she loves Jesus with all her heart and spends many hours of the day praying for others, especially her children and grandchild. she is so fun to be around and young at heart! she works hard and would give her last penny to a family member or close friend if they needed it. truly, she has a heart of gold. we love you mom/juju! hope you have a wonderful birthday...wish we were there to help you celebrate!

Friday, February 11, 2011

project 365 - day 42

so yesterday i discovered i had a mullet. yep, i definitely had a carol brady mullett. i have been growing my hair out since september to once again donate to locks of love like i did in the spring but i just haven't had the time to go get it cut and shaped. so, as a result of my neglect, the back kept growing forming the carol brady mullet. when i straightened it to go to a playdate with some old friends i decided it looked awful and grabbed my best scissors, (fabric cutting ones!) and whacked it off.

the result...yikes!!
somehow when blowed dry, you couldn't tell how uneven it was. thankfully my friend candace felt comfortable enough to come and even it out today until i can go and get it cut. yay! today i am thankful for a better haircut. thanks candace! sorry, we didn't take an after picture...but trust me, it looks so much better!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

project 365 - day 41

today we had a play date with some good friends and kennedy got to spend time with her boyfriend noah. i'm thankful for the kind of friends you sit around and drink coffee with while the kids swing from the chandelier. :) we had a great time...thanks deb, jack and noah for hosting all of us!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

project 365 - day 40

thankful for skype
today my mom and aunt were both snowed in their respective houses with 6-8 inches of the white stuff on the ground. after we got home from bible study kennedy was able to skype with her juju and aunt granny deb.

the technology we have now is just amazing! since we do miss our families so much it is wonderful to have skype so we can see each other on the computer since we can't see each other in person as often as we would like. so, thank you al gore for inventing the internet so that niklas zennstrom and dane janus friis could come up with the fantastic idea of skype! 

juju and aunt granny deb, it was so wonderful to talk to you today. i know kennedy enjoyed seeing you both! we love you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

project 365 - day 38


time for some monday-morning quarterbacking as i grieve the close of yet another football season. last night before going to bed we were watching a few minutes of the cheeseheads' post-game celebration and wondering just how much confetti needs to fall. i mean seriously y'all, did anyone else catch that?

i stopped working on my laptap for a moment and turned my full attention to the t.v. as soon as i heard, "to God be the glory." being interviewed by pam oliver, greg jennings stood there, with an obnoxious amount of confetti falling around him and he said,

"we've been a team that's overcome adversity all year. our head captain goes down, emotional in the locker room. our no. 1 receiver goes down, more emotions are going...flying in the locker room. but we find a way to bottle it up and exert it all out here on the field."

and then, again, he repeats himself so everyone hears,

"to God be the glory."

this statement got me thinking. in the biggest wins of our lives, how many times do we give God the credit in our victories? last week i shared with you about how i gave myself the credit for overcoming an eating disorder. it took me awhile to acknowledge it, but it was truly God and his grace that helped me overcome it.

today i am thankful for a talented and humble football player who gives credit where credit's due and reminds me to do the same. when everyone in the world is pushing the agenda of "me, me, me" and self-promotion has become the norm, it's nice to see humlity is a trait an nfl player can still possess.

you don't think God has time to care about football? i disagree. i believe God cares about what we care about.

i'm sure greg jennings was also praying to win the game.

apparently his prayers were louder than mine. ;-)

(sorry to my packer family/friends out there...but i had pledged allegiance to the steelers early in the season when it was clear my 'boys weren't going to make a superbowl run.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

project 365 - day 37


thankful for football!

tonight marks the end of football watching for me and this always make me a little sad. although i prefer college football, the nfl gives me a month more of watching my favorite sport. unless it's the cowboys i don't get too excited about the nfl. and by excited i mean obsessive-crazy!

football is a time of friends and family gathering and yelling loudly at an inanimate object, where winners are heros and losers are chopped liver. it's just pure greatness to me! and tonight it all comes to an end. now what am i supposed to watch in the afternoons and evenings on saturday and sunday? golf? i.don't.think.so.

i won't tell you who i'm rooting for in tonight's game...but i will tell you that their jerseys reflect a yellow'ish color ;-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

project 365 - day 36

thankful for opportunity

well, now that i have most of my equipment, i have launched my photography business! exciting and scary all at once. i have loved photography for as long as i can remember and after fine-tuning my skills in a formal classroom setting, i have set out to make some money at this.

i'm thankful for this opportunity and pray that it goes well! please visit my photography blog at http://capturedbycort.blogspot.com/ (this will serve as my website for awhile until i make some money and can afford to have someone construct my website for me.) anyone do this for a living and want to swap for some free photography?

if you're on facebook, please go and "like" me too. i'm listed as Captured by Cort Photography. thanks everyone. now enough shameless plugs for myself...how was your day?

did you find someone to be a recipient of your random act of kindess yet?

Friday, February 4, 2011

project 365 - day 35

thankful for an unexpected gesture

today when i went to the mailbox, i opened up a card from the spca of anne arundel county and i was sure i was opening up a solicitation for a donation.

instead, it was a card notifying me a donation had been made to them in memory of our sweet echo, given by a sweet neighbor down the street i have had maybe 10 conversations with since we moved in 14 months ago. every single day this woman comes over to our neighbor's house across the street who has to use a walker and walks with her and her dog. she's the kind of person you're honored to know.

who couldn't use an unexpected gift, gesture, call, or letter? is there someone you can think of that needs a simple act of kindness today? ok then, do it. :) it will make their day!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

project 365 - day 34

today i am thankful for a husband who thinks it's important to read the bible to our daughter.

is there anything better?

video

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

project 365 - day 33


i have the privilege of leading a bible study these next few months at our church. well, leading is really a strong word. it's more like facilitating because truly, we get to hear beth moore teach us about the patriarchs. although we're only on week 2, i can tell this is going to be an amazing study. i mean having a gifted and insightful teacher, who is from texas...yeah, that pretty much seals the deal. i'm so thankful to be apart of this.

today beth talked about fear. false evidence appearing real. listening to her today, i thought she kept saying  my name at the end of each sentence. "the enemy wants you to be afraid, cortney. he's there to tell you 'you can't' cortney."

i started thinking...how much fear did i have in my life before matthew, because i have a pretty good idea of how much there is now. honestly, i don't know that i feared all that much before we lost him. sure, some small things, sure some "no God i can't do that" moments but the amount of fear i have dealt with and still face since matthew's death is significantly more.

i fear i will lose ken in a tragic car accident. i fear that kennedy will go to sleep and won't wake up. i fear a family member will call with tragic news of someone's death. i fear that people won't like me. i fear we won't have more children. i fear i won't be able to finish my book. i fear i will fail my husband. i fear i'll screw up my kids' lives. i fear.

is that what God wants from me? to always fear. to not live my life called according to His purpose? to say no to Him because i wouldn't be any good at it or because i don't know how to do it? absolutely not. the life we live in fear is a life that is bound in chains.

the life God has given us after accepting Christ as our Savior, is a life of freedom, grace, and hope. not a life of fear. we may say, "God i'm afraid. i'm not sure i can do this." but His loving answer will always be, "i know...that's why i'm here with you." trust me with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. (prov 3:5) fear not, for I am with you (isaiah 41:10).

what is it that you fear? can you trust God enough to help you with it?

p.s. i'm also very, very thankful that the friggin' groundhog didn't see his shadow. i'm freezing here in md and i need an early spring! how about you? i mean even texas has snow and yesterday my friend wrote to me that austin was going to have a 0 degrees windchill last night. wowsers. global freezing indeed! seriously y'all!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

project 365 - day 32

thankful for a new day
when i set out to do project 365 and find something to be thankful for each day, i knew sometimes it was going to be a quick and simple thing.

today is that day.

for me, i'm glad to have the calendar roll to a new day, a new month. welcome, february! no doubt, january is a tough month, full of sad memories and reliving an unimaginable day when we had to let our precious son go. this year, again, january brought even more grief when we had to say goodbye to our sweet beagle girl echo.

farewell january...i'm praying for an easier february!