The past week has been really fun watching the girls grow.  Last Thursday, they both weighed in at 7.1 pounds!  We had to pack up some of the preemie sleepers...very bittersweet!

 Movin' on up to tiny newborn clothes!

Since we have reached the seven pound mark, they are really starting to progress developmentally.  They have started to focus on us when we talk to them and they like to look at the hanging toys on their swings and chairs.  It has been really amusing to watch them think, "Hey, what's this?"  One thing that I have already noticed is they can focus in on the television screen when I am feeding them.  I do not want to start a bad habit of them watching t.v. but it is fun to see their eyes get big when they focus on the images.

Also, they are starting to hold up their necks.  It is too cute because they start out strong and then it starts to wobble right before they can't hold it anymore.  Raleigh, always the one that thinks they are so strong, decided to test out the Bumbo seat this weekend.  They aren't quite ready for it but they did good for about a minute!

Maralee trying out the Bumbo!
19 weeks
Um, dad, I don't think I fit in this yet!
Adeline, 19 weeks

I really needed this encouragement in their growth this week.  One thing that I have been struggling with is bitterness.  All of my friends have these healthy little babies that are pudgy and developmentally on track and it has been hard for me not to compare. I know our girls adjusted age is almost two months, but they are still smaller than most newborns.  It is also hard to talk about them to strangers when they ask how old my babies are.  I have to explain that technically they are five months but they were born premature.  I asked Raleigh the other day when he thought we could stop explaining our girls prematurity and he informed me that I better get used to it!  Sunday, I went to church for the first time ever by myself while Raleigh kept the girls.  It was so good to be back at St. James but it was also really hard to go alone. I want to walk in as a family with two cuties in smocked dresses and have people love on them.  That just isn't going to be a reality for a while, I'm afraid.

Struggling with bitterness is like wading in shark-filled waters.  It can totally eat me alive if I let it.  The other night, I was really tired so I went to bed early but before I turned out the light I decided to read my journal from last year.  I treasure my journals because it automatically brings me back to that specific time in my life and all of those feelings.  Well, one of my first journal entries was a sermon series that our preacher did on joy killers.  He said that the three things that can kill joy in my life are selfishness, bitterness, and fear.  Hebrews 12:15 says, "Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God's best blessings.  Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives."  I had to really sit back and ponder over that verse the other night.  I realized that if I let myself roll around in the pit of bitterness I might never get out of it.  If I were to let it steal my joy, I would forever be comparing my girls to others their own age.  In doing this, I would lose friendships and wouldn't be an example of Christ to others, therefore, I would be 'hurting many in their spiritual lives.'

So, how do I not get eaten alive by bad boy bitterness?  I have to focus on God's power, not my own problems!  "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).  I have to stop focusing on the negative and remain in the positive.  I am SO grateful for our girls and the progress they are making.  Also, God chose us to go on this crazy journey for a reason.  We asked him to use us and this is how he did it.  Our girls are alive and healthy and we owe Him the joy that we have in our lives.

After I read that entry, I started to flip through my journal reading some of my other thoughts.  Last year was all about letting go of my fear and making the change to follow Him.  On more than one occasion I admired how He had answered my prayers.  Of course, they were all answered in His time, but to actually see how He was with me gave me such peace.  With peace, comes joy.  With joy, comes faith.  With faith, comes an uncontainable love for the One and Only Christ.

Thank you God for the joy you have given me!  Bye, bye, bad boy bitterness!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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