The matter of modesty has been on my mind lately. As a Christian woman, how am I supposed to present myself? What is considered right or wrong in terms of fashion, makeup, or figure? This question can be as simple as addressing what clothing we wear, or can run as deep as whether or not we should diet, paint our nails, or wear makeup.

I'm sure we all agree that what is on the inside, what our hearts are like, is what matters the MOST. But once you address what matters most, is it okay for all of the other stuff to matter at all?

1 Timothy 2:9-10 states that women are expected to "dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

Granted, there's probably some cultural context to that verse, but those are still pretty strong words. If as a woman you profess to worship God, modesty is a must! But what of adornments? What would "braided hair, gold, and pearls" be in today language? The Message translates this verse as the following: "not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it."

Personally I'm a pretty plain person. I've never been very fashionable, so I stick with jeans, t-shirts, sweaters... whatever is comfortable. I try to look "nice" when out of the house, but certainly don't go to any great lengths to "wow" the public eye. I wear very little or no makeup most of the time. It's just a personal preference... I don't want to look like a different person after I wash my face at night. And as far as accessories go, I pretty much stick to the minimum. No fancy purses or jewelry... just a simple bag, my favorite necklace & earrings (if I feel like wearing jewelry at all), and my wedding ring.

I guess I just don't understand the point of investing the time and money into the relatively unimportant outward appearance. I just want to be real. If people don't like me for who I am, then I'd rather not be around them anyway.

But are there reasons that we SHOULD be concerned about outward appearance? Well there are the obvious matters of health and hygiene. If I overeat and smell bad I'm not doing the kingdom of God any favors either. Not only am I not taking care of the body that God gave me, but it might be hard to get someone to listen to the message of Christ if they can't get over the distraction of the body odor. But beyond the basics, I don't know that we are necessarily given any Biblical reasons to worry about appearance. Jesus himself was said to have "no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." (Is. 53:2)

There are times when I wish I were prettier. Let's face it... I'm a woman and every woman struggles every now and then with her appearance. But when I question why it is that I would want to look different, I can never come up with a reason other than what the media and society pressures that I "should" be doing. Now I like to dress nice and feel pretty every once in awhile. There's nothing wrong with that. It's nice to fancy up a bit for a night out with my husband, and it feels good when other people compliment my appearance. But this definitely isn't something that consumes a large portion of my thoughts. I guess it's just never made sense to me to spend money, time, and effort in this area when it could be spent on things of much greater value in the eyes of God.

What are your thoughts? What do you think of fashion, modesty, makeup, and general appearance? Is it important to look pretty in the eyes of the world? Why or why not?
Here we are just days away from Lydia being 9 months old! Craziness. We had her checkup at the doctor today. Everything looks great! Doctor said we're all doing fine and there are no reasons at all for concern. Here are her current stats:

Weight: 18lb 9oz (50%ile)
Height: 28" (55%ile)
Head: 17.75" (75%ile)

Funny to see how her length has gained and her weight has dropped. She's averaging out nicely. I'm not too shocked by the numbers (though I expected a little heavier... I am, afterall, the one who has to haul her around everywhere!). I could tell she was getting longer lately. Those little arms and legs keep growing right out of sleeves and pants! And she's starting to look more lean. Losing a few of the chunky rolls. Still got those adorable chubby cheeks though!

She's working a lot more on pulling herself to a standing position and then playing while standing up. Today she pulled up on the side of the bathtub trying to reach for the shampoo! And as I've been working with her on standing up while holding on to the couch or her exersaucer, she is getting much more stable. It reminds me of when she started sitting up on her own. It only took her a week or two to transition from instant flop to being able to sit for as long as we'd let her. After just a couple of days of actually working at standing she already has great confidence to stand and play. She even lets go sometimes and can catch herself before she falls down.

My birthday is just a couple of weeks after Lydia's and my mom said I was walking around by Christmas the year I was born. Will Lydia be cruising or even walking by next month? Yikes! I guess we'll just have to see. She picks up on things so quickly that I wouldn't be surprised if it happens, but at the same time she is also generally content and may not feel adequate motivation to take off just yet. Only time will tell. :)
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our health! As flu season is upon us, I can't tell you how many Facebook status updates I've seen of various friends and family battling illness. It's especially sad all of the children and babies with terrible coughs, fevers, and other general "ickies." I can't even imagine how hard it would be as a mom to listen to your baby struggle all night long! I suppose someday I will probably have to deal with this, but for now I'm very thankful that Lydia (and the rest of us) are staying healthy. Other than a minor cold when she was 1 month old, Lydia hasn't let anything slow her down. :) Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful family and for keeping us healthy!
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Just a couple of nights ago Lydia decided to make up a new game to play. Brent and I were enjoying a little TV time while our sweet baby was happily playing on the floor nearby when suddenly I hear a rattling noise. I look over to see her shaking half of a plastic barrel with a wooden block in it. No big deal. But it wasn't long before I realized that she was doing this intentionally! Whenever the block would inevitably come out of the barrel, Lydia would concentrate and work very hard to manage to get it back in. I kept thinking I must be crazy... just imagining that she was doing this on purpose... but she was noticeably fussy when she couldn't quite get it where she wanted, then super happy as soon as she would get it back into the barrel.

So anyway, the next day I tested her again and this time grabbed the camera to capture the moment. Video was too distracting, thus making it very long... so you get pictures instead and just have to trust me that I wasn't helping her at all.

I'm probably just an overly enthusiastic mom who is just certain her kid is super smart. Maybe all kids her age can do things like this? But this sure seems like some major cognitive and fine motor skills for a mere 8.5 month old! I mean come on, she made her own rattle! ;)

(Oh and in other news, today she decided she was totally capable of eating her finger food puffs all by herself. I've been trying and trying to get her to eat them on her own, then she goes and does it like a pro when DADDY is giving her lunch. Go figure! Lydia can officially self-feed now.)
My dear daughter on whom I bragged so much about her good eating habits may finally be starting to develop preferences. I noticed about a week ago that Lydia sometimes wouldn't eat much food when I expected she should be relatively hungry. So one evening when Brent was unsuccessfully trying to get Lydia to eat her squash (something she loved the first time she ate it), I decided to try a different approach. Rather than just assuming she wasn't hungry and putting the food away, I got out a package of green beans and tried offering those to her. She gobbled up nearly the whole container!

So it seems I now have to start being more attentive to which foods I pick out for her. No longer can I be sure that she'll eat until she's full regardless of what's on the menu. Thus far it seems she no longer cares for squash, peas, or the mixed veggie combo of peas, carrots, & spinach. She'll do okay with bananas, but they aren't preferred. Most fruits go over better than the previously mentioned veggie varieties, but there are a few that she certainly doesn't gobble up like others. Her favorite things so far seem to be pears, apricots, green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes. She also likes when things are really runny as opposed to thicker. This may be what she doesn't find too appealing about bananas.

Does anyone know if grocery stores will let you trade baby foods? I had just bought more before Lydia's change in tastes, so I have a few unopened packages of the foods she has decided she doesn't like. Any chance a store would let me trade them for foods she will eat?

Another interesting development with Lydia is that she is suddenly getting all jumpy about certain noisy objects in the house. Two days ago I went to blowdry my hair and she flipped out as soon as I turned it on. Now this was not the first time I dried my hair with her in the room. She never minded it before. So I figured I must have just startled her and maybe she was sleepy and it all upset her. But today I tried it again. I made sure she was looking at me and aware of the dryer so it wouldn't completely startle her. The instant it turned on the "I'm going to scream!" look spread across Lydia's face. This time I continued to dry my hair despite the look, telling her it was okay, smiling at her, hoping she'd realize it was fine. She didn't. She fussed the whole time. What's the deal? Then this afternoon she freaked out about the vacuum cleaner. She didn't mind it when I was on the other side of the room from her, but as I got closer to her (in her exersaucer), I got "the look" again. What on earth has caused this sudden dislike of household noises? Silly child...
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This past Wednesday night our home group watched one of the messages from Andy Stanley's Go Fish series. What a powerful message it was! He spoke about the partnership between us (the fishers) and the church... how we are not meant to be in this alone. As we go out on our mission to be "fishers of men" we are to be inviting people to come and see what Jesus is doing. And the church is the place where we should find that!

There were so many great points in this message and I will in no way do them justice trying to explain them myself, so I'll try to just stick with one. Andy pointed out how Jesus and his disciples had a "come and see" approach when it came to Jesus. Those who were curious about who he was were told, "follow me" (by Jesus) or "come and see" (by others). John 1:45-46:

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.

Philip didn't stress out about Nathanael's response. He didn't go, "Oh dang, Nate doesn't believe me, I guess I should stop talking." Nor did he sit and try to have a discussion with Nathanael in response to the question about Nazareth. He just told him to come and check it out. "Trust me, Nate. Just come see this guy and you'll know what I'm talking about."

That is exactly how it is supposed to be in our world today. Where is Jesus working? Matthew 18:20: For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. As Andy Stanley puts it, when we gather on "official Jesus business," Jesus shows up. This is the role of the church. The church is meant to be a place of official Jesus business. People should be able to see the church and simultaneously see Jesus at work.

All that is left to do is to simply invite people to come and see. Just come see it for yourself.

The partnership between the church as a whole and the individual members of the church is a beautiful thing when it is working in this way. Jesus shows up and lives are changed.

So what about your church? Is it a place where you can confidently approach your friends and invite them to come and see? Is Jesus present there in such a way that invites the lost to keep going back... to keep learning more... to follow Jesus? What are you doing to provide an atmosphere of "official Jesus business" where Jesus promises he will indeed show up?

We are not meant to be solo fishermen. This is a corporate affair. If we want to be good fishers, we absolutely must find where Jesus is so that we can confidently invite people to come and see.
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This is me. Well, at least it was me when I was 25... before I had my baby girl and life changed forever. But you get the idea.

I am a jeans & t-shirt, meat & potatoes kind of girl. I love the outdoors (hiking, camping, fishing, etc) but also love my computer and have my "hermit" moments. I am in no way, shape, or form artistic. To this day I have no idea how I managed to get an A in a high school painting class (the only art class I took... I didn't dare tempt fate twice!). I deal in facts & figures and prefer things to be black & white, figuratively speaking. My only creative venues are singing & crocheting, but I don't take much time to dabble in either. My husband makes fun of me constantly about my love of list-making & budgeting and I secretly wish I could marry a spreadsheet. I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, so if you frequent this blog you are quite likely going to get a pretty good picture of who I am.

I was born in Missouri into a family with two very loving parents and two (pretty cool) older brothers. I consider myself blessed to have had the wonderful Christian home that I had growing up. My parents worked hard to teach me and my brothers solid morals and values, and I'm grateful to have come to know Jesus Christ at a very young age.

My family moved from Missouri to Ohio in 1995, and I graduated from high school there in 2001. I continued my education at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio where I originally set out for a Math Education degree but later decided teaching wasn't the right fit for me. I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Computer Science and immediately began a career in that field. However, I was never meant to be a career woman. My heart and passion has always been for one thing: to be a wife and mother. Long before I had achieved any significant level of education I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom someday. I am so thankful that I am now living my dream, staying at home with my beautiful daughter!

But we'll come back to her in a minute. As the saying goes (before the baby carriage) - first comes love and marriage! Brent and I met in college. February 21, 2002 to be exact. One week prior, after a rather horrid Valentine's Day experience, I had gotten serious about giving God control of my love life. It was important to me that the next relationship I got into be one in which I was playing for keeps. I was tired of playing games and wanted to focus on preparing my heart for my future spouse.

It was almost frightening how quickly thereafter God brought Brent into my life. We met after church group on a Thursday night and spent all evening (well into Friday morning) talking and getting to know one another. We were pleasantly surprised to find how similar our values were... including more "extreme" things like keeping the door open when hanging out in a room alone with the opposite sex - to avoid temptation or even the appearance of sin. We really "clicked" right away, but because of my strong desire to be sure that this was the real thing, and because I felt I had already committed this time to focus on God alone, we remained just friends for the next six months. I told Brent we could talk about dating in September... so of course, September 1, 2002 we had our first official date and have been together ever since! By Christmas time that year we were comfortable with the thought of getting married someday. It was official in May 2003 when we were engaged, then on May 14, 2004 I became Mrs. Sarah Pirolli.

Brent is currently employed by our church,, where he has been involved in one way or another since the church's beginning in 1995. He works as the full time IT Director while I have been able to do part time work from home on the church's website since May 2009. He is a big-time tech guy who has been building computers since the age of 12, so this job really suits him and he loves that he gets to use his gifts to serve the church.

After getting married in 2004, we were on the 3-5 year plan regarding starting a family. It was important to us from the start to make sure we took some time to just be husband and wife before kids came into the picture. Additionally, because I wanted to be able to stay home with our children we felt it wise to plan financially for this goal. God blessed our plans and life progressed just as we had hoped.

Meet Lydia. She stole our hearts forever on February 22, 2009 (I find it fun to note that that is just 1 day past the 7 year anniversary of Brent and I first meeting). Right now she is only 8 months old, so there's not a lot to say about her history, but this blog ends up being 95% about her... so you can read about it as it happens.

Lydia is an absolute joy in my life. "Joy" is really the only word I can come up with to describe it. She is always filled with smiles and laughter. I can't wait to see her joy continue to grow and flourish as she gets older! There are no words in the English language that can capture the love I have for my child. My heart practically explodes on a daily basis just watching her smile and learn and grow.

I serve a great God and am eternally grateful and humbled by how richly He has blessed my life. My prayer is that my family and I will continue to serve Him with everything He has given us and that we will be good stewards of these gifts.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Ps. 118:29
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As always, things keep changing around here. Here's the low-down on Lydia's latest developments.

She still isn't crawling yet, but tries really hard when enticed with a toy. She still prefers to roll and will often give up the crawling attempts and simply roll over unless you block her sides. I try to do a little bit to encourage her in this area, but I'm not pushing it too hard. She is pretty mobile just with rolling and I trust she will move on when she is ready.

Lydia also seems to be trying really hard to sit up on her own. Quite often when I go to get her out of her crib she is craning her neck forward, legs and arms stiffened, trying with all her might to do a sit-up. These attempts of hers may be part of the reason I'm seeing her struggle with sleep lately. She puts up more of a fight when I put her down for a nap, often wakes earlier (crying), and wakes more frequently when I put her down for the night. Last night she went to bed at 7 but fussed for 2 hours before I finally rocked her to sleep. But who knows... the time change that happened this weekend may be factoring in as well.

In the realm of food Lydia fed herself finger food for the first time yesterday! She's so silly with the little baby puffs. She seems to understand that they are food and eats them up when *I* feed them to her, but when she gets them in her hand she just stares at them or drops them on the floor. If I put one on my hand and offer it to her, she will move her mouth towards my hand... or grab my hand and pull it towards her... but she doesn't like to take it off my hand with hers to eat it. Silly girl! But she did do a couple on her own yesterday, so we'll keep practicing. :)

We've officially dropped the late night nursing and are strictly doing feedings between 7am & 8pm. I've been working on doing solids 3 times a day instead of 2 for the past week and plan today to try to get away with 4 nursing sessions instead of 5. In theory, I'll nurse her every 5 hours until bedtime... so 7am, 12pm, 5pm, and then somewhere between 7 and 8pm whenever she goes to bed. So far today we're doing well with this schedule. She nursed first thing this morning (7:30) then ate some fruit after getting up from a nap at 9. It's 11:45 now and she's napping, so I'll nurse her when she gets up then she can have more solids around 12:30 or 1. Right now I think my plan is to have 5 hours between nursings, but do solids in there too to have her still eating something at least every 4 hours. She'll see the pediatrician in a couple of weeks so there's a good chance I'll change things up again after that, but for now this is my plan.

In other news, halloween was this past weekend. My parents decided to come up for a visit (yay!) so they got to see Lydia dressed up in her monkey costume. Isn't she a doll??

It was a crazy day, but I think Lydia had a lot of fun. She was REALLY tired because I forgot to put her down for an afternoon nap (oops!)... she had just been so happy all day that I never got that "she really needs a nap" signal until we had to walk out the door. So all evening she was running on a 5 minute catnap that she grabbed in the car. We first drove out to the Whitehouse campus to visit Daddy at work. He enjoyed showing off his little monkey girl. :) Next we headed to Grandma & Papa's house, then finished the evening at Great-Grandma & Grandpa's house. Despite being so sleepy, Lydia was mostly a happy girl. Oh speaking of being a happy girl, she went to the nursery at church on Sunday and when I picked her up they told me she won the best baby award for the day. Those things always make me smile. See? I'm not lying when I say I have the best baby ever!!