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Showing posts from 2015

2015

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We started 2015 in Florida. Ringing in the New Year as a family at Lego Land to be exact. That was a fun and memorable time of celebrating. Our family of 3 entered 2015 with excitement. 
We celebrated my birthday in February. Okay, to be fair, we celebrated the whole month of February. But it wasn't my birthday that made February special this year. It was the 28th of the month when I had the first sign that we were expecting. Our family of 3 was going to become a family of 4 in 2015 and that was obviously the major theme that marked this year for us. 

We celebrated Michael's birthday in April and officially announced our news on Easter. I admit to being nervous and anxious but also wanted our prayer warriors and friends to pray for us and the baby. 

In May Eli turned 7. We celebrated his birthday at Putt Putt this year with, of course, a Dinosaur cake. The birthdays through the years show me how much he's growing and the true blessing it is to be this boy's mama. 

In …

It's Over

And just like that... It's over. 
Months of anticipation. Weeks of preparations. Days counted down. All leading up to the big day. Christmas has once again come and gone. Most people are usually busy with plans right up until the day, and then we wake up on December 26th and it seems as if the entire holiday festivities have drastically plummeted into oblivion. The celebrations have come to a screeching halt. The trash cans now overflow with garbage that just a day before decorated beautiful wrapped packages. Boxes that held gifts are now shreds waiting for the landfill. The 24 hour Christmas stations have gone back to their regular play lists. Holiday item prices have been slashed and shelves are now filled with Valentine gifts. The Christmas dinner that took hours to prepare is today's leftovers. Even worse, the spirit of the season that saw strangers wishing glad tidings of great joy has now transformed to frustrations waiting in line and pedestrians nearly being plowed over…

Tis the Season

It's the most wonderful time of year. It's the time of year I've waited for. Oh yes, it's Christmas alright and I know this because of the white fudge Oreos and white chocolate raspberry creamer I've recently found in the stores. You know my obsession with coffee and cookies (and not necessarily these together). For me, no plain Oreo will do. I preferred double stuf'd. And even more than that, I prefer the seasonal holiday Oreos with the colored centers. I'm not sure what it is about the colored cream that makes me believe it's somehow sweeter. In spring there's yellow, orange for fall and Christmas time, of course, we have red. But this seasonal limited edition cookie dipped in white fudge - well, I search for them every year signaling the official "season."

It's the same search and success when I finally find pumpkin spice creamer in the fall. It makes the anticipation worthwhile. And it also makes me appreciate the flavors and find…

These Moments

These are the moments we waited for. Since the end of February we looked forward to November. We've anticipated the birth of our baby. We've prepared and planned. Weeks turned into months and the last few weeks seemed like the wait might take forever. Now she's finally here. November has come and gone. Our daughter has joined our family and in a fleeting moment it's somehow December. The countdown now is to Christmas and yet another new year.

It's been 20 days since her arrival and yes I've been counting each one. Somehow it feels like a whirlwind that got thrown into time standing still. If I could freeze these moments of holding our growing newborn I would. I've said it over and over - you can't spoil an infant. Maybe you can, but frankly I could care less. She loves being held and I love holding onto these moments because I know they will be gone before I can even blink. I'm okay with still being the sustenance of life she depends on. I'm tir…

Violet's Birth Story Part 2

DThe night would continue with nurses flipping me, trying to find a spot that Violet would respond to, administering oxygen to help her dropping heart rate, and comforting my increasing nerves. I would shake uncontrollably at times. Partly from the nerves and partly from the epidural. I kept trying to pray, trying to calm my mind. The only thing that distracted me was sweet Melissa, the nurse who didn't leave my side as we shared stories of anything and everything. She could sense my nerves and she asked if she could pray for me. There in the middle of the night, my husband and Nurse Melissa gathered around me and put hands on my belly and prayed. What a sweet moment that was. I knew no matter what, the Lord was with me and He had His hand on my baby too. I couldn't do anything else but trust Him to hold her one more night until she would finally be in my arms. Yes, you guessed it. This lesson has been on repeat not just during my pregnancy but throughout the miscarriage, the …

His Nature

I've covered your face with a thousand kisses already. My most favorite thing to do is cradle you in my arms and watch your peaceful sleep. I won't listen to anyone who says I shouldn't spoil you by holding you all the time. There's no such thing in my mind. You were a part of me, in me, and I long to still hold you and sustain you. If I don't want to be a part from you, I can only imagine how you must feel since I was the only home you've known for all these months.
When you cry, I will comfort you. When you're hungry, I will feed you. When you're lonely, I will be right there. I will do anything for you, baby girl, because I gave you life and I want to make sure your life is full and filled with joy and love. Isn't that just like God? He's reminding me of my need for Him, my life-sustaining source He is to be. 
I will mess up. Oh surely I will fail you, fail as a parent, fail as a person. But God gives grace for those times. He covers us and red…

Violet's Birth Story Part 1

Disclaimer: This is Part 1 of the 2 day/part account of Violet Hope's entrance into the world. It will not be filled with gory details and it will be long, just like her delivery.
We had an 8 am ultra sound one week ago today, Wednesday, 11/11. I kept thinking how cool it would be if we went in to find out labor was on its way. I admit I was hopeful for progress but not expecting full blown labor. I had some contractions 11 minutes a part for almost two hours very early that morning. The ultra sound showed our baby girl, squishy chubby cheeks and all. The tech guessed she was 8 pounds 10 ounces but also said there was a lot of fluid so that guess could be off. It may have been about this time when "Don't Stop Believing" came on the radio in the room and my Journey-loving husband got a big grin on his face and said he knew it was a sign we were going to have her that day. 
We headed to meet with the doctor and it was explained we needed to talk about induction. "Wh…

Love Dad

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Love,Dad

11-?-15

Today is the day. Before you get too excited, it's not the actual day. But it is the date on the calendar we've been looking forward to for 9 months. It's November 8, 2015, and so many months ago it became the date etched in our minds that we would look forward to, pray over and anticipate the arrival of our baby. Of course from the beginning we've known this day, this specific date on the calendar, was simply an estimate. It's not a movie premiere or a definitive holiday. No, it was simply a calculated guess to give us some sort of timeline of when we could expect our baby's arrival. 
As the day draws to a close, it has become more than evident she isn't making her appearance on her due date. (Most babies don't.) It does mark the day of a full 40 weeks of pregnancy and a miracle still in the making. It gives me such encouragement and joy to know this day has come, knowing full well the Lord has been fashioning and forming her for the past 280 days, even…

My Plan

Life doesn't always go as planned and yesterday morning was a complete and total reminder of just how loose my grip must be on that which I cannot control.

I didn't plan to get hit from behind. I didn't plan to miss breakfast with friends. I didn't plan to be sent home from the doctor with the report there were no signs of labor. I didn't plan to have a complete and total meltdown after such an emotionally trying morning. None of it was part of my plan but all of it was out of my control. Yet in each and every detail He showed Himself mighty and evident, working in my circumstances.

In a complete act of protection, He had His hand on Violet and me when we were unexpectedly hit. Just when I needed it, He provided friends on the side of the road to comfort and stay with me while I was in sheer panic mode worried about the impact the accident may have had on the baby. While I had hoped to hear a report that would be labor would be imminent, I was truly thankful just t…

Vessel

Never have I more fully understood the concept of being a vessel than during pregnancy. Of course. It makes sense. I'm growing a human. There's a life inside me, not just my own, being sustained by me and my daily decisions. Drink enough water. Eat the right foods. Take my vitamins. Try to rest (ha). It goes without saying that my body is a vessel for this growing baby. And yet this pregnancy has taught me a whole new level of this idea as it relates to being used by God. 
While I am a vessel for my unborn child, watching and experiencing my body undergo miraculous and often crazy changes, I've learned my place. I can do my best to take care of myself and my body and my unborn baby, but there's still an element of this being completely out of my hands. Oh yes, you can only imagine how this control-freak has had to be put in her place learning this lesson. Needless to say, it's been on repeat for 9 months now. 
Though I cannot wait to hold her in my arms, I have not b…

Any Day Now

36 weeks and 6 days. The fact that her arrival could literally be any day now has me absolutely over the moon. I'm giddy with excitement at the thought of meeting her. I sat sorting through clothes yesterday, pulling out yet another round of newborn outfits to wash and have prepared and I was brought to tears. I tried to picture her sweet little face, the defined lips we saw on the 3-D ultra sound, the little button nose that seemed to be evident. I keep wondering if she'll have a full head of dark hair like her daddy. I snuggled one of the sleepers, purple and white terry cloth as soft and sweet as it could be. I imagined holding her clothed in that very outfit. Overcome again with emotion, I had to pause for moment.

"Thank You, Lord, for this miracle."

In the early weeks I can recall being gripped with fear, claiming each new week as a milestone and asking God to have His hand on my womb. I can fully admit I've battled worry my entire pregnancy. I know full well…

Lessons Learned

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The day did not go as planned. We started out with our family in tow, preparing for an outdoor outing at the pumpkin patch. We'd anticipated this trip for weeks and had two very excited cousins ready to tackle our annual family tradition. By the time we got there it was pouring down rain. Now what?! Plan B swiftly unfolded as we attempted to salvage the day and create alternative fun. 
I told Eli I was sorry the rain had changed our plans. As sincere as he could be, he responded, "It's okay, mom, the rain is good to water the grass." He was matter of fact and I was in awe of his reasoning. Had he heard Michael saying he hoped for rain to help the grass seed he'd recently planted? Either way, he wasn't deterred.
After enjoying our day despite the rain, I made a point to tell my boy that I hoped he'd had a good day even though we didn't get to go to the pumpkin patch. Without skipping a beat he let me know, "It was the funnest day ever! I got to be w…

Just a Man

We're so saturated with media outlets that our news is available to us 24 hours a day. Last week I grew weary of the second GOP debate and every analyst trying to sum it up a different way, yet somehow saying the same thing. 
This week the headlines encompass the Pope's visit to America. I've struggled to understand the hype surrounding it, wondering if it is also part of our day-in, day-out media frenzie. What seems evident from the coverage and crowds is the sacredness surrounding this man because of the position he holds and the title he bears.
I mean no disrespect. I am not Catholic so it does not resonate with me. In the Baptist world, I liken him to Billy Graham who is a true giant of the Christian faith.  But he's not holy. He's not perfect. He's not more important in the eyes of God than anyone else. He's a man. Just like the Pope. 
Thousands have been gathering and waiting for hours just to "catch a glimpse" of the Pope, so they reported. Th…

Stand Up

This may be the most important post I've ever written. It comes after the challenge was presented by our pastor this last week in church. "What do you stand for? Stand up and be counted. " It was a challenge to take a stand for Christ - to publicly and openly share my faith, my salvation, my redemption and my knowledge of a Savior who died for all. So please allow me to share this with you.

Today was SYATP. What does that stand for? See You At The Pole. I remember it well. My first efforts to coordinate this activity at Rustburg Middle School were in my eighth grade year. I was told by the principal that I couldn't put up posters and it would be best for us not to join and pray so we didn't upset anyone. I was a stubborn 13 year old and chose not to listen. I didn't hang posters but I did ask my friends to join me at the flag pole. It was a small group, less than 10, but we gathered together, joined hands and we prayed. We took a stand for our faith. We took …

A Note of Encouragement

Right now my heart is grieved for dear ones around me dealing with devastation, those engulfed in the throws of battle. I had no idea a simple blog about our Terrible Tuesday and the tiny mishaps of my day would usher responses from those simply overcome by their own circumstances. And yet it's all a reminder to me of the war that rages all around us. 
What happens when life is devastating? What do you do when the bottom violently crashes from underneath where you once securely stood? How can we look to a sovereign God and trust that He works all things for our good when everything we face is nothing short of catastrophic?

Where are You, Lord? What about when the ache in our souls is so deep it causes literal physical pain? When our minds can't make sense of the circumstances, when we're so grief stricken by the failure and frailty of flesh, are You still here? Are You still faithful to complete the work You began despite man's efforts to destroy everything we've …

Terrible Tuesday

You might have mistaken it for one of those Monday mornings when everything goes wrong. But make no mistake - this was a Tuesday determined to give any bad Monday a run for its money.

Before the alarm even sounded, I was awakened at 1 a.m. by the rolls and moves of a growing baby who was apparently uncomfortable. I got up, got a drink and no sooner crawled back in bed when I heard the cry, "Mommy!" Elijah woke himself up and was now wide awake. We would both remain as such for more than an hour.

Surprisingly I woke up without an alarm (we'll call it a literal internal clock) and went downstairs to start breakfast and coffee. I set a few frozen sausage patties on a plate on the counter so they'd thaw for Elijah's breakfast. Thankfully he still had awhile to sleep while I got ready. By the time he was up and making his way downstairs, I discovered the sausage was GONE. I admit. I accused my husband of throwing them away. (He has a tendency to go behind my messiness…

Hope in the Lord

"May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your word." Psalm 119:74
The translation for the word fear in this verse does not mean we cower in fear to God. Rather it explains a reverance of our Lord, an understanding of Who He is and His Sovereignty at work. Our fear, or reverance, allows us to trust in Him; it gives us the ability to place our hope in a true God and to be able to take Him at His word. 
His word, His spoken book of life, is full of promises that are true, hope for us to claim. This God-breathed Life Book fills and sustains us as we grow in Him and draw closer to His side, even and especially when we're broken and crushed in spirit. 
Last Sunday we sang one of my favorite songs that so beautifully speaks of these truths: 
Oh my God, He will not delay! My refuge and strength, Always. I will not fear, His promise is true, My God will come through, Always. Always.
Even as we sang, I could barely contain my emotion. I knew of broken lives…

Missing Ingredient

I added all the necessary ingredients. Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, a banana, spinach, chia seeds and a splash of local honey. A little water and some crushed ice and I was ready to blend my morning smoothie. I placed it on the base and hit the button only to realize my grave mistake two seconds too late. One missing, necessary, "ingredient" - the lid. Pregnancy brain? Morning rush? Or just plain stupidity. It didn't matter what the reason, the after effect was now splattered all over the counter.

Even as I was mopping up my mess, I started to laugh at myself. I couldn't be mad at the blender. It was doing its job of tossing around ingredients. I couldn't be mad at the ingredients, though now I was really aggravated that the sticky honey happened to be on top. I certainly couldn't be mad at the forgotten lid - it would have done its job had I put it in place. It was clear there was only one to blame: Operator error. The catalyst for this accident was my…

One Year Ago

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Timehop showed me this today: One year ago today I got a positive pregnancy test. It was a surreal moment with a flood of emotions. I couldn't wait to share the news with Michael. We were going to have a baby! We couldn't wait to share the news with the world. What a miracle, a blessing, something so far beyond our hopes and dreams. Our joy was cut short and quickly turned to grief but without this day, one year ago, I don't know that I would appreciate this day one year later as much as I now do. 
I am thankful for this reminder, thankful for the life inside me kicking even as I type. It's been a journey of God's repeated faithfulness and grace, revealing to me how He has kept His hand upon us, weaving His masterpiece throughout it all. 
There's been tears, grief, life, love, mercy, learning and growth. None of it can be separated from the very real understanding that God's Sovereignty has had a perfect plan for our lives despite the human nature to doubt and…

Where was God?

You don't have to live in Southwest Virginia to have heard the tragic news. To some across the country, this is another senseless shooting. I may have been too quick to dismiss other like stories that have made national headlines, but this one hits close to home. Literally.

You've heard me say it so many times before. But now I need to make a declaration that doesn't apply to something personally happening to me. It's something affecting so many. I need to share how even now, even in the midst of this reckless and ignorant violence, God is still good. 
I had to make myself stop reading some of the comments posted by viewers and naysayers. So many feelings and thoughts, so many questions. What saddened me were the ones misunderstanding a belief in God. The ones who think God planned this. Those who accused God of this being His will. Those mistakenly not understanding God's role in the midst of such a Tragedy.
Let me explain. God didn't plan this. He didn't …

Transparent

Transparent. At least that's what has been said of me today. I'm honored by this tribute but I feel as if I owe you all a complete and transparent explanation.

There I was Saturday night, 27 weeks and 6 days pregnant, staring down the third and final trimester as if it was about to knock me square between the eyes. A wave of emotions flooded me, but mostly the fear took over. "I can't do it," I sobbed to my husband. "This baby has to come out and I don't think I'm strong enough."

Never mind the fact that I had been absorbed in labor and delivery documentaries, reading and researching, spending my "unwind" time before bed engrossed in other people's sagas of their own birthing process. I saw it all. The good, the bad, the "oh my word" and the very ugly. "No more documentaries," my kind and patient husband encouraged. "You're going to be fine and I'm going to be right by your side." I feel confid…