Sunday, January 5, 2014

Grace and Love

Dear Mama-friends,

I feel like we need a heart-to-heart.  The truth is, we face so many decisions in our lives.  We choose whether to breastfeed or formula feed; whether to circumcise or not.  We choose homeschool, private school, or public school for our precious ones; whether our kiddos eat gluten-free, sugar-free, flax seed, chia seed energy bars or gummy snacks.  We choose Babywise, cry-it-out, or co-sleep; whether we use cloth diaper or disposables.  We choose whether our kiddos are screen-free or spend their free time playing Angry Birds on our iPhones.  We choose whether to have one child or a large family; whether to work outside the home or not.

Oh, the research, angst, and prayer that making these decisions stirs.  They're controversial parenting decisions resulting in personal, family choices (and hopefully Spirit-led convictions).  We won't see eye to eye on all of them.  That's ok!!  ;)

Friends, I pray you hear my heart on this!  Let's choose not to judge.  Let's bridge the gaps where we may disagree on these issues.  Let's choose to embrace one another, encourage one another, edify one another...even as we make different choices.   Let's choose not to second-guess our own decisions based on another mama's choices, instead let's focus on being in tune with what God wants for our own families.  Mama-friends, let's choose to walk in grace and love as Christ did.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In My Heart

We discovered I was pregnant after I secretly took a pregnancy test.  Wanting to share my surprise and excitement over the positive result with my hubby, I sent a quick text pic.  Imagine my surprise when I got the reply text and realized that I inadvertently sent the text to my friend, Kendall (the last person I had texted), rather than Matt.  Yeah, technology is not my forte!

I made an appointment to see the doctor and was thrilled to hear my baby's heartbeat!  Little did I know that only a few weeks later, at a follow up appointment, I would hear those dreadful words, "I'm so sorry..."

The next few weeks were a blur.  We waited patiently for the process to happen naturally.  My sweet baby was in heaven, yet I still carried a tiny body in my womb.  A few days after Christmas, after hours of intense labor pains, I was no longer pregnant.  As I endured the contractions, I knew the pain was without reward.  The pain wasn't bringing the typical reward of childbirth, instead I was miscarrying the precious child I had grown to love.

Job 1:21 "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

I felt alone.  Despite the fact that we had unshakable support from our family and our church.  Despite the fact that women stepped forward to share their experiences.  Despite being surrounded by my amazing husband and the three wonderful sons God has blessed me with...I felt lonely.  Part of me was missing.

Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."

The physical pain was gone, but the spiritual and emotional pain was ever present.  Our OB estimated our baby's gestational age to be around 10 weeks.  Even in that brief time, I fell in love.  I made plans.  I had brainstormed sleeping arrangements for four children in a 3 bedroom home.  I was already researching names.  My littlest was already talking to my tummy.  I bought a stroller off the local FB swap page. I was making a place for this child in our family.  But God had a different plan.

I questioned God.  The truth is, some days I still do.  BUT, I know He is faithful.  I know He is good.  I know He is trustworthy.  I know He is gracious.  I know He loves me.  Those truths sustain me.

Nahum 1:7 "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in Him."

I'm still walking through the grief.  Some days I am perfectly content, full of joy, and feel blessed beyond belief.  Other days, the ache of loss is so deep, the hole in my heart so big, I struggle to be a good wife and a good mom.  On those days, I am purposing to find joy and to acknowledge my blessings.  The comforting hug of my husband.  The laughter of my boys.  A phone call from my parents.  A text from a friend.  The beauty of His creation.

Isaiah 26:3  "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

Today, on the due date of our baby that God called home, I am choosing to be thankful.  I'm thankful that our baby will never know a day apart from God.  I am so thankful for the promise that one day, when I get to Heaven, I will hold my youngest in my arms.  And, I'm thankful that for now, that baby will be held dearly in my heart.

Proverbs 3:5-8 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Going Pink for October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but believe me, I don't need a special month to be aware.  My precious Mama is a survivor and once you've been through the experience (even if only from a daughter's perspective), you're always aware.  Although it has been years since her diagnosis and treatment, there are lingering reminders--including lymphedema in her arm which resulted from her cancer treatment.  I am so grateful to still have my Mama.  I know that my God is the Great Physician and our Healer!  Despite that knowledge, I still do my monthly self exam and have a yearly clinical breast exam performed by my doctor.  Ladies, please speak with your doctor and take the appropriate steps to screen for breast cancer.  It may save your life, just like it saved my Mama!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

From kid to teen...he's turning thirteen!

Oh, my gracious!!  Our oldest is turning thirteen on Sunday.  I simply cannot believe we'll have a teenager in our home!  We're just around the corner from a driver's license and looking at colleges.  DEAR HEAVENS, I'M NOT READY!! 

Our Jacob is an amazing kid!!  He excels at school and on the ball field.  There's no better big brother, and with four little siblings (two here and two at his mom's), he gets tons of practice.  He's respectful and mannerly and has an unparalleled heart for others.

We are so proud of the young man he's becoming!  I know God has great plans for this boy and I can't wait to watch it all unfold!

"Boys are beyond the range of anyone's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years." ~James Thurber

"You don't raise heroes, you raise sons.  And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes." ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

"Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy."  ~Author Unknown

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."  ~Emerson

"Sons are the anchors of a (step)mother's life."  ~Sophocles

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~God

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baseball big brother

Baseball season is in full swing around here.  Not only is Eli playing, but Jacob's team kicked off their season, too!  He's in the "big leagues" now!  Playing in the 13-15 league means bigger fields, bigger bats, and bigger boys!  I think Jacob's adjusting nicely (and proved so by firing the ball from center field to throw out a runner trying to steal home)!  Here are some pictures! 

Check out those throwback uniforms--pretty awesome!

(photo credits: Jacob's mom

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baseball baby

Our middle boy started his first season of baseball recently.  After spending many, many seasons watching his big brother play, Eli has finally done his time as a spectator, and is a full-fledged baseball player.  

His team is the Bulls.  He's on the far right...the little teapot with his hands on his hips!  :)

This is his serious baseball face.

Teammates playing while waiting for team pictures.

Baseball ready!


Some of Eli's biggest fans (aka brothers)!

Monday, August 27, 2012


A few weeks ago, my dear friend, Amy, and her precious children came to visit my boys and me.  Jacob and Matt were on a "big boys' weekend" to see a Pirates game, so it was just two moms and five kids ages 6 and under.  Yes, that sounds...chaotic, but it was such a great time!

Amy and I have "known" each other for almost five years now.  The word "known" is in quotes, because Amy and I met through our family blogs.  We had a shared "blog friend" and through blog hopping, I found her blog and began reading (and commenting) regularly and she did the same. 

About three years ago, we met each other in person for the very first time.  We met at a restaurant near their home and where our family was vacationing.  It was a brief get-together, but we really enjoyed our time together.

Well, three years and two and a half kiddos later (Amy's expecting), we were able to get together again.

My friendship with Amy is such a blessing!!  Our children really enjoyed one another and Amy and I soaked up our time together.  There's nothing quite like a friend who's in the same season of life and has similar beliefs as you.  We talked and talked and it was such an encouragement to me!  

I am so grateful that despite the miles that separate us, our friendship remains!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor;
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10