Monday, April 25, 2016

Some days are easy, some days are not

It's crazy to think that its been 6 months since we found out that we lost our baby.  I remember right after we found out I would wake up and think to myself, "ok, I've made it a week." or "Woah, its been a month."  The days got easier, but I still think about it often. 

My due date was May 14th.  Because of my pregnancies with the girls, I had a feeling he or she would have been a late-April baby.  And here we are.  It's late April now.  Today we have a routine follow-up appointment with Madeline's urologist.  I remember when I made the appointment I thought to myself "Ok, either I will be REALLY pregnant, or we'll have newborn accompanying us to the appointment."  But the Lord had different plans.

And although I wish that I was celebrating a new life, I also believe that His plan is still better. 

If you have traveled, or are traveling, the road of infant loss or miscarriage, please know that you are not alone and you are prayed for. There is always a longing, and place in your heart for the life that only you knew.  My prayer for me, and for you, is that the Lord fills that place in my heart with joy! 

Joy because I  know that I will meet my child in Glory one day.  Joy because He is I Am.  Joy because, even though my heart is still sad, I am blessed by smiling faces!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One Week

One week.   7 days.  168 Hours.   10,080 minutes. 

That is how long it’s been since I found out that the precious baby inside of me had stopped growing.  There was no heartbeat.  There was nothing but silence.  The tears fell from my eyes as my heart was breaking.  I stared at the ultrasound monitor and quickly tried to memorize every detail of the outline on the screen.  As the ultrasound technician left to room to go get my doctor, I whispered to that sweet baby how desperately I had wanted him, or her; how much I loved him; how much daddy love him; how excited his sisters were to hold him; how precious he was.  And then I told my baby goodbye. 

Our journey started on September 13th.  It was the day after Madeline’s 2nd birthday party.  There had been a few things that just seemed “off,” so I decided to take a pregnancy test.  I knew it would be negative because Brant and I had decided months before that we were happy with two children, so we were preventing “things” from happening.  We thought we were good with two, and if God had different plans then He would have to work a miracle.  So you can imagine my shock when I took that pregnancy test and saw that God had decided to do just that – work a miracle. 

I was in complete disbelief and went straight to Brant.  His smile was priceless.  I remember saying to him “But this wasn’t the plan.”  And his response:  “You’re right, this wasn’t our plan.  But I am so happy.”  

From that moment on excitement filled our home.  The thought of a new baby in my arms was euphoric.  We waited some time before telling the girls, but as the days and weeks passed I began to experience the morning sickness, and nausea, and fatigue, and food aversions – all the “fun” first trimester brings.  So we explained to them that there was a baby in mommy's belly and they were going to have a little brother or sister.

Our first sonogram was on October 7th.  I was 8 weeks and 5 day into my pregnancy.  I was prepared to see a growing baby and strong heartbeat.  But what we saw was a very small baby.  Mother’s instinct kicked in and I knew God had a different plan than what we had hoped for.  But I tried to remain positive.  We heard a beautiful strong heartbeat of 134 beats/min.  As the ultrasound was coming to a close, I asked the technician if I could hear that heartbeat one more time.  Something in me knew those final beats would be the last that I heard and I savored every moment of them.  Based on the size of the baby’s growth, my due date was moved back 16 days, but I assured my doctor I knew my dates – and the “new” due date was wrong.  He told me to focus on the positive – there was a heartbeat.  

The new few days I cried often simply because I knew something was going to happen.  I told Brant my fears, and he tried to calm them in every way he knew how.  I begged God for a different outcome, but promised that I would praise His name no matter what.  

Finally on October 21st, at 10 weeks, I knew in my innermost being that my baby no longer had a heartbeat.  I can’t explain how or why I knew – I just did.  I called my doctor’s office and told them that I needed them to see me.  And they did.  I told the ultrasound technician exactly what I thought the ultrasound would show.  She had such compassion and tenderness as she confirmed my fears.  That was one week ago today. 

It has been a hard week.  Explaining to the girls was hard, but we promised them that we will see our baby again in heaven – Jesus is just going to hold our baby until we get there.  Emmalee has often prayed and asked Jesus to “take good care of our baby.”  It brings tears to my eyes every time.  But through it all I will still praise His name.  He is the God who breathes life into the lifeless, and HE gives hope to the hopeless. He gives and He takes away.  He is my strength, and my comforter, and my strong tower.  He has held us in the palm of His victorious hand and showered us with peace.
Days like today are hard.  I keep thinking about the “what ifs.”  But Heaven is the only home my sweet baby will ever know, and in that I WILL REJOICE!  What better arms to hold my child than the arms of Christ the King? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Real Jesus

If you follow me on Insta or Twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media, then you know that Emmalee has been in swim lessons this week.  She has never feared being in the water, but she does fear going UNDER the water.  A few summers ago she would jump off diving boards and seemed to be fearless, but things have changed since she is a little older now (because 4 is the new 14, ya know).  So I thought it was important to put her in lessons so that she can learn to survive in the water by herself without her floaties if she ever needed to.  

A few weeks ago we were swimming at our neighbor’s house and we were trying to get Emmalee to jump off the diving board (arm floaties on, of course).  She absolutely refused.  She would get up there, and start to bounce, then run off.  She was so terrified of actually jumping in.  She finally agreed that she would jump if I was right below her, arms outstretch to instantly catch her so she wouldn’t go under.  So I swam to the diving board, treaded water with arms outstretched for what seemed like an eternity, and she still couldn’t overcome the fear.  

So I sat down with her so we could talk about it.  She said she was just scared.  I asked her if she trusted me…she said no (insert punch to the gut).  So I asked her if she trusted Jesus…she said yes (insert smiling mom because maybe I’m doing something right).  So I asked her if she trusted Jesus, then would she believe that Jesus would give me the strength to catch her and not let her go under?  Again, she said no.  She wanted “the real Jesus” to catch her.    

I sat speechless for a moment, not quite knowing how to answer.  I began to think of the things that I would do if “the real Jesus” was there to catch me, too.  Would I get out of the boat and walk on water if I saw the hand of “the real Jesus” beckoning me?  Would I talk to Him more if I saw Him listening intently to my heart?  Would I make decisions based solely on the words that He spoke to me rather than listening to everyone else?  I know for certain that I would introduce Him to everyone one I met so that they could see Him too.  But that is, of course, if I saw “the real Jesus.”

But the truth is that I don’t have to “see” Him because I know that He lives inside of me! So why is it that I, sometimes, have such a hard time believing Him, and trusting Him, and living for Him? It’s fear.  But I know that TRUTH overcomes all my fears.   

And here, my friends, is the TRUTH:
My faith is in Christ Jesus. And in that faith, I have an assurance of things not seen (Hebrews 11.)  The assurance that “the real Jesus” IS right beside me no matter where I go; the assurance that “the real Jesus” has His hand outstretched beckoning me to get out of the boat; the assurance that “the real Jesus” WILL catch me if I fall.  

But oh, what would I do if I saw “the real Jesus” face to face, in ALL of HIS glory? What would you do? What is the fear that is holding you back from getting out of the boat?  What is the fear that keeps you from jumping off that diving board? My prayer is that we all proclaim the TRUTH and live as if we are standing right beside "the real Jesus." 

And just in case you were wondering, that sweet little girl DID jump off that diving board! And those swimming lessons?  They're going great! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Life Lately

Its really sad when you realize its been 6 MONTHS since your last blog post.  Clearly I'm been busy and preoccupied with other things, sorry.  But if you want a glimpse into out life lately, here goes.

In February we put our house on the market the day of one of the biggest ice storms this are has seen in years and had 5 offers in less than 24 hours!  It was crazy.  We luckily found a house that fit our needs perfectly - in the same neighborhood, but just a little bigger and more room for our girls to grown. 

Goodbye Yarmouth Lane

It was incredibly bittersweet to say "goodbye" to this little house.  We came home from our honeymoon to this house; we brought our children home from the hospital to this house; we learned to truly love each other in the house; we learned what marriage looks like in this house; we built the foundations of our family in this house.

But it was time for a new chapter.  On March 31st, we said...

Hello Spyglass Drive
Displaying IMG_7363.JPG

We absolutely LOVE our new home! Its about 700 sq ft larger, but that 700 makes an incredible difference.  My new kitchen isn't a big as my other one, but it its nice and open.  It is definitely a gather spot, and I love it.  There is nothing better than cooking dinner for your family while your husband and children sit at the breakfast bar coloring and telling you all about their day.  One huge perk is that our property backs up to the golf course.  Our yard is smaller, but it feels enormous because its green as far as you can see!  I snapped this one Sunday morning while I was drinking my coffee on the back patio.  Its so much fun watching all of the golfers. 

We've also been incredibly blessed with great neighbors.  We have already become close friends with several of them, and are so excited that there are children around our girls' ages.  Emmalee is usually off to play with her new friends as soon as we pull into the driveway.  

And Maddie has a sweet new friend, Olivia.  She screams for "Livi" as soon as we get home.  I have a feeling that these two might be inseparable as they grown up, and I'm ok with that. 

A few weeks ago our sweet new friends asked if we should have a crawfish boil.  It was awesome! 70 lbs of crawfish, 20 lbs of shrimp, 8 lbs of corn and potatoes and all the company and fellowship you could hope for!  
Displaying IMG_7220.JPG 

So this has been our life lately.  Settling in and getting accustomed to our place.  The words "blessed" doesn't quite seem to really express how we feel.  Its more than blessed; we're lucky.  We're in awe of the graces the Lord has showered us with.

 He is good! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

But I Will ALWAYS Be Your Mom

The past week this sweet, yet sometimes sassy, 3 year old has turned into a full-fledged 13 year old!  The attitude and the sass are about to KILL me!  But I know she is three and I know she will (hopefully) grown out of it.

But I read this article today and loved it!  It's titled "9 Things We Should Get Rid of To Help Our Kids."  Number 5 got me!

I, in general nature, love for everyone around me to be happy.  I find myself often giving into my kids because I want them to be happy.  I want them to enjoy life and be in good spirits, especially during the Christmas season (mostly because it is my very favorite season and I don't want scrooges living in my house!) But the truth is that it's not my job to make my little dears happy; it's my job to be there mom.  

Last night's drama brought this whole truth to light. The scene played out like this.

All Emmalee wanted was to get down and play.  She hadn't eaten much dinner (literally A chicken nugget) but claimed she was full.  Being the wise mom that I am, I knew she was not in fact full, and that if she got down from that table, she would come to me in 30 minutes asking for a snack.   The compromise:  eat 2 more chicken nuggets and you may get down.  For over 20 minutes, we battled with her to eat these chicken nuggets.

Then it happened.

"Emmalee, I know you are not happy, but your tears will not help you in this situation.  If you want to get down from this table you MUST eat the other chicken nuggets on your plate."

With the tears falling down her cheeks, the saddest little eyes looked up at me to say "Mom, you're not my best friend anymore and I thought you would be my best friend forever."

And there it was.  A knife the size of Texas pierced my heart.  All I wanted to do was bend down and promise this precious little child that I would always be her best friend.  But that's not the truth.

The truth is that I will not always be her best friend, but I will always be her mom.  And sometimes being the mom isn't fun.  Being the mom means keeping my children healthy and protected.  Being the mom means making the not-so-fun decisions.  Being the mom means teaching and worrying and praying.  Being the mom means not always making her happy, but she will always be loved, and cherished, and prayed over.  And these are the things that I told her...

"My sweet girl, I know that I may not be your best friend right now, but I will ALWAYS be your momma.  And being your momma means that I want to keep your healthy and I want your tummy to be full so that you can keep growing to be big and strong.  No matter what, I will always love you and I will always want the very best for you...."

When it was all over, the chicken nuggets were eaten and we snuggled up together on the couch to read books with baby sister.  No, it didn't make her happy but I guess being a mom is not about always making our kids happy. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Faithful Finish Line

Life...Life has been insanely busy lately that I don't think I've had to even post about my exciting adventure in the Faithful Finish Line! 

If you've read my blog lately then you know how excited I was when I completed my first duathlon in October.  It was a huge ordeal for me to even do something so crazy because I am the "Couch Queen".  I actually don't lay on the often because I have two children to look after, but I certainly wasn't fit and certainly wasn't doing anything about it.  But then things seemed to change in June as I watched my husband dwindle away and lose 60 lbs because he decided he was tired of weighing over 300 lbs. 

As I admired him, I also hated him because I would love to shed 60 lbs too...but it wasn't a priority.  So, I made it one.  For me, the #1 best thing to do to make exercise and eating right a priority...set a goal!  My goal:  to run/cycle a 2:9:2 duathlon.  And I did it!   The problem after I finished...I didn't have another goal.  So for 2 weeks I sat on my rear, stayed off my bike, and ate whatever the heck I felt like eating.  And today, I've gained back 5 lbs and feel awful! 

But I'm in luck because I've signed up for the Faithful Finish Lines program with Sara Borgstede and my new goal is right in front of me:  to run the Cowtown half-marathon on March 1, 2015...and to lose 20lbs before then too!

I honestly cannot tell you how thrilled I am 1) to be a part of this group, and 2) to actually have a goal of this magnitude.  I am NOT a runner; I am NOT a fit person; I am NOT in shape...but I AM ready to make my body the temple the Lord created it to be!

So bear with me the next few months because you'll be seeing a lot more FFL posts, but posting here is part of my accountability!  If I say it publicly, I'll be so much more motivated to finish! 

I cannot do this alone, so I also asking for your help:  what are some of the best tips you would give a beginner runner or someone trying to lose 20 lbs?  Favorite recipes, tips for drinking enough water, those cannot-live-without fitness gadgets?  I want to hear ALL of your suggestions!!!  Help me make this goal a reality! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 26: 31 Days of Mom Prayers

Have you ever had those moments as a mom and as a wife that you just feel, well...inadequate and completely exhausted?  I feel it...ALL.THE.TIME (at least it seems like all the time).

I've been studying the Proverbs 31 woman lately, and I found myself wondering the other day if that woman ever rested? I mean AMEN, or AMEN?  Did she ever get a break?  Did she ever want a break?  I cannot tell you how many times during the day that I just call out to the Lord and ask Him to simply breath energy into my being; to bring a spirit of humility and patience to my soul; to bring clarity and organization into the never-ending chaos.

So praise be the King of Kings that He hears us!

These are the simple reasons why today's 31 favorite is from Girl with Blog:  31 Days of Mom Prayers. 

This series is so dear to my heart because it seems like I'm so often praying these exact words.  And I say "forget 31 days", we need these prayers every day! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 25: 31 Days Love Where You Live

Y'all, I love traveling! I love going to new place and discovering new things.  But we don't always have to travel far to find these discoveries because sometime, they are in our backyard.  

Whether you live in a big city or a little town, every community has a story and has history.  But how often do we take the time to actually hear the story or see the history?  Are there historical sites in your city; did someone famous grow up there; is there a big defining moment for your little dot on the map? 

I fell in love with Kailey's 31 Day series almost as soon as I found it. 
Maybe it's because we both live in North Texas, but I loved this series from Living In The Rain.  This series is exactly what the title says: its loving the place where you live.  This series makes me want to try new places and new foods, and truly DISCOVER the place where I life. 

So I hope you'll browse through this series.  Find your favorite little shopping boutique in the middle of your city square; discover a new little coffee shop; learn how your city got its start...just love the place your live!