Thursday, August 23, 2012

We've been waiting.....

I have waited for this post.  I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about the words I would use, how long it would be, would it include pictures?  When would I post it?  Apparently I didn't think too much, because I don't have much to say.  I mean I have A LOT to say, but my mind is blank.

Why aren't the words coming?  I guess because I want it to be perfect.  I mean, you only get to announce a baby once! (did you catch that??)  I have such a deep desire to express God's goodness, grace and mercy, to shout His providence, perfection and love for us.  If you could have seen me the day I found out....I couldn't stop grinning, eyes welling, heart soaring.  I really wanted to tell everyone- especially you all, since you are on this journey too.  I settled for some advice my dad gave me "be like Mary, and ponder it in your heart."

If you haven't concluded yet...I. AM. PREGNANT!!!!!  :)  Apparently a little over 6 weeks, although i think closer to 5--but like Stephen told me - it doesn't matter how far along, we're pregnant- that's the key point here!!

I know you are dying for details, so here you go

Tuesday afternoon (the 14th) I was cuddling Brynnen a little bit before nap.  Out of the blue she said "Mommy I want a brover or sister."  My first response was, "So do we honey" then I said "Let's ask God for a brother or sister."  So we did, love the sweet innocent prayers of children.  :)   God does too ;)

Wednesday, I had just settled in to start bible study (doing Beth Moore, Esther).  Then I remembered I had bought a test to take! Yay!  I took the test.  I stared at the test for about 15 seconds and knew I would go insane, and hurt my eyes if I watched the whole time.  So I decided to glance over the study (or at least sit down) and wait the appropriate 3 minutes.

Finally, as I approached the counter I could only see the guide mark...sigh (probably pretty deep)....but upon further inspection I saw a faint line.......What??? No way!! Oh my word! I wanted to do a happy dance, to jump up and down, SHOUT to our creator- but I had a sleeping baby, so I settled for a small eeekkk, a huge grin and overwhelming joy in my heart.  Not sure if I sat on the bed by choice, or couldn't make it to my desk- either way, I had a sweet conversation with God.  Thanking him over and over, praising Him, and seeking protection- trusting His will.  I could not stop that big cheesy grin, what a beautiful feeling.

Stephen got home and we celebrated.  Super excited for this new season in our life.  Next we had to decide if we would share the good news with everyone, or wait a while.  We came to rest on this: God's plan will play out regardless.  If we share this great news and something happens, it will be disappointing- UMM HELLO- if we don't share and something happens it will still be disappointing.  If we do share, we have the power of pray behind us, and I don't know about you, but, we'll take all the prayer you'll give!!! 

So thankful for another chapter, but like we all's now 9 months of waiting. HA!  I'm going to savor this time, because (Lord willing) when #2 gets here, life will drastically change.  Thankful for your prayers, sweet scripture and thoughtful words.  And VERY thankful for family & friends to go through life and downs, sorrows and joy.

Might be our official diaper-getter  :)

(In case you missed this on facebook.....)  

Yes, she is chanting "USA" at the end...guess she feels we deserve a gold medal for this one   ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A good word...

This is directly from an e-mail devotional Pastor Jerry Hall sends me-  sometimes we as Christians don't want to be labeled "judgmental" or "self righteous" - so we ignore wrong doings.  If  we speak truth in love, we are following our godly calling.  Ephesians 4:15 

Here it is:
“‘If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.’”  Leviticus 5:1
 Responsible people speak up when necessary. Sometimes, it is easier to remain silent, but God has not called us to a path of least resistance. We can stay silent but eventually it will come out. It may come out in angry passive-aggressive reactions related to our uncommunicated observations or it may express itself in built-up resentment or bitterness that eats away at our good nature and steals our joy. Suffering in silence is not God’s design. He wants us to speak up under the influence of His Spirit. Even if the words are hard and direct, God’s Spirit can deliver them in a loving manner.

When you speak up, it means you care. We love the person too much to allow them to hurt themselves and others with self-inflicted attitudes and inappropriate actions. This is especially hard for men. Pride and ego keep us from being vulnerable to rejection or relational controversy, but we owe it to God, to others, and ourselves to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Love compels you to take a relational risk and say something. Be faithful to speak the words, and trust God with the results.
Furthermore, make sure to speak up and defend those who are defenseless. Rise to the defense of widows, orphans, and the poor who are crushed under the weight of the world’s injustice. You may not have to look very far. There may be family members who need your attention. Second, third, and fourth chances are called for to model Christ’s attitude of acceptance. Your reputation may become soiled because you choose to speak up on behalf of a seedy soul, but trust God. We can relate best to sinners because we suffer from the same temptations and sorrows. Christians are sinners saved by the grace of God, no one is beyond God’s reach.
Lastly, speak up for and serve the poor. The poor need a person they can trust. The poor need us to give them a voice against the greedy souls who seek to take advantage of them. They need financial training; they need medical supplies and education; they need nutrition; they need jobs; they need indoor plumbing; they need shoes on their feet and clothes on their backs. Mostly, they need a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The poor are drawn to Jesus when they see God’s people stand up for them. They are attracted to those who care enough to sit in their homes and drink coffee, create jobs, and speak up on their behalf. It may be building Christian schools so that the poor can receive a quality education in a loving environment. It is time some of us break out of our bubble of affluence and expose ourselves to the sufferings of the poor.
You sin if you remain silent over those who are defenseless. The Bible says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Taken from August 19th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”…

Monday, August 6, 2012

Maybe Next Time...

Here's another hard, emotional, from the heart post.

I feel I (we) have fully processed having a miscarriage (I mean come on it's been over 4 months- click here to catch up), however there are some days harder than others.  Don't think I sit around completely depressed, lingering in the past I don't.  It's actually opposite, I have learned a lot and enjoy what God has blessed us with.  Most days it doesn't even cross my mind, but sometimes it does and it creates so many questions.  Questions I may never have answers to.

The last week or so I haven't felt normal (last time that happened I had a kidney infection & found out I was preggers with Brynnen) needless to say Friday I took a pregnancy test.  Negative.  Ugh, I don't like that word.  Even reading that word makes me cringe.  Negative.  Such a cold reminder of No, Not You, Nothing in There.  Couldn't they change it to "Maybe Next Time," that might not sting as bad.  Why does it even sting? We have complete faith God will provide when HE is ready, or maybe when We are ready- I don't mean physical time frame, I mean HE knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows what we don't.  Maybe something crazy is going to happen on our Guatemala trip and if we had a child(or I was pregnant) we wouldn't fully be used.  Maybe not.  Maybe later down the road I will look back and see the big picture and say "Ah-ha!"  Maybe not.  Maybe God is creating a desire so great that if I have a "hard" pregnancy it won't even matter.  Maybe not.  Maybe I'm only meant to physically have 1 child.  Maybe not, but maybe....

So Saturday (after the "maybe next time" Friday) Stephen and I were out running errands.  I can't even recall what we were talking about, but I spurted out "It's just so hard sometimes."  Confused he asked what I was talking about, I have a tendency to forget not everyone hears what's in my head....So I shared what I had never shared before. I tried so hard not to cry.  Even now I can't help it.  "The hardest part for me isn't physically losing the baby.  It's reading the test and only seeing 1 line where before I saw 2."  Seeing a negative where there once was a positive.  I was pregnant, now I'm not.  I had child #2 inside, now I don't.  Man, sometimes I look at those tests so hard, I have to just put it in the trash & walk away, "Maybe Next Time."

As soon as I told Stephen all that, God was SO compassionate and flooded my mind with so many things that are perfect in our life for only one child.  A few being: our house, our business, our travel schedule, our college ministry,  exercising, and especially my time.  Yes all of these things will easily adapt to more than one child (many moms do these and more with multiple kids), but all that to say...we are right where we need to be.  He (God) is working on my heart, developing perseverance.  "Perseverance that must finish it's work so I may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything", at least that's what James 1:3-4 tells me :) 

Continued prayer is appreciated.  I'm so glad I will have these to read, or share with others, in the future if I ever need to.  :)

 This song is perfect.  Kari Jobe "You are for Me"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mushroom Chix

I told Stephen last night, I feel the most wife/mom/adult like when I cook.  I love using fresh ingredients and simple recipes.  I guess it's the only time I really "control" the day- if that makes sense.  Maybe not control, but predict- in general (and lots of practice) if I cook chicken it will come out how I want, variables are up to me- what else I include with the chicken, how I cook the chicken, side dishes and occasionally dessert- well those are at my disposal.  Everything else in the day is up for grabs...especially with a toddler.  A very active, unpredictable 2 year old (who at the moment is about 4 inches from my face saying "I wanta tell you a swee-cwit momma" haha).  For instance, I didn't plan to clean pen off the wall or change poopy panties, both seemed to make their way into our day today.  Unpredictable. Ergo, I enjoy cooking :)

Tonight is chicken with mushrooms...and no cream sauce (not a fan).  The original recipe here.

Chix Breast- thawed
1-2 eggs
bread crumbs
1 cup chix broth (I used veggie broth)

Mushrooms layered, chix browned

more mushrooms!

Cheese!!  What a sweet helper!

350 degrees for 25 mins
smell is AMAZING!
We paired ours with Basmati rice, carrots and sauteed zucchini.  :) YUM!
this is Stephen's plate....
I would love to hear what makes you feel "like an adult" :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"I fell in the big pool"

Today Brynnen and I (finally) joined our friend Mrs. Sara and her two girls (Anna & Ella- Brynn's BFF) at the pool in their neighbor hood.  Brynnen had on her floaty (suit type with pads built in, goes over her suit), but was still a little skiddish on the steps.  So Sara gave her a ring floaty and she was fine.  Ella had arm floaties, so both girls were covered and away they went.  They had a great time, it was so sweet watching them play and swim all over the pool- with no problems.  There were lots of kids there, and other friends so plenty of ppl to keep an eye out.  :)

After a while Brynn had to potty so I took her floaty off and left it off, if she wanted in the big pool I would take her, otherwise she was fine in the kiddie pool.  As we were walking back from the bathroom Brynnen walked to the edge of the pool, about 4' deep.  I told her she couldn't jump in bc she didn't have a floaty.  We opted for the kiddie pool, which was just as fun.

In the kiddie pool she would jump out on the opposite side, run over to me- throw her wet body on my back, I'd flip her over- dropping her in the water, she'd go play, then repeat the whole process.  Not sure what happened, but she runs back to that same spot at the big pool, trying to get as close as possible to the edge.  I said "Be careful Brynnen, let's play over here"  trying to give her the option of obedience.  She took a step forward and rocked back, I said "Brynnen, you are going to fall in, come here."

 She was making me way too nervous, as she replied "What mommy?"
"Come he..." She fell backwards in the pool. 

Instant panic, a little prayer- I really don't know it was about 3 seconds before I was over there, grabbed her outstretched arms just under the surface.  I had never felt irritation, panic and shear relief at the same time.  She didn't really cough, but wiped her face and started crying.  As I dried her off I said "That is why you need to listen to mommy."  I think that stern over tenderness probably comes from my dad, then I realized exactly that and pulled her close, saying "Are you ok baby girl?  You scared mommy."  She nodded, so I repeated "We have to listen mommy huh?" 

We left the pool, b/c in our house you don't get to play after disobedience..and I had some errands to run before nap time.  When I put her in the car she said, "I fell in the pool."  "Yes you did, are you ok?"  She nodded.

I opened her door at the first place, she said "I fell in the big pool?" 
I said "Yes, Brynnen you did.  What happened?"
"I didn't listen and fell in the big pool"

At the next stop "I didn't listen, I fell in the big pool"
Me: "Yes, honey you sure did."
Talked about it a couple more times in the store.

She fell asleep on the way home, and when I pulled her out to take her inside she said, "I fell in the big pool.  Mommy, I sorry I din't listen you, I fell in the big pool."  Melt. My. Heart.  She might be traumatized.  Sad it was a hard lesson, but thankful it wasn't worse. 

How many times in life do we ignore warnings from our heavenly father?  We try to test limits, going as far as possible with "falling in."  More often than not, we "fall in" and will only change/listen after....Food for thought....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I like cooking, making meals from scratch, with fresh ingredients.  I especially like trying new recipes, making things I have never thought to make- casseroles, soup, enchilada's, all types of fish, cobblers, sides, anything.  Cooking a good meal or dish from scratch gives me a sense of accomplishment.  I enjoy taking chaos and making it orderly- exactly what is done with separate ingredients combining them to make something delicious.  I usually only send a picture of the finished product to my mom.  BUT- this is too good not to share!  So, I'm sharing this with my closest friends ;)  And if you want more...I'll see what I can do (wink).

 Zucchini Ricotta Galette
I saw this recipe on one of our college kid's facebook page (random, I know).  The original page is here. So it had been on my mind since I saw it- perfect for a sultry summer evening.  It's basically pastry, ricotta cheese and zucchini.  I must say, this is NOT a 30 minute meal.  Not even an hour meal (the dough has to chill).  Not at all difficult, just time consuming.

 Make the dough first (1 hr 45 mins- flour must chill for 30 mins, then dough must chill for 1 hour).

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

I didn't realize how long it would take, so give yourself plenty of time.  :)

Make dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

1 large or 2 small zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves (optional)

Make filling: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Filling, Chilled dough, garlicky OO

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out (I used my fingers after the dough got stuck on the counter) into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border (I used 1" & was good). Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Drizzle/brush remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.
I sprinkled extra pepper over the top

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

DIFFERENCES:  I didn't have 3 types of cheese, I only used ricotta.  And, next time I would add extra veggies, maybe even add squash and tomatoes. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Can we move to the beach, please??

I really hate when I let so much time go by between posts, I like consistency and I am the furthest thing from it.  :) Sorry friends!!

Couple weeks ago we went to the beach (St. Simon Island, GA) with Stephen's brother and his family.  We had a great time, Stephen included- which was a big deal, because he doesn't care for the all.  True love from him = a beach trip for his wife :)  What a good hubby I have :) We really liked this particular spot.  It had so many old trees with Spanish moss, a clean-non-crowded beach and not at all industrial/touristy.  I loved it.  I'm talking, literally reminding Stephen every day how much he was enjoying it too, so maybe we could move here??  HA Never gonna happen.  So I'll settle for memories, pictures and maybe another beach trip next year  ;)

See how much they love it! :)

All of us!
A couple nights we went down to the pier.  Most piers are the same, a structure for you to walk out over the water- some are long, some short, most high, and all secure (for the most part).  As we were walking there was a nice strong breeze, the waves breaking on the rocks, the sun going down and the moon already in place for the night.  Gorgeous.  I was looking out from the safety of land (this wasn't a pier connected to the beach, where you could walk down on the sand or under the pier- there was no sand, it was land, rock, water), I saw how strong the water was.  Crashing pretty brutally against the rocks.  Picturing what it would be like if I was in the water-shuddering, I was thankful for the safety of land!

The closer we got to the actual pier the more I looked at the structure- the length and height of it, the wood that formed it- held in place by cement pillars diving further than my eyes could see.  I don't know why, but I was pretty impressed how unmoving it was.  Those waves were pretty harsh! Not sure what I expected?  Why wouldn't it be strong enough to hold a hundred or so people at any one time...lawsuit, hello?!  I don't know....Anyway, as I watched the relentless waves I was remind who controls the waves (God, our creator).  So cliche, I know, but look how confident we are in structures, and people who make those structures.  We pretend we can control the water, putting some boards high above it- as if we can say "You stay there, we'll stay here, everything is fine."  Clearly, that has worked in the past- until wind & waves are stronger than the pier, house or building- then nature effortlessly pushes it out of the way. 

Auntie Su-su, Ri & Brynn on the pier- looks safe right?

So as I'm walking I can't help but picture (Matthew 8:23-27) the night the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee.  The (MUCH higher) waves were crashing on the boat, they were afraid for their lives and woke Jesus- he (in my paraphrase) said "Waves, chill out" and vs 26 says "it was completely calm." Ever experienced that?? A few words to completely stop a ferocious storm?? Me neither.  Think about it....Mind boggling right?  For me it is!  Then in verse 27 "...Even the winds and waves obey him."  Isn't that amazing to know?  The winds and waves obey HIM. As those words crossed my mind again I had a warm reminder of my heavenly father and his protection over me. Then I giggled about how silly we are for trying to control "things" - and I wasn't necessarily talking about the pier....


Super windy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Never gives up on me..."

The last few days I have been singing a song from Passion (Jesus Culture: One thing remains-You can click here to hear the full song).  The chorus goes:  "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me"...   I've been singing these 3 phrases over and over to Brynnen.  She is picking them up nicely.  She loves singing and it melts my heart hearing her praise Jesus, (not that she knows exactly, but I certainly hope it stays with her). 

The last week or so Brynnen has a hard time staying in her bed for nap (which is not ok at this house).  She would rather play, or read, or do anything to stay awake.  I think it's partly knowing she can get up, and part testing boundaries.  The latter is becoming more of the normal at our house.  Love those 2's huh??  God has been so gracious, teaching me, showing me patience and giving me wisdom to handle this extra-active exploring and growth stage.  I can honestly say I enjoy it...well most of it.

Sunday, I think it was Sunday, Brynnen decided she wanted to play instead of nap- I went into her room, disciplined her, and put her back in bed.  Repeat that previous scene, twice.  I generally stay pretty calm, I'm not mad that she gets up but I do get frustrated having to discipline over and over.  It makes me question my judgment and discipline method.  I am learning that being consistent teaches her boundaries.  So the fourth time I had to go in there I really wasn't upset, but- it was getting old (I rarely have to go in more than twice).  When I opened the door she scampered back to her bed, I sighed and went to get her.  As lifted her leg to swat her bottom she said "never gives up on me...."  What? Where did that come from?  How cute!  She still got discipline, but that was precious.  Needless to say, she then went to sleep.

Her sweet voice saying "Never gives up on me..." replays over in my head.  Each time it brings a smile to my face.  A couple of things come to mind.  1, how many times do we need correction from our heavenly Father, how many times do we continually test boundaries?  He "never gives up on me."  He NEVER gives up on us!  So grateful-I cannot comprehend it.  The other "thing" I get from this is a sweet reminder from my heavenly father.  "Never give up on her, Kari.  She'll get it, and the benefit will go longer than you know."  A reminder of my job as her parent, that discipline is not vain or with no benefit.  Brynnen may continue to get out of bed during nap, eat dirt, sneak treats, hit friends, take Ella's sippy, and all of the other "moments" that make up our week, but I will never give up on her.

God has blessed me with the hardest job I will ever love.  I think I am being taught just as much as she is.  What a beautiful mess it is!!  :)

How can you not love this!  :) 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Journey continues...

Well, I said I would include you on my/our journey, right?  Here goes...

Friday, March 17th, I was cleaning and found the left over pregnancy tests from the week before.  Not sure why, but I decide I should take it.  I mean let's review my history, we know why...This time was different.  Previously I would try not to look at the test after I took it, hoping for the best- knowing I would be wrong.  I guess this time I thought I had nothing to lose, so I watched it the whole time.  Slowly I saw a faint  + appear.  I closed my eyes tight, and reopened them, trying to make sure I was seeing correctly.  OH. MY. WORD.  I immediately snatched the last unopened test I had, and placed it side by side with the other one to compare.  OH.  MY.  WORD.  It was positive!! AHHHHH!!  Stephen had literally just gotten home, so I ran out trying to contain my excitement.  He came in and confirmed I wasn't crazy- the test was positive!!!  I wanted to take the other test right then, but he we decided to wait til the next morning to take the last one, you know, cause the levels are higher in the morning.

I could hardly sleep, so anxious for morning to come so I could take that other test.  Not believing it.  In awe of how amazing our God is, how faithful He is.  I'm sure I was smiling in my sleep.  7 am, I jumped out of bed, took the test, watching, waiting....hum, the + didn't seem to be appearing, well maybe faintly.  I couldn't stand it, I left my sleeping hubby & baby and hurried to pick up a couple more tests (the $1 ones, old faithful- thank you very much!).  When I got back, the + had appeared on the 2nd test, but I didn't care, I needed 1 more.  (When I say I could hardly believe it, it might have been an understatement. ha!)  Took the 2nd  3rd test which was positive too.  WAAAHOOOOO! We were going to have a baby!!!  YAY!!!  AHHH I had to tell everyone!  Or at least wake Stephen so we could cheer together! 

We told some close friends and family- who told their close friends and family, ha I didn't care- I was so excited I wanted EVERYONE to know!! 

I left for Ohio that same Saturday (the 18th) and stayed til the following Friday (the 23rd).  I was excited to be home & enjoy the nice weather, still hardly believing, and occasionally forgetting, that I was preggers.  Weird right?  Anyway, I got home Friday, then that Saturday (stay with me here) we decided it was the perfect day to hike, so we set out for Ijams Nature Center.  We had a lot of fun, and great exercise.  All morning my back had been achy, and my lower stomach felt weird, almost cramp-like.  I needed to go home and rest, but I had one more errand- to Target.

Target.  My best friend, and worst nightmare.  As I came out of the store I had an odd feeling, I was bleeding.  My heart sank.  Deep down I knew.  Trying so hard to hold back tears, I immediately sent a text to some awesome prayer warriors/friends to pray.  This could not happen.  This would not happen.  Not after 5 long months of trying, not after being so excited, not after so many people had rejoiced with us.  Right?? 

Without going into detail, I miscarried. 

Never in my life had I experienced something so emotionally painful.  Yet through the pain I had a peace, so deep, completely trusting in God and HIS plan for us.  Sure there was the big question, why?  Why did this happen?  Honestly, I don't care.  I simply know this was part of the plan, so, work through it and keep going.  Stephen was perfect, so tender, at one point he found me crying on our bed, he hugged me and said the most endearing words ever uttered.  "You aren't alone.  We are going through this together." 

Yes we are.  We are!  How true, here I had been focusing on me and my disappointment, that I had forgotten that this child was 1/2 of him too.  Just because we handle situations differently doesn't mean we aren't affected the same.  Those words were the deep breath I needed, the hand to guide me, the bright star in a dark night.  Thank you God, so much, for giving me him.  :) 

I We had many people call, send sweet texts, messages and kind words to us, it helped tremendously.  Even a few ladies told me they have been where I am, that was comforting too.  To know WE were not alone was in itself a gift.   (Please do not feel after reading this that you need to comment, text or email- that is not the point.)  I believe we go through hard times so we can encourage those around us, so we can hug them and say "I've been there." II Corinthians 1:3-4, 5-7 talks about our comfort in Christ, so we can comfort others.  So true.  Grateful we have the body of Christ for all situations, how beautiful it is.

So, that's where we are now.  Enjoying each other's company, hangin' out with Brynnen-  looking forward to prayers that will be answered, resting in HIS perfect peace.  :)

The Journey continues....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Adding up the miles, writing down the jouney...

This post is a little personal.  It shows a struggle, a heart ache.  I still cannot believe I'm putting these thoughts into words, let alone blogging for you all to see.  Maybe it's guilt since I haven't blogged in a while, this is what has consumed a good portion of  my thoughts.  I also think there is a sense of release with each key stroke, a freeing that leaves me with an unburdened heart of hope and encouragement.  (It helps that I had several people encouraged me through this as well...)

So, humbling myself, here you go.  Pregnancy.  Or lack there of in this case. 

Stephen and I decided a while ago we would love to have another little Sene running around.  I stopped taking birth control at the end of September, here it is March and I'm not pregnant.  How is that possible?  Five months is way longer than I expected, especially since Brynnen came so soon after our wedding.  There have been so many times I could have sworn I felt something inside.  Everything agreed with me, except the pregnancy test.  I gained a solid pounds 3 lbs (not just a week of bad eating), my stomach rounded out even when I sucked in- more so than normal- haha, I had the craziest cravings (i.e shredded cheese mixed with Italian dressing on crackers, and some of you know about the chocolate peanut butter eggs), I had tenderness and fatigue.  Oh, and I haven't had a period since January 1st!!   Pregnant right??  I could hardly wait take the next test.  Yeah, that's right I didn't just take one, I took one every week or 2 after Feb 1, thinking "oh, it probably just hasn't hit my levels yet, too early".  Ok, that's not the whole truth.  I've taken at least 2 a month since October.  Crazy I know.  You are probably thinking "Should have told us, we would have purchased stock in EPT!" You're right, now you know   ;)  (I use the cheapy ones, so don't really purchase stock in EPT.)

I know everything is God's timing.  Perfect timing, might I add.  However, this past Saturday I promised some of the youth girls I would take another test.  So I was by myself at Target (getting a not-so-cheapy test) when I could no longer stand the anticipation.  The family bathroom there is a friend of ours, and even though I didn't have Brynnen, I wanted the privacy of the enclosure.   L-O-N-G-E-S-T  T-H-R-E-E  M-I-N-U-T-E-S ever.  I didn't watch, I sat there half praying, half preparing myself for the answer I knew was coming.  Man, I sure hoped I was wrong, I hoped I could tell the girls (and Stephen) we would have reason to celebrate, most of all I wanted to know I wasn't crazy with all these symptoms. 

When I couldn't wait any longer, I took a breath, stood up and looked at the test.  Negative.  Never have 2 little lines hurt my heart more in my entire life. Why did this hurt so bad?  Why couldn't I stop these tears down my cheeks.  I know God is in control, and I kept repeating "His timing is perfect, His plan not mine" so why couldn't I put a smile on my face and say "next time?"  Why couldn't I act like it's no big deal, and I truly understand God, and this whole"perfect timing thing"- if it's not His will or time, why do I long for another baby SO bad? 

Kind of ironic.  Last time those little lines messed me up was June 2009, when I found out I was pregnant with Brynnen.  Although, that day was complete opposite- I had big plans for my life, that didn't include kids yet.   What I didn't want then, is what I can't have now.   SN:Please don't think I do not love Brynnen, or do not want her-- oh, I do.  She is our precious, crazy girl who I would NEVER trade, not one second- even on the days she drives me nuts.    

As I left I decided, clearly there is no excuse for this extra weight; maybe stress and inconsistency in my diet played a part in this irregularity and frustration.  So....I made a few purchases to encourage and keep me on track.  :)  Besides, shopping can brighten any day!  Right girls??

I know one day this story will have a happy ending.  It may be simply to draw me closer to God, to allow me to trust fully in Him, especially when I don't understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  I have several friends who have shared their stories and sweet prayers, giving me peace and comfort knowing this is where I am suppose to be.  Even if I have no idea why.  One day I will.  (And of course I'll probably blog about it).  :)  So until then, you better believe I'll be adding up the miles, and writing down the journey.  Your prayers would be a welcomed blessing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My house is a wreck!

I babysit a little girl, Ella, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  She arrives around 7 am.  When Brynnen gets up around 7:30 the chaos begins.  I'm only 1/2 kidding.  We have breakfast, and play, have snack and play- if it's nice outside we go outside or to the park, we come back and play- you get the idea.  This continues until lunch time.  They eat and take a nap- and I take a breath.  Ahhhhhh, with a smile on my face.  Then comes the clean up.  Some days, whew- I don't know what I was thinking letting them play without cleaning up.  Oh yes, now I remember...

I was convicted of neglecting the girls to clean house- neglect is probably not the right word, but I would let them play alone and do everything I needed  wanted to get done.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's healthy for kids to play alone, but I was missing out on a lot of fun, teachable time.  I was convicted.  That's when I decided we could play and play and I would clean while they napped.  We had/have a lot of fun :)

So, couple months ago Ella came like normal, it was probably a Monday, because I like to relax on the weekends (by relax I mean not clean)- sometimes it shows.  Like that day.  Ella showed up, when Brynnen woke up she had a fever- or Ella developed one?  I don't remember, but one of them was sick, but it didn't stop them for a minute.  We played all morning, about lunch time I realized how messy my house was:  I had started laundry, so there was a pile of clothes on the couch, toys all over the floor, dishes in the sink, cluttered counter, mail- you name it, that day was out of place.  As I was evaluating I hear DING DONGGGG (doorbell).  ????  Who is at my door? I wasn't expecting anyone, maybe just a packa...nope, Ella's dad (& sister)...RIINNNGGG (my phone doesn't ring- but you get it), Sara, Ella's mom was calling me, letting me know Joe, Ella's dad is getting Ella. (thanks for the warning Sara!).  He was already there, so we laughed and hung up.  OH.MY.WORD.  I let them in.  Completely mortified.  I don't like people in my house when it's messy- let alone dirty like a tornado hit it- especially someone that trusts me with the well-being of their child.  I wanted to say "It's normally not like this, I clean during nap time- I promise I'm not like this!"  But I didn't- I got Ella's stuff & and acted like no biggie.  When they left I vowed then and there my house would stay picked up.  NEVER would I be caught off guard again.  I make the girls clean up whatever they play with and put back toys when they are done.  Weekends we do the same.  Now, when that doorbell rings, I am confident and will (hopefully) never again be embarrassed by my actions-- or lack of them!!

I share this humbling story because it fits our lives so well.  I'm sure we can all think of a time we just weren't ready for something.  a deadline, a presentation, a trip, a visitor....  Last week our Pastor preached on Matthew 24, the end of days and the unknown hour for the return of Christ.  This incident has been replaying over and over in my head since.  What if my house represented my life and/or heart condition and the unexpected door bell ring was Jesus returning-  would I be ready?  Or would I be overwhelmed and embarrassed.  Is my heart and life so cluttered with "stuff" that I would have to again say "It's normally not like this, I "clean" during quiet time- I promise I'm not like this!"   Only that time no one gets a second chance or a vow to do better.  We don't get a warning phone call, e-mail, status update or tweet letting us know when to be ready.  We must stay alert, hearts & minds ready for his return!

 1 John 2:28 "...continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming."  I thought that was very fitting.  :)

God doesn't care how "messy" you are- you don't have to clean up first, give your mess to Him, he can handle- He will help you work through it, clean it up and most importantly- He is the only way you can be ready!

Matthew 24:44 says "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."  Today is the day to start "cleaning up" and vow to be ready when He comes.  That's what I am doing--we can do it together!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Good intentions aren't always enough.

You've probably read or heard me say something about my thoughts on TOMS shoes.  Well- I will explain in as few words as possible.

I think TOMS shoes are super cute, I've heard their comfort is incomparable, AND they give a pair of shoes to the poor with every purchase- clearly a win-win right??  Yes, if you are Blake Mycoskie the founder of TOMS.  I research most things that I purchase, so this was no different.  I was pretty surprised at the findings of this company I would be supporting.

First off, I think $54 for a pair of casual shoes is completely ridiculous.  However, I reminded myself, they do give away a pair of shoes for every pair ordered.  In that case it's $27 per pair, I could talk myself into "helping" out the poor for $27.

Next up, what is this company about?   Most people (myself included) probably don't research company backgrounds.  I knew everyone just loves Toms, but why?  I had heard a few things about the company, one being a big ordeal with Focus on the Family (FF), which is an organization we love and support, but I needed to see myself.  You can click here to read an article on what Blake (TOMS founder) had to say about FF.  If you google it, you will find hundreds of articles.  Basically he (Blake) doesn't want to partner with FF, even though the impact of the partnership would help SO many more people in poverty! A website,, spear headed the attack with a band of pro-gay, anti-Christian people.  This group was upset about the partnership & Blake speaking at an event for FF.  They and threatened to stop buying TOMS products- seriously, over the biblical beliefs and claims Focus on the Family upheld.  He (Blake) told the gay community he was sorry, and started "distancing" himself from FF.  Too bad Christians didn't have the same response and stop purchasing TOMS because of his "remorseful apology" to the gay community and actions toward FF. 

That alone would be enough for me to cancel my shoe-buying endeavor, but there's more.

Mycoskie (TOMS founder), seems to be a Buddhist.  I've never actually read a comment of him claiming it, his blog talks about various books he has read written by Buddhists (blake's blog) and his favorite quote is from Gandhi, the most famous Buddhist (blakes bio) - not to mention on that "bio" link (on TOMS page) it shows 4 stages of evolution, each in TOMS shoes....and no mention of Jesus or even Christianity. 

Does being Buddhist make your product or ethics awful?  No, but I think people/Christians don't know the entire story of what they are purchasing.  I would rather invest in something a little more substantial.  Support a good cause, that holds my same values- not an over priced, outsourced, swayed by sales or others that wear it, product.

I've done research, and don't like the results.  I have chosen to purchase PAEZ shoes, I like the company and honesty, you can click here to read about them.  They are not a Christian based organization, they make the original shoes from Argentina, where TOMS creator got the idea, made by locals in Argentina (where TOMS was first produced, and then moved to China & Ethiopia).  PAEZ shoes are cheaper than TOMS, whose  start at $54 and go up to $98!  PAEZ are about $25 up to $38.  Wait!  Don't forget the pair for a pair offer TOMS has.  After all, it's the good intention that sold us on the shoes anyway, right?? Solution: Soles4Souls.  Christian organization. $1 for 1 pair of shoes to be donated to the poor.  So you can take the additional $16 to $29 you save from purchasing PAEZ instead of TOMS and go to Soles4Souls.and donate multiple pairs of shoes!

BOTTOM LINE: for $54 (or less) you can have an awesome pair of shoes, hand made in Argentina-where the shoe originated, keeping jobs for the locals- boosting their economy, donate 16-29 pairs of shoes through a Christian based organization, who is not ashamed to work with organizations with a high moral, biblical foundation.    Sounds pretty good to me!

PS- I have no vested interest in the sales of either company- this is purely my opinion and research.