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Monday, August 25, 2014

Selfishness

Sorry this post isn't going to be a silly one or one about the sweet girls a floor above me at the moment. No today I'm struggling. I'm struggling with selfishness. I look around me and feel so blessed. I have a healthy family with smiles on their faces (for the most part) and food in our bellies. We have a safe place to live and money to pay the bills. That right there is more than most people can say. The world is full of places where people live in fear, where people can't think of anything else than how they are going to get their next meal to fill the never ending hunger, where people die of curable disease and malnutrition. Where people struggle to have enough to pay for the little that they do have. So I feel like I should take a trip away from my nice cozy life and really know what it feels like to want something.

I just have had a hard time the last few weeks with my selfish desires. My prayers are often filled with thanks to the Lord for what I have but then there is always this part of me that wants Heaven on earth. I'm sure I'm not going to make complete sense to anyone who reads this but I'm going to try my best as I pour my heart out and work through this part of me I wish would go away. I just want perfection. Perfection as seen through my small little eyes. I just don't want anything more bad to happen and I want everything to always be good. I guess everyone probably wants that, right?

I guess after this tough summer I just want things to turn out good. I'm sick of seeing the hurt of this life. Then I look around and think, well isn't it already good? I was brought to tears on the way home from Olivia's doctor appointment today as I thought about this selfishness inside me and how I could have overlooked the blessing of my happy, healthy baby girl in the backseat. 

I don't think I'm a person who wants all the material things of life. Sure if some of my material desires fell from the sky I wouldn't complain but that isn't what I'm talking about here. I don't feel selfish because I want more "things." I feel like I'm selfish because I'm want God to fulfill the desires of my heart (again not material things) and do it the way I desire. When I was having a heart to heart with myself and God this is the scripture that came into my heart:

"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." Proverbs 3:5-6

I understand that I don't know it all. That I can't see it all. That I can't even begin to imagine all the parts and pieces of my story that I can't fathom or can't understand from this worldly body. But I'm finding it hard. Hard to just not know how to tangibly give it all over. How the "in all your ways submit to him" looks on this earth. I'm feeling like I can't or don't see how that works. Because I can't seem to do it. I can't seem to be able to just submit my worries to Him who yearns for me to do just that.  

I was thinking the other day that life has slowed down and I am finally getting a moment to think through the events of this summer. When I was going a million miles an hour I don't have time or energy to worry about anything that was happening and now that I do have time I'm worrying about everything. I know that this is wrong. When I realized this is what I keep doing, this verse flows into my heart:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?" Matthew 6:25 

So then I start thinking about how busy things are going to be in a few weeks. How I've got lots coming up. And then I'll be busy again, with less time to think about stuff and therefore less time to be selfishly requesting God to make my life fit my desires instead of submitting my life to him. Then I think, well am I dealing with my issues or am I just finding a way to not deal with them? Me busying myself is not necessarily submitting to Him my worry and selfish demands or is it? Is this me having faith in Him?

"For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Then I think what I will be busying myself with. First, I will be busy schooling my sweet Lauren Shea. This you must know is definitely me submitting to His path for me and my family. Just three years ago and many years before that I didn't even have homeschooling on my radar, but God did. So on this path I will be busy at work, God's work. Second, I will be busy with my other sweet, growing girl. She keeps me busy too and I've tried really hard in my school planning to have stuff for her to do as well- since she is two years behind in development her stuff might not be exactly the same, but she will keep me hopping too sharing each moment with us. This is God's work too- being a mother to my little girls- just wiping the butts and noises- cleaning the dishes- running the household. Third, I will be involved in being a wife to my husband. A true calling from God. He is not third on the list because he's third in importance but he is more like second to God alone. I know I sometimes fail as wife (when I put my needs first or ask too much of him) but I feel so blessed with my husband, my Matt, my love. My love for him is God's work too. Fourth, I'm going to be in two wonderful Bible studies this year. I will be participating in one on the gospel of Mark, Philemon, 1,2,3, John, and Jude. Then I will be leading the high schoolers in our church on one through Biblical living using the Proverbs and the Parables as our guide. That's going to be lots of work right there. God's work.

So maybe what I've been lacking these days isn't business but a focus on God's work. Maybe that's what it means when it says "submit to Him." So maybe it is a tangible thing. I don't know. Maybe my problem of selfishness can be solved by thinking about how I can do God's work today - with my family and church- instead of thinking about how God can do my work. Maybe it's as simple as my frame of mind or my attitude? I don't know. I have honestly come to this conclusion through writing this. I just felt the need to write today as I was tearing up in the driver seat. I could feel God working in my heart, prompting me to write and now by guiding me to the answers He has given me here today in this post. I put other things aside today to sit down here and listen for Him, to let him guide my writing, and my heart. Oh what a great God we have! 

"For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant" 2 Samuel 7:21

So here's to the changing of my prayer. Instead of worrying about how this world should be according to Jennifer, how about I think about how I can do some work according to God! So next time I'm worried and fretting the way I often do, I will be prayerful to how I should be focused on others- those he has blessed me with- and get to work! 

As I was finishing up this blog up, with Lauren playing play-doh right next to me, she began singing the song Fix my Eyes By King and Country and amen doesn't it just fit perfectly with the lesson God was teaching me. It's like she was his little radio intercalm letting me know- You got this Jennifer- keep on going!! I love how He works! Well I think that little girl might want some help in making some fun play-doh so I'll end this one here. Enjoy the song!




Where is Cinderella Hiding in YOUR House?

Okay so this is another silly one...



It is no news if you know my children at all that my first born daughter, Lauren Shea is not into what our society would consider girly things. She loves Thomas the train and other trains, Cars movie and all cars/trucks/construction vehicles, tractors, Nemo, and Bug's Life. Her favorite colors are blue and green. And I'm sure other things but these are the few that stand out against social norms. She has a 'feminine' side and enjoys a pretty hair bow and dresses. She's excited to take a dance class in the fall and likes to be neat and organized. She's just her, and I love it. God made her perfectly and I love that she just loves what she loves because it makes her happy. But with this said, you would think that we wouldn't have much in the form of girly toys since she doesn't ask for them. Her birthday list to boot (which is just a few months away) has all trains, cars, and Bug's Life stuff on it. We do have 'girly' toys. Like the doll house with accessories that Santa brought. She has lots of mommy stuff for tending to her lovies (not much into baby dolls), amongst other things but for the most part our stuff is not very girly.

So...our sweet Olivia Jean comes around and she's just starting to find things that she likes and enjoys different from her sister. She still loves cars and trains and Nemo and bugs but we're starting to notice new things. It all started with the Vtech laptop Lauren was given as a hand me down from a sweet girl at church a few years back. Lauren loved listening to the music on it and Olivia has found the same love. Olivia will just crack up watching the little mice or cat dance on the screen to the music over and over. She yells with delight and wants you to come join the fun- no matter that your hands are sopping wet from dishes or what not. Well she must have picked up on the Cinderella part of the laptop experience, whereas Lauren could have cared less. 

A few weeks ago I took the girls to the $ store while Matt was mowing the lawn on Friday night (we're a wild and crazy bunch around here). Lauren found the magic washcloths that are super small and then once you get them wet they are the size of a normal wash cloth- so she searched and searched the bins (there were like four bins throughout the store...we stopped at each one). I can't remember who she was hoping to find but she left with Francesco Bernoulli from Cars2 movie. Well Olivia was so excited to pick out a Cinderella wash cloth. I was excited for both of them and thought it was interesting to see Olivia's choice because it hadn't dawned on me yet that she had been connecting Cinderella with the laptop.

Well that's when it all began. It was from that moment when we started finding Cinderella EVERYWHERE in our house. We had two plates given to us for Lauren, who could have cared less. A spoon- which came with one of the plates. We had a pencil container, a Little People Cinderella, a shirt, a drink stir stick/wand?, a change purse, a cup, two snack containers, a book, and a doll stroller. All shown in the picture above, minus the baby doll stroller. Out of all of that I personally purchased the cup and stack containers from a Tupperware party I went to while pregnant with Lauren. But that is it. The rest were presents given to Lauren from people in my family or hand me downs from our lovely friends. 

I told Matt I've been a little creeped out as Cinderella has started emerging from the shadows of our house over the past two weeks. We didn't realize how much Cinderella we had but Olivia is finding it everywhere. It's been like a Where's Waldo experience (random thought....Lauren and I were 'obsessed' as she would say with Where's Waldo last week and man for a three and a half year old she's good at it- but I could go INSANE looking for the correct Waldo on the page full of Waldos, he always eludes me!). 

Olivia is also enjoying Clifford too. That I know started from the Chick-fil-a books in her crib that she reads. She was so sweet when we went to Barnes and Noble the other day and she found him and snuggled him like she just met her best friend. She likes to get Clifford books from the library or read the gillion we have at home already. Today after her doctor appointment she got a Clifford sticker and she was so proud of her find.

Oh this thing called parenthood can be so fun at times. Yes, trying, exhausting, and frustrating but it is times like this when all that stuff seems to melt away and we're reminded of what an amazing journey it is to raise kids! 

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sugar & Spice and Things that are Nice

My last few posts have been heavy and so today I was thinking I needed to trap some fun/crazy things that have been going on here.

Let's see, last Saturday we had a family date night at Target, one of our favorite places to just browse, although most of the time we leave with something. Anyway, we usually spend a fair amount of time in the dollar area. Lauren was able to spot $20 worth of things she would love to own. But we narrowed it down to three. Olivia was browsing but only seemed to care about this crazy ball that when you throw it, it lights up like a crazy disco light and it had stretchy koosh ball hair (remember koosh balls- it was like elementary school time for me when they came out and they were the thing, oh and snap bracelets- those have come back into style...oh the memories!). So back on track here...I let her play with it in the cart but figured I'd just tell the cashier we didn't want it, oh she's still at that sweet/innocent time where this trick works. Well anyway we spent tons more time in the rest of the store and then headed to the checkouts, well on the way I got distracted by something and Matt continued on (this happens a lot, and then I wonder where Lauren gets it- but more on that later). Well by the time I realized I better go and meet up with the rest of my family, Matt and the girls already paid. Oh another side note, I was bummed since I had bought a basket for books this school year and the cashier had put the purchases in the basket instead of bags (see basket and Olivia below)- I love Target bags about as much as the store. I know you must be wondering why on earth you read my blogs at this point, but they are the perfect size for our garbage cans in the bathrooms. Grocery store bags are too small and if you're lazy like me and don't change them regularly it's nice to have a bigger bag to last that much longer. So I expressed how I was bummed she didn't use bags and you know what...she just took a whole big stack of bags and put them into my basket- how cool was she. Well Matt said he thought there might have been a few screws lose since she played with everything and commented on it too. Which brings me back to the point of all of this. Since I wasn't there at the check to give the ball back we purchased a $3 ball thingy for Olivia! Oops. She is amazed by it and today she just started bouncing it hard enough to get it to light up on her own. I mean it's not going to win toy of the year but it makes her smile, so it wasn't too much of a waste but not quite as useful as the socks and shark ice pack Lauren settled on. So now every time she plays with it, smiling the whole time, I just laugh and enjoy.

Olivia doesn't think that the basket is for
books but it's her personal play pen!

She loves getting in there! Good thing it's sturdy.

See the smile I just don't mind seeing OVER and OVER-
I told you it's worth a $3 goofy toy from the $1 section.

Speaking of laughing. I was laughing at myself today in the car. I had completely forgot until today when I spoke with Garrett about having Caiden over that I still hadn't gotten his birthday present. And even though Matt and Lauren took a fun trip to Barnes and Noble last night I didn't tell them to pick up a gift certificate for him. So the girls were up from nap at 4:30, giving us plenty of time for a quick trip over and back and still have dinner ready or at least close to ready when Matt got home. Lauren was overjoyed at my idea and Olivia just rolls with the flow, gotta love her! So I pulled into a parking spot that was between two cars, the one on my right had a lady in the drivers seat, which I noticed. I put the van in park, took my foot off the brake, looked to the right and gasped in horror! Why did I gasp, well the lady started pulling out and my brain interpreted her car going backwards as mine going forward. I thought I didn't put the car in park and were going to hit the car in front of us- YIKES! Of course Lauren asked "Why'd you say HHUUUUU mama?" At that point I was laughing at myself, coming down off the adrenalin rush, and being thankful that my brain was wrong and we were indeed safe and sound. Oh goodness, so maybe it isn't that funny now but it was to me.

So that also reminds me of my little "Mini Me" we have in our house. Lauren has a very similar personality to me and sometimes it can be sweet and adorable, and other times it can be a scary look into the mirror. Matt often tells me of things that she does or things she says and when she does them Matt replies to her "Okay, Jennifer." (I'm sure he does in with love on his mind ;-) So tonight after bath Matt and I were getting the girls into their pj's and we were nearing the end, so I was combing through Lauren's hair (my it has gotten so long). She was playing with a toy that had gotten away from her and Matt pushed it back to her with his foot. I told Lauren to thank daddy and tell him how amazing he is (a common phrase around here, thanks Peg + Cat for that one). So she did and he replied "Oh your welcome baby. You're amazing too" and her reply..."I know" LOL, really child. The best is when Matt replied to her statement with "Okay, Jennifer." It had me laughing and Matt rolling his eyes at me. Gotta love my family!

Oh another random thing about tonight. So Thursday is Zumba night and I love going. But I guess my brain was on vacation or something because after dinner we were sitting around playing and I didn't pay a lick of attention to the time and at 7:40 (when the class starts) Matt looks at me and says "Oh...Zumba." So what does a girls do since she missed her working out- oh I head to Sonic and get onion rings and a milkshake. Not all for myself...Matt and I shared. Just justifying my indulgence. But as we sat there after realizing I had missed class and I guess we were both thinking about food, dinner must of not been to satisfying for us, and Matt mentioned milkshakes and I said I could really go for some onion rings. Then Matt looked at me with a smile and said "Sonic has half price milkshakes after 8!" So off I went on my covert operation to get an evening snack? Who does this? Not something we do regularly around here, but spontaneity is good for the soul (just not so much for the waist line). Matt started the girls on their bath while I was gone and then we took turns going down stairs to "look at something" once I got back while the other one watched the girls (we're so sly,...hehehe or not). Guess I'm going to have to swim extra at the pool tomorrow with the girls and Caiden to work off our spontaneous fun. 

Oh well. I've been meaning to do a top ten list of the girls and all their cuteness these days. They're growing and changing so much- it's a little sad and a lot exciting all at the same time. I'm hoping writing it here will give me more incentive to do it. This week I'm starting to remember what life is like when you're not going 110 mph for weeks on end. This was the first week I haven't had a to do list taller than Olivia. I'm done going places for a bit, I'm done recouping from being places, I'm done planning/organizing for school this year (we start September 8th...Lauren and I are both super excited for school- I'm so glad I get to be part of it with her), I'm done catching up on house work (except dust, oh I hate dusting- they need to invent a Roomba for dusting! I love vacuuming so I don't need a machine to do that for me, but dusting NOW that I would invest in! Maybe I should have Matt invent it so we can afford it too). But really it has been an adjustment for me to remember what it is like to just have a lazy day around the house. Oh it was nice. 

But things will pick up soon enough with school around the corner and we have Matt's parents coming in Labor Day weekend, we're looking forward to that. Then we have CBS on Thursday mornings (community bible study) that the girls and I are doing this year, and Wednesday nights start up at church too. Matt and I have been talking about just doing the dinner part since we're already doing Sunday school, CBS, and there is a bible lesson every day for school. But we'll see. Then mid September we're off to Day Out with Thomas, and Percy lucky us, with my sister and her family. So life never settles for too long, but that's okay it means were building memories, visiting with the ones we love, and enjoying what God has blessed us with- each other. I feel very blessed and sometimes I get upset when I'm not enjoying life and these blessing to the fullest, aka getting wrapped up in the little things or the business of it all. But not today, today I embraced the blessings and let that other stuff roll away. Amen to that and all God's gifts!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Season of Life - Part 3

This is a part three, you can just read along or part one is here and part two is here. It's not necessary to read them though. It has taken me a little longer to get this post up because life is crazy with two little ones and I've been diligently preparing for school this year. Plus, I enjoy time with hubby too! So that all that adds up to little time for blogging- but I enjoy it and I like to have these moments of life recorded so I can remember where we've been on our journey and how God is ever present in each moment we have. And thankfully we can rest in His promises, like this one:


The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." - Exodus 33:14

So if the sudden loss of a friend, the tragic loss of a friends husband (part 1) and the loss of another baby (part 2) wasn't enough- I still was not done with my season of "death." I still had another person I held near and dear to say goodbye to and watch leave this world to be with Jesus.

My Grandma Rose was my only living grandma. She is my step dad's mother. She was a generous, funny, 'tell it like it is' woman. Unfortunately for me, by the time my mom and stepdad met and married each other she was living in Arizona for the majority of the time and I didn't get to see her often. And by the time she finally did move back 'home' I was nine hours away. But every time I did get to see her I enjoyed her infectious laugh and her sweetness. One of my most cherished moments was her meeting Lauren for the first time- she just kept repeating over and over how beautiful she was. 


Lauren and Grandma Rose meeting for the first time.

She said the same about all of Olivia's pictures too. I'm so very, very grateful that this summer when we visited back home, we were able to see Grandma Rose. And that she was able to meet Olivia too. She was having a good day that day and was able to talk to us while we were there. She was able to see Lauren and Olivia and we were able to visit with her. Not as spunky but still so special. 

It was just three weeks later that she passed on and went up to heaven. It was a Sunday morning and we got the news before heading to church. I remember my exhausted body and spirit rallying as I made preparations to go back and celebrate her life with our family. Matt didn't have the days to take off, and we weren't quite sure yet when the funeral service would be held, so it was just going to be the girls and I. Since she had been sick for a while I had a plan in the makings- that I would drive to my sisters house (7.5+ hours away) in one day and then the next day drive back home (3 more hours). I had never driven that long as the soul driver before, let alone with two kids in the back. I was to tired and nervous to attempt the 10+ hour drive by myself to go back home in one day.

I had left Monday morning to head back up because I was sure the funeral would be mid week. Well it was Saturday so we were gone longer than I had anticipated (thank goodness I'm a habitual over packer so I didn't have to worry about landry- you have to pay for it at my moms apartment) but I'm soooooooo glad we went and that I was able to be there. It meant to world to me to be around my family again and be there to support them as well as feel the support myself. It was a week full of God and His never ending, always growing love!

I saw God so many, many ways that week. First, a great friend at church loaned us a duel dvd player for the ride. So I just had movies playing periodically throughout the trip to occupy the girls. They were both exhausted coming off a week at LebCamp so they took good naps and we were able to coordinate all the potty breaks/diaper changes with rest stops and lunch stops along the way. I did have the little potty in the back in case of emergency and Lauren actually did cry because we never got to use it (bless her little soul). We made good time and had a very uneventful (aka easy) trip. I felt so blessed and accomplished when I arrived at her house with car, kids, and myself all still in good working order!

I continually saw God in the endless patience the girls and I had in my parents 2 bedroom apartment with four adults and three kids (ages 3 and under) for four full days. It was a blessing to stay with my mom and stepdad since we got to distract them and be there as a family to mourn the loss of Grandma Rose- so I'm glad we did it. But any other time I would pass on that fun experience. 

I continually saw God in my ability to wake up each morning. I was tired, just so tired- physically, mentally, emotionally. Thankfully I was spiritually full from such a great week at camp that I just kept plugging along. Handling both girls without the help of my wonderful husband was hard. Not only did I miss the help he would have been with the girls, but the comfort that he is to me. I also missed him dearly, since the week prior was camp week I was out of the house with the girls by 6:45 am and then I would come home after 9 each night and walk like a zombie to bed with a little hug and kiss for him before I passed out in 2.5 seconds flat. So I just missed him all around. Now I know you're going to roll your eyes but I don't have a fancy cell phone, I have a prepaid flip phone that suits me just right for 98% of situations. However, both my sister and my mom don't have a house phone since they do have fancy smart phones so it was hard to call him up and chat for a bit and check in. I didn't want to use up a bunch a minutes that cost money (mind you Matt's cheap like me too so he feels the same way) when in most other houses we would have had a home phone to call out on. So I didn't even get to talk to him most nights. But the times I did get to talk to him meant the world and reenergized me for a bit. 

I continually saw God in the generosity of others around me. Just too many stories to tell but I saw His love in so many people that week- we were truly blessed!

The Saturday service was beautiful. Shauna and I were able to take part in the service and read a prayer. And I just enjoyed all the stories and the smiles that came to peoples faces as they remembered her. One of my favorite parts of that day was when we realized it was the first time, ever since my step brother Matt came into our lives a few years back, that all of the cousins (my Grandma Roses grandchildren) were all together in the same place. She was the one who brought us all together. None of the many weddings had ever done that. I bet that brought a smile to her face as she watched from above. So we were able to get a picture- the first ever of all of us. 


Here we are, all nine of Grandma Rose's grandchildren. 

The next day we headed home. Another big blessing was my wonderful mother-in-law. She came along with us on the trip home to our house, our beds, our space, and our daddy/hubby. Oh we missed them all so much! She was such a blessing to pitch in so many ways during the week but she endured the long ride back home so we could do the trip in one day. Then we were doubly blessed as she stayed a few days to visit and help us get us back on our feet before she fly back to her house.

I can't tell you in words how exhausted I was and how it took me a few weeks to feel settled, rested, and back to 'normal.' It did happen to take longer than expected since Matt decided to wrestle with some poison ivy while we were gone and he had such a delay/bad reaction, oh it was gross. I felt awful for the man. He ended up going on oral steroids, a topical steroid, and antibiotics in order to heal. It took over two weeks and was just another exhausting episode in this very, hum how should I put this, adventurous summer. But he's better now. We're home now. Things are calming down and as the days grow a little cooler and the sun goes down a little earlier each night we look ahead. Looking towards the next adventure and the next journey that is going to help grow us and bring us closer to our maker and creator. May our eyes always be focused on Him and may we remember that He "works for the good of those who love him."


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

25 Random Things About Me

This is from 2009- Found it funny to look back at my answers.

25 Random Things About Me
1. I love to clean my house. I know it sounds crazy, but it really is one of the most satisfying things!

2. I don't miss college. I hate that people say that it is the best and they wish they could go back. All I remember is that I studied all the time. I guess if I was smarter I would have liked it better.

3. I live for Monday nights at Zumba- I call it my happy place since the only thing racing through my mind is "where the freak do I put my foot next!"

4. I love pizza for Friday dinner, and I get sad if we don't have it.

5. Bones is my favorite TV show and last night David Boreanaz had his shirt off!!

6. I love to read magazines.

7. When I see a Pepsi vending machine with those big buttons, I love to just push them. I am not sure the fascination, but they are just calling to me..."Push me Jennifer!"

8. I wish I had a private jet so I could travel the world.

9. I love chips and dip too!!! I also never buy them because they would be gone in no time.

10. Hugs from my husband make me a better person.

11. I treat my cat like a child and love her to bits!

12. I love to watch movies; there is just something about escaping life for 2 hours and having everything end happy that just sucks me in.

13. I miss living near a big lake and going on boat rides. Being on the boat is my most cherished pastime and I miss it deeply!

14. Snakes give me the willies, so does seeing a lot of insects in one area- GROSS!!!

15. I'm glad that my relationship with my sister is the healthiest it has ever been and I hope that we continue to grow into good friends.

16. I love a good pair of jeans and comfy sneakers. 

17. If I were an instrument, I would want to be an acrostic guitar- I love the way they sound.

18. I love having my hair played with and my scalp rubbed- I hope that is what it feels like to be in heaven because it is the best! 

19. I'm a horrible speller and often ask my brighter students how to spell a word I can't.

20. I would love to learn to be a photographer. I just love to enjoy a good photograph and wish I could be artistic like that.

21. I enjoy sports and sporty things more than my husband.

22. My favorite number is 2. I was born 2/22 and was married 10/22. I also favor even numbers over odd numbers.

23. I love juice and really don't like pop (soda for you southerners) except Ginger Ale, which my friend Heather always has so I kill my cravings at her house and don't buy it. (Thanks Heather)

24. Lazy Saturday mornings are the best! I love not having to shower right away and just relaxing.

25. My favorite smell in the whole wide world is that of a campfire! I love going camping and when you come home your pillow and clothes still smells of it. I've always wanted a real fire place, so my house could smell like it. (Yankee Candle has a "campfire" candle but it is not good enough for me).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Here's What We Look Like These Days

To start off summer Grammy and Papa P came down to help out- Olivia and Papa P were excited about movie night

Olivia and Grammy P enjoying the pool on a hot summer day

 Here we go!! Off on our road trip back "home" to visit family and friends

 Olivia knows how to do this road trip thing

 Passing the time with all sorts of crazy fun

 Mommy and Lauren

 Olivia Bear

 And finally Lauren gives in and we all enjoy a break and a quiet car

 Playing at Grandma and Grandpa B's, trucks and tractors

 Taking Ellie on a trip in the police car- Depute Dishes

 Tractor time

 Twilight Hayride

 Making music together- like the sound of angels singing ;-)

 Sisterly Love

 Lauren as taught Olivia the joy of rock picking

 Skid Steer Loader at the farm - a girl and her machines, life is good

 Meeting the cows

 More tractors!!! 

 Off to Grandma and Grandpa H's

 Being silly girls in the back yard - always an adventure

 A girl and her daddy

 Playing trains and reading books

 Ice Cream - only my favorite in all the world

 Sharing my love with Lauren as she enjoys her first ice cream cone!

 Playground time!

 WEEEEEE!

 Train Museum with Aunt Shauna, Cousin Finn, and Grandpa and Grandma H

 Check out these conductors

 Back to our house and enjoying the Children's Museum

Super excited to be part of LebCamp 2014!

The long days can sure tucker a girl out

 Big surprise, more tractor fun as we passed the days being Gods disciples

 Even little girls need a rest, she took a nap 3 of the 5 days at camp- so much fun makes us sleepy

 Then back to Grammy and Papa P's to go to Grandma Rose's funeral

 1st Stop Cousin Finn's house- lots of goofiness there!

 We enjoyed blueberry picking, I think the strawberries and blueberries are just kissable

 And where there is a tractor, there is a Lauren...and Olivia too!

 Look how big they are!!!

 Joe Cool (Snoopy has nothing on her)

Off to pick lots of blueberries and eat even more

To our surprise the church Grandma Rose's funeral was at was all decorated for an ocean/pirate themed VBS- the girls were too excited



This Season of Life - Part 2

With each pregnancy I've had, and that's six now, I've never been good at not letting myself dream. Dream about the possibilities and about the future. When I got pregnant the second time- I was overjoyed. My first pregnancy and miscarriage happened so fast I didn't really have much time to embrace the fact that I was expecting. But with my second I had a little more time before that little one went on up to Jesus, so I had more time to dream. I had gotten a pregnancy calendar and eagerly filled it out. If you've never had one of those it is just an empty calendar where you fill out the dates as it correlates with your pregnancy. There are a bunch of stickers to put on it, like "first craving" and "baby shower" and then you can fill in your own things along the way. I was elated to be pregnant and was dreaming of the milestones as I filled in the colorful pages. Reading the little handy helper tips along the way. My dreaming often begins before Matt or I know for sure the gift of life has been given to us.

Even though I know better and I try and stop myself from filling in my now mental pregnancy calendar (I stopped buying them after the third miscarriage so poor Olivia doesn't have one- only Lauren) but I can't. So when I found out the weekend after Mother's Day that I was due to have another sweet one come at the beginning of the new year- my mind was racing. Names, what he/she would look like, what I would do with the nursery if God blessed us with a boy, when to move Olivia in with Lauren...the list goes one. I found myself doing it even before the positive popped onto the stick- because I knew, I always know before the stick tells me. My life changes, my heart grows, my soul knows when there is a sweet little one inside me. It's hard not to be altered by their presence even when no one but God and I know it.

This time was no different. It would have been another winter baby- if it was another girl, I was set for clothes- if he/she was early then it might be a new years baby- fun stuff! So as I relive those dreams know while I write this, I'm so sad for what might have been but take comfort in what is, what God graced me with.

The ultrasound room at the doctors office brings me such mixed feelings. I always hold my breath while I wait- although I'm often nauseous already it just gets worse. The butterflies in my stomach are going a hundred miles a minute. So on this Tuesday when the doctor came in to verify for the technician that the baby's heartbeat was gone I had no words. I was so devastated it took me a bit to even cry. When they ushered Matt and I into a room and went over the talk about what you will do next I couldn't even cry- and it wasn't until I get into the comfort of my car that I let it out.

The loss of the dream always hurts. When milestones pass, when I would have been in my second or third trimester, when we would have found out the babies gender, when we would have told the girls, when we would have told everyone, and eventually when the due date comes...and goes that is when I feel the loss the most. Sometimes it's when I see a pregnant lady or a sweet newborn. It never goes away. There are six dates that hold a special place in my heart:

March 5th, 2010*
August 14th, 2010*
December 9th, 2010
October 25th, 2012*
February 16th, 2013
January 22nd, 2015*

These are the due dates of all of our children. Each of our babies holds a special place in my heart. 

I sometimes have to laugh, it is the best medicine, and I think to myself what I would do with a house full of six crazy kids. I thank God for each one of them. Each one of them has changed my life for the better. Each one of them is a part of who I am and who my family is.

Someday when they are old enough to understand, Lauren and Olivia will hear about their siblings. They will know about how special they are and how God is caring for them up in Heaven and when they themselves take their steps on His streets of gold, they too will get to meet them.


During LebCamp this year this is one of the songs that really spoke to me. It reminded me over and over that God is there always. He's plan is the one I want for me, for my family, for our lives. I didn't ask why- I don't need to know why- I just need to grieve for what could have been. I need to have faith that what is- is what it should be. If I hadn't had lost those two babies before Lauren, I wouldn't have her. If I hadn't lost the baby before Olivia, she would be here. I can't look at those miracles and ask why- God knows why and I can deal with that. I want to show my two girls with me on earth what it means to live in God's arms. What it looks like to give our lives to Him fully- even when it isn't our plan or our way. I pray they see this, not me holding onto something that was never meant to be. 

Instead I grow, I give up control, I surrender, I trust, I look forward to new dreams and ask God how I can use His gifts. I give thanks for all that He has given me. I wake up and praise His holy name for all that is and all that be. Because I know my God loves me and gives me strength. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" Romans 5:1-5. Another song, by Matthew West, also reminds me every time I hear it that I don't have to be strong and I don't have to carry it all.  


Philippians 4:13 happened to be the theme of LebCamp this year. The youth advisory committee picked the verse and the theme- but with God's guidance no doubt. Since camp was just a month following the miscarriage it really helped me, as it somehow always does, work through my feelings and helped me move forward. I tell you every year I give camp and those kids all of my energy and love during the week and although I walk away exhausted and in need of lots of sleep- I also walk away with my heart, mind, and soul filled with joy, hope, and love. 

God's hand was in each part of my journey and still is. Because he gave me everything I could have needed and more to get me through the grieving process. My mom was able to come down the day we had the ultrasound. She arrived at my house at 3 am but she was there the next morning when Matt and I headed to the hospital. That meant so much to me. Her and my step dad stayed a week before heading back home. Then I busily packed up for an already planned trip back home, where Matt, the girls and I spent ten days visiting with family and being together ourselves as a family. That was so big- having that time to take a few date nights just Matt and I to let the business and noise of the regular day fade away and support each other. To be around those that love us and our kids the most and spoil us with love and affection. I don't know that my heart could have wanted anything else then to be reminded of all the blessings that God surrounds me with daily. Then, if that wasn't enough, we got back from that trip only to turn around four days later and be surrounded by my church family for seven days 10 hours a day. Them loving on the girls and me. It was like God's hand in my recovery was in motion before I even knew I would need it. Isn't He amazing!!! The support and love that has come from this event has just allowed me to see God so vividly and to feel him so tangible that I just took comfort in Him.

I know my words can't do God justice for all He did for me and still does but I just pray that I never forget it. That on those days when my hair is falling out and I just don't have it together that I am reminded of who put that day together in the first place. 

And the journey isn't over yet. And neither is my story. So hopefully I'll get to part three soon because there is more. More of how God is great, all the time!