A Christmas Tradition

A couple years ago when Ellia was still a tiny baby and had absolutely no idea what the holiday season even was, I found myself feeling disheartened at how we've so distorted the meaning behind why we celebrate Christmas.

Everything has become about how decorated our yards are and how much we can outdo our neighbors with Christmas lights (have you seen the picture of the family who wrote "ditto" on their house with lights next to a completely decked out one? It's hilarious...). We focus on what the newest apple product or toy is, obsess over the shopping, stress over making the perfect Pinterest holiday meal and freak out about getting the perfect family portrait in matching Target outfits (I do all those things...).

So as I'm sitting there holding my little one year old daughter who's sucking on an ornament the thought came to me to make every day in December a special day that would point towards the true and most special meaning of Christmas- Jesus. THIS is what I want to teach our kids, this is what is important, this is what changed my life and what will change theirs. So I grabbed a pen and started scribbling some notes.


Here's what we do:

Every day in December the girls find a little gift under the tree (it could be anywhere, in their bed, on the front step) with one character from the Nativity story.

gift.png

It starts with an empty stable and slowly, day by day, they add each piece to the story...

NAtivity.png

...reading the scripture passage behind each piece each day. 

reading with piece.png

Finally on Christmas day they open their final gift to complete the nativity- baby Jesus, the Savior of the world!

Baby Jesus.png

We've created a graphic illustration for a standard nativity set with 12 pieces so you can try this at home with your nativity! We hope you find as much joy in this as we all do!  Don't get me wrong, I'm still Pinteresting cute holiday meals and looking at the cute Target outfits...

Click HERE for downloadable file

 

 

 

Hanging Frames

I had three picture frames to hang on the wall that had been sitting on the floor for weeks just staring at me. If it had been one picture, I would have busted out the hammer and nails that same day. But three gets complicated cause there’s math and measuring and numbers and stuff...

When I finally got to it, I spent 15 minutes just measuring the wall back and forth mapping out how to center the frames and space them equally apart. My 7th grade math teacher would have been ashamed.

Each frame had 2 hangers on the back so I measured from the ceiling to the hanger on each side to make sure the frame was level when it hung. Stepping back, the marks looked even so I hammered away and grabbed the first frame.

After several attempts to get both sides of the frame hooked onto the nails, (side note: can I just say how much I hate those little triangle hangers that always flatten when you try to slide them down on the nail? They literally hate me) the first frame was finally up!

I stepped back again to admire my work anddddddd FAIL. The frame was totally crooked. It had looked right when I was up close up, what the heck.

I sat there for a few minutes just staring at it trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I double checked my measurements from the ceiling and they were right.  I measured from the floor and those measurements were perfect.

After a whole lot of confusion and frustration I finally figured out that it was the ceiling that was uneven! My base for measuring was wrong!

I also had more nail holes in the wall now, shh don't tell my husband.

The next frame had to be easier. This time I measured using the edge of the first frame and nailed in my holes. Again I stepped back and again the frame looked completely cockeyed.

I was ready to chuck the measuring tape and give it up at this point. Then I remembered.

We had a level.

Every handyman’s best friend. The tool that never lets you down. It will always measure straight.

I know, most of you are thinking “why didn’t you use just that in the first place?” Well, baby brain is why, okay? It’s a thing. Be nice.

As I easily hung the third frame nice and straight on the wall I couldn’t help but think about how much that whole debacle related to life.

We get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others around us. Just scrolling through our Facebook feed can bring up all sorts of insecurities. Like with parenting.

I call it "comparenting."

“Oh crap, that mom did crafts with her kids, has a fancy stroller AND gave them broccoli and hummus for lunch. I clearly am failing as a parent.”

But that’s like measuring from another crooked frame on the wall.

Who says that mom is “doing everything right?”

We compare our children to society’s standard of what they should be like. They need to be potty trained by 3 months and reading before kindergarten. They need to be popular and smart. They need to go to college so they can get a job so they can be rich and happy.

But who says our society’s rules are perfect? Who says the ceiling is straight?

Society throws all sorts of standards at us to measure ourselves up to, but every single one of them will fail us because ultimately we’re all crooked.

Great, so now what? We need a level.

A tool that will always measure straight in this crooked world. That will never fail us.

We have one; His name is Jesus.

He’s perfect.

In every possible way. He literally defined the concept of measurement.

I know you’re thinking: “ wow, well that’s a ridiculously high standard.” Yup, you’re right it is. One that we’ll never attain on this earth.

It may sound discouraging but the freeing reality that comes from looking at Jesus instead of others is that He knows every one of our imperfections and knows we’re going to fail, but yet He loves us even when we don’t hang straight.

We can’t earn His love and approval; He freely gives it, helps us mark new nail holes, and as we step back from the wall He opens our eyes to imperfections we didn’t know were there.

It’s humbling my friends. I’m constantly re-hanging the frames of my life. But God gives the help where we need it and the grace when we fail. And then He patches the holes we make in the wall behind us.


Try it! Get to know who Jesus is and measure up to Him! Don’t know where to start?
Try reading the book of Luke and you’ll be amazed
at what you learn =)

"It'll All Come Naturally"

When I was pregnant with my first and slightly terrified at the thought of raising our own little human, I remember hearing a well meant phrase on several occasions, “Don’t worry, it’ll all come naturally.”  

Even though you’ve never had a child in your life and you have absolutely no clue how to be a parent, “it just happens.” Like a magical switch just goes off and BAM, you’ve got it. The second that baby pops out you’re now a mom who’s filled with all sorts of natural mommy-ing wisdom.

Well, I hate to burst that sweet bubble but really it’s not all true.

There are definitely some things that will not come naturally to you as a mom (unless you’re just one of those supernatural moms who I’d love to meet). Here are four.

1. Sleepless Nights

There is literally nothing more unnatural than waking up every hour to two hours for months on end.  I don’t care how many books you read or parenting sites you google, you will never be prepared for the zombie effect that follows sleepless nights. You’ll survive, I promise. But it’s so just so not normal. 

2.  Physical/Emotional Changes 

There’s no doubt about it, having a baby changes your body. I’ve decided it’s all part of that learning-that-you-now-come-second thing that happens when you become a mom. For example, it’s not the best idea in the world to visit a trampoline park 4 months after having your baby and your bladder doesn't quite work the same. I learned that one the hard way, haha.

The tidal waves of emotion that come with pregnancy/mom life can throw you for a loop. If you love the show The Office as much as I do, you might remember a scene where a very pregnant Pam is sitting in front of her computer watching a sappy dog commercial over and over and bawling her eyes out. I’m telling you, it happens, and it’s weird.

3. Seeing Your Own Faults 

Even though it’s actually one of the most natural things about life, seeing your own faults in your child will always feel unnatural.

Thad and I are always trying to pawn off Ellia’s shortcomings on each other, “um pretty sure she got that one from you, babe.” Her willful stubbornness makes me cringe knowing that one’s totally from me, there’s no denying it.

It’s a bizarre but humbling experience that continues through the life of your child; a daily reminder of your own imperfections.

4. Feeling Helpless

I’ll never forget holding Ellia one night as she battled the flu, feeling completely and utterly helpless.  As she whimpered and threw up while her temperature spiked I remember this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing all I could do was hold her and wait for her medicine to kick in. It’s a completely unnatural feeling to see your child in pain, knowing there’s nothing you can do to help.

I can just see your eyes getting bigger as you read this and you’re probably freaking out, especially if you’re pregnant for the first time. But know this. As daunting as those things may seem, none of them will make you a “bad mom.” In fact, they’re each training you to be a stronger mom.

But now let's talk about the amazing things that DO just instinctively come naturally to you. Here are just some of my favorites.

1. Love

There’s no way to express in words the kind of love that completely overwhelms you the moment you see your baby for the first time. It can’t be described and it isn’t fabricated. It’s completely and irreversibly real. And as that baby grows your love for them multiplies. Your frustrations might as well, but that’s another story, haha.

2. Protection

Some people refer to this as the “mama bear” effect.  We’ve all heard the stories about moms lifting burning cars off their babies.  It’s a natural instinct that God instills in each of us to protect our own. You’ll be amazed at how strong of a feeling it can be. When a kid hauls off and hits your child in the face it’ll take everything in you not to football tackle that kid and give him a piece of your mama bear mind (or maybe you actually did, I won't ask).

3. Understanding Their Needs

Before I had Ellia I remember always being so impressed at how moms seem to be able to interpret their baby’s babble. But you see, it comes with the territory. You spend time with your baby and your learn to read them. You learn how to read their body language before they can audibly communicate with you. You learn when to feed them and when they’re tired, when “something’s just not right” and when they just need some attention.

4. Selflessness

This is one of those things that I wouldn’t say comes naturally to any of us as humans, but immediately manifests itself in a whole new way when you become a mom. It’s not easy, it’s not always fun, but it happens and it’s so special. Your baby comes first in so many aspects of your life. It's absolutely the way it should be, and you'll find you wouldn't want it any other way.

As a mom these things will come naturally to us because simply put, they’re part of our make up. Our job as a mom is to recognize and nurture them (It’s when we don’t that we risk becoming a “bad mom” ).

When sleepless nights seem impossible or your stretch marks make angry faces at you in the mirror, the natural love you have for that sweet baby overwhelms it all, making it so doable and even better, so worth it.  

And in those moments when you doubt your “mom skills”, remember this promise from the very One who made you a mom...

“…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5)

So the next time someone says “it’ll come naturally,” just smile and nod=)

Two Words Every Parent Should Say

Guest blog by Amy Dunham

I love chocolate. I specifically enjoy the particular chocolate wrapped in a shiny purple wrapper. Inside is a perfectly bite-sized piece of heaven – dark chocolate. But this is no ordinary chocolate. Underneath the crinkly wrapper is a message intended to inspire and motivate. I recently sat back to enjoy a piece. While the chocolate melted satisfyingly on my tongue, the message inside this particular one nearly made me choke.

“Don’t apologize.”

What?

Now, I understand the intention – to tell the woman on the other end of the chocolate-high that there’s no need to apologize for enjoying the creamy melty goodness stuck on her front teeth.

However, taken at face value, this is really bad advice.

My maternal grandmother, Memaw, has been known to proudly proclaim “I will never say ‘I’m sorry.’” But, boy, should she reconsider her position. She has plenty to apologize for. My mom’s stories of neglect, and physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her mother are tragic. Miraculously she and her two siblings have discovered the ability to forgive their mother.

However, it wasn’t because she asked for it.

Recently my Memaw fell terribly ill and we were all facing the possibility of losing her. My mom took a flight home to see her for, what could have been, the last time. Her secret hope was that Memaw would acknowledge the pain she had inflicted on her children and say two simple words: “I’m sorry.”

Thankfully, my mom is a kind and realistic woman so when Memaw didn’t comply, she was hurt but not devastated. It was par for the course, really. But, oh, what those words could have done for her.

Oh, what those words HAVE done for ME!

The phrase "I'm sorry" is a simple one. Only two little words when separated and left to stand alone have little value. But when connected with sincere intentions and followed by a period, these two words have the power to be earth shattering, life changing, and trajectory altering.

I don’t have the best memory but I can distinctly recall several times my mom apologized to us as children. As a mother of three girls she had plenty of opportunity to mess up. She was great but she wasn’t perfect. Pretty close, though.

As a child, hearing the words “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” come from my Mom was a gift. When my mom apologized I was comforted; I knew that meant I was not expected to be perfect either. When my mom apologized I was empowered to extend forgiveness. When my mom apologized I was enlightened to understand that this is one way humans give each other grace; how they relate, grow, and build community, commonality, and respect.

Now I’m a mom of two. They are still tiny but I have already offered my own fair share of sincere apologies. I’ve apologized for reacting too quickly without all the information. I’ve apologized for losing my patience and my cool. I’ve apologized for being too busy to cuddle or read another story.

I want my children to know that being able to apologize is a sign of humility, a reflection of compassion, a signal of respect, and a necessary skill. So, while I still enjoy those little packages of smooth, sweet, dark chocolate, I prefer to take my advice from my Mom.


Author Amy Dunham is a good friend of mine and the founder of The March House blog where she shares her thoughts and spiritual reflections on motherhood, friendship, marriage and more. Amy is a stay-at-home-mom but prefers the title, President and Chief Officer of Operations and Childhood Development. She makes her home in Bradenton, Florida with her husband, two daughters and quirky schnoodle.

READ MORE HERE: www.themarchhouseblog.com

The White Crayon

These days my daughter is obsessed with crayons. And when I say obsessed, I mean she REALLY enjoys dumping them everywhere, and then “mixing” them up with her hands, aka sending them flying all over the room into all those tiny, hard-to-get-to areas I pretend don’t exist when I clean.

She does sometimes actually get the crayon onto the paper though, and when she does, she demands help from whichever lucky person is sitting the closest to her. She’ll hand you a crayon and say, “hulp, color?” And you stop whatever important adult-thing you’re doing and you color that Curious George page.

It’s pretty adorable I must say.

But have you ever noticed that there’s always one crayon that stays in the crayon box, one crayon that keeps it’s pristine sharp point and neat wrapper?

The white crayon.

Every kid goes through the same process with the white crayon. Pick it up, color for a second, stare at the paper with a confused look. Try it again. Chuck it back in the box. Make a mental note to never use that defective crayon again.

I mean, what’s the point of coloring with a crayon when you can’t even see what you’ve colored?

Well one day I was watching Ellia color away when I noticed this whole event go down. I saw her pick up the white crayon and thought to myself “this won’t take long.” Sure enough, she was back to the purple crayon in seconds and the white one was tossed to the side.

As I sat there watching her it dawned on me that in a way we all have that white crayon in our life in one way or another.

Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you work on something to get a specific result that you just never see those results?

Almost like you’re coloring with a white crayon and no matter how hard you press down or how long you work at it you never see the color show up on the page?

I feel like this a lot in parenting. With discipline. With my toddler’s attitude. With MY attitude. With a million other little things every day (don’t even get me started with housework and laundry).

And especially with character building.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m not getting anywhere with my toddler. I’m not getting through. The color’s not showing up like it’s supposed to.

One day Ellia obeys when I say “don’t touch that.” The next day she touches it 3 times in a row just to see what mommy will do about it.

So the rest of that day I work on teaching her that she needs to obey mommy because mommy loves her and she wants her to be safe. Over and over and over again we go through it and she’s disciplined.

Character building, right?

The next morning she wakes up and first thing she does…runs over to touch it.

Ellia hates sharing. It drives me crazy how naturally selfish she can be (probably because I see it in myself and know that’s where she’s getting most of it from).

So we work on sharing all day.

I try to be creative and purposeful with every opportunity that pops up that could be a learning experience.

“I’m going to be a good mom and teach lessons so she’ll love sharing,” I think to myself. “She’s going to be that kid at the playdate that all the other moms are amazed by. She’ll be the best share-er ever!”  

Ha.

At the end of the day, as she’s snacking on some Cheetos I ask her, “Ellia can you share one of those with mommy?” Aaaaaand she promptly stuffs her whole handful in her mouth so she won’t have anything to share… “mo,” she says through her mouthful of cheese puffs, “mine.”

Sigh.

But then one day something pretty cool happened. I had set Ellia up with some paint and her crayons and as she was slapping paint onto her paper (and all over the curtains next to her) I noticed something that made me smile.

She had used the white crayon and I could see her designs (aka scribbles) clear as day!

As a former art teacher I recognized it right away. It’s called “resist painting.” The wax crayon repels the watercolor paint that is brushed over it and the watercolor paint adheres to the paper surrounding the crayon, making it show up nice and bright!

And it hit me.

Just because I might not see the results I’m working towards doesn’t mean that they’re not there… or that they’re not coming.

Teaching Ellia to share, for example, is exhausting work (seemingly impossible a lot of the time) and I may not see the results I want to see right away… but that doesn’t mean that it’s not building her little character deep down.

A character that shines through when life is thrown at it like that paint on the paper.  

This is our job as parents, and it’s also a huge part I think of why parenting is such a hard job.  

Helping to build our children’s character for this crazy world we live in is no easy task and impossible on our own.

It’s always amazed me that we have a God who knows our hearts and our characters better than we know our own yet still loves us.

Isaiah says the the Lord has searched us and knows us, He understands our thoughts and knows our ways.

He knows every word before it comes off our tongue.

He doesn’t need paint to see our character.

And even after knowing all of that, He continually works on us to build our character, no matter how desperate of a case we may be. He doesn’t give up on us.

He tries to teach us obedience because He loves us and He knows it’s for our own protection. He tries to teach us to share and to love those around us.

Many times we can’t see the fruits of our labor and we’re tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. But take heart because the character of your little cutie is so worth the elbow grease!

And believe it or not, our own character is being molded in the midst of it all.

So the next time you feel like you’re frantically scribbling with a white crayon on white paper and struggling to see the whole picture, remember that it’s not for nothing.

Hopefully when life brushes over that little character, it’ll be a beautiful design that shows up.

This Moment

My phone dinged one afternoon and when I read the words on the screen I had a freak out moment in my head.

Then I literally laughed out loud.  I realized I had set an alarm the night before and titled it “Enjoy your last few mins.”  

You see, I’m one of those annoying people that sets like six alarms so I can trick myself into waking up in the morning.

“Aw crap, it’s time to get out of bed… oh WAIT, I have like 5 more minutes until my next alarm!” I realize it makes no sense at all, but ya know what, I fall for it every time and it’s amazing (until the last alarm goes off and then it was all pointless).

Well, the night before I had apparently made the mistake of setting one of those alarms for 6:24 PM instead of AM, thus the alarm announcing my demise in the middle of the day, causing said mini heart attack.

Now let me clarify that I’m not a paranoid person who walks around all day waiting for my imminent death, nor do I think that iPhones send us encrypted messages about our fatality, this one just caught me off guard, okay?

But then I got to thinking as my heart picked back up to pace, “what if those were my last few minutes?”

I don’t know about you but I find myself spending a lot of my days just trying to get to the next minute.  Trying to get to the next nap time, trying to get to daddy getting home, trying to just get this day over with so my fussy teething Ellia can finally be in bed.  Trying to get to the next day and the next week.

Yes I rush through bath time to get to bed time, yes I practically sprint through the grocery store with Ellia to just get through the shopping fiasco, and yes I may or may not be that mom who drives a liiiiiiittle over the speed limit to get cranky baby home.

Our whole life turns into a blur of trying to get to another moment and we forget the moments that are making us who we are.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with looking forward to our (maybe happier and quieter) future, I was just struck by how significant those few moments felt to me after that alarm went off.

I really felt them.

And ya know, it really gave me a new perspective on how I view my moments.

Each moment that happens will never happen again.  There’s no promise for the next moment either.  Every breath I take in is a gift from God and the same goes for those around me that I love.  

If you think about it, always wanting to get out of the moment we’re in and into another is kind of a bratty way to live our lives, right? It’s like I’m saying, “I’m not content with where I’m at, I want something else.” AKA, brat.

No, we can’t spend every moment of our day wandering around in a daze just soaking up how amazing that moment is, that’s ridiculous.  And not all moments can be enjoyed because sadly we live in a broken world and pain is a part of our lives.

But sometimes we need to stop for an attitude check, look around our world and be thankful to our Maker for the moments we’re having and the people we’re having them with, rather than trying to rush through them.

Even more importantly, remember Who gave them to you, because only He knows how many more you have left. Your iPhone won’t tell you, I promise.

And yes, I will most likely be the first to forget everything I just typed out right here, but I hope that these words will serve as even just a brief reminder to you in this moment.

 


A Matter of Time

I hated having a big family as a kid.  I was third in line out of six, and the only girl.  I remember being embarrassed when we’d pull up to social functions and we’d all come piling out of the rusty Plymouth caravan like a bunch of clowns in a VW Bug.  

Family vacations consisted of camping instead of Disney World (don't get me wrong, I'll be doing the same thing with my kids...) and eating out meant McDonald's value menu ( I still do that).

And not just that, but because there were so many of us (and we lived in tax-happy NY state) my parents couldn’t afford to buy all 6 of us the stylish and expensive Adidas brand shorts everyone else wore to middle school gym class.

So what do you do when you're in those awkward teen years and you care more than ever about how much you fit in? Obviously you cut and sew white stripes of fabric to your Kmart brand parachute shorts. I'm embarrassed just by the memory of how bad they came out.

Clearly all the frustrations in my life at that time could be attributed to being in a big family.

But as I got older (and less bratty I guess) I began to appreciate all the unique relationships I had with each of my brothers and slowly began to enjoy being part of a “big family.”

By the time I reached college I had come full circle and decided that I wanted a big family myself. Our holidays were so much fun when we were all together and I really wanted that dynamic for my future family as well.

Fortunately for me, Thad loved kids and wanted a bunch of his own as well.  The “plan” was to wait a couple years after we got married to get our quality time in (cause face it… that’s the only time it happens, ha!) then get pregnant and start our big family.  Just like that.

Psych.

Apparently that’s not how it happens for everyone. After two years of being married and enjoying all sorts of solo adventures we started trying for a baby and month after month the pregnancy tests showed up negative.

We practically had to create a pregnancy test budget with the amount of those tests I bought.  I would convince myself it was “just too early” and the test wasn't reading right, or it was a malfunctioning one so I’d take three more while Thad shook his head in the other room and would mutter something about wasting another $10.

After about two and a half years of trying to no avail, we both went to specialists to get tested and were both told that we were perfectly fine and that it was “just a matter of time.”

“Time.” Well, that time was wasting! I wanted my big family and in order for that to happen, we needed babies…fast!  

One night in October of 2013 I casually took my weekly pregnancy test and just about fell over when two lines showed up! Thad was working a short job up in North Carolina at the time and I’ll never forget the joy on that boy’s face when I told him over FaceTime that he was going to be a daddy. I think we both cried.

THE facetime call :)

THE facetime call :)

We had finally started our family.

The timing was perfect. We were just about to make a huge move to Texas which meant I could have one OBGYN for the entire pregnancy, and not have to move in the middle of it all (that’s a big deal for us)!

We praised God for His perfect timing that we couldn’t have planned any better.

15 weeks later I miscarried.

It was a traumatic experience lined with grief, confusion and some scary moments.

Needless to say, we were devastated. Confused as to why God would seemingly retract His timing that had looked so right to us, yet still trying to recognize His Sovereignty in it all.

Friends all around me were getting pregnant and having beautiful healthy babies. I remember specifically praying that I wouldn’t have a heart of jealousy and bitterness toward them and the Lord was gracious to me and truly answered my prayer during that trying time.

When I recovered we went back to the miserable “trying” stage again, and to our great surprise and shock found out we were pregnant with Ellia only 3 months later.  

Being pregnant again didn’t make the miscarriage all better. There were still times of sadness when I wondered about what life would have been like if that first pregnancy had gone full term.  

It’s not like being pregnant with one baby replaces a lost one, I guess it just helped us move on in a different fashion, with a new realization of the frailty of life and an understanding that pregnancy doesn’t always ensure a baby as the end result.

Despite the mixed emotions, there was a new hope inside my belly (who had gotten really good at kicking me in my ribs).

Nine months later we met our beautiful Ellia Lane, delivered at the hospital we had planned on, by the doctor I had seen the whole pregnancy.

Our criteria for it being “good timing" had still panned out, despite our questioning God’s reasons.

Jump forward 12 months and I started my weekly trips to the store with Ellia in tow for pregnancy tests.  Four months and who knows how many negative pregnancy tests later I began getting anxious again.  

I was already counting the months between Ellia and her future sibling’s ages and not happy about how the age difference kept growing.  I wanted her to have a brother or sister close to her age so they would be close friends (close friends means less fighting, right?)

Heck, I wanted them to be close just so we could get moving on our big family that seemed to be shrinking already!

One morning I sat down and re-evaluated my attitude. I realized I was feeling jealous of all my friends who were already months into their second and third pregnancies and I hated that I felt that way. You’d think I would have learned from the first time around but NOPE.  

Seven weeks ago Thad held a pregnancy test in his hand and covered the screen with his hand saying, “you always get to see the results first, I get to watch it this time!”  Unable to hide his excitement he held up the test to show me the  word “pregnant” that read on the little screen.  

We celebrated with our family and told a few close friends our exciting news. I happily put away all the pregnancy tests, pads and tampons cause I wasn’t going to be needing them again for a while, woohoo!

Then two weeks later I started bleeding. Terrible memories came flooding back and I slowly grasped the concept that I would be meeting two babies in heaven now.

Baby #3's little grave marked with a flower

Baby #3's little grave marked with a flower

After countless sonograms and blood tests I landed in the hospital and it was determined that there was a good chance the pregnancy was ectopic. I was treated with a shot of radiation and told afterwards that we weren’t allowed to get pregnant for 5-6 months following the treatment for risk of complications with pregnancy.

Six more months of waiting to even start trying again! It literally felt like a punch in the stomach.

I spent the next couple days huddled over the toilet throwing up and thinking about how different things would be if I was throwing up because of morning sickness instead of radiation.

I’m telling you all of this now because I know how easy it is for us to get carried away in writing our own timeline for our lives. And it’s hard when our timelines and God’s timelines don't match up.

But in those trying times we can have peace in knowing that there’s a bigger reason behind God’s timing that we may not see. He transcends time itself, and time answers to Him as it’s Creator! Who better to leave that with? 

God's timing will always, always be better than our own.

Looking over at Ellia while she climbs up and down her highchair, I can’t help but smile because I can’t imagine our life without her.

Because ultimately, if we hadn’t had that first miscarriage I wouldn’t have her here with me today. 

And that was part of God’s beautiful timeline that I couldn’t see.

"I am God, and there is no one like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things which have not been done,
saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
and I will accomplish all My good pleasure."

Isaiah 46:9-10

The boo-boo

Years ago, I remember having a conversation with Thad about how much fun it would be to have a baby that had the same sense of adventure and independence as us, with a little kick of spitfire.

We didn’t know what we were asking for…cause we got it.

Ellia is all of those things…and much more. Of course we wouldn’t take any of it back because we love her little personality to death and we’d like to think we’re up for the challenge. “Like to think” being the key words there. Really we’re clueless in all this.

I won’t lie to you when I say that I have days when I'm not so sure I’m going to survive the spitfire we thought would be so fun.

Speaking of survival, I was just pulled away from the laptop to change Ellia’s blowout diaper… and when I say blowout, I mean a turd literally fell out of her diaper when I took her pants off. So yah, there’s surviving that.

So anyways, Ellia is at the age now where she clearly has an opinion and a will of her own, complete with an impressive amount of stubbornness. Whether or not she gets her opinion or her will is another story, but the fact is that it’s there. It’s very much there.

She loves being outside so the other day we went on our little excursion to the walking track in the neighborhood so she could run around and play in a big open space (there’s also a fence around the track, aka she can’t escape which is awesome for me).  

I offered her my hand to hold as we walked but she promptly refused it and ran in the opposite direction.  Three steps in and she tripped and went down hard.  I winced at her sad little “ow, boo-boo” and red scraped knees. After brushing her off and setting her back down, I offered my hand again.

Again, she pushed my hand away and went off on her own little adventure, this time landing herself in a pile of red fire ants.

Now if you’ve ever been bit by a florida fire ant then you understand how much I loathe those little objects of death. It’s not right how much pain can come from such a tiny little insect.

Her little face wrinkled and tears welled up as she just stood there getting bit.

I ran over and brushed them off as fast as I could, taking a couple bites on my hands in the process.  The two stings on my hand made my stomach do a little flip knowing how much her little legs were probably burning right then.

As a mother, there’s really nothing like feeling the pain of your child. It’s a different kind of pain that just can’t be described. Even just little ant bites.

There’s also something about flattening those ants into an oblivion that’s satisfying, but we won’t get into that.

This time as we turned to leave she reached up to me and I carried her back to the car in my arms.

Later as I was rinsing the gravel off her knees and examining her sad little polka dotted legs that had obviously lost the battle, I couldn’t help but think about how the Lord must feel the same way about me.

So many times in my life I’ve found myself in the same situation Ellia was in where the Lord offered His hand to me and said “come this way, Esther, I know the way.” But my stubbornness and strong willed spirit said “nope, I want to go THAT way!”

The end result was always pain.  

And I know that my pain, just like those ant bites causes Him pain too… why? Because He’s my Father. He loves me like I love Ellia but so so so much more, on a completely different scale that our human minds can’t even comprehend.

I may have carried Ellia and physically sustained her over these past 16 months of her little life but I didn’t design her little being, breathe life into her and know her very thoughts, her future, and the even the extent of her stubbornness.

How much more does it pain God when I refuse His hand and fall flat on my face as a result?

It’s been about a week since our little walk and Ellia’s scraped knees are just starting to heal over and the ant bites are slowly fading.

Ellia will point to her knees (seemingly hundreds of times a day) and remind me that she has a boo-boo there.

Those times of healing in my own life have taught me a lot about what it means to trust God and have been invaluable to my walk of faith and my relationship with Christ.

But that day on the track served as an eye opener for me to see things from a new perspective as a mother.  Ellia’s boo-boo’s will always hurt me too, and will serve as a constant reminder that the boo-boos caused by my own stubbornness hurt my Father even more than I'll ever know.



Skinny Jeans

There’s no step by step guidebook to being a mom. I’m sure there are people who have tried to write books along those lines (since clearly they have all the answers, ha) but ultimately a big part of life is experiencing the unknown.

I’ll never forget my first grocery shopping attempt with Ellia right after she was born. Talk about the unknown.

Grammy had flown back home and there was just no more putting it off. It was time. I needed to face the terrifying real world by myself and buy some actual food (which if you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I despise doing with or without a newborn baby). Macaroni and cheese wasn’t cutting it anymore.

I planned it all out the day before.

I would wait until the afternoon when she was the sleepiest, frantically change her, feed her, bundle her up and get to the closest local grocery store as fast as I could. I didn’t care that everything was twice as much there…I just needed to survive the experience and get back home before she woke up to eat again.

Seemed like it could work.

I made it to the store and spent about 15 minutes trying to get her car seat to click into the shopping cart handle. In the meantime, at least 4 other moms walked past me, grabbed a cart, clicked their car seats in and hit the store like pros with 3 other kids in tow.

I finally gave up and concluded that mine just wasn’t the kind of car seat to do that (it was). So I put her whole seat inside the cart and pretended like I had planned to do that all along.

After about 20 minutes the cereal boxes and veggies started piling up around her car seat and by the time I got to the diaper aisle there was no way it was going to fit unless it went in her lap.  I sat there for a good 5 minutes just staring at the cart thinking “how do people do this?”

I somehow managed to move things around and make space I guess because somehow I made it out to the car… where I quickly ran into my next predicament.

I had two choices (that my frazzled brain could think of at the time). I could either put the baby and the groceries in the car and then leave them alone while I returned the cart a million miles away… or… I could ditch the cart next to the car.

I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you leave the shopping cart next to your car… I’m just saying you’re a terrible person (jk I’m not really).  But I had put in my years at Kmart retrieving that one lone cart on the other side of the world.

I sat there and racked my brain for several minutes trying to think of what all other moms do before I finally just left the shopping cart next to the car and went home. Where was that guidebook when I needed it?

Several months later while Ellia was in prime crawling stage, I headed out the door to do some clothes shopping.

My muffin top and fat preggo-ice-cream-craving-thighs were starting to diminish so I thought maybe I could squeeze myself into some stylish skinny jeans.

And then I got into the fitting room.

I set Ellia on the floor and had just managed to get both feet into the pants when Ellia made a mad dash for the space under the fitting room door.  It’s amazing how fast those little humans can move as crawlers.

Now if you’ve ever worn skinny jeans, then you understand the predicament I had here.

Do you remember back in middle school when those Chinese finger traps were so popular? The harder you pulled your fingers the tighter the trap got? That’s the closest thing I can compare the process of removing skinny jeans to.

Jeans half off and inside out, I frantically tripped and dove for Ellia’s foot just as it started to disappear under the changing room door and was barely able to drag her back under the door whilst she laughed hysterically.

And so commenced a new fun game for Ellia. How far could she get out the door before mommy pulled her back in again?

I can only imagine what the people sitting outside the changing room doors thought of this spectacle. I try not to think about it.

It took me a good while before I finally managed to peel those jeans off and retreat to the safety of my car. Needless to say, I didn’t buy those skinny jeans.

Once again I was stuck sitting there wondering “how do you do it?” Looking back now I have all sorts of solutions.

But isn’t that just like life? So often we’re stuck in those “how do I do it?” moments with no obvious answers in front of us.  We may never have an answer or maybe we’ll have all sorts of “answers” down the road. It may even seem like everyone else has it all figured out.

Most times we just wing it and try to just get through it.  

But that’s the beautiful thing about trust. Trust can’t exist without the unknown.  

Why do you think God allows us to experience those times in our life when we have no answers?  Because it’s in those times that we turn to Him and admit, “Lord, I have no answers of my own, I don’t know how to do this. Help me.”

God does have the answers. He can see your future because He wrote it. Whether He chooses to reveal those answers to us at that very second is His choice, but He promises that if we ask for them, He’ll provide them. He knows the answers to our questions before we even ask them.

“…before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

But you have to ask!

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

So the next time you find yourself in a situation that seems helpless, remember that the unknown can be a good thing… because it pushes you to the One who holds the answers and that’s the best place you can be.

It is what it is

I made it a whole three weeks after moving into our latest rental house before I finally had to just bite the bullet and do it. The dreaded first grocery stop. It’s not a normal grocery run you see.

Before we move I always raid the kitchen cupboards and fridge and send all our food items through a rigorous elimination process.

If they fall into any of the below categories then they don’t make it into the box:

1.   I don’t know what it is- like dill weed…what in the world is dill weed?!
2.   I’ve moved it twice and still haven’t used it once
3.   If it’s perishable and it’s clearly perishing
4.   If the expiration date is 2000 or older
5.   I can’t fit it in the box

So basically I get to my new location and my kitchen is empty.  

Which means I have to start all over, wherefore the dreaded first grocery shop accompanied by a general sense of remorse for keeping my own rules.

Today was that day.

I knew I was already pushing my limits when I headed out since Ellia’s nap time was approaching quickly. But I was out of milk and cereal (my staple) so it was going.to.happen.

Two hours later I’m pulling back into my driveway while pulling my hair out at the same time. Ellia’s screaming in her carseat and only half the groceries I needed made it into the cart before I abandoned ship and fled the grocery store.

In usual Esther fashion I was determined to make it into the house in one trip; screaming baby, binky, the rogue shoe, diaper bag in one hand and 30 bags of groceries in the other…all at once. Sometimes I wonder what the neighbors think when they see me.

And that’s when I dropped one of the bags and *clink* it hit the cement. Dahhhhhh of ALL the bags, it had to be that one. The cute coffee mug I had found at the store.

Frustration set in as I bent down and picked it up while oranges are rolling out of one of the other bags and Ellia’s slipping out of my arms and crying for the binky she just saw in my other hand.

When I got inside and pulled it out of the bag to assess the damage I saw a tiny chip on the rim. "Crap. Where's the receipt" was my first thought. But then I read the text and smiled. How ironic.

It is what it is.

We’re all that mug with a little chip broken out of it. As long as we’re here on this earth we’ll never live a perfect, easy life. Sometimes we’re careless or just plain dumb and chip our life up, and other times chips get taken out of our life for reasons we don’t understand.

But there are some things in this life that we can’t change.

I can’t change the fact that I don't know when and where we’re going to be moving to next. I can’t change the fact that I had a rough morning or that I miss my husband because he’s 5 states away working right now or that I lost three oranges under the car. I could go on and on but the point is that it is what it is.  

Scripture doesn’t promise us an easy road. As a Christian it actually promises the opposite. Imagine that! But we have hope because even with that chip damage we can still be used because the Lord promises to be with us along the crazy road.  

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43

I might be chipped up and cracked a bit (a little more than usual on some days with Ellia) but I have One who stands by me and Who knows why it is what it is when I have absolutely no clue.

So I’m keeping my little chipped mug. I don’t think it was an accident that I dropped it today in the midst of all that was going on. Now every time I resort to my desperation coffee in the midst of a frazzled day that little chip will serve as a reminder:

it is what it is... and it's not gonna be perfect cause you aren't either.

 

 

 

 

 

Selfie Rules

Apparently there are some unwritten selfie rules out there that no one actually talks about but everyone uses. A lot. So let's lay them out for you. Here are a few of the most popular ones I've come across since selfies became what America is founded on:

Never let your selfie be about anybody but you. If it has to be then just make sure they're ugly.

 

The saturation button is proportionate to your hotness.

 

Random Inspirational quotes disguise selfies and make them seem like they're not actually selfies...especially the bathroom ones.

 

Complaining about yourself always gets you more attention and more comments about how beautiful you are.

 

If you stand in front of the sun you look like an angel.

 

If you washout your face enough then no one has to see what your face really looks like.

 

Always smile in your selfies no matter what's actually happening. Also, wear your seatbelt.

 

Always take the picture from above to make yourself look smaller and your duck lips bigger.

 

If at all possible, find a baby to use in your selfie because everyone likes babies and you'll get lots of likes.

There are lots more but for sanity's sake I'm not going into them all.  Also my lips hurt from making the duck face. 

The good thing is, this generation will have lots of material to scroll through when we're old and grey sitting in our rocking chairs one day. "Oh look, a picture of my face. Oh, there I am again! And again..."

You now have the official rules about selfies, so here's my rule that I've always said:

If you're completely comfortable taking a solo selfie...you need to stop, like now.

There needs to be a at least a small amount of awkwardness involved for it to be healthy. Don't feel awkward? Chuck that selfie stick, put away your duck face and try taking pictures of the people around you. You'll thank me when you're 90.

You're welcome =)

Center of the Orbit

I unpacked Ellia's bubble blower this afternoon (genius invention by the way) and as she stood out in the yard surrounded by swirling bubbles, I had a flashback to middle school studying the geocentric theory  (not gonna lie, I had to google it) where the thought was that the whole universe revolved around the earth.

And that got me thinking.

Ya know, being a mom really exposes your weaknesses.

Well, I can tell you it brings out mine… I mean, think about it. You’re raising another little human! A mini person with a real soul and personality is completely dependent on you for every part of their little physical existence… it’s really a terrifying thought the more you think about it. Be prepared for a little anxiety attack if you’re gonna venture down that thought. Maybe save it for later.

But I think what it really boils down to is the fact that we as humans are just RIDICULOUSLY selfish.

Our culture has drilled it into our brains. Serve me now. Make me happy. Build my self esteem. Fulfill my needs- I may not even know what those needs are but I can sure as heck throw some ideas out there for you. In that geocentric theory, clearly I am the earth. Me, me, me.

It’s an inward obsession that pours nothing out.

But that’s the thing about parenting. It punches selfishness directly in the face.

All of a sudden it’s not all about you. And it stays that way. When that baby enters the world your life goes straight out that window. In a good way of course…it’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s just that now you’re not the earth anymore.

Congratulations, you now revolve around the baby.

You can cry all you like and beg your baby (I tried that) to sleep for just one minute longer so you can just get 3 hours of straight sleep, but when that baby wakes up hungry you will drag your zombie self out of bed and you will feed her.  You can pout all day long about having to change another poopy diaper, but guess what; that doesn’t change the fact that the poop will keep coming and will eventually find it’s way onto your walls in the bathroom and into your furniture.

Your free time, heck any time, is owned by your baby. Your house is now your baby’s.  Your body’s been totaled by your baby. Your social life is taken by your baby. Your marriage is affected by your baby, even your precious, precious bed is monopolized by your baby.  

So how is it that after all of that we still love our babies with a love that can’t even be described?  That we’re filled with an overwhelming joy when we hold our sweet babies? (except for the period between 1am-5am… there’s generally no joy during those hours of night) That we would give (almost) anything to make them happy and wouldn’t think twice about giving our life for theirs?

Selflessness.

An outward pouring that fills you up.

It was designed and displayed beautifully for us by our Maker. It’s really an incredible thing because it goes against our very nature. Against every fiber of our being. Against our culture. Scripture teaches that Jesus "emptied Himself" in becoming a man so that He could provide us with life.

Isn't that parenting? (on a much, much smaller scale)  Our job as parents is to empty ourselves, whether it be from lack of sleep, or lack of time, or lack of whatever, so that we can provide a life for our babies. I'm writing this at 2am right now, so I will be extra empty in the sleep area tomorrow. I can tell you for sure that my brain is empty a whole lot more now.

I’m not saying that complete selflessness is an instant byproduct of becoming a parent. I’m just saying that parenting trains you to learn to be selfless. It teaches you what it means to put something before yourself whether you wanted that training or not.

And it’s exactly what we need. What our culture needs. It’s not all about me, me, me. It’s about Who put me here and who I can serve while I’m here for Him. That’s what the story of this life should be about.  So check your orbit…who’s at the center?

 

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Philippians 2:5-8

 

 

 

Flu home for the Holidays

We love being home for the holidays. But for that to happen, lots of other things have to happen that may or may not be so fun.  Let me break it down for you just in case you were curious.

The first week of December: everything is so exciting. Your husband lets you start playing Christmas music on Pandora, Hobby Lobby is finally justified in their Christmas decor, suddenly snow is exciting instead of annoying, your OCD friend that always has all their Christmas shopping done by August sends you an early gift, the Hallmark channel starts playing cheesy Christmas movies around the clock, the rednecks bust out their Christmas lights on the grills of their trucks and the car reindeer antlers make their appearance.  What a festive week!

Second week of December: You notice your neighbor’s yard is decked out and you still have your rotting pumpkins on your front porch, so you forge your way through your attic chaos to find your dusty tub of Christmas decorations.  And this is where it all starts.

You remember that last year you were exhausted by the time you took your tree down and now you will pay for your laziness.  Half the ornaments are missing their hooks and the lights will take approximately 4.7 hours to untangle. Three hours into your untangling you realize you haven’t plugged any of them in yet at which time you discover that five of the seven strands don’t work.  You now have two options. You can spend another seven hours examining all the little bulbs to try to figure out which single light is the culprit for sabotaging the rest of the string, or you can chuck the whole thing.

Next comes the dreaded packing. It’s a rule- the longer you think about how much you need to get packed the longer you get stuck in what I call “packing paralysis,” where one stands in front of their closet and stares blankly into the abyss as panic begins to set in.  Three hours later your suitcase is still empty, and you’re lying in your bed staring at the ceiling. When you finally manage to get some clothes in your bag, you turn around to find your baby happily unpacking your bag for you.  

The airport is your next little adventure.  Traveling during the holidays is possibly the worst idea that exists. But we all do it and we all pick the same day to do it on.  The flight board is all green except for one red delayed flight which of course is yours. Your baby is screaming because she’s not at home in her bed for nap and every minute feels like an eternity. Every other gate seems to be boarding and getting to their destination but the departure time on your board keeps moving further and further back.  Your baby is at the “I want to be on the floor eating everything” stage and you feel like you just ran a marathon from chasing her around desperately trying to keep her from climbing your neighbors legs.

The agents are offering free round trip tickets to anywhere in the continental USA to anyone who offers to give up their seats and all you can think of is how you might shoot yourself in the face if you had to do that. The young childless couple next to you excitedly accepts the deal and you reminisce on the good ol’ days of spontaneity as your baby brings you back to reality with a nice rumble in her diaper... good thing you just changed her 5 minutes ago and smelled up the whole restroom with her dirty diaper already.

When your plane finally arrives, the agents offer pre-boarding for anyone with children which initially sounds like a perk…but really it’s just an extra 20 minutes of torture of inventing ways to entertain your over-tired baby whose attempts to dive off your lap into the aisle are about to succeed.  As you wrangle your baby back into your lap and pick up the toy she's dropped on the floor for the 19th time in 5 minutes you notice that boarding passengers are looking in your direction then double checking their seating assignments with that "oh crap I hope I'm not next to them" look. I could write a book about all the methods you use to keep a baby content for a three hour plane ride, but I’ll save that for another day. I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it right now.

Success: two minutes of distraction with headphones

Success: two minutes of distraction with headphones

You’ve finally arrived at your destination… you’re home for the holidays! To preserve your sanity you pretend like you don’t have to do the whole thing again in a week. Your first night of sleep (or lack of) you remember why you love your mattress at home so much and three days later you remember why 25 people aren’t supposed to live in one house together.

Then the inevitable happens. Someone had the flu or a cold and kindly shares it with everyone (that was us, FYI). And now you all feel like death. Snot flows freely and the tissue mountains multiply.  

Literally knocked off our feet with the flu

Literally knocked off our feet with the flu

And that’s where we’re at right now.  Recovering from the flu and all out of wack. A week ago Ellia had a “schedule” for naps and bedtime. At this point I don’t know what a schedule is and clearly neither does she. She’s been held and played with all week so we’ll be starting “grandma rehab” in a couple days (if we survive the trip back home), at which point I’ll be ripping down all my Christmas decorations and throwing them in their trusty tub like I do every year.

All this to say; I love my crazy family so much that it’s all worth it.  And we’ll be doing it all again next year. See you next year flu.

It's a really good idea to run around outside in the snow when you're recovering from the flu

It's a really good idea to run around outside in the snow when you're recovering from the flu

The Phone Call

We got the phone call the day before yesterday. It was actually a little earlier than I expected. Normally it goes something like this, "We have a job in (fill in random remote city) and we need your crew there in about 3 weeks. Close out your leases and start loading up."

After 2 years and 2 months in cowboy country Texas, our water pipeline crew that my husband heads up is heading back across the country to the exact same city we lived in 2 years and 2 months ago; Land O' Lakes, FL (no they don't make butter there, I asked the same question).  This is the first time we're moving back to the same location and the first time I'm excited about moving! Well, I take part of that back... I hate packing and unpacking and cleaning and closing out utility accounts and filling out the USPS change of address forms which always ends up in us losing mail for 2 months... and more than anything I HATE saying goodbye to friends we've made (even Ellia has a bff to miss now).  BUT this time is different because we're moving somewhere familiar! And that's exciting.

We have a week or two after we get back from our Christmas vacation with my family in NY to pack it up and move it out of Lubbock, which in my calculations is just about perfect. I've got the timing down to a science at this point and 2 whole weeks means I get to take my sweet time pulling down my wall decor (which Thad will inevitably ask "are you sure we need to bring that?") and throwing all 10 of my kitchen utensils in a box.  I also COULD start packing now and technically have like 3 weeks....nahhhhh.

Thad and I have the same 3 epiphanies with every single move we make  "Why do we have so much stuff? We're giving it all away. How do we have so many boxes when there's 3 of us?!"  So we get a little move happy and start chucking stuff and taking trips to goodwill... and then when we get to our new location realize that we don't have a couch. Or a dresser. And so I visit my favorite website in the world (Craigslist) and thus the epiphanies repeat themselves. My husband even told me this morning that we need to sell our dresser...again.

So as I sit here on my couch looking around the room wondering what we can get rid of this time, I can feel a little bubble of excitement knowing that we're going to be living near old friends again soon. And I'm not gonna lie, we're going to be in florida, aka sun and beach and warmth and green, versus a billion degrees and sand and prickly cactus.

People always ask me "how do you do it?" And ya know, 6 years ago I would have had a very different answer to that question.  I remember bawling my eyes out at night missing my family and friends when Thad was working crazy long hours and I didn't know anyone in the area. My life revolved around trying to keep myself occupied with something, anything (that's also how we got our dog...terrible idea when you move all the time) to stay happy until he got home.  I didn't feel like I had a purpose besides cooking him burned macaroni and cheese and making sure his work clothes were clean. 

But in the past 6 years I've changed, I think because I have a little bit of a different outlook. Not to say the moves aren't still hard... they are. But rather than trying to figure out how to make myself happy, I try to figure out what my purpose is in that new location.  I'm not saying I'm a super influential person or anything. But there are reasons in our lives that are bigger than us for the why's and the who's and the when's in our lives.  It's not all about me. There's a reason I worked at a fishing warehouse (when I know nothing about fish), there's a reason I ended up living in the texas countryside after miscarrying my baby. There's a reason we were put in the desert for us to have friends in the same stage of life as us. And now there's a reason for us to move back near that fishing warehouse.

A lot of times I don't know the reason right away; most times it's not until much later, often years.  And sometimes I don't ever figure out the reason behind it. But I can have confidence knowing that the Maker of this Universe does have a reason and I'm privileged when He shows me what it is.  When I recognize that as part of my purpose... then happiness follows naturally (for the most part... that happiness often disappears when I'm frantically scrubbing the toilets and scraping baby boogers off the walls).

This has been my life verse for the past 6 years of our crazy life. One of these days I need to make it into like a 6 foot canvas or tattoo it to my forehead cause I tend to forget it when our going get's tough (ha, get it..."going?")

 

"The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Ex. 31:8

 

Waiting for THE email to load showing us where our next home was going to be when we got transferred out here to Lubbock, TX.

Waiting for THE email to load showing us where our next home was going to be when we got transferred out here to Lubbock, TX.

Also, FYI, there is still a good chance my next blog post will be about how the company has changed their minds and we're heading somewhere else... story of this life!

 

Chapter 1

So this is it. I always said I would NEVER be a blogger and I would NEVER tweet hash tagging tweets. Wellllll, I guess that fits perfectly into the Story of This Life cause #YaNeverKnow what's gonna happen in this life. 

We all live a crazy unpredictable life on this earth but amazingly, we all have quite a bit in common when you boil it down.  Speaking of boiling it down, I forgot about the beef stew I'm making...crap.  There's one thing a bunch of us have in common... terrible cooks. Seriously I have no chance. I've never even made beef stew before and I probably just ruined it haha.  Okay, so anyways- aaaand there's my daughter waking up from her nap. I don't get how moms do this blogging thing. 

Okay baby's happy, and the stove is off. I have like 2 minutes before daddy's home from work and the dog comes charging in the house knocking everything over with her tail. My point was this... We all have a lot in common. And even though it might be chaos (kind of like this blog post), we get it when people are real. My best friends are those who are down to earth and honest about their life, who are vulnerable to those around them and who can look back and laugh at the chaos.

I hope in this blog and through our videos that the Story of This Life comes across as one that's genuine and real. That it makes you smile and that you can say "I relate."  And if you can't relate maybe you can give me some tips to control this mess. Deal? Deal.

I feel like bloggers are always posting pictures of their food, so here ya go. The nasty soup. Notice the conspicuously placed veggies to make a more aesthetic picture...

I feel like bloggers are always posting pictures of their food, so here ya go. The nasty soup. Notice the conspicuously placed veggies to make a more aesthetic picture...