Tuesday, November 26, 2013

She Said Yes : my brother's proposal


One of my triplet brothers proposed a few weekends back... gosh, saying that still seems so crazy. To me, he's still that little boy with only underwear and boots on running around with a toy gun chasing his brothers. I love this kid. My little brothers mean the absolute world to me. I'm three years older and was always trying to be their momma. Although they never listened, I still feel like a momma bear to them. I've been praying for their future wives since I was 12. Women who will fit right into our family, love my brothers, encourage them, support them, and shine Jesus. When Ricky brought Alyssa over to a family Christmas event a little over three years ago, I'll admit, I was skeptical. Because, that's the job of the sister. No girl is good enough for my little brother, we say. Until there is that girl who your brother isn't good enough for because she's like ten levels of awesomeness. You know, she's like waaayyy out of his league and then somehow he charms her into dating him. That's Alyssa. She's the way out of his league girl. And we couldn't be more excited for their wedding.

He proposed at Starbucks (where they went on their very first date). She didn't even know he had a ring (which he picked out by himself and it's ballllerrrr). Everyone got there before her and helped him set up. I'm telling you that wait was the worst. So. much. anxiety.

All of her (and his) friends and family were stuffed into the two bathrooms. I waited out back with Ricky & then we both sneaked in when she wasn't looking.  Once she saw Ricky & they sat down, everyone came out of the bathrooms. Needless to say, she totally didn't see this coming & every thing went off without a hitch.
 ^^ I mean, presious

June 14th can't come soon enough. Can't wait to have a 3rd sister!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Real Life Diaries : My Miscarriage

Psalm 112:7  
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

I've avoided writing this post like the plague, but I think I'm ready to blabber out all my thoughts, get them written, get this post over with, and try to figure out how to press forward.

I miscarried.

This past 2 weeks has been the most insane. Let me just give you a brief recap. My sister miscarries, my brother gets engaged, I find out I'm pregnant but that somethings wrong, the Lord works a miracle in my family's life, spiritual warfare hits me like never before, I spend an entire week in and out of the ER & doctor's office praying and hoping that somehow my pregnancy makes it.

I feel like I've been living in this waiting room. Living in the uncertainty is hands down one of the most depressing places to linger in. A trip to the ER after taking a positive at home pregnancy test, but having two weeks worth of bleeding happened last Sunday. It was a useless trip. They couldn't tell me a definite answer. I then spent all of last week in and out of the doctor's office 9 times having my blood taken & multiple ultrasounds. My doctor worried that since my levels were slowly rising, but because they were weeks behind what they should be, that I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. I begged the Lord for that to not be so.

On Friday, I was told that my levels went down. Thus meaning a miscarriage but not ectopic. I don't even know if I can accurately describe my emotions from it all. I'm obviously upset and devastated of our loss. Having C shows me what I'm missing and that's heart breaking. Losing a baby, no matter how far along, is always, always difficult. I'm relieved that it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy. I'm scared it will happen again. I'm mostly numb, confused how to feel. I never was allowed to celebrate this pregnancy, it was ended before I even knew it began. To me, that's just evidence of the Lord's grace. I can't imagine how much harder it would be for me if I had known and gotten excited. The Lord rescued me from that. I'm at peace. I know the Lord is always good. He was incredibly gracious in His timing. Because my family was experiencing great joy from another situation, my focus was more on that joy than my own grief.  I'm joyful. Jesus is my true joy, not my present circumstances.
John Piper says it best, “the human quest for joy leads straight to the missionary heart of God. You can see it already. But let me put it together: God is the fountain of joy because he is blindingly glorious, and infinitely worthy, and breathtakingly beautiful, and awesome in power, and inscrutable in wisdom, and limitless in knowledge, and tender in mercy, and terrible in wrath, and the source and foundation of all truth and goodness and beauty. When we see him for what he really is, and turn from all the broken cisterns of the world that cannot satisfy (Jeremiah 2:13), we find "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

I'm also thankful. Thankful that we are adopting, that even though we lost one child, I have another child on the way. I'm overwhelmed by God's grace and comfort. Knowing that I will one day see this child in perfection overwhelms me with gratitude.

I know that every woman struggles and deals with her miscarriage differently & that is perfectly okay. And while I'm devastated my sister experienced a miscarriage, I'm thankful we can heal together. Her healing process will be completely different from mine, and although our situations are entirely different, she still understands what I'm going through. And even when I feel alone in my situation, when I feel like no one really, truly understands what I'm feeling, I know that God knows.
 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

And I just have to add that I have the most incredible husband. He allowed me to grieve in a way that made sense to me. He's held my hand, cuddled me, reassured me, and loved me through this all. He's served his guts out & taken care of our son. He exudes Christ's love to me & I'm so thankful.

oh, and reading this post helped a lot. I had no idea when I asked her to write that post, that I would be reading it one day for myself. Girlfriend nailed exactly what I wanted to say here today. GO read that post, especially if you are suffering from or have ever suffered with a miscarriage. I couldn't have said it better myself!! So thankful for this girl & all my other friends and family who loved on us, cooked us dinner, cleaned our home, sent us encouraging texts, and most importantly prayed for us. There is simply nothing quite like the body of Christ.

All of this for the Glory of the Lord. He is so good. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


 Just stopping by quickly today. I have 6 sessions this weekend with a few other meetings & what not mixed in. This week has been quite the blur. My closest loved ones are hurting & some other stuff. Honestly, I'm ready for this week to be d o n e, but I'm thankful for how good the Lord has been through it all. But I'm stopping by today to share this. Because this was just what I needed to hear today. And I'm hoping you'll read it, and it will be what you needed to read too.

Yada, Yada, Yada.

Read THIS.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hump Day

I'm over HERE today sharing a little bit about our adoption. I really encourage you to check out this series that Megan is hosting over on her blog. It's been so incredibly encouraging to me during this hard waiting season. Thanks Meg for letting me guest post!

Happy Hump Day, friends. What am I doing today? Oh you know, just editing alll day:) And don't misunderstand that, I'm thankful!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

something I've been itching to share

I'm thankful I can use my blog as an avenue to get the word out for others who are actively pursuing obedience to the Lord and His call on their lives. I pray that as you read this post, you would prayerfully consider what you could do to help these causes. I know for myself, in the past, I have passed up on an opportunity to help or support because at the end of the day I was just too selfish or too lazy. I made excuses of what else my 5 bucks could be used for and missed an opportunity to serve and support. There are countless of articles or post or videos watched where I've read or watched and thought "oh, go them" but then never asked myself "how can I help them go?"

What if we, the church, stopped thinking "oh go them" or "wow, the Lord is using them"  and started thinking "OHH how can I help them go" or "what could I do" or even "yes, I can sacrifice a little in order to help them alot". That doesn't always mean giving financially. Sometimes that means sharing, spreading the word, or praying consistently.

Seriously, what if all of the church nation and worldwide started thinking that way. We read and read and read a lot of really good stories. You know, the ones everyone share's on Fb. We see cool videos floating around. We hear the cry for help. And yet so often, after we finish watching that video, or reading that article, or seeing the need we just think "oh that's cool, good for them for taking action" and then we go about our day and we miss out on being apart of something bigger.

Today, I'm asking you to prayerfully consider taking action. Today, I want to give you the opportunity to perhaps think and respond differently.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Cassandra. She informed me she was an avid reader of my blog, and her and her husband were called to plant a church in Amsterdam. AMSTERDAM. ummm, hello can I visit? Now let me just interrupt this story real quick. Husband and I are apart of a church plant. We planted a little over 3 years ago. We started out in a skating rink and just a little under 50 members. We've since grown & moved locations. I know first hand the struggle, obstacles, joy, and grace experienced when planting a church. We planted local, they are planting half way around the world. My heart was immediately turned to Cassandra and her husbands journey & obedience to the Lord.

Refluent from Chris Kuykendall on Vimeo.

She simply emailed to say she was sending some of her husbands posters and thank you cards. I knew I was being called to share their story & promote it on my blog. Church planting is a major part of my life. They need a lot a lot a lot of help. Here's where you come in. Go to his etsy, buy his stuff. That easy. All funds go to them starting this church & their move to Amsterdam. Not to mention it comes in the most prettiest packaging & is made with the utmost quality. Seriously, I was blown away.

"Ultimately, my family and I feel called to love and serve the city of Amsterdam. We quit our jobs, sold our house, and have put everything on the line for this cause. I don’t say that to impress you, rather I hope you see that we’re convinced that Jesus is worth everything we have. This print initiative is our way of generating the funds it takes to live in Amsterdam. It is also our hope, that someone would see one of our print pieces on your wall, or in their mailbox, and put more thought into what the Bible actually reveals about God, Jesus, Christians, and the Church. Simply put, your purchase directly helps our family do what we feel God has led us to do. We can’t express the gratitude we feel toward our customers" - Chris (designer & Cassandras Husband)

This isn't just a poster you're buying, this is being apart of something much bigger. This is being apart of what the Lord is going to do in Amsterdam. You can be apart of it. Here's their Etsy & here is were you can read more about Chris (the husband&designer) & here is where you can take an even bigger step & learn more about what they are doing.

Nope, this post is totally not over. I have one more thing to share with you. One that's very close to my heart. Sow & Tether.

Ever heard of them? I hope so, but maybe not. But these guys are a big part of our lives. I mentioned up above that we planted a church. Husband used to be the worship leader, and has recently moved into the associate pastor position. Before that transition, these guys faithfully served under josh & since the transition, they lead. Throughout the three years we've been a church, these guys have sacrificially served and lead the people of our church through Sunday morning worship, set up, tear down, and community group leading. We've watched them play camp after camp & lead youth at other churches on Wednesday nights & I can honestly say I've never heard them complain. They love serving through worship. We've watched them grow, mature, and serve their guts out. These are men who truly love Jesus and whose desire is to make him known. I was ELATED when husband told me they would be putting ouy their first EP, because to be honest, they are incredible. And they don't do this for them. Trust me, I know them. They do it all for the Glory of the Lord.

They need help raising funds to get this thing into the public's hands. I get to hear them every Sunday, and I promise you, you are going to want their CD. I'm urging you to take a moment and read their BIO & support them here and like them on FB for updates on when the EP will be available. And sorry ladies, they are all taken.  

Neither Cassandra or Sow&Tether asked me to write this today. This is not sponsored. This is just me sharing so that YOU can be apart of something big. So there.  I've informed. You've read. Will you join me in thinking "Yes! I can sacrifice a little in order to help them a lot".

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If you came over for coffee this week

If you came over for coffee this week, you'd learn something to be true. My umph for blogging just hasn't been in me lately. You've probably noticed it, I've for sure noticed it, and for anyone out there who comes here for inspiration or what have you. To you, I say sorry. I always want the foundation of my blog to be documentation of our lives for my kids, and lately I've just been so busy with my photography business that there's really been nothing worth documenting. Family time is spent cuddled in the living room reading books upon books to C. He's in this ever so heart melting, adorable stage of walking a book of his choosing to you & plopping right down in your lap as if there's nothing else you could possibly need to do but read him that book at least ten times. And he's right, it's the only thing we need to do at that moment.

so unless you want post after post of this image...  

And if you came over for coffee this week, I would most assuredly walk you to my favorite spot in our entire neighborhood. This abandoned lake is breathtaking in the fall. I never see a soul sitting on its makeshift deck. Never a single family walking the trail around it. & not even a single stray dog dipping for a swim. What is wrong with people? This morning I did something I never do during my runs. I stopped. I ran past here, felt its tug to slow down and enjoy the view, so I did. It was goose bump cold & the wind was beating my ponytail against my face, but the eery peacefulness was just too soothing to leave. car after car went whizzing by on their mourning rush several yards behind me. We're often in such a hurry we miss stuff like this. I'd have to take you here.
sitting here this morning my thoughts trickled back to last nights family worship with C. Josh was gone to a meeting so it was just C, my lap, and our devotional. The story we read cut to my core & was j u s t what I needed to hear. If you came over for coffee, I'd read you the passage.
"Nagging God" 

Is it okay to nag God? And pester him? 

God says we MUST!

God tells us to give Him no rest, to remind Him of what He has done and what He says He will do, not to stop until He answers. 

God loves it when we ask Him for great things! Because He is a King--and Kings love to do marvelous, powerful things. 

"Thou are coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such, 
None can ever ask to much..."
-John Newton

"Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest." 
Isaiah 62: 6-7

Thoughts to Make Your heart Sing : Sally Lloyd-Jones

This (seriously incredible you must buy for your kids, like right now) child's devotional brought me great encouragement. It's okay to keep begging the Lord for our son to arrive soon. It's okay to pray the same prayer what seems like 9 million times for the lost loved ones to find their way to Him. It's okay to relentlessly ask the Lord to redeem or to answer an unspoken prayer or to fulfill a desire or to send us something or to provide something or to allow us to bear children or to heal the grief we carry or to help us conquer sin or anything at all. Whatever it is you are continuously asking & you feel as if it's a nag. It's not. It's okay. It's more than okay. It's needed. He encourages it. He wants us to ask Him over and over and over until He answers. Because in the silence and in the wait, He is molding. He is moving & When He answers whether it's with a yes or it's with a no. He is glorified. I'm thankful I can not nag my God. 

If you came over for coffee this week, you'd see me sitting here at this computer or driving to my next session. You'd see C being just about as cute as one human can possibly be. You'd see his short stubby legs walking e v e r y w h e r e.  You'd see him grab book after book to read. You'd see him sneak cheerios or whatever is on his tray & place it behind his tiny frame so that Finn can devour his leftovers. You'd see wild curly hair that's currently always flat on his right side because he's learned the art of brushing his hair. You'd see my living covered in trails of cars & trucks all upside down because that's how he likes to scute them. And you'd see us. All three of us, sitting on the floor reading The Nose Book until we can't take the rhyming anymore.

So if you came over for coffee this week, this is all I would share. These days as a family of three, I'll take them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fighting Cancer


You may or may not know that come December 7th, I will be running my very first half marathon for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Most of you know what St. Jude is and how incredible of a hospital it is. In case you don't, St Jude is a children's Cancer hospital. It is 100% free. Yes, because of donations & races like this, the hospital never turns a child & family away because of financial costs. It's unbelievable.

My sister talked me into running this several months ago (like in May) and I've been training ever since. I'm FREAKING out that the race is only a few weeks away & could not be more excited to support these kids. I can't believe I'm even saying this, but training for this has easily become one of my favorite things. Waking up in the early morning, running to the sunrise, spending time with the Lord as I run, and imagining these kids running with me... I know that all sounds so cheesy, but it's what I really do. I picture their sweet faces, the hope in their eyes, and it fuels me. It usually makes me tear up while I'm running. Thoughts of how easily it could have been me as a patient. How easily it could be C. & it's all by God's grace that we aren't one of those families. I could never imagine the pain and hurt they experience. & the least I can do is run & raise money to support the hospital that gives them FREE care. These kids are my hero.

I need your help. Really, these kids need your help. Their families need your help. Please PLEASE sponsor my race. All proceeds, 100% of all money raised, goes to St. Jude and helping to find a cure for cancer. I mean look at this sweet face, how could you not donate:)

Let's fight cancer, because you know, it SUCKS.

Friday, November 1, 2013

waiting game

every time the phone rings, I think, pray, and hope it's them. My stomach turns into knots & my heart skips a beat. They are calling to tell me we have a match. A birth mom has chosen us. US!

We've officially only been on the wait list for 2 weeks now. & friends, it's hard. It's hard when everyone around you is pregnant with a specific date of knowing when they will see their child face to face. It's hard when other adoptive families you know are getting placed or had placements happen in 3 days of waiting. It's hard when you realllly just want your baby already. It's hard waiting. I don't mean to sound like a impatient brat, I'm well aware that some families have been waiting YEARS for a placement. & I promise the families that I know of, I've been praying for because waiting a year sounds m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e.

But, I decided something yesterday. Well really, the Lord convicted me of something yesterday while watching C play. C is here now. Husband is here now. And instead of letting my mind become consumed with when we will be matched & when our second son will enter our home, I'm going to try (key word: try) to be content with where the Lord has me now. C is still so small. Just barely a year & everything he does is my absolute favorite. Instead of letting my mind wonder into the unknown and uncertainties of adoption, I want to keep it focused on the here and now and be content.

Contentment is probably the number one thing, I think, woman struggle with. We always want the next chapter of life, the next event, etc. At least I struggle with it majorly, if I'm being honest. Which I am. So starting today, every time I start thinking about our adoption process and when I'll receive that phone call, I want to make it a habit to stop, pray, and ask the Lord to keep me focused on the here and now.

It's okay to desire something (obviously not if it's a sinful desire). It's not okay to let the sinless desire become an idol, because then it becomes sinful.

  I might be in for the long haul as far as being on the wait list goes. I don't want to spend the next weeks, months, or (hopefully not) years living in discontentment. I want to be able to look back at the time of waiting as a time I soaked in being a family of three & trusting in the Lord's will.

I'm reallllllly going to try. And by God's grace & strength, I can be victorious.

Anybody out there struggle with discontentment like me? Let Jesus have it.