Building a home after his own heart

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The speck in my child's eye, the plank in my own.

I've been thinking a lot about how much we learn from our kids. How honest they are, intuitive, humble, and the unconditional love they show us.  They are created by the same hands who placed the stars in the sky, precious to Him, and have an inheritance waiting for them in heaven.

Something that has started humbling me about parenting my babies is seeing their sweet, innocent selves start showing (quite loudly) all of the fears, insecurities, and God questions that I think I have successfully kept hidden ... sometimes they even show me things that I didn't even know were hidden within myself needing to be vocalized!!  Isn't it interesting how a baby can be screaming in the arms of someone who is tensed up, but suddenly relax when they're placed into the calm embrace of another?  They are so intuitive and aware of so much more than we could ever dream.  It's an amazing thing to have to come face to face with the not-so-pretty side of yourself screaming at you so plainly through your kids.

I feel convicted that the first step in training our children is looking at the huge (maybe not to everyone, but certainly to those precious babies of ours) plank in our own eye, surrendering it to Jesus and letting him fill the space so that we can see to remove the speck from our sweet child's eye.  No matter how true our instructive words are, they cannot hear us over the screaming tension inside over the grudge we're holding against their daddy.  They can't hear us over the anger that is outpouring from the wound from our past that we have not allowed Jesus to heal.  They cannot feel the love when we allow fear to reign over our heart.  If we wish for them to be content, then they must first sense our true contentment.  If we wish for them to show self-control, they must sense that control in the way that we respond to them.  If we wish for them to be patient, we must show them patience.  If we wish for them to be forgiving, they must sense our forgiving heart towards those that have wronged us.  If we wish for them to share, they must see a grateful heart that cheerfully gives to others.  If we wish for them to be confident in who they are and feel beautiful, then they should sense that same confidence in us.  If we wish to see that sweet smile, you better believe that they long to see a joyful heart shining through us.

I am amazed by the character building I have the privilege of undergoing through this crazy parenting journey. They are created by Him and for Him and we are so blessed and honored to get to train them for his kingdom.

God, create in me a pure heart like one of these precious children and give me the grace to listen  to your gentle voice instructing my heart to surrender those planks and be more like you.  Give me the grace to train my children lovingly, patiently, and humbly, knowing that I am also your child ever in training.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Letters to my Babies

November 1, 2013

My sweet Lily, I'm holding you here in my arms listening to you breath so content in your sleep and you just made the most precious, happy gasp. You're in your little milk coma, which is one of the sweetest things. Our nights getting up together for midnight snacks are getting fewer and far between and I want you to know that as much as I love sleep, I will always hold those nights when it was just you and I up to watch the sunrise in my heart forever. I love you more with every passing day and every inch you grow on me, sweet thing. It is my honor to be your Mommy. Sleep peacefully, sweet one. One of these days you will be too excited about exploring all there is to love about this beautiful world, so rest your sleepy head. I can't wait to experience tomorrow with you.

My sweet Sadie, I'm up feeding your baby sister and memories of tiny you flood my mind. I cherish those sweet moments rocking you in our humble one bedroom apartment enjoying the Christmas lights on our tree lighting the whole room, you asleep and content in my arms and me wondering if you'd be happy this time being carefully laid in your pack n play at the foot of our bed. That seems like so long ago, but surely only yesterday. My love for you has exploded even more since that day, though I'm sure I couldn't imagine more love than what already flooded my heart. You are so full of energy and life, soaking in everything good there is to discover on this earth and inspiring me to do the same. Being your mom has been my honor and one of the greatest adventures of my life. I love you, my sweet and crazy Sadie girl.

I know that my iPhone has stolen a lot of precious time from me, but one thing that it has come in handy for is jotting down little notes when adorable Sadie moments happen and precious Lily habits start to form that I want to remember.  As we all know too well, it flies by too fast.  It seems like Sadie was a little baby just yesterday, but yet it is started to get blurry in my memory already!  That scares me.  I stress a lot about documenting everything and finding enough time to do so.  It seems near impossible at this point in our lives.  One thing that I've begun to do; when my heart is especially thankful and filled with the joy that only a mommy knows when she's overwhelmed with love for her kids, is write them a letter about how I'm feeling. It's handy to have the day that tooth poked through written down or the day they took that first step, but I know that words from my heart during these crazy, wonderful times will mean the most. 

You are my Greatest Adventure.

I truly enjoyed our road trip in the mini van today... the precious noise of our girls in the backseat, Joel's ears sticking up from the trunk, you angered at the window that is still broken, the noise from the wind making a conversation near impossible, your hand in mine,  enjoying being together. 

Five years ago today was the start of the best and most adventurous years of my life so far. I love Jimmy Adams so much more significantly than I ever knew was possible. I can see the love of God through the way that he loves me and our girls and my respect for him has only grown as I continue to see with each passing year his genuine desire to serve God and his family first. He has been such a rock for me during difficult times... he has always told me exactly what I needed to hear and though I didn't always receive it well, it's one of the qualities that has only made me admire him more. I love that you have more common sense than anyone I have ever met and that I like to make every decision based on how I feel... sometimes it drives us nuts, but it continues to amaze me to see the ways that God has shown his power through each of our strengths and weaknesses. Those funny things about you that I don't understand half the time are the things I value so much in you.

You watched as I went through my labor with Sadie that seemed like it woud never end. It was the hardest battle I have ever fought. You saw me push through by God's grace. You listened when I told you how significant that day was for me... not only had I been blessed with the best gift from God, but I had conquered my fear and felt so empowered. And though you may not have understood, you truly listened and when Sadie's second birthday rolled around, you remembered how significant that day was for me and brought me flowers calling it my "Mommyversary". That might have been the sweetest, most significant thing you could have ever done for me. 

I love you during wonderful times, hard times, times of plenty, times of need, through good health, through sickness, through sleepless nights, through disappointments, through moments sent straight from heaven... I always want to experience all of it with you. There may not be such a thing as "the one", but I know for certain something even more exciting- that God brought you to specifically to me and for that I will be forever grateful. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Our Year: What an Adventure!

I meant to write sooner, but have been travelling more than I've been home over the last month!  This has been the fullest, most challenging, most rewarding, stressful, fulfilling, joyful year of my entire life.  (Prepare yourself for an incredibly long run-on sentence) In a nutshell: We spent it with our precious baby girl, lived in our one bedroom apartment for 3 months, moved to Ohio in mid February, lived with my mother-in-law (and 3 dogs) for 9 months, bought our own fixer-upper, worked our little booties off day in, day out for a month, joyfully celebrated on Christmas Eve after finding out about our new baby on the way, kicked the laptop off the bed and paid over $2,000 to get all of the pictures and business info off of the damaged hard drive, bought a mower off of Craig's list that ended up being a piece of junk and put a ton of money into it, experienced a huge loss of income when the worst drought in over 100 years hit Dayton and our lawn mowing business suffered, found out by a frantic driver next to our truck that our mattress had flown out a moment prior and upon turning around to retrieve it, someone had stolen it!  Those were just a few inconveniences in a long list of "inconvenient" situations.  Took 3 trips to Texas with Sadie in the car and one to Florida, one to Illinois, and countless trips to Bowling Green, KY.  We've met incredible people whose stories have challenged and moved us, prayed until we were blue in the face because we didn't know what to do, experienced God's provision first hand when we bought our first house, learned how to be content in any situation, got a little too close to a few possums and raccoons (it's a long story), and have fallen more and more in love with God and each other through each of these trials.  I have never felt closer to God than I have this year as I recognize more and more each day how desperately I need him and how much more I want him to take over my life.  We knew it was going to be a struggle for me to stay home, but God has provided Jimmy with a ton of work and just enough money for our family and a home that is perfect for us.  We felt that he called us, we answered that call, and he has blessed us in countless ways even through all of our trials.  He is such a mystery and always leaves me hungry for more of who he is.

3 month
6 months

9 months

My sweet little baby girl turned one a month ago.  When I came to the realization that we were nearing her first birthday, an uneasy feeling came over my stomach. I felt weak and heavy hearted.  So this is what they meant by "it goes so fast".  I have not been prepared up to this point for any of the milestones that are expected of a 3 month old, 6 month old, 9 month old... there's never enough time to wrap your mind around it!  Though the time is flying too fast, I would not wish Sadie to be a little baby again because it brings me joy and excitement to watch her learn something new everyday.  To see her enthusiastically take steps in my direction and hug me when she falls into my arms.  For her to blow me a kiss and cuddle before she goes to sleep.  She just started sharing her toys and food with me, which can get a little exhausting at dinner time, but I appreciate it all the same.  She waves and says "hiii" and waves to say "bye bye".  She says "more more" and "peees" and sometimes "all done" which is more often a sign when she throws her food off of the tray.  She hugs her little bear and yells at you when you're out of ear shot.  She jibber jabbers a whole lot of words that she is sure that you should understand.  I am so blessed to be her Mommy and look forward to see her peeking at me over her crib.  I just love my little booger.  It's still hard to believe that I have another sweet baby due in August.  It's funny how you somehow experience some of the same joys and fears as if it's your first child, but a sense of comfort in knowing that you've done it before.  I am just excited and anxious all at the same time.  I cannot wait to just meet him or her!  I love how close Sadie will be to her new sibling and I know that they will be good friends and just so sweet to watch together!

Our House: we experienced first hand how God works in situations even when we are SURE we know what is best.  I had been keeping an eye on this house since the spring and a little into the summer, we finally decided that we were almost certainly buying a house instead of renting and called a realtor to look at a few.  She first told us that finding a house in our price range was going to be near impossible, but we were pretty confident after doing a ton of looking online.  So after multiple requests, she finally sent us the listings.  We saw this house first and could see the potential even though there were quite a few unknowns.  After seeing a few more houses, we looked at it again and decided that day that we'd like to make an offer on it.

At the time, our realtor thought that since it was a foreclosure, we weren't allowed to have an inspection done until after our offer was accepted. (which seemed crazy??)  She thought it was unreasonable to make a $30,000 offer on this foreclosure listed at $45,200, so we finally moved it up to $37,000.  The bank counter offered at $45,000.  Thanks guys, you just saved us $200?  We had seen the price drop in the past and decided that we weren't desperate and would wait.  Our realtor frustrated us a little by giving us a hard time about not accepting the offer and constantly pressuring us to look at a higher priced house.  We stood firm and waited and noticed (on our own) that the house had been reduced to $41,500... so we tried every way of communicating with her to try to re-submit our offer, but we couldn't get ahold of her.  We were going to offer $40,000 because we were confident that this was the house we wanted and didn't want someone else swoop in with a higher offer.  Finally, she sent us an e-mail and basically fired us, telling us that we were a waste of her time and that she needed to know before submitting the offer that we were definitely going to buy the house even if something popped up in the inspection... ??  It was the strangest behavior and I can now only be grateful because so much happened to bless us afterwards!  So we immediately called the listing agent because we felt that he would be motivated to sell the place and work with us.  The first thing he suggested we do was get an inspection done (which was indeed allowed before you get your offer accepted) and while we were waiting for that, he'd go ahead and submit a $30,000 offer just to see if they countered on it. Haha!  So we got the inspection done and found out that apart from there being raccoons in the attic, there weren't any main issues that would hold us back.  So we decided after a week or so that we wanted the house!  We spent time communicating with the realtor and found out that day that a few others offers had already been submitted.  We asked what the highest one was and then offered $1,000 higher at $36,000.  The bank accepted our offer that day.  One amazing thing about it is that the other offer was a cash offer and our realtor was shocked that they accepted ours instead.  Long story short (yeah, right) the bank ended up paying for the attic to be cleaned out and the raccoons to be confiscated, paid to repair the damage on the outside of the house where the raccoon were getting in, repaired drywall in the inside and I think even had the floors cleaned!  On top of all of these repairs, which I'm sure were worth thousands and thousands of dollars, they called us into the office one day and had us sign a paper that said "Price to be reduced from $36,000 to $33,500."  We couldn't believe it.  The realtor was also blown away.  This was just another confirmation that God was directing us to this house.  We saw his hand working through each step, when we were sure we wanted it months prior and just couldn't seem to get our hands on it, and then seeing him save us so much money and stress during a time when we struggled with droughts and every problem you can imagine occurring.  My faith has increased so dramatically and I pray that we can continue to wait on him in the future.

We ripped out the carpet, scrubbed down the walls, doors, and surfaces, sanded down all of the ugly stripes, primed, and finally painted every wall, baseboard, and door.  Jim replaced the roof and installed brand new siding and shutters.  He did a little experimenting with some of the wires to try to get our lights to work again, which ended up being unsuccessful, but needless to say he's still superman!  We made countless trips to Lowe's and spent many a sleepless night working just to be woken up early by Sadie who didn't get the memo to sleep in.  We got a new front and back door, carpet, and Jim installed new floor in the kitchen.  It is an incredibly long list that has Jimmy written all over it.  We are so incredibly happy with our new little home!  God truly does give good gifts to his children and that isn't limited to material things, but the gifts I store in my heart, the lessons he's taught me this year.

Road Trip!  I don't think I could recount off the top of my head every trip we've taken this year.  Weddings, graduations, 100 year old great grandmothers, holidays a sudden need to see family... all reasons to jump in the car and go.  Sadie has been such a trooper through it all, though I've had a few meltdowns.  Running out of gas and getting stuck in unexpected traffic jams are all a part of the fun.  I grew up taking many a car trip and it just brings back happy memories.  It's always been a special thing for Jim and I, a place where we're able to spend quality time together and just enjoy each other's companies without too many distractions.  We've had many a memorable conversation on a good ole road trip.

5 Generations

My Family: I am so thankful for you!  For my little family of four, for all of my extended family... there are so many of you and I appreciate each of you so much!  I don't know if a baby has ever been so loved by so many.  

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2012

It has been an incredible year and I look forward to all that is to come in 2013.  I know that God is holding our future and that gives me peace and joy, knowing that no matter what happens, he has good plans for us and for our lives.  God bless you this new year!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Daily Bread.

I'm feeling blessed and full-hearted, which seemed like a good reason to write.

Jim is at our new house working his booty off while I waste all kinds of time.  When I sit in front of the TV with my bowl of soup and say "Well, I have to eat, right?" and continue "eating" for another three hours... it starts to seem a little screwy.  Finally, I started to listen to the last Hunger Game book on CD, which at least required brain participation.

 I go through phases when I feel crazy motivated to devote every bit of time to all things beneficial and then other phases when I don't feel motivated to do anything.  I tend to be a little extreme in most aspects of my life.  Thankfully, over the years, I have gained self-control to keep some of my new ideas and theories to myself and try to speak cautiously.  I have changed my mind countless times on almost every issue imaginable.

All of that said, there is one thing that I have found to be true that will never change... I desperately need time with my God every day.  Not just a quick 2-chapter flip through of my Bible and on to breakfast.  Coming into his presence, just the two of us, my heart opened up before him.  This doesn't always require words, sometimes it's just a silent surrender.  Every day brings with it a new set of worries and burdens to carry.  I cannot carry them on my own.  It doesn't matter how small or insignificant (or stupid, in my case) it may seem, if it's weighing on your heart, it needs to be acknowledged and placed before God.  Worrying, worrying, worrying... not acknowledging the issue I was worrying about because it was so DUMB I didn't even want to admit that it was there.  So there it stayed, poisoning my heart, causing tension between me and every human being I came in contact with.  Every task seemed more difficult.  Every person seemed annoying.  (Disclaimer: This all may make me sound a little psychotic... most of this is going on inside of my head.  I have rarely ever lashed out at someone!  It's amazing what can go on inside that head of yours though, isn't it?)  So back to the wasting time... it's so much easier to eat pie and watch TV when you're stressed out, anxious, and exhausted.  Your muscles may feel relieved, but your spirit continues to rot.  I didn't want to put the effort into the hardest, but most relieving and freeing part of my day.  The main reason that it's so hard for me is this; before he can take out my trash, I review and analyze it.  That is hard to do!  My Creator breaks me down, removes all of the baggage in my heart and starts the cleansing process.  This is the good part... I am left renewed and refreshed by his grace and love. Given the ability to live this life as he intended for me, day by day.  To be filled by the complete joy and peace that merely comes from being in His presence, not by a change in circumstance.  To surrender to his will for my life because it is pleasing and perfect.

I have gone through different seasons of implementing "God-time".  I would sit down and open up my Bible, read the two chapters, and quickly resume my day as usual.  I didn't allow it to change me.  I simply went through the motions.  I now start my time off writing down (because that's my love language) everything that's weighing on my mind, no matter how ridiculous.  I feel silly just seeing it there on the page.  I then sometimes lay flat on my face to surrender myself and everything I've written down to him.  It may sound cheesy and ridiculous, but it is amazing.  I try to focus on the Lord's Prayer as a guide to communicating with God.  Acknowledging who he is first of all has humbled and shaped the rest of my prayers and attitude towards him.  Some days just require silence on my part with a crying heart.  Every day is different!  It's a relationship, not a class.  Reading time comes next.  Sometimes I end up multitasking with this part, depending on the day. :)  I started a "Read the Bible in a Year" program that incorporates part of the Old and New testaments, and Psalms and Proverbs every day.  I lacked this variety in the past.  I would get stuck in the middle of Leviticus and before I knew it, I hadn't read anything to do with Jesus in over 6 months.  First of all, who am I kidding, I never got that far before in a reading plan and, second, we need a healthy amount of Jesus in our study of God's word... he completes it all!  Lastly, I have kept a journal where I write what's on my heart, prayer requests for others, and then journal what stood out to me in that day's reading.  This has made SO much difference in digesting God's words.  I underline verses as I go and copy down what was on my heart when I read that verse.  Just looking through them now puts me in awe of the discoveries I've made over the past 50 days.  This has become my daily bread. Never have I felt more peace in dying to myself.  Never have I felt more victorious in complete surrender.  The more time I spend with Him, the more he has started to run over into every area of my life.  Something as mundane as running has become a spiritual experience for me.  He blows my mind, the deeper I dig to try and figure out more about this mysterious God.  There is no end to the search that will continue for the rest of my life here on earth.  I have finally given up the "checking off the list" and now experience a deep longing in my heart to seek my God.  Expect different seasons because there have definitely been days when I've sat down feeling little willingness or inspiration and have walked away more empowered than ever before. "... for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I pray that I have encouraged you in some way!  I highly recommend the book "A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God" by Nancy Leigh Demoss.  It left me feeling convicted and inspired to seek my God daily ASAP.  In it, she points out Jesus's habits when it came to finding time with God.  It humbles me to read the examples of Jesus, though he was certainly busy with the most important work, made it a priority to find time with his Father.  Even if he had to get up extra early after a long night.  That's a tough one for me to swallow!  Here's just one of many examples: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed..." Mark 1:35  I also recommend reading and praying Psalm 25.  It sums up a lot of what has been on my heart.  I'll end yet another ramble with just a few verses that have encouraged and inspired me:

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as a symbol on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 11:18-20

"I rise before dawn and call for help; I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:147

"How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to Your word.  I seek you with all of my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:9-11

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baby Food Experiments

I was not in a hurry to feed Sadie solid foods.  I knew that I wanted to wait until she was at least 6 months old and then see how long we could go after that.  Why, you ask?  From what I've read, Mommy's milk is just the best they can get, at least until their first birthday. I didn't want to complicate that if I didn't have to.  So it was a bit of a surprise when at 7 months, she decided that an every 3 hour eating schedule wasn't gonna cut it anymore!  After a few weeks of eating roughly every 2 hours (except at night)... we both decided maybe it was time to start incorporating some solid foods.  It completely caught me off guard!  What does one feed her first??  I haven't researched this!  All of these milestones are coming up too fast for me!  And to be quite honest, it made me a little sad.  Nursing may be difficult and exhausting at times (sometimes it feels like the life is being sucked out of you), but for the most part it has been a very special time for Sadie and I and I'm not at all prepared for that to end. The thought of her eating solid foods was just the first step to her weaning off of Mommy. :( It makes me want to cry just thinking about it!  Anyways, if you know me at all then you know that I can be a little bit skeptical of doctors and like to research things before taking their recommendation.  So I started Sadie with a banana because I knew that breast milk is pretty sweet already and thought it might be an easier adjustment.  She wasn't too excited about it... pretty funny experience for Jim and I, though. ;)

I started feeding her some food here and there, but I would honestly just forget about it at first because I've never had to worry about it before... you mean I have to find both her and I something to eat... right now??  I started feeding her some avocado and sweet potato, which she seemed to enjoy.  These 3 foods were her only solids for probably the first month or so until I decided she might enjoy a tad bit of variety!  So naturally, I started buying baby food.  I was at a little bit of a loss.  I felt like I wanted to buy organic for sure, but other than that I had no idea. Just in case you hadn't noticed, that stuff is expensive!  So let me just admit that I've been buying the organic brown rice cereal and cans of baby food for a little over 2 months with some banana, avocado, and sweet potato thrown in there.  I finally decided that our budget cannot keep this up!  I had aspirations in the past of making my own baby foods, but that was kind of put on the back burner since I'm not in my own kitchen with my own things and was just a tad bit lazy right up until a few days ago.  Here is my fancy equipment:


Tada!  I finally decided that I was going to give this a go. Like with cooking, I just had to jump in!  So my first baby food creations were sweet potatoes and then carrots.  I baked the sweet potatoes, removed the skin, put them in my mother-in-law's mini food processor (can I just say that I seriously love that thing... it shreds chicken, chops up onions, etc) and wallah!  You just add water until you think it's a good consistency.  Now for the easiest part: I could be doing this wrong, but it's worked so far... I just spooned it into ice cube trays and when frozen, popped them into labeled plastic bags.  Then I just put them in little containers in the fridge 24 hours before she eats them.  For that reason, I started not filling the ice cube trays quite as full because I couldn't fit the chunks into the bowls.  The carrots were a tad bit more complicated in that I had to steam them over the stove until soft and then did the same; put them in the food processor, adding a little water until it was the consistency it needed to be and then wallah!  I've done it again!  This is about as difficult as it gets.  So if you've had any cooking experience, you can do this, no problem.  Now this is my favorite part... it gets even easier!  I was looking for a compromise between 100% fresh baby food and better than store bought and found that buying cans of fruit, veggies, and a big tub of applesauce was an even easier way and still much cheaper than buying baby food!  I made some pear baby food by dumping my can of pears (in no syrup, only water and/or juice) and mixing it with a little water until it was the perfect consistency... or in my case more along the lines of imperfect.  I also added some applesauce to it to make things interesting. :)  I would prefer to go to Trader Joe's or something and get some organic canned fruit and veggies, but I wanted to do some experimenting before spending more money and I don't have one near. :(  One mistake you don't want to make is buying just a plain ole can of green beans and not noticing that there's salt!  Oops!  That was my bad, Sadie.  She was not too excited about that.  So do yourself and your poor baby a favor and make sure it's labeled "no salt"... I try to look at the label to be sure there's no surprise ingredients.  Now for storage... here is what works for me:

I highly recommend this storing method!  It's incredibly convenient.  You go to grab one flavor and you end up with 10 more on the floor that you forgot you had!  So I tend to go a little insane when I start experimenting with something like this... the sweet potatoes and carrots worked, so why not try every other fruit and vegetable that I could possibly imagine??  Three trips to the store in one day?  Absolutely!  Must make a year's worth of baby food... NOW!  It's pretty ridiculous.  After doing all of that work, I'm ready to stop using my brain and just get it in there!  So my current stash of baby food includes: sweet potatoes, carrots, apple/blueberry/spinach, brussell sprouts, peaches/banana/apple, pears/apple, green beans.  For breakfast and dinner, I like to add some organic brown rice cereal or organic oatmeal cereal to the fruit or vegetable to make it more filling.  I also have been giving her some little bite sized foods to feed herself.  She loves zucchini, smashed peas, bananas, etc etc etc.  The possibilities are endless!  So I hope I have inspired someone to give it a try and save some big bucks and help keep that sweet baby be as healthy as possible!  Good luck in all of your baby food endeavors. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A little bit of my heart.

      I think I have a good excuse for the lack of writing... we're going on a year and 4 months, people.  Let's see how long I can go between this one and the next!  It'll be fun!  My tiny little 5 lb 10 oz girl is 9 months old today.  I refuse to believe it.  My heart can't take the love that grows for her everyday!

      I have become so scatterbrained with all of this pregnancy and baby business.  I can hardly have an intelligent conversation.  Of course, it all makes perfect sense in my head.  Sometimes I literally just start mumbling because the rest of the thought just isn't making it all the way out.  This is hard for someone of many thoughts and a big mouth.  "Mommy brain" does exist!  Everything about this process has been humbling.  Walking around with poop smudges on your clothes because you never thought to pack yourself a spare outfit for the moment when a poop explosion might happen on you.  Oh, and having the very loud poop explosion happen right in the middle of the prayer at church... this happened two weeks in a row.  Hilarious.  Nice knowing you, pride!  Giving birth with an audience of 5+ people wasn't exactly what I had pictured in my head.  Having your body feel that it has been stretched and broken and is slowly being pieced back together. (that sounded a little more dramatic than I intended!)  I look forward to having my sanity back, though I think my lack of sanity was God's plan for helping me get through the last year. :)  The lack of sleep is much more fun when you decide to laugh about it and give into the funny personality that results from being loopy. ;)  Not to say there weren't those difficult nights that I just sat there nursing her, crying, because my exhaustion just seemed like too much for me to bear.  But, God is perfect and much bigger than what I was feeling in that moment.  He whispers: "My grace is sufficient for you, my power made perfect in your weakness" (2 Cor 12:9) and "Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up" (Gal 6:9) The moments did pass and I cherish the memories of those late nights and Sadie cries that made no sense and a difficult adjustment to a new life.  I have found that I truly can overcome anything through Christ.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". (Phil 4:13)  Verse that we may have heard a thousand times, but it never hurts to be reminded.  They've all been fresh on my mind since this new phase of my life, where I find myself desperate for God's word and peace in the midst of all the chaos.

"Even youths grow tired and weary, 
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not not be faint."
(Isaiah 40:30-31)

      I have had a little something on my heart. Actually, a lot of somethings on my heart because I think that's what happens when you have a baby and your heart explodes from joy.  It opens up a whole new world.  I am constantly in awe and wonder at God and wanting to know more of his ways.  As I cradle this precious little one that he has gifted me with, I am overwhelmed by his beauty and creativeness. I want to learn more about this God that can make such beautiful things and touch my heart like no one else.  I know that I have only had a taste and I am thirsty for more. I cannot even begin to explain the overwhelming joy that I experienced in hearing Sadie cry for the first time, holding her in my arms.  Could this moment really be happening or have I died and gone to heaven?  As I ponder other milestones in my life, there is no comparison to that moment.  I feel like I experienced a small piece of what God has planned for us one fine day.  Oh, but getting there... that was a whole different story!  Childbirth is no walk in the park and neither is 30 hours of labor.  I plan on sharing the story for you sometime soon... for those who have a strange interest (I am now obsessed) with that whole mystery of an experience called childbirth.  Getting back to my point- it felt like the pain would never end, like I was stuck in a maze with no way out.  The whole thing felt completely out of my control and it was.  I did everything I needed to do to prepare... I walked 2-3 miles almost every day, did 30 minutes of yoga/pelvic exercises every night. I had everything cleaned, organized and packed. But when it came time, I was under God's mercy and finding it within myself to trust his timing and will for my birth experience was not easy.  The end finally came and I can say with complete confidence that it was beyond worth it.  I would do it a hundred times over again to have this beautiful gift that God has given us.  How much greater joy am I to expect when this long, difficult road called life comes to an end?  Will the God that could overwhelm my heart like he has with this tiny little one, disappoint me when I'm in his presence?  I am absolutely overjoyed and amazed by the thought of it!  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9)  He has stolen my heart and will never lose it.  No matter what I might gain or lose in this life, he will always stay the same... I will put my hope in him.  Too long did I avoid true relationship with him, transparency in my prayers and the pouring out of my heart.  My efforts to hide in the garden were in vain and I was only hurting myself when all he wanted was for me to understand that he knows those dark places and wants to help me to come back to the light of his love, mercy, peace, and hope.  Four things that I longed for in my dark, lonely place.  He accepts me.  Not only does he accept me, he has a plan for me to thrive and to find joy in this life through him, the kind that doesn't compare to anything I could ever find on my own.  He is beautiful and worthy of our praise and I'll leave it at that before rambling any further.

      I hope that through all of these many words you found just the smallest bit of encouragement.  Love from this humble, rambling Mama. :)