Saturday, December 24, 2016

Is this the answer?

My last post was not a happy one or really all that joyful was it?

When I wrote No Answers I was in a rough place.

This has been a trying year. A year of death, loss, trial after trial.

At one point we owned three cars and not one was dependable. It was like a comedy and we were the punch line.

Honestly with December came this feeling of hopelessness.

I felt desperate to feel some sort of soothing balm to my open wounds.

I have seen my sweet cousin lose her husband, Brian. 

A young woman who was 25 die of cancer leaving three young children behind.

We lost a pillar of our church, a man well into his nineties. He was and is dearly loved.

A little child burned

Children taken from their mother

My sweet husband has lost two aunts and an uncle this year....

My sister was in a car accident and if not for the wonder of Doctors would have been permanently paralyzed...

We lost our Little Bit, and a few months earlier a cousin lost her baby

I know I am not alone in saying 2016 has been a rough year.

The final straw that broke me and made me feel defeated were the wild fires here in East Tennessee.

This is my home. There was so much loss, death, and devastation. I cried for two days. We have so many memories in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I felt there was devastation all around me.

There for a minute (more like a few weeks) , the enemy had me. He had me believing there was no use, he had  me doubting everything I stand for, he had me wondering what is the point?, that I was never going to feel happy again...

I think the most awful feeling is being disconnected with God.

Doubting him. and not just a thought here or there but it started to take root.

I was standing in Sunday services and crying because I just needed God's help. I wanted to have these weights off my shoulders and legs.

I had a baby boy watching me and a husband who needs me. I could not abandon the one thing that has always sustained me...

Then something happened.

Our church put on a Christmas play, and it was actually written as a joint effort. Everyone collaborated and added their own take on the character they were playing.

I wrote two scenes toward the end of the play.

I wanted to write something that would be meaningful since I was playing the Christian trying to encourage others during a tragedy. The scene I wrote involved a the principle who was an atheist because of her being sexually assaulted as a young girl... she wondered where God was... this is a snippet of that scene...

DEVILLE: Then you explain to me where God was when I was just a young girl? When I was brutally attacked? Where was He then? I’ll tell you, He was nowhere and my innocence was stolen. I knew after that there was no loving God.
 MRS. LAWSON: I am so sorry that happened to you. I cannot tell you that I understand God's ways. His ways are not our own. But there is evil in this world and sometimes we come in contact with darkest of it. But when I lost my baby...
 DEVILLE: Your Baby?
MRS. LAWSON: Yes, my baby. I felt lost and hopeless. I questioned everything. But I was reminded of Christ and his disciples. And all they suffered in the name of God. Not turning their backs when they face persecution and death. Then I remembered all the other times I had seen God's hand in my life.
 DEVILLE: I heard the scripture that Janice quoted, has it been like that for you?
MRS. LAWSON: At first it wasn't but God restored my heart. And once I took the step toward healing, only then the burden of grief and heartache was replaced with peace and joy again.
DEVILLE: I do want that, but I just don't know that I’m ready and quite honestly, I don't know if God will even want to hear me.
MRS. LAWSON: He still loves you, he has never left. He is waiting for you and all you have to do is ask him

My dear friend played Deville, and I was Mrs. Lawson. Both of were telling real stories and real feelings... and we were both in tears. The moment this scene happened I felt something deep in my soul. When I made the proclamation of giving it to God and in return he gave me peace and joy again... I felt the weights leave.

It was a powerful moment for us both. And I know God ordained that moment... not only that moment but the whole play.

At the end of the play characters came to surrender their lives to Christ at the alter... which moved others in the audience to come as well. At the alter it hit me... I felt God healing me heart. I felt his presence around me. And he sent a friend to pray with me and I felt renewed again.

James 1:2-7
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 

I felt HOPE.  This scripture is one I've heard a million times, I have taught on it, I have qouted it. But as I felt God show me what to write he brought some things to my attention. One very big thing.. in verse 6 it says if you have doubt you are like wave tossed by the wind... I was feeling that way. The doubt and hopelessness I felt made me feel lost... a wave has no aim it is just moved by the wind.  Here and there. No purpose.

That is how I felt...

But not anymore!

Did you know my grandfather was healed from cancer this year?
Did you know someone gave us a car this year?
And when that one did not work God opened a door for us to get a great SUV?
Did you know that my brother got engaged to a wonderful girl?
Did you know that my non verbal autistic nephew asked for me?!
Did you know that I watched my 8 year old niece pray for her dad?
Did you know that our very dear friends are going to foster to adopt?
Did you know that a little girl is safer now?

He has provided, healed, delivered, saved, rescued.... Yes we faced some tough stuff. But even in the darkness he is our light.

Does it still hurt? Yes. Will I still cry? Yes.

But oh my dear friends, I have never been more thankful than I am this Christmas!

We have a savior who offers us so much more than this world

Merry Christmas my readers!!! I Love you! I really do. I pray 2017 would be better and you would be closer to him who saves us.... in him is where our HOPE is and forever will be!

He is my answer to this life. He can be yours too.

All my love,






Thursday, December 22, 2016

No Answers

Last year around August I started bringing up the subject about having another baby.

At first Josh was not keen on the idea. For several reason, those are not mine to share. When January came around so did Josh.

We decided after an appointment with our Dr that we would try to get pregnant.

We did. Then we lost our baby.

I write this because I really pray for God's guidance in my life.

Yes, I am one of those people... I actually believe God cares about my life and my decisions. And he has something to say about them too.

I have been trying to do my devotional every morning before Ethan wakes up. I'm usually successful in finishing praying.

I really felt like God wanted us to try again. And I really prayed hard.

We went through so much with Ethan after he was born and I did NOT, let me express this again DID NOT want to have to go through that again. NO.

I was scared the entire time I was pregnant. Then after he was born, we almost lost him.

Today while I was fixing E breakfast I had a thought...

Why, if I was just going to lose Little Bit, did you want us to get pregnant again?

That made no sense to me.

I can honestly say over coming my anger has been difficult. I have really felt disgust.

I have no answers...

It does seem cruel to me.

I am just being honest.

Angry...hurt...bitter...broken...alone...

All feelings that I have tried so hard to battle....But God had his own lesson for me to learn and he taught me through our Christmas play at church...

I started this post before our Christmas play at church... and so this is just part one. I plan to post the second part to this on Christmas Eve.

Please read it. I know that God has all this interwoven together for a reason.

Before I end this I am going to leave you with this scripture... a scripture that is tough to swallow.


James 1:2-8New King James Version (NKJV

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nine Years

Today I celebrate an answered prayer. 

I started to pray for my future spouse at fourteen. That may seem young to you and it was young. 

But from a very young age (obviously)  I dreamed of my prince Charming...to feel those butterflies that all those romantic movies gave me with a real person. 

As I grew older I desperately wanted someone to love me... 

I wanted someone who would take care of me, who loved me for me.

Not what I could give them. 

I wrote about how Josh and I met and you can read all that HERE

Today it has been nine years that I said 'I do' to the Love of my life. 

We had a whirlwind romance and it swept us up and carried us quickly to the alter

Four months actually from our first date we were on our honeymoon. 

I know that there were naysayers, and I know that some had doubts. 

That is okay. 

Because Josh and I knew we were meant to be. We knew God put us together. 

We have went through some really tough stuff. 

We have lost jobs... friends... our babies...

We have been victorious and gained better jobs... our precious son... greater relationships

But here we are on the other side of our trials and joys and we stand strong. 

Through our greatest trials we have clung on to each other and most importantly we have kept God first. 

I pray that my single friends and family find this kind of love that we have. 

But be prepared... fight for it... learn... communicate...compromise

Josh is one my greatest blessings. I love him and he is my best friend... 

He encourages me in all decisions, he works hard to support his family. 

He is gentle but manly all in one. 

I kind of adore him. 

I love his jokes that usually no one gets to hear 
I love the way he pesters me - mostly
I love his bear hugs
I love spirit
I love his commitment to God

He is an amazing daddy. 

And after this year I am not taking anything for granted. 

I really and truly can say that 14 year old girl back in 1999 got her prince Charming...

Happy Anniversary my Love!! oxoxox




Thursday, November 24, 2016

He knew what I needed

Happy Thanksgiving readers wherever you are.

As your reading this I'm celebrating with my family.

I said in my last post that I was working on a post about how God once again let me know "his eye is on the sparrow"

A couple weeks ago I was honored to fill in singing on our worship team. I love each opportunity that God gives me to use the gifts he has given me

Right before service started I stopped to talk to a young lady who often comes to our church. She had brought her newborn niece with her. Instantly I asked if I could hold her.

The moment that little girl was in my arms, something inside me broke. Not necessarily in a bad way but more of a wall grief had come crashing down.

In that instant I knew I wanted a baby again.

I want to hold our baby in my arms and cover her face with kisses.

This overwhelming feeling had me in tears... Struggling not to sob I headed to the stage and worshipped. I sang with all my heart.

After church I told Josh what I felt. We cried and held hands. Talked it out.

We decided that day we want to have another baby.

No matter how that happens. It may through adoption and it may be me becoming pregnant. All we know is that we want to continue this journey and one day give Ethan a sibling.

That day we met my in-laws for dinner at Cracker Barrel. After dinner we headed to the store part. As I'm looking one if the employees was stocking and I was looking these beautiful shirts (wishing I was a little richer)

The employees commented on how beautiful they were and I said something about wishing they were cheaper.

We began a conversation about her wanting to marry a man with money... She had been single for a number of years...that led us to talking about God's perfect timing.

She said that her son that she had given up for adoption found her five or so years ago after searching for her after thirteen years.
With big tears her eyes she looked at me and said, "God always works things out in his perfect timing"

I agreed with her, and said I've learned that many times.

She gave me a big hug, and I told her that we lost our baby and it's been so rough.
She had been there and said

"No matter big or small, 6 weeks to giving birth, that was your baby. He will work it, in his way his timing"

I walked away from that conversation feeling like God was saying "I see you, I hear you, your important to me"

I'm not a second thought to God! I'm important to him, I'm a priority to him.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful that I'm a mommy to my baby boy. I'm thankful for my husband is such a great man. Dad. Husband.

I'm thankful that I have my grandfather still with us after a very hard year health wise. And thankful for my grandmother who has had to fight along side of him and be the caretaker.

I'm thankful for my parents, my in-laws, my siblings, my aunt's and uncles, cousins...

I'm thankful for my church family

I'm thankful for my readers, your 
comments and messages keep me writing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! ❤❤❤❤


Friday, November 18, 2016

What to say, what to say

Wow, what a crazy couple weeks.

I cannot even begin to tell you how my view of individuals have changed since the dreaded election.

Don't groan or roll your eyes this will not be a political post I have seen too many as you have.

My heart has hurt because of the hate, arguing, division...

Boy oh boy...

That's all I got to say about that... as Forest said.

I want to make a difference. I have been thinking a lot about what that means for me.

I have a college degree and I have passion. A passion to help people.

I have been working on a project that I am really excited about and I hope to be able to get it done... I  will tell let you know when I finish.

I am hoping that something comes of it.

Thanksgiving is next week! I cannot believe that.

We have our first play practice this Sunday and we are putting up our tree afterward.

The plan was to put it up before this, but we moved to the first floor of our apartment building.

For several reasons. But that is for another post. Let's just say some people move into apartments and have a problem with apartment noise.

Moving on...

Josh and I have talked about naming the baby and how to celebrate this little life we were happy to have apart of us, even if it was just for 6 weeks and 1 day.

My heart aches to still be pregnant.

This is a very random post... sorry.

I am working on the post to let you all know who were asking about how we plan to celebrate the baby and where we are going from here ... and to write about what God did for me a couple weeks ago. God knew I needed a little extra something.

Looking forward to celebrating the holidays and eating yummy food!

Here is a little peak at us making new memories and living life in the moment...
I love this man and that little man

I love his cuddles

E and Mommy at the Vday parade

Honoring Gramps for Veterans Day

Mommy and E in the leaves



Love ,

 




Saturday, November 5, 2016

Joy Comes in the Morning

I felt like writing this post because as any one who has walked through grief knows that it is UP and DOWN daily
So today was an UP day for me. 

Friday night was an ugly night. I was having a good day mostly. Very busy. 

I had volunteered at our church's food pantry which I LOVE. I have not been able to because almost everyone in my family works.. so no babysitter. 

Had to pick up my gorgeous niece and nephew from school. 

But I started to get really sad. I had to tell two more people that we had lost our "little Bit" 

Yesterday was two weeks since I had the D and C... it is not like I am trying to focus on dates it is just hard not for that thought of... Tuesday will be three weeks... three weeks since I seen my baby on the ultrasound... and so on. And it was the same with Hope. Those first, the holidays, the milestones. 

So last night I was cooking... and I just broke. Ugly, gut wrenching, bending over crying. Trying to hide it from E. 

My heart was just hurting and I was sad. Then not too long after I felt so sick. Weak, anxiety, stomach hurting... 

I promise I am getting to the happy part of this. 

I have an amazing group of women at my church. They are my dearest friends and my sisters. 

Through this I have felt their prayers and clung to their words of encouragement. 

J and I have really been hurting. 

But today I felt genuine happiness. 

We all planned a surprise for one my sweetest friends (Who by the way is just amazing... I call her my hippie friend... I love you Stacy)


We all surprised her at a local canvas painting class and went to lunch. 

It was hours of pure happiness. I laughed and laughed. Had great (adult) conversation. Spent a great time with my friends. 

It was one of the only times in the last two weeks I felt joyful

It was so needed... 

We may not even know what our presence and smile do for others. Do not get so consumed with your own junk, or get jealous if some one gets a special treat from their friends. Think how can you serve them. How can you help them. 

I posted this picture on facebook...and it has been my profile picture. Because it is such a true statement. And today reminded me how true it is.


Grief changes and it is a passage or journey.

So I am changing my profile picture to this...


Because today my eyes were not swollen from crying, I did not feel "empty", and I smiled. Really smiled from the inside out. 

For that I am so so thankful. 

Remember that scripture I shared last blog... 

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning - Psalms 30:5

So today there was joy in the morning

All my love, 


Friday, October 28, 2016

And it goes on

"For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5

This scripture is one I've heard many times. And at times one I've clung to.


Sometimes it has helped me in a literal way and sometimes in a figurative way. 


Every night since last Tuesday I have went to sleep with the hope that the next day would be better than the day before. 


Over the last ten days some mornings have been better, some days have been hard. 


Some days I am okay, only tear up a few times. Some days I cry my eyes out while I do simple things. 


Some mornings I look in the mirror and don't give my changed body a second thought. Then there are those moments I feel like my body has betrayed me. 


My breast are back  to normal, my baby bump gone, no more little flutters... that glow you just seem to have when pregnant is gone and replaced with puffy eyes and a sad expression. 


All with in a months time I found out I was pregnant and lost Little Bit before we were able to hear its precious heart beat. 


Frankly, I get really frustrated easy. I know the root is the unfairness of having to suffer this a second time. 


Unfortunately I am a fixer. So I spend energy trying to unpack my apartment or work on a project. Reading. Anything to fix my heart. 


But the thing about grief is there is no "fix" 


You cannot go around, over, under, around... you have to walk right through this painful valley of grief. 


Loss is not easy, and I feel like sometimes I am drowning. 


I am clinging to the knowledge that my family and friends are praying for me. 


A week ago today I had my D and C.


I HATE typing that. It really makes me feel angry and want to go punch something (I think I maybe in the anger phase of grief) 


My Dr. was pleased with how well everything went. She does not think that there is anything major going on , but is leaving it up to me to do further testing. 


I am just not there right now. 


Right now I want not to be sad, right now I want to see Ethan's baby things and not remember Josh and I talking about what we were keeping for this baby. 


I don't want to see my husband hurting and upset. Or remember the look on his face when I told him why the ultrasound was going to get the Dr. 


I want to be pregnant with our little baby. 


Grief is so ugly... so maybe you think I should not share so much....or wonder why I do? 


I will tell you. 


Isolation is the enemy's favorite weapon. He comes to steal kill and destroy. 


Frankly I have been down that road. When we lost Hope I was lost in the deep depression and lonely walk of grief. 


I have shared about my choice one day to live. Live for what I had been blessed with. 


So everyday, sometimes moment to moment I choose to live. Live for my son. Live for my husband. Live for my self. But most important and as unhappy I am with having to go through losing another baby... I choose to live for God. 


I do not understand why I am going through this again. I wish it was not happening. 


I know if I am going to heal and be joyful, and continue to breathe... I need God. 


To be completely honest my heart is hurting.


I will be okay.


I will make it through this.


Maybe no one wants to read my story and maybe I am only writing to help me process everything... but this blog is here for a reason.


I hope in the near future you will see a happier post, but if you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I cannot just pretend. This is me. This is real.


All my love,


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I did not want to write this...again

I had been keeping a secret from most people that I do not see on a regular basis.

On September 23 I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was so excited, scared, shocked.All sorts of emotions.






We took video of sharing our news with our parents. I was bursting to tell everyone.

But something inside told me to wait. So I did not make an announcement on here or Facebook.

I went to my first ultrasound on September 29 I went in and I was still pretty early (6w1d) and they wanted to see me in two weeks.

So we shared with a few people, asked them to pray.
Saturday 10/15 my birthday

My body started changing rather quickly and this made me excited.












So today was the day... to see our baby get an official due date and hear our babies heartbeat. 

As soon as I seen the sac, I knew. 

The baby looked the same size, the sac was only a little bigger. 

I felt a rush of anxiousness. 

I knew, I just knew. 

Josh sat there held my hand. 

We both were in shock. 

Our "Little Bit" was gone

I just don't have words to say, and right now I am just wanting this next week to be over with. 

So we now have two precious ones in Heaven waiting. 

I don't have answers, and I don't understand. 

I have these pictures to remember our baby by

I am Angry. Disgusted. Sad. Anxious. All emotions that were covered at the workshops that were at a Women's Retreat I went on two weeks ago. 

That retreat brought healing and freedom to me. I do not want to lose that. I am not the same woman I was four years ago. And I know that no one grieves the same way... 

I am not sure what this journey will bring. But I do know I don't want to stay here. I don't want to return to that dark dark place. 


It is ironic how I just wrote about making a choice to live or die in these places of anguish and hurt? 


I do not think it was any coincidence that I wrote that just a few days ago... I wrote it for me. I was going to the woman that read that post. Because I needed to be reminded. I have choice. 

Yes, your right I have Ethan. You better believe when I seen him today after the Dr. I held him and I cried. I held him so tight. 

I was reminded today that he is my living, breathing, walking miracle. 

No, I don't know if I will try again...no I don't know what the cause was. Right now I can not make those decisions or finish those thoughts. 

All I know is my stomach is sick, and my heart hurts. I want to run away from this and not have to face it. 

Please pray for us. Because right now Josh and I need it. This is hard. Tough. Sad. Unfair. 

I don't know what else to add... besides I know I will be okay. I know even though I am confused and can not see the future or why I am going through this... but God is with me. He has been preparing me for this through small things. I know his presence is with me.

Even through this I will proclaim him faithful. 

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end; they are new  every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I will have a D & C sometime this week/early next week. So please pray that all goes well, I've only had one major medical procedure and that was my Cesarean. 








Friday, October 14, 2016

HOPE

*Sigh* I just have to write this out. Get it out. We moved recently and as I was unpacking I looked at the shelf my mom had helped unpack and it had all of our Hope  knickknacks (Most of them came from our first balloon release, we decorated the table with them) .

As I looked at the shelf I was overwhelmed by grief, and the feeling of loss. All these thoughts rushed my mind. Hope would be 4. The memories of that awful night, to pushing through each Mother's day...with my heart ripping out.

I just cried. Cried hard.

My heart felt wounded all over again. And I missed our baby more than I have in a long time.

I've never forgot Hope, but with time and life rushing by the grief and sense of loss is not so fresh.

Your opened wound becomes a scar. A scar that sometimes aches.

Over the week I have seen people sharing their loss in honor of October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and tomorrow the 15th being the Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day.

1 in 4 women share the same scar I have.

Each of us have a story. Some of us were able to have our rainbow babies, some never did. Some clung to the children they had already been blessed with. Some delivered their babies, but did not get to take them home.

No matter the story we all share a loss... a loss of a dream we once had. You grieve your baby. No matter size from weeks to infant. It is a traumatic loss.

When I had Ethan, God healed my heart. He gave me my miracle that I thought I would never have.

Remembering all of our babies, we love you and miss you
I never thought my story would help others, it did not occur to me on May 15, 2012 that God was building a testimony.

But he was and is still doing.

I wrote before how I had a choice, a choice to stay in my pit of despair, anger, depression, grief...or I could choose  to live. To really live.

I chose to live, and to share my story.

My heart breaks for my friends and any woman who is suffering from infertility... not only infertility but loss. Oh that pain that you feel.

That journey can be a lonely and dark one.

or

You could make the choice (not an easy one) to live.

It was not easy. I won't pretend that it was a short journey to find my freedom. But it came.

I started to be a better wife, friend, and woman of God.

God does not expect us not to hurt from what we went through. Those scars are meant for us to draw from so that we are able to help others.

To use our testimony to give others hope, encouragement, and for them to know "You are not alone"

No, I have not forgot about my precious little one that got to be with Jesus before me...but I will use her short life to reach others for the Glory of God.

I love you, yes you, the one who is crying with me reading this. I am sorry you are hurting. And I am praying for you.




OXOX, Lauren




News Interview

Hope's Balloon Release #1

Hope's Balloon Release #2


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chill Out

Whew. Our world, society, and the issues around us have me spinning. Until a few days ago really trying to grasp on to something steady.

My little world is most certainly being effected. I'm seeing family members of my blood relatives and my Christian family standing on opposing sides. Both sides making valid points. Our media fueling the tearing down of any unity we have. Red, yellow, black, white, blue.... Hilary or Trump.

Frankly it is too much. In my own personal opinion Facebook is becoming a breading ground for hurt, disapointment, and anger. A place where we can freely feel brave behind a computer and bash something or somebody without thought of "I'm going to see this person face to face tomorrow"


The hypocrisy of our leaders or future leaders makes me sick.

What can I do? I'm a Geargia preach that is now an East Tennessean. A SAHM. No political background. No platform (so to speak).

But I have this blog, I have my faith.

To be completely honest with you this world scares me. The fear of no control to stop this world becoming darker and darker. Less morals. Less respect.

Those feelings could overwhelm me, you, anyone...

But... BUT

I serve a great big God! A God who is greater than any election.

I serve a God who raises people from the dead. A God who heals. A God who opens wombs. A God who promises me hope and an eternal life with him.

A God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Nothing comes as a surprise to God.

I know I can rest in him!

No matter the circumstance, and I have faced some dark times, his words ring true in my heart

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. -1 John 4:4


The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? - Psalms 27:1


Rest easy my friends! God has got us! 

And above all remember what the word says 

Love God with all your heart, strength, mind, and soul. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Luke 10:27)



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Integrity

Who will be the examples to my child, niece, and nephews in the future? I feel like in our government and sometimes in our daily lives the good men and woman are few and far between.

The men/woman of integrity. Faith. Purpose. Drive. Love.

Integrity to me is so important. It is what I looked for in a husband. A pastor. A friend. 
Integrity
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
synonyms:honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness
Look at those synonyms. How many people do you know that would meet that description? I do not know many.

I often think what would people see me as? Am I making a difference for God? Am I representing Christ in a way that would make someone want to know what I have in my salvation, or am I just convincing them of what some of the world thinks of Christians?

Our witness with people who come in contact with us on a daily basis are seeing what our actions are.

Are we honest? Do we stand by our convictions?

I started to write this post last month, little did I know on May 16th that a man of integrity would leave this earth to be with Jesus. This man was a my cousins husband. B was a great person and loved his family. I did not get to spend much time with him because of us living in a different state. 

However, he touched my life in a major way. When we lost Hope, as you know, we were devastated. B and my cousin had suffered a loss when their precious baby Owen went to Heaven. B wrote my Josh the sweetest message. Telling Josh he understood and that he was praying for us. That meant so much to both of us. I know they both continued to pray for us. 

When I was pregnant with E, my cousin and B drove from GA to my house (Before going to another cousins wedding) and dropped off two totes of baby stuff for me to go through. He unloaded it and was so gracious.  

At the viewing there were so many people who were grieving the loss of this great man. A man of integrity. It was standing room only. His brother shared how he would miss his infectious smile. 

His funeral was so full of loved ones and friends. Everyone touched by his kind heart. He even left a letter to be read at his funeral. His humor shown through in a big way, and he had us laughing at his jokes. 

I just seen him and my cousin a couple months ago, it just does not seem real or fair that a life was taken so young. One of those things we do not have answers to. 

After seeing and hearing of the love he had for others, the great husband-father-son-brother-friend he was... B was a man of integrity. He loved as Jesus loved. He loved God and lived his life to the fullest. 

It makes you think of your own life and what others would say about me. I would hope that people would think I was a person of integrity like B. 
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My heart is broken for my cousin Kristi. She has two boys now to raise with B watching over her. Please keep her in your prayers. She lost the love of her life, and even though she knows he is with Jesus and Owen now... I'm sure she would rather have him here. 

Thank you B for loving my cousin and being a great dad to your little ones. And for being a light for Jesus. 


This is the link to the Go Fund Me page that is set up to help my cousin




Sunday, April 3, 2016

What about baby #2?

Before I even had E I was asked if we wanted another child. I remember looking at these people like they had two heads! I had not even gone through my first birth... my second baby was not on my list.

E's birth was traumatic and made me feel all sorts of fear and anxiousness at the thought of having a second baby.

Even though I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I meant it when I said "We will adopt, I am not going through that again", here I am.

I brought the subject up to J around September. E was about to turn one and I was really feeling baby fever. The year had passed so fast. However we were just really starting to feel comfortable in our new roles as parents and dealing with how that changed our dynamic as a family of 2 to 3.

At first J was extremely apprehensive. For several reasons. Good reasons.

This was kind difficult to deal with. Usually J and I when it comes to big decisions are on the same page. In this instance.... we were not.

So we talked it out for a bit while we were having yet another late dinner because of his schedule and feeding Ethan who needed a night snack because we were eating.

I became a little apprehensive. I was thinking J would be so excited. I was not really sure what to do with my feelings. He loved being a dad.

After a couple days I decided to bring it up again. I was trying to act like it was okay and I understood, but I really needed to talk over it some more.

We talked it out. After some discussion I understood his feelings much better. And I was comfortable to say,"When your ready, I'll be ready"

Fast Forward to the end of October, I had really been praying about our decision to start working toward baby #2. It was on my heart for some reason, so I turned to the person who never fails me, my Lord. I turned the big 30 in October and I know every year I get older it adds more difficulty in getting pregnant.

So the time came for me to start a new pack of my  birth control. I was not really happy with the one I was one and wanted to change. So as I was discussing this with J we started talking about baby #2. He said he had been really thinking about it.

After praying together about it we decided to stop birth control. I have since went for my yearly physical and they gave me the go ahead. Since I had Ethan I have lost 20lbs. I'm working on getting to gym more.

So to those who ask all the time :) yes we are trying for baby #2.

I do not know what the future holds but I do know this, God has it. It is frightening. Maybe baby#2 comes from heart and not my womb. Adoption has always been in our plans, we just do not know what is in God's blue print.

Keep us in your prayers.

As always, I'm here if you need me.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

This was hard to write

I wrote this post last month actually... and I felt it needed some editing. Here is the finished post. I didn't change the ending because in the moment of writing this God was working on my heart and turned my pity party into a very humble and personal moment... I hope it touches your heart in some way.

These past couple weeks have been harder for me. Not sure if it's my sweet natured baby is now yelling, pitching fits, hitting when he is mad... Sigh.
Then I was sick. Then hormones are acting up. 

Whatever the cause I've really missed my life being just Josh and I. 
I miss being able to stay on the phone for way too long with my best friend.
I miss being in school.
 I miss the camraderie of my cohort.
I miss being able to enjoy going to work. 

I would not change having Ethan. My BIG little miracle. The gift of being a mommy is one of the greatest gifts. I love him so much.
But being a mommy sometimes is lonely. There is a sacrifice to being a mom. It is hard. 

You are last in the world, or so it feels some days.
 Loneliness is a battle that you fight or at least I have.
I cannot just go to girls nights. 
Dinner and a movie.
 I don't get to just run to the store. 

I'm looked at differently and sometimes it feels I'm forgotten. 

This sounds like an awful pity party. I guess it is in some ways

All I know is some days I do not feel I have much more to give. Or what in the world was I thinking? 

Then 
there are times where my baby says momma, or just cackles at me being silly, or then I hear him call for his daddy. Or when he grabs my finger even though he can walk all by himself he needs the reassurance from me.
I look at his sleeping face and see God's

 grace, faithfulness, and love

These times I'm reminded after a day of chaos
 or when I missed another girls night, 
the laundry is piled high,
 I never got to those phone calls, 
still needing a shower, my house is cluttersville... 

The sacrifices are worth it. 

In the end God entrusted us with his son, Ethan. My actions and character will take part in molding this boy to be a man of God. That is a big job, and one I take very seriously. 

I know this isn't your typical Christmas post but sitting here now after midnight so it's officially Christmas Eve, my baby sleeping in my arms and looking at our beautiful Christmas tree, and getting a good night kiss from the love of my life... I see my very own Christmas treasure. 

As I celebrate the birth of my savior, I'm reminded the God who performed a miracle in a young virgin is the same God today, yesterday, and forever. Even in my lonely times, when tears sting my eyes from exhaustion, and when E giggles and Josh clasp my hand..
Thank you Lord.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Good-bye 2015

January 2015
February 2015
This has been such a different year! Our first year as parents and being a family of three! There have been so many memories and first. There have been some difficult times but there has been a difference in me and J.

I have felt I know God in a different way. My walk with God has a different closeness... I have a better understanding of who God is.

This year has been a personal journey of growth. Maybe not so much of an outward change but a change on the inside.

Fell asleep with Gr-grandma
March 2015
I've learned that I can be stretched more than I ever have emotionally, physically, and mentally as a parent, wife, and woman. 

This year can be summed up as being a learning year. Yeah, a learning year.. learning. Here is just a recap

1. Parenting can be tough
 2. You really can go on very little sleep

3. Nothing is more frustrating then not knowing how to help your baby when they cry and can not tell you why.
4. One of the greatest feelings is a hug from your baby boy
Learning to sit on his own
March 2015



5. Hearing my boy say "Mama" was more special than I imagined

6. When your baby learns "mama" they like to call for you.... alot.

7. Separation anxiety happens to mommy and daddy too
O and I.. she made me a Aunt Lala
April 2015

8. Sometimes it is hard to find quality time with your spouse and that is not a good thing

9. You have to choose to joy

10. Friends fail you and hurt you sometimes

11. So does family

12. You cannot stop time

13. Grief is ugly

14. God is still a God of miracles

15. It is hard to ask the tough questions

Getting hugs
May 2015
16. God is faithful, all the time.

17. I want more kids

18. My husband is truly my best friend

19. Ethan is such a personality and I believe he is going to be a little strong willed... have no idea where he gets the from (wink, wink)
20. I am blessed by great family and friends. I am very,
very rich indeed
All smiles
June 2015
First time swinging April 2015
.





My Momma had a real health scare this year. I was so grateful God healed her body. No cancer. No heart problems. Love you mom!  









This was a bad day for me with my PPD and he made me smile
May 2015


I am proud to say that my PPD is under control and I am able to handle my anxiety without medication. I'm really thankful for God's strength to get through this season. 








Ethan and his cousin Eli watching their favorite Yo Gabba Gabba




Gr-grandpa holding Ethan
September 2015