October 4, 2016

October Goals

Aren't you thankful you live in a world where there are Octobers?!  I mean seriously, who doesn't love all things Fall and being able to bake, drink hot tea, go to the pumpkin patch and anything else that just totally screams "Hello October!".  Life has been slightly chaotic lately with Nick traveling nearly everyday of the week through the end of the year.  We get to see him on weekends (and a weeknight or two if we're lucky!), so we adjust life so that we can make the most of it.  It leaves me feeling incredibly grateful for our time together and watching him love on our sweet Addy girl.

Because we don't get to see him that much, in the time that we do get together we are trying to make the most of it.  Be intentional.  Intentional is a word I've been heavily thinking about lately.  Making the most of each moment, not waiting until it's too late.  This includes health, reading, rest, parenting, marriage, finances, the list could go on.  So with that, here are some goals I have for this beautiful month.

October goals:
  • Finish Addy's baby album
  • Read His Needs, Her Needs + 1 novel
  • Have a weekly date with Nick
  • Take Addy to the pumpkin patch
  • Continue weekly family Sabbaths
  • Host a dinner
  • Workout 3+ times/week
  • Phase grains out of diet
  • Catch up on Addy's baby journal
 Make it count dear friends!


October 3, 2016

Seasons of Change

I just love this time of year.  Cool, crisp mornings, pumpkin spice, baking, apples, leaves changing, decorating, football, pumpkin patches, and the anticipation of the holidays right around the corner.  It's such a cozy season, full of excitement and change.  And because this is a time full of changing and shifting, I've decided to change and reintroduce this little blog.  I have felt prompted for a couple of months to really start diving into blogging again.  However, I was feeling unsure why or what to write about, so I decided to pray about it and not start anything until I had a clearer vision of what I want to say.  Or rather what I'm supposed to say.

I have undergone change in my personal life like you would not believe in the last 6 months.  I suppose trials and challenges will do that to a person.  I am continually reminded that God does not give us more than we can take and never presents us with something until He knows we are ready.  And He always, ALWAYS provides a safe place to land amidst those hard times.  I am unsure as to how in detail I will go on the internet with some of the things I have dealt with, but I do know that I want to be real with you.  I want to be me.  I want to share what is on my heart.  It will not always be heavy.  But it will be real.  The real journey of what it's like to be a mom, a wife, a woman in this world, a child of God, basically whatever is on my heart and what I am learning.  I want to share those things with you.   I may include my new favorite recipe, what we are doing and learning as a family, maybe my current workout routine, or our little family adventures.  Whatever I choose to write about, it will be a reflection of true life and hopefully something you can relate to.  

I do think I have a story to share.  My life is not exciting, but I have had some fun adventures.  My life is not depressing, but I have been in the deep valleys too.  My life is full of hope, loaded with laughter, spent serving my daughter, husband and King, plenty in friendships, and yet probably looks pretty ordinary.  But you guys, it's enough.  I would not be who I am if I did not have past experiences, and I would never trade my sweet, simple life for any other one.    

As seasons change, life shifts, and things happen, let's share and encourage each other.


May 10, 2016

On my mom's journey...

I've been wanting to write this for a while.  Even now as I sit here I don't know where to start.  Yet my heart feels like it's beating a million miles an hour and is going to pop through my chest at any moment.  What I have to say is probably one of the hardest things I've ever written. 

When my mom was diagnosed almost a month ago, my world was rocked.  I distinctly remember the phone call from my dad that brought me instantly to my knees in a cold sweat as the tears flooded my eyes and drenched my face.  There's nothing like answering the phone to your dad as he tries to tell you through his own tears that "they found a mass in mom's brain."  I can never shake that off.  Since that call, I have experienced emotions I never knew before.  For one, fear on a whole new level.  Confusion, frustration, questions, FEAR again, sadness, anxiety, the list goes on.  My mom is a very healthy woman.  She eats well, does crossfit 3-5 days a week, doesn't have high stress levels, and she is involved in so many things.  I'm still processing how this could possibly happen to her.  My mom.  My best friend.

This is truly my worst nightmare.  Hell on earth.

I often pray and ask God for his complete healing.  I know a lot of people are praying that prayer.  I do believe that God is hearing our prayers, regardless of what the answer may be.  We have seen massive miracles that even the doctors are surprised by.  We were told that mom may never speak to us again, but definitely wouldn't be speaking for at least 8 hours after surgery.  Within 6 she already had told us she loved us! I tell ya, when I heard that I knew I never needed to hear anything again from her.  I'm thankful to hear her voice and laugh everyday.  We also were told that she could be paralyzed or never move her right side again.  Today she is a walking, talking miracle.  She still struggles sometimes, but never have I seen fire or determination in someone as they move forward to conquer something in the way that she is doing.

My questions remain though.  How can I encourage her best?  What am I going to do if I lose her?  I'm not ready, I need her.  What if I have a question (like so many times before) about how to best care for my baby girl in a specific situation?  Will I make it through this?  Am I strong enough?  How do I take care of my mom, my dad, my husband and my baby without melting down every 5 seconds?  I hope she can watch my babies grow up.  God, will you please save my mom?

I honestly don't know the answer to most of those questions.  Hence the phrase we've adopted (we've adopted many!)- "ONE DAY AT A TIME."  I wake up every morning in the hopes that this is over, that it was a terrible nightmare, and life is good again.


I'm coming to the realization that this is actually a gift.  Yes.  There I said it.  I am actually seeing how this terrible, awful brain cancer is a gift.  Every morning I get to do my mom's hair.  When we are doing her hair, sometimes we will talk and other times we will listen to worship music.  One morning last week, we were talking and it struck me again how much life has changed.  Not just physically and in ways you may think, but like spiritually too.  My perspective on life will NEVER, EVER be the same again.  Each day truly is a gift and whether we choose to see it that way is up to us.  We aren't guaranteed a single moment.  I've realized that when I wake up in the morning, the things I look forward to most that day are so drastically different than what I used to look forward to even 5 weeks ago.  Priorities have really changed.  I'm thankful for that.  We are enjoying simple moments with lots of laughter, some tears, still some fear, and an abundance of prayer.  

I want to remember the simple moments.  Reading Scripture together in the mornings, drinking tea in the evenings, stretching and going for walks, watching the birds on the bird feeder, watching my mom worship the Lord, playing cards together, laughing at memories, looking at old photos, talking about dreams, picking out plants, planting the garden, getting her water, covering her with a blanket, watching her watch Addy, seeing her tell my dad "you're my favorite," watching him care for her, praying with her before every pill.  I don't want to forget any of it.  

Every day mom reminds us to trust God.  To pray and not cease on knowing his goodness.  Praying without ceasing.  Whew, I tell ya.  If I thought I knew what that meant before any of this, then I was wrong!  It takes on a whole new meaning when you realize it's all you've got that can truly save someone's life.  I'm not sure how we would make it through this without Jesus.  He is our hope and our strength.  I ask him every morning for strength and peace just for today.  For wisdom in what avenues to pursue for treatment.  For healing over my mom.  For more miracles.  For good doctors.  For simple treasures in the day.  For grace as I mother my 8 month old little girl.  For Him to be my everything.  I'm beyond thankful to know that eternally my mom and I will be together.  Regardless of what happens, I'm thankful.  And I'm thankful for today, because truly you guys-


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November 3, 2015

Adelyn Rose: Birth Story

This post is long overdue.  I guess in the midst of having a baby, some things just temporarily go out the window.  But this is one post I have been wanting to write and share, I just haven't really been ready to divulge this private part of life yet.  However, a lot of people have been asking me about it, and someday Addy can read about it, so here we go.

Adelyn's birth story starts a long time ago, but we'll just start from when I was 37 weeks pregnant with her.  I went to my weekly check up and the doctor asked me how I was feeling.  I told her that I was fine, but tired, hot, my back hurt and it felt like some days the baby was going to fall right out of me.  I asked her to check me and she did and lo and behold I was dilated at 2 cm!  I was so not prepared for that, especially when she told me she didn't expect me to make it to the end of the week before having the baby.  Talk about freaking out.  It was in that moment when I realized "Oh my gosh.  I'm having a baby.  I can't stop it.  This is happening.  Oh my gosh.  I'm so scared.  Are we ready?  What if I can't do this?  Is it a boy or a girl?  I'm having a baby.  Oh my gosh."  Naturally I started crying, happy but mostly scared tears.  I went home, packed my bags and waited.

Fast forward 2 weeks and I'm still pregnant.  Here's a lesson:  doctors, don't tell a pregnant woman that she is going to probably have the baby that week unless she has a scheduled induction or something.  That was a hard 2 weeks.  It was a miserable waiting game, full of lots of prayer, contractions, and false alarms.  I cried a lot.  haha.  Being pregnant through an entire humid New York summer was hard!  I was ready to be done, and the days dragged by.  I was ready to meet this baby.  So when I woke up that Friday morning with still more contractions, I was convinced it was just another false alarm.  I actually didn't even think anything of it.  I barely kept track of how far apart they were.  I told Nick I was having contractions, but that he should go to work and I'd call him if he needed to come home but that he probably wouldn't have to.  It was early.  I looked at the clock.  The contractions started at 5:07.

I tried going back to sleep, but couldn't so I got up, took the dog for a walk, read my Bible, and made myself breakfast.  The contractions were coming steadily every 7 minutes apart and it seemed that they were getting more intense, but I still didn't think it was real labor and that I was making it up in my head.  Nick called me a while later to see how I was doing and I told him that the contractions were 6-7 min apart at that point and I'd been having them for 3.5 hours.  Sidenote:  we had no clue what we were doing so we both called our moms and they told us that this was the real deal!  We still didn't think it was.  But Nick came home anyway.  We went for a walk and boom!  I still didn't think this was real labor, but I did know that these contractions hurt much worse than the other ones I'd been experiencing.  It was still bearable though and after we made our way home, I showered, Nick took Brinkley to the pet sitter, and we loaded the car to go to the hospital.  I fully expected to be sent back home.  My contractions were 5 minutes apart now.

On the way to the hospital we got lost.  haha.  So typical.  We took a wrong turn and eventually made our way through the traffic to the right part of town.  I told Nick I was super hungry since I hadn't eaten much that day and if I really was in labor then I wouldn't be able to eat once I was admitted to the hospital until after the baby was born.  I wanted a burger.  (Don't judge a pregnant woman!)  He stopped at a little diner about a mile down the road from the hospital.  He ran inside to get us some burgers and I kid you not, it took over 20 minutes!  So here I am in the parking lot of this sketchy, abandoned-looking diner having contractions every 4 minutes trying not to look pathetic as I bend over to hold onto something when one hits.  He came back with the burgers, and they're like half-pound patties.  I almost gagged.  I could've just gone to Dairy Queen.

We finally made it to the hospital around 5:00 pm, only to find that all babies wanted to be born that day and there were NO ROOMS AVAILABLE.  What?!  So I labored in the hallway for the better part of an hour trying to keep it together during these contractions.  Walking helped, so that's what I did.  I told the nurse I was trying to go as far as I could with medication anyway so it was fine.  That was back when I was still being nice and polite to people.  I finally got into a room, changed into my gown and could finally be checked!  I can't remember for sure but I think I was at a 3 or 4 at that point.  Yay! I was really in labor and I was really going to get to meet this baby soon!

All of our family lives across the country and no one was there for the birth of the baby, so as I am laboring in bed and making it through each contractions (now 2-3 min apart), Nick is sending texts and videos to family back home.  There were times I wish I had the strength to reach out, grab his phone and throw it across the room. haha.  But I really am glad he kept our family in the loop.  Then it turned about 8:00.  The contractions were coming every minute and they were the most intense thing I have ever felt in my life.  I knew labor was going to be painful.  But NOTHING can ever prepare you for what you will feel when you are about to give birth to a baby.  It's like Lorelai Gilmore says, "It was like doing the splits over a stick of dynamite."  Only 1,000 times worse.  You know in the movies when there is the crazy psycho lady who is screaming bloody murder through her contractions and everyone in the hospital is afraid of her?  That was me.  I had no idea I would be like that.  I was screaming so hard, and was convinced that I was about to die.  This would be the end of my life.  Nick thought I was going to die too.  He told me later, that it was the hardest thing he ever had to do, watching me suffer like that with no way to help.  Well he tried to help by rubbing my back (which is so sweet!) but in the moment it didn't feel good at all so I snapped at him too.  I was screaming that I wanted my epidural!  It seemed like no one heard me so I kept yelling that I wanted it.  haha.  It took 45 minutes for the anesthesiologist to show up.  I think the hardest part of the whole night was getting the epidural.  I had to sit completely still and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I was shaking uncontrollably, the pain was so bad I almost passed out and I had tears streaming down my face.  I remember just crying out to God this whole time to give me strength.  I could barely speak but I good only mutter help to Him for strength to get through it.   I finally got the drugs and felt like a million times better!  It was heaven.  I apologized to my doctor, the nurses and Nick for how I had acted and told them I was so sorry and embarrassed.  I will only get epidurals from here on out haha.

When I got the epidural I was dilated between a 6 and 7.  The nurse told me to get some rest and that it would likely be 5 or 6 hours before I needed to push.  The doctor would come back in an hour to check my progress.  Nick and I chatted for what only seemed like a few minutes and the doctor was back in the room to check me again.  "So you're fully dilated now and it's time to push."  What?!  Are you serious?  I dilated that much in one hour.  I was excited, scared, nervous, relieved.  I looked at Nick and our eyes just got so wide; we were about to have a baby and life was about to change forever.  The nurse held my left leg, Nick held my right leg, and the doctor was at the end of the bed to deliver our precious baby.  These were my coaches.  The epidural was so fresh that I couldn't feel a thing.  Which is usually good, but I couldn't even tell if I was pushing or not.  I couldn't feel my stomach so I just hoped I was actually pushing and making progress.  After one push the doctor goes, "Look at all that hair!" The baby had hair!  That was more motivation.  I wanted to see this little one.  So I pushed and pushed for just under an hour as my coaches told me when the contractions were coming and held my hands through it.  All of a sudden, a baby was plopped on me and I looked up at Nick.  His eyes were huge and filled with tears.  I looked at him through my own tears as he looks down and says, "It's a girl!"  We lost it.  A baby girl.  Our sweet Adelyn Rose.  Born at 11:36 pm on August 21, 2015.

Life has been harder, more tiring, more beautiful and more full of joy ever since.  And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

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