bare white

bare white


Letter to My Pregnant Self

The test was negative. Hmmm…I had to wait another day or two or week…second one, negative. I just knew though…I had to be pregnant. I know those symptoms!! Another day…wait a second!!….I think that says positive. Let's try ONE more time in another day and if I am really patient maybe I can wait two days…I wasn't patient. I HAD to know…sure enough - that is POSITIVE. I leapt for joy and kept it to myself for a bit. I enjoyed those few moments to myself. In fact, I cherished those moments, and sat down to write myself a letter. I knew,  at that moment, there was still clarity in my mind. But once the raging pregnancy hormones, the ones I prayed would come to sustain this sweet life, came in full force, sometimes my thinking would become a bit cloudy. And I forget. I forget what the Lord has taught me. I forget what He has taught me about my husband, children, pregnancy and then I have to learn it all over. This time, I longed for it to be different. I longed to remember and make this pregnancy one I cherished. To honor God through this one instead of making excuses about my moodiness and impatience.

So here it is. I wanted to share this because I know God has brought me back to this reminder so many times and realigned my thinking, words and actions according to all HE has taught me. He is so gracious.

A letter to my pregnant self, 

I want to remind you of a few things because in every pregnancy to date hormones tend to cloud your judgement and thinking. Sometimes they even leave you to forget where GOD has brought you. 

Psalm 139 - There is NO one who knows you better than YOUR Lord. He knows your thoughts from a far. HE understands you even when you, yourself,  do not. Remember, those hormones HE placed in you are to sustain that little one, not to give you amnesia. Without them, there could be no baby. HE thought about that baby long before you and formed that sweet bundle growing inside of you. Remember to be in constant talking-mode with God; praying His words each second, minute, day. AND take the time to listen, be still and let HIM speak to you through HIS word. 

There will be thoughts that enter your mind when you are pregnant that "normally" would not enter your mind. Bring them before the Father. He knows them any way. And if you are setting Scripture on your heart and memorizing it, it will help you!
"I will bless the Lord who has concealed me; Indeed my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely. For you will not abandon my soul to sheol; nor will You allow your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; IN your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever." (ps. 16:7-11) 
"Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (II cor. 10:5)

Pray for joy in your pregnancy. you will look back thinking it flew by wishing you would have been more joyful. (Romans 15:13, Phil. 4:4, 6-7) And when you are joyful, God's peace will follow. It will!!

You will gain weight - get over it! It will happen but remember it does not define you. The second they place the baby on you, it will be all worth it because that baby it a gift and God's blessing to you. Don't be so vain, but be a woman, pregnant or not, who fears God first and foremost. Yes, be proactive and careful but do not be consumed with it. It will only distract your eyes from God and will rob you of your joy and contentment. 

Take a deep breath and be patient with those around you. Let your words be like "apples of gold in settings of silver" (prove. 25:11) and pray your words would bring life to your husband and kids. 

Remember, God never promises life will be easy, but HE does promise He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our provider (Matt. 6) He will supply our NEEDS. Don't worry or fear while you are pregnant just pray for God's provision and TRUST His words. Let HIM be your provider and remember to tell the kids how He does provide. 

(*there there is a little paragraph that I wrote about Jason and I* Wink, wink…I will keep that personal)

Take a few extra minutes to just be with the kids and read to them. You will NEVER regret that. 

Immitate God to all around you even when you are pregnant. (Ephesians 5:1) Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Don't conform your thinking to the worlds "norm" while you are pregnant. Instead keep renewing your mind every day (Romans 1:1-3). God has taught you so much about His blessings, and children, and your relationship with Jason and His provision - don't faulter in your thinking just because you are hormonal. This is the time to lean into Him even more and trust His truth and promises. Let this pregnancy glorify God and bring others to see God's glory (Matt. 5:16) 

When you are completely overwhelmed read:
Psalm 139
Psalm 34
Phil. 4
Matt 6
Psalm 16
Psalm 127

Don't waste your time on the couch watching television; read! Fill your mind with God's truths. Fill your mind with wisdom of others who believe and are walking with God - not culture. 

What a gift it is to be pregnant! You believe this. You know this. You hold this close to your heart. Cherish these moments, they are fleeting! And most importantly, seek to "do" this pregnancy as unto the Lord for HIS glory - not for the glory of man or the opposition of man. Every breath, every step honor God. 

Praise God together with your husband for this life and take one step at a time. 
…just a few reminders! 

This pregnancy has been different for many reasons. My first trimester I know those moods were rough. But then I came back to this letter - I needed help. And through different circumstances God reminded me of HIS truth. I said it above and I hold to it, no matter what, GOD is gracious and any moments with any of my kids are a gift from Him. Relationships are the ONE thing we can invest in here on earth that have an ETERNAL value and importance.

Today, I needed to be reminded of this letter again...


Project or Blessing

It was a cold morning. I awoke not too early, not too late. And my coffee was in hand. I was intent to have a bit of quiet time before we started our day. However, I laugh at the word "quiet". Quiet it was NOT…not even slightly. Our house rumbles early every morning and it seems like no matter how hard (or my husband would probably say not hard) I try to awaken before them - at least one is right up behind me. So, I stopped trying to wake up before them. Now, I just let them get ready for their day during this not-so quiet time. And I am good with that…for now.  Maybe one of these days I will be up before the sun.

During the moments I had on this particular morning, I was challenged - deeply challenged as a mom. 
I don't remember who I was listening to or what I was reading. (my guess is it was Voddie Baucham, but honestly - my memory escapes me…maybe from too many early mornings?!?) 

The challenge came in how I view my children - a Project or a Blessing? Do I want a 'how-to' guide so my kids will turn out this way or that? How my kids act in public - is it the same in the comfort of our home or am I raising them to perform a certain way so people will think a certain way toward them? Perfomance vs. Transformation was at the heart of it all. And what I realized,  I have some growing to do - deep, heart transformation-type of growing. 

Why do we have children? For our benefit or for HIM?  My babies are for Him. They are a gift from HIM. And I am so thankful for each one…even on the not so pretty days. And I know I am not alone when I say that. The days where nothing is happening the way I imagined it would when I was single and childless. I was a "perfect" mom when I was single and childless - weren't you?…then the babies arrived and I realized what a selfish, imperfect, sinful mom I was. I laugh now at what I thought I would be! And all those things I said "my kids will never do", yeah I think we have accomplished all of them. 
I sigh….and rest in GRACE! Forgiveness! 

So hear is what I want to remember…

I am (and when I say I, I mean Jason and I) going after their hearts. I want a relationship with my kids…not a friendship…buddy, buddy. But rather a true relationship where their hearts trust me (us). I want them to know God's amazing grace. And I want them to know God's rules and the grace in those rules. I deeply desire for them to know rules aren't bad, but really freedom. Ironic isn't it….freedom in rules?? I didn't understand that always. But think about it. Very basic rules bring freedom. 

DON'T kill - why? So you don't end up in jail - there is NO freedom in jail. 

I know that is pretty obvious, but that's where we start…basic rules. 

DON'T cross that street without looking both ways - why? so you don't end up badly hurt, in the hospital or worse etc. etc. There is freedom in this rule.

Rules are good. Very good. But there is more -  I want them to trust and know there is grace. I want them to see God's deep, unconditional love HE gives us in His rules AND in His grace. He is so good!

And here is the "thing" that helps me to rest…

I cannot save my children. Only my God can do that. 
Did you hear that momma….you cannot save your children. You are to be a good steward of the "gifts" God has given you. We are held responsible for the way we raise them but GOD is the one who saves them. 

And if you missed it there, did you ever think or realize that even one of Jesus 12 disciples fell away…

Here is the thing, I have to trust that God is sovereign over my kids heart. The good, the bad, the lovely, the horrible, the beautiful, the ugly…He is still God. Only he Saves. And only HE can take those "icky" things I listed above and make it beautiful.  I am praising HIM for this truth! 

And if you see us in Target check-out line and one of my kids is having a melt down, just know - we are in training and allowing God to turn that "ugliness" into beauty. 


The "FUNK"

Several of us spent the last few days sick. Not just a bit sick, but SICK. I will spare you the gruesome details, as I am certain you imaginations will not fail you. And, I am certain many of you have been in our shoes recently and maybe even worse during this blustery winter.
Thankfully, and when I say thankfully I TRULY, WHOLEHEARTEDLY mean it , it was short lived for each individual it invaded.
Here's the thing, when I am sick, which isn't too terribly often (again thankfully), it always forces me to stop. Stop dead in my tracks and take time to breath in and out and regroup and ask for help. I know, with out a tinge of ugly doubt, the LORD knew I needed that. He was calling me to just be still and humble myself to ask for help. It is almost as if he allowed for this to force me into complete stillness…after all, I hurt too much to move a silly muscle. And as I laid there, not moving with a little one next to me feeling as bad as I, I couldn't help but be thankful…for health and healing and the way our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Let me back up a bit before the death bug hit...Do you ever get in, what I like to call, a "funk"? You know, where you are just stuck in negativity, engrossed in the "other side" of everything, forcing smiles when all you want to do is just crawl in a corner and not talk. I was there the week before I was sick. A whole lovely week of "funk". My husband noticed, I know he did, but did not say a word. How does he do that?? If the tides were turned, I would be asking him 1,000 annoying questions to get to the bottom of his "funk" and then try to make it better. That's me - a fixer. The problem was, this hormonal "funk" of mine, I could not fix. He could not fix. This will show you the wisdom he has…my husband. Instead of trying to fix it, he just loved me and gave me space. Then come Saturday, after the fight with this loathsome stomach bug (and me finally winning), realizing the LORD was trying to get my attention, learning through sickness, AND a date night, he turns and looks at me as we are driving in his black SUV and says, "I'm glad to have my wife back". That was the first he said of it and the last he said of it. I knew he knew. I was right. I learn so much from him. His unconditional love for me does not waver and I feel so deeply and desperately blessed.
So if you are in a "FUNK", I get it. Take a second to breath deep and pour into yourself the healing of learning the lesson you need to learn…maybe the lesson is just be still and STOP.  Maybe the lesson is much deeper. Life is full of these learning moments and even at 32 I am still knee deep in learning…learning of my desperate need for my Savior and my desperate need for thinking before I speak.
I told a friend recently, after having been told the same truth by another friend, I am so thankful there is NOTHING I can do to make God love me more and NOTHING I can do to make Him love me less. What unbelievable grace He gives every second of every day - the grace that makes us white as snow. (and snow we have had this winter…what a good reminder!)


Gloriously Mundane…revistited

Last year I was asked to share a post for a friends blog ( - and this is what I submitted. I realize as I am rereading it today - God needed to remind me today of how glorious the MUNDANE is.
So incase you missed it - here you go. Incase your momma heart needs to be encouraged today and you need to be reminded that the little things are really glorious - here you go. And just maybe for the mom who is wanting to just know she is valued…here you go.
how I long for this day today and no more cold!
As I awake up, the first thing I see is light. Somedays warm sunlight, somedays just daylight but light nonetheless. It shines on a picture I made for my husband, "You have my whole heart for my whole life" it says, but I realize more with each passing day this isn't just for my husband, but for me - to remind me of my love for my Savior and even greater His love for me. His deep, unconditional, grace filled love that I am not even close to understanding.  Every day I wake to this and I'm thankful for the breath I have for another day. I see Him in the sun.

My eyes open to the voice of Bitty calling every name of "Mom" she can possibly think of. "Momma, Mommy, Mom, Mom!" pause, then again, "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mooommmmaaa!" and this repeats until I walk through her door. Some mornings this is a welcomed greeting. Other mornings, I will admit I might roll over and pretend I didn't hear her for awhile and maybe even a pillow pushed to my face. Especially with a newborn that has graced our lives (UPDATE : our newborn just turned 1) - the morning calls of this crazy, sunny-colored, rats-nest haired girl may go on for awhile. Each day one thing remains true - I am thankful I am the one who answers to her calls of "Momma". I see Him in these moments. His fingerprints are here.

I put RJ in my arms, feel his quick newborn breaths, smell his sweet baby smells and we go get Bitty from her almost too small bed. I see Him in this small baby and every amazingly intricate detail he holds - his finger nails, his lashes, little bits of hair, his sweet pouty lips and I could go on and on. (A newborn makes the Psalmists words, "fearfully & wonderfully made" come to life)

As we get Bitty the first thing she's says is "Good morning baby!" It melts me like the kids sticky popsicles on a hot summer day and I see Him here.

We take steps to go downstairs, get breakfast with siblings that have been awake since the crack of dawn. Breakfast is a bit chaotic with one who can have dairy, one who can't; one who can't have gluten, 4 others who can and not to mention we have some who like cereal and some who don't - needless to say I try to simplify and have very few options to choose from. Most mornings I am asking myself, how can I see HIM in this? Somedays are harder than others until we stop, pray and listen to worship... Ahhh, breathe...I see Him now. I see Him in their smiles and in their daddy's deep blue eyes and I have to stop and say thanks that their little beating hearts are here, that we have food gracing our table and a pantry full and for the Sun beaming in our window so blinding it is hard to see,  HE. IS. HERE.

Now our day truly begins. Getting dressed - I am so grateful for each one who can dress themselves and I have stop and say thanks realizing this is a gift (even when they come down in crazy, unmatched outfits). Now I am Changing diapers and the crazy mom in me is giving thanks for the poopy diaper because our baby hadn't pooped in 3 know the newborn "poop delay" so they call it. And with every child I worry with this delay thinking surely there is something wrong and then it comes and I cannot help but be thankful that it came and is everywhere including up their back...I relax - nothing is wrong. He is here and I see Him in the poop, literally.  I am thankful!

It is now time for school - getting the older two started - Bible, math, handwriting, history, geography, latin and our science projects. All the while, laundry and more laundry and never ending laundry is going and then on to picking up, and cleaning up and then picking up some more with a break to wipe a few tears every so often. It is then usually followed somewhere with the breaking up of brotherly fights and the stopping of everything for the teachable moments that I too often miss. Teaching them to speak with kinds words, loving words or at least when not to speak - every day it's a battle, a fight. I have to remind myself, too, sometimes I shouldn't let words pour out of my mouth like they do only to be left as a puddle at my children's feet. Now what do they do with those muddy words?  I have to stop to breathe in between the good moments and not so good reminding myself to choose joy, keep smiling - they are watching. He is here in the every day - what we call life.  My oldest, almost a lady, says, "Mom, I like it when you smile." Ohhhh - smile, that's right. I have to do that....they are watching. They see me not smile and if she took the time to tell me she likes it when I smile, I must not be doing this very thing enough.

I see Him in all of these moments and try often to remember to write down His finger prints in utter "thanks" because these moments, they are fleeting. These days, they are going by and and once they go by I cannot get them back no matter how hard my feeble self may try. I want Him in these moments because when He is with me, when I invite Him into the mundane - it is then that mundane becomes Glorious! It is then I can say "thank you" for each fight and argument, for each kiss and hug, for each time they say "I love you", for each toilet that needs to be cleaned, bottom wiped, diaper changed. "Thank you" for each article of clothing that must be washed and rewashed and folded and folded again and finally put away because one or two couldn't decide what to wear in the morning so they periodically changed during the day and put clean clothes in the dirty laundry - after all isn't that 'putting them away'? For each meal gone wrong, spilled cup of milk, dropped plate of food. For each crazy bed headed child, the tears while pulling through those very tangles and each cry for help. For each lego stepped on, toilet paper roll unrolled, and popcorn kernel found. I have to invite Him into every moment so it will become Glorious. I want my mundane to become Glorious. I have to say "thank you" so I see the gifts of every day life. And when I do, it changes ME and I see a little clearer. My view hasn't changed, but how I see has. This is where I find complete joy in the gift of motherhood.

 Invite the Glorious into the mundane and let Him change not what you see, but how you see. This is joy and life full of joy. This is what counts and what makes this walk as a mom so amazing!


Thanksgiving, Joy, Full Heart

Living in the moment is something I strive after, some days successful, but not every day.
Whenever you are faced with trials in life though, all of a sudden that moment becomes crystal clear and the fog drifts away and you see where your focus should be. I kinda hate this. Why can't I see clearly every day and live in these fleeting moments? I really do know the answer to that, nonetheless I can't change my mind set quick enough. 

These are the moments I am talking of. It may not have lasted but a second or two, but it was there and I am thankful and I want to see it!

So many of the "living in the moment" memories embedded in my mind are around a table. Eating, drinking, talking and living. I cherish these moments - truly! And over the Thanksgiving Table this year, I clung a little tighter to all around that table knowing next years table will look different. The differences will bring great joy and great sorrow (most likely), but I know my God holds each of those moments already in is strong hands and will give them to us in his perfect time.

See that apron there in the background my dad is wearing…just another memory from when we were little. All of my siblings and I were puffed-chest proud when we gave that to him. And still 20+ years later, it still graces his chest - years of stains and all. Years of memories and all.

It is crazy to think of where we are now when it seems that just a bit ago we were all living at home, single, childless. I love where am I now, but I just cannot believe I am here! I am sure my grandma would say the same.
I tend to have a hard time letting go, I guess you could say. The ache of losing loved ones rings true and we have been so blessed in our lifetime to have lost very few (so far). Something for which I am truly thankful. It just means that we have had more time to visit with them, talk with them, glean from their years of life lived before us.  However, all of the above has to be done when you live intentionally otherwise, the years will pass and then you will be standing at an open casket wishing you would have called,  visited more.

I'm not trying to be morbid, just trying to live wide-eyed. We all know it will happen and like so many, with no forewarning.
So this is a way of reminding myself to not take for granted what I cherish and hold dear.

"But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." (Matthew 6:33,34)

Every day I let worries crowd my view, but this year, my deepest desire is to take great strides in not worrying about tomorrow. Let Jehovah-Jireh fulfill his name, my Provider! There are lessons to be learned from generations before us…many a lesson!

And I want to be the one to take the time to learn.

So I think this year will be a learning year and one full of stopping to just say, "Thank you!" to the giver of each moment!


How we catch our Zzzzz's over here

I had a sweet friend email me a few questions about our sleeping arrangements at our humble abode...Other than the obvious of our master being occupied by the Mister and I.
I thought her questions were really great questions that I so should have thought of a bit ago. We are in our groove now, content with what kids are in what rooms and it is working really well, but not to say there isn't room for improvement. Because there is always room for that lovely thing!

 So here is how we work it out.

When we moved into this house we only had our three oldest and they each had their own room. Honestly, I didn't love it because I wanted our kids to share rooms. My sister and I shared a room for almost our entire life before we wed. Even when we did have our own rooms, most nights we slept in the same bed because we just loved to chat into the late hours of the evening. I longed for that for my kids. And DJ & I feel very strongly that we are raising our kids to be best buds. Yes, they fight…like cats and dogs sometimes. Yes, they disagree…we have many chiefs in our tribe. Yes, they giggle and laugh late into the evening some nights, but I am so thankful for that laughter. Yes, they get out of their beds at least 1, 2, 3, 6…9 times a night - and we are still working on this one.
I know this is hard to see - iphoneography at it's best in low light - but this is how the girls sleep in their queen…like spaghetti and it melts me.
So we have the 5 year old and almost 8 year old boys together - bunked two high in their beds.
We have the 3 year old and freshly 10 year old in the same room and SAME bed. They had separate twin beds but slept together every night (amazingly enough no one was hurt from falling out of bed) so we decided to give them our Queen bed and now we have a KING…yes a KING!
And littlest boy, almost 1 now has his own bedroom. However, I am hopeful he can bunk with the boys in this  house... we'll see. None of our rooms are huge so I am not sure if that will work or not in this house.

We have always observed early bed times. I feel VERY strongly kids NEED sleep - for health, happiness and because they are growing like weeds. So they are in bed early but that doesn't always mean go to sleep right away. Even when they don't though, they talk and DJ & I have overhead some conversations which are absolutely precious. And I know they are making memories they will cherish someday.
The two oldest ones are able to stay up later reading or doing puzzles together now that they are getting older. And they do this often…I love seeing and hearing them read to each other. This does mean that little siblings are at times woken up when they hop in bed, but typically they just go back to sleep - I guess this is just part of it.

When all of our babes were new in our arms (with the exception of Arae because I didn't think I was "supposed" to do that…however the more babies we had the more I realized what a bonding experience it was and so convenient for nursing moms and good for babies who spit up), they slept the first 3 weeks or so in our bed, in my arms propped with pillows all around me (we so could have used the KING bed then). I LOVE these days so much! (side note, I know not everyone agrees with this…it's just how we do it)
After that, they slept the next 4-5 months in our room in a pack and play - again for ease of nursing and having them close by. We also have spitter-uppers - some severe and on more than one occasion we had to suction a baby's mouth in the middle of the night - which is so scary! Those are the nights that I am extremely thankful they were in our bedroom as close to me as possible so I could hear and help them.

Between 5-6 months of age our babies, typically, were sleeping through the night and then in their cribs in their own rooms.

After that point, they do not sleep in our bed again (with the exception of a sick child). I don't think it is healthy for them or us to have babies in our bed to the point they then don't want to sleep in their own bed (again, personal decision). If our kids are sick or have bad dreams or growing pains, as one particular son has often, and we cannot comfort them in their own room then we make a sweet little place of slumber on our bedroom floor. We have established this early on so honestly, they don't even ask to sleep in our bed. For them, the floor is where they want to be. I have held many a sweet little fingers over the side of our bed as they fell asleep.

This is just how we do it…what about you? Any novel ideas for having little ones sleep peacefully in their own room?