Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Resoulution

So, when I was little, for a long time, we lived across the street from my cousins. Too much fun and too many adventures and stories to tell. In fact, sometimes the "new additions" (meaning husbands and wives:)) to the family complain that we tell the same stories all the time when we get together. And maybe we do, but those stories just never get old to me... I digress again! So, for a long time, I don't know how many years, we would spend New Year's Eve at Uncle David and Aunt Debbie's house. They would make "nasty nachos" (they were not nasty, they were amazing, and I may miss them...) and we would watch whatever tv special we wanted to and around 11:00 Uncle David would hand out envelopes and paper and we would start writing our New Years Resolutions. And he would save them, and then we would open them the next year to see what happened. That really has a profound effect on someone young as I was. And I loved it! So, today, I was reading the Joy the Baker blog and she blogged about how she made a time capsule and I thought, "What a great idea, but I am way too impatient for a time capsule..." So then I thought about New Year's Resolutions. Should I bring them back? Maybe when Karis is older she would like to do them? But then again, I don't think that Tim would be behind that. He's not really a New Year's Resolution kind of guy. So then I thought about my blog, and how I have 18 followers which is enough people out there to hold me accountable to my resolutions! So, in the most candid and "putting myself out there on the internet way" I am going to post my New Year's Resolutions, and hopefully I will remember to revisit this post, this time next year... Sound fun?

So, without further adieu, just off the top of my head, these are some things I resolute for 2012 (if the world does not come to an end, and I mean, you really never know...)

1. Stop being a quitter. When life gets hard and things get hectic, don't turn into a hermit. You can take a breather, you can step back and collect your thoughts, but you must not be a quitter. Quitters may never lose, but they certainly never win!

2. Seriously, be a better friend. Call your beloved ones that are out of state, try a text or two every once in awhile. It doesn't hurt anyone to tell them you love them. Especially those you really do love. And call your grandparents more too.

3. Stop being a spontaneous shopper, Target, Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, Dillards, Marshall's... all of it! You don't need any more clothes, shoes, or accessories. Seriously, stop.

4. Love more and deeply, try to love on Tim they way he receives it, instead of the way you do. Attempt to master being a good wife, try that Proverbs 31 thing.

5. Love your daughter, by December 2012 she will be walking (hopefully) savor her newbornness, and stop thinking about ways to get her to sleep through the night. It will happen eventually, and by the time it does, it will be time to have another kid, so stop trying to make it happen!

6. Read more. You are a smart girl, and too good for daytime television. Read some good books. (Would anyone like to loan them to me?)

7. Clean the house more and get a handle on making the meals. Karis is three months old, and will be over a year by Dec. 2012. You can re-enter the wife world and make dinners for Tim. You can do this!

8. This is shameful that this is not #1 on the list, but can we pretend you put it as #1? You asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior, you entered into a relationship with the God and Savior of this world, will you start to pursue one with Him? He's been pursuing you your entire life, 2012 is a good year for reciprocity.

9. Have you gotten down to your pre-pregnancy weight? Are you on your way to going past that number (you were a little tubs when you got pregnant...) How many 5k's, and 10K's did you run this year? Remember in 2011 when you were pregnant all year long and you SO wanted to be doing those with your mom and sister? Well, now is the time for it! Do not give up! And deep down inside you know you like the feeling of a good long hard run:).

10. Tim bought you a glue gun, try to utilize pintrist to get a little crafty this year instead of looking at all the clothes ideas on it. While you may have hated making that Christmas wreath, it did turn out pretty and you did feel proud of it. Try to think of ways of being more crafty!

Ok, little one is crying, and 10 resolutions are a good start! I'll be seeing you all in the New Year! Love you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Things I Do for Christmas Spirit...

I'm kind of starting a tradition for myself that I don't much like... Let me explain. You see I haven't found that one great thing in my life that I am really, really, really good at. I mean, I can't really pinpoint that one thing that when you're talking to someone you're like, "Oh yeah, you need help with that? Go to LaurieAnn, she'll help you, she's amazing at it..." And that's ok, I'm young, I have lots of life (Lord willing) ahead of me, I feel like if I keep at it, I'll find it.

But anyway, so I do know one thing I am good at, it's not really a skill, it's more like, just who I am. I will try anything once. So, for the past Christmas's, I have been trying my hand at different crafty, domestic type things to do at Christmas time. I feel as a wife, I should try to do something to make the season bright in the Harper household...

So, the first Christmas, I decided I was going to make my own Christmas cards. So I spent, a bizillion dollars at a Stamp-Up party, chose what looked like the easiest card I could figure out to do and made a grand total of I think like 20-30 cards, which wasn't even half of the people on our Christmas list... to top it all off, people were more impressed with Tim's Christmas poem than my card, and most everyone thought my sister (who did these kind of cards a lot and is really good at it) made the cards. While I was super flattered that people thought the cards were so good Jennifer did them, these cards mostly just stressed me out..The next Christmas after that I believe we flew up to Georgia and surprised my whole family by being there on Christmas Eve and for Christmas. Hahaha... good times, that was stressful cause I had to lie to my mother for a week, and I think she even cried one time on the phone, so, while I loved surprising my family, the weeks before hand were hard and also I was a nervous wreck until the plane touched its wheels down on GA asphalt. Then there is last year... last year I baked all cookies known to our family for Christmas. The crescent cookies, the ones with the jelly in the middle of them, chocolate chip cookies, and mom showed me how to make fudge... I felt like I was baking forever. And I felt like I used all the butter in Florida. Now, making cookies was fun, but I also gained about what felt like 100 lbs between eating the cookie dough and eating the cookies that did not make it in tins to friends:). Which brings us to this year...

I decided no crazy baking since I'm trying to drop about four pants sizes and eating cookie batter won't help:) (but it would make me happy). One day, Tim mentioned that he wanted a wreath for the door and he wanted to buy one. Well, that was just not going to happen, no way, I was going to make a wreath! So, I found some pictures in a magazine with some directions, and I thought I picked one of the easier wreaths, skill wise... well, it might have been easy skill wise, but not so much time wise. So here is what it looked like while I was putting together all 100 pieces of this wreath:

Do you see those little rosettes in the picture? Yes, I had to make over 100 of them. That means I cut over one hundred circles in felt, and then I rolled over 100 rosettes. By the time I was on the 5th rosette I was starting to wonder what I got myself into. But after three days of toiling here is what I got:

Not too shabby. But I really can't say that wreath making is my thing either. I really can't say I enjoyed the process nor do I want to go and make a wreath for every holiday. Especially a rosette wreath. So, I tried it! Another thing on my list I can say I have done and have some experience in doing, just not that thing I'm great at! I wonder what stressful thing I will do next year in my search for making Christmas in the house? Ha! We'll find out next year I guess.

And for your enjoyment...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Matters Most...

Many of you may not know this, and maybe some do, but... I'm a people pleaser... scratch that, a recovering people pleaser. I've been working on it for quite some time now because for some reason I can't please EVERYONE in the whole world. I just can't do it. So, what I've done to cope is pick a couple of people that I want to please more than others, mostly family and close friends, and then and only then, I give myself permission to not please them all the time either. I'll let you know how this turns out...

So, is it a big surprise to anyone that I really really really want my daughter to like me???? Kind of weird right? I mean, she's literally a baby. She's two months old, cries, poops, eats and sleeps. Most times in that order. But I mean, she can smile now, and there is just something about when a baby smiles at you, and then there's even more something about when your daughter smiles at you. But anyway, I digress. All this to say, I have been struggling with what to do when she cries. There are two theories of thought when a baby cries: one being, do not rush to them, let them cry it out for a bit, you don't want to spoil them. The other being: children are so small (remember, we are talking about a 2 month old here) you can not spoil them this tiny, pick the child up and figure out why they are crying and comfort them.

I have been struggling with this because, there have been people in my life, who I love and respect that have warned me not to spoil Karis and not to rush to her every time she cries. And I respected that advise, and I have tried not to rush to her. And I tried for like a day to have her put herself to sleep and it all just... did not sit right with me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I kept thinking, "Well, you don't want to spoil her... But she's a baby?!? If she cries and I don't come and see what's wrong, how will she know to trust me, that I'm going to be there for her?" And the argument would go back and forth in my mind... So what does a person do when they need lots of opinions on a very controversial issue? I went to the internet to a baby forum. And there are lots of traditional and non-traditional people trashing each other's baby-raising techniques, which you should never do, unless you know a person abusing their child, then, you should get help for the kids... But anyway, one person put up some really freeing advise for me which basically said: Your child will grow up one day and soon enough will be so independent that they will put themselves to sleep and not need you for that, so cherish the time you have with the child...

So freeing, I say that with a sigh of relief. Because, and you might not know this, my love language is touch. I LOVE holding Karis, I love rocking Karis, I love watching her fall asleep, I love picking her up, and tickling her toes and kissing those darn cute pudgy cheeks! I love all of it. Even when she's crying/whaling in my face, I love it. Admittedly accept when I'm tired, but I'm working on it:). So, I guess you could say I want to spoil my daughter. I want to rock her, and pick her up when she cries, and I want her to know that her mommy will be there for her, even if I can't do a thing to help her, I'll rock her as she cries herself to sleep.

And I'll do it as often as I can cause one day, I'll be watching tv and she'll tell me goodnight and then go climb into bed and I won't have to do a thing. And I know that I won't be thinking, "Man, I am SO glad I taught her how to not need me at a young age." No, my personality is going to long for every second of this baby's life that I got to rock her and hold her, and sing (possibly off key) to her.

So today, Karis is tired and she's crying cause she can't do anything else, and I'm dancing to my Just Dance on the Wii. And I realize that she's not going to be working through this cry, so all hot and sweaty I pick my little peanut up and take her to the rocker and speak sweet nothings and prayers over her as she just cries to sleep. And then she closes her eyes... and she's at peace... and then she opens her eyes and smiles at me... and then I'm done. Maybe my daughter will be spoiled a bit longer than others, and maybe you disapprove of me picking her up all the time, but that's ok. I can't please everyone's opinions about what I should do as a mother.

Cause what really matters was looking into my daughters eyes and having her know that her momma will hold her even if I can't do a thing for her, i'll be the one to rock her as she goes:).

Look forward to telling you more of my silly learning mistakes and milestones as I go along!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Baby Story

So, as I have a few moments to type on the computer, I have decided that the hormones have leveled off enough and I have just enough time before she needs to eat to tell you about the day Karis was born:). Yeah!:)

So, it really all started on Wednesday that I decided I wanted to walk around a giant super target and look at EVERYTHING for almost an hour, it was so much fun that I started to contract... And hence the rest of the night I went back and forth with, "Was that a contraction? It didn't hurt... Lets just see if it happens again... Well, it did happen again, but it's still not hurting... Is it a Braxton Hicks contraction??? Wait... that hurt! a little..." That happened for like all of Wednesday night. I thought about taking a shower, but I have known too many people who took showers and the contractions stopped, and I was bound and determined to get this ball rolling, so... I decided to continue down this path stinky.

Around 11:30 on Wednesday night I started timing the contractions. They started out 15 minutes apart and then went down to 10 minutes, held there for awhile, then went down to five. By 2:30 in the morning when they were steadily at 5 minutes, I took a deep breath and woke up Tim. Now, for those of you who do not know Tim, he's like probably most of the population and that he is not perfect when you wake him up from a deep sleep. I can personally say, he is working on it. At 2:30 though, Tim informed me that this was not apart of his plan to for me to give birth so early in the morning and that we need to continue to time the contractions, and then we went back to sleep... Now, I know that this may seem insensitive, but in hindsight I'm actually grateful that he made me continue timing them because had we gone to the hospital so soon, I probably would have been turned away in triage, which was my WORST nightmare. So, I sat on my exercise ball, and watched TV shows on hulu and timed my contractions on my Iphone.

I had been texting my mom since 11:30, and she would check in with me like every hour, and finally around 6:00 she said she couldn't take it and was packing her bag to come to Florida, with my dad and sister... No pressure, really... now I just have to make sure I pop out a baby in the next 24 hours... Easily done, right?

At six, Tim woke up and we went for a loooooooooooong walk around our neighborhood where I was able to get the contractions down to three minutes apart. When we got home, Tim packed the car for what seemed like a million years, it wasn't but when you want to go to the hospital, a minute does seem like a thousand years. I called my doctor and told them what was up and they green- lighted me to go to the hospital. It was go time...

Until we got into the hospital, I went to triage, filled out forms then was laying on the bed, and my contractions STOPPED dead in their tracks. And the triage nurse checked me and I was only 3cm dilated. It's technically the hospital's policy to make you go home until you reach 4cm's. So, needless to say I was unhappy and praying my head off for some big contractions. (p.s. if you have not had a baby, I do not recommend you EVER praying to God to send you big contractions unless you really, really, really, want them) God answered my prayer. They came back in a big way in the Triage, and my wonderful, beautiful, amazing midwife, Andrea, came in looked me in the eye and said, "You are going to have your baby today!" Love, love, love those words! So, then we preceded to wait for what seemed like a millions more years for a room in Labor and Delivery to open. It really is kind of a weird feeling just sitting around, breathing through contractions waiting for a room to have your baby.

So, we get in Labor and Delivery and it feels like I have to tell like a million people that yes, in fact, I DO want an epidural. I mean, I understand policy, I was a case manager, I understand having to ask dumb questions a million times because one time a person died and their family sued and so now you have to ask these questions. But seriously, I feel like I told EVERYONE that I wanted an epidural. But first, they broke my water. And Tim watched! And the look on his face was priceless, and he's like, "She's going to bleed more than this?" And Andrea's like, "You haven't seen anything yet." And then she tells Tim every hour to eat!! So funny!! I think she might have been scared for him after he looked at my water being broken:). So, contractions get for real serious after your water breaks. And then I'm like, yes, please, for the love of all things Holy, please please please, get me the epidural, and I will love everyone forever!! So, they come in and give me what I requested, it's called a walking epidural. It's like not as strong medicine and helps with the aches and pains of the stronger contractions. Cool thing about this is, if you decide you want the stronger stuff, the needle is already in there, so they just bring in the stronger medicine and your good to go. Which, by the time I was 6cm dilated, when I was having contractions my face was "turning purple" according to my mom and sister. I'll get to them showing up in the next paragraph. So, I asked for the stronger stuff... Let me tell you, nothing feels so good as feeling the coolness of numbness running down your spine while you are contracting. Thank you Lord for making people who found out about epidurals, I love them.

So, mom and sis and dad arrive when I'm around 5cm's dilated. It was so good to see them, but so not good to know they had 4Rivers bar-b-q for lunch, and that I could not eat until much later after giving birth. Mom and my sister stayed with me up until my first practice push. It was very reassuring to have them in the room. Having them encourage me, give me helpful tips, and even my mom telling me that I was shaking from my epidural, which I could not figure out why I was shaking... So glad that they were both there. Because between me and all you on the internet, I was kind of freaking out that I was about to have a baby.

Finally, at about 5:30, Andrea comes in and checks me. She says, "I'm coming back in thirty minutes, and we are going to have this baby..." So, she comes back in thirty minutes, and I am moved into the birthing position and given an oxygen mask. Tim has to hold one of my legs, and we start to push. It was not very long, but it just felt like I was pushing for no reason, they kept telling me I was doing good, but I still felt this little girl in my body! Finally she got so low, that they were able to put a heart monitor on the top of her head, because she was too low to monitor my heart from the monitors that were on my belly. The new monitor had her heart sound like a door knock, which was strangely refreshing to hear while I was pushing. One scary moment happened as I had just finished pushing, and the "door knock" sound stopped. I looked up and Tim, who was looking at Andrea, who was looking at my contraction monitor. She said, "Wait for it.." And the "door knock" sound came back. Finally, the final pushes came, and I was SO excited, tired, relieved, scared... all of the above. (Side note, little one came out with her umbilical cord rapped around her head, which is why her heart stopped momentarily while coming through the birth canal). As she came out, and I heard her first cries, my heart literally burst. That is the only way I know how to describe how I felt the first time I heard and then saw her. Then comes the surprise... This entire time Tim and I could have sworn we were having a boy, I felt certain that we were having a boy... Tim looks up at me and says, "Meet our baby girl, Karis." Wow... I was not shocked then, I was in love as my beautiful girl curled up on my chest while they were getting the rest of the "stuff" out of me, and Tim was taking pictures like crazy. I just was in so much love. So beautiful to finally have the missing piece of the puzzle nuzzled right up under my chin. I was so nervous that she wouldn't respond to me, or love me like I loved her. But as I tried to calm her crying, she seemed to quiet at my voice. Makes me tear up thinking about it. And as soon as she was out and on me, they soon whisked her away to be cleaned, weighed, checked out, all that good stuff.

After she was taken out for a second, I just looked at Tim... We have a girl!! Oh goodness, we have a girl... That is all I was thinking for the most part. We are now considering owning a gun! jk, kind of...

So, there are so many more stories and thoughts I have one Karis, on being a mom, on hormones, and sleep, but there is no time, little girl is stirring and she does not like to wait for food. I just wanted you to be able to read this so I can hopefully have time in the future to write more about all my thoughts and feelings in this short time. Love you all...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby Math Part 1

I have not written in a long time because, well, writers block? Oh it's not like I haven't had some grand ideas in my mind that were just waiting to be put out there. It's that I have a lazy streak that if I let it, and I have, can go on for weeks. There, I said it, it is out there, I promise I will work it it:). Now, let me just tell you, I have less than 10 days until this child is supposed to come into the world. I might have more than that, because apparently, the child is already taken after his/her father, he/she does not like to move:). Not that little one is not moving, nope, there is a lot of that going on, it's just, not moving in the gravitational direction of out towards the world. I, in my desperate state of thinking and watching so many other women have there babies around me, keep having to remind myself what my mother told me one day: I will not be the first person ever to not have the baby. You would think that those words do not sound wise, but you get pregnant and then get to your 39th week and don't feel any contractions, and have very little dilation and see how you feel. Desperate is a good word:). But I'm fine, really, hence, I'm blogging!

But what I really want to talk about is not me or my emotions, those things are dangerous and tricky at this point in time. I want to talk to you about maybe one of the reasons why children cannot help but come into this world a little spoiled...

Its because of their parents, seriously.

I mean, Tim and I are no fortune five hundred people by any means, but the thought and preparation that took place for this child is insane. I mean, for me, at least, it began the second we moved into the house. We upgraded our living conditions for this little one. At least two large pieces of furniture were bought for this child (crib and rocker) we did not have to buy a dresser set because we already had one available, but I'm sure that would have been considered if we didn't have one and thanks to my sister a changing table was not a needed purchase, but we did repaint:).

So, so far, the child gets a new house, crib, and rocker... let's keep going.

Tim's car... lets just say that while I loved that car and was appreciative of all the miles that is faithful VW put into our relationship and subsequent marriage, it was by no means safe for a child to be in it, especially if it rained, and living in Florida, well... So, like we were some kind of contestants on the Oprah show, we got a new car! Well, new to us, and pretty new to the world as well:). But the baby just can't have a safe car, babies must be safe inside the safe new car. Hence we have a new stroller/carseat travel system. All for baby.

Once again: house, crib, rocker, car, car seat/ stroller, and finally...

I started to think about our camera situation. You see, as I have been able to have pleasure of watching everyone around me have a baby, I get to observe these things, like, there are a lot of pictures taken of this new little one. So, I think, well, we have a camera, we have not used it in forever but we have one. But further investigation proves that while our camera is fairly new (it was my wedding present from Tim:)) technology has out-done us again and while it is a good camera, Tim's cell phone is just at nice and has as many functions as our trusty family camera. In fact, we have not used the camera in probably over a year! We are really not picture people, that is sad, and should be remedied. I'm sure this little one will help with this;). Not being camera people, we opted for not as pricey or as complex of a camera that is out there, but we did step it up last night and got a more fancy smancy one that will take nice clear pictures of our new little addition. So, I would say the baby gets that one too...

For the last time: house, crib, rocker, car, car seat/ stroller, camera, and lets also not forget that I was thrown a total of two AMAZING showers, all of the gifts at which are not for me, but for the child... are we getting the drift here?

Do you know what Jesus got? He got a rented room in a cave and he slept where pigs eat their food...

I'm not saying any of the things that we got or prepared for for this little one are bad and that we should all be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to enjoy every second of new life. All I'm saying is that looking at it now, and thinking about the way the world is today, I need to start learning now how to dial down some of the baby math. Make sure that when the baby, who then turns into a toddler, who is raised into a child, knows what it is like to earn something and to be thankful and grateful for what has been given freely to him/her.

I'm spoiled too. Don't think the baby math is just for a baby. I could do "daddy's little girl" math or "bride to be" math, or "I'm an amazing wife" math, or my favorite while I was working "I work so hard and I'm SO stressed out" math. All apply. I just think that this keeps coming back in my mind and it's something to consider in my everyday life! Maybe you feel the same, or maybe you don't struggle with this math or have these issues. I do pray I am not the only one:). Can't wait to show you pic's of our new little one, hopefully that will not take as many weeks for me to blog about!!

Love you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Twilight Zone...

I know what your thinking..."She couldn't be"... "oh no she isn't"... "C'mon LaurieAnn..." But I am seriously referring and have often thought of this last trimester as the Twilight Zone. Mostly cause things are just off! Way off! And it could be because I now have a fully self-sufficient human being inside of my body, that moves... And not just the "Oh!, I think I felt something!" moves, but a human that when he/she stretches it's tiny little (probably getting a little scquinched in there) legs and feet, you can see the bump on my belly where the foot is sticking out. I am very thankful at this time, that the legs are not aimed at my ribs... yet...

But yes, I told you I would update you on my pregnancy if things have changed... and they have, big time. So let me get into it!

First of, hormones! Holy cow hormones, its not like I'm crying all the time, but the problem is, if I start to cry, I can't stop. And then I cry harder trying to tell myself that I am being stupid for crying. So, if I start to cray, the only way to get it to stop is if I just let myself have the good long cry to get it out of my system! Just wrong sometimes... And I am crying for stupid reasons. I teared up the other night when the realization hit that I was going to miss the Fall in GA... dumb tears, I'm not really that sad about it, probably just a short "whoa-is-me" moment, I'm super excited that I'm getting a baby in the Fall... I will miss the beautiful trees though...

There is a lot of swelling/sweating involved in the last trimester, at least with me. If the air is not down to somewhere between 60-70 degrees, you can bet that I am sweating up a storm! And all you want to do is stand in front of a fan and have it blow on you, just so much sweating, everywhere! And I now have cankles, large, water-filled cankles. I loved by dainty ankles, I loved how they narrowed right before my foot began. Not so much anymore, no, my now larger calves flow straight into the foot at the same diameter... its just so attractive.

Backache has become just apart of life. Even as I sit here, my lower back on the right side just feels like one huge knot. If I stand up that helps, but after awhile that hurts, so then I sit down, and well... that hurts more after five minutes. Sleeping helps the most, but you end up hurting sleeping as well, your just sleeping through the backache, cause when I wake up, which is often, there is all kinds of back, neck, arm joint popping that is going on. And I am slowly on track to getting the those cramps in my legs, drinking more water has become my mission in life, if only my husband would stop drink sweat tea in front of me!!

Speaking of waking up during sleeping...Wow! I already thought, that getting up once a night was going to be my MO. Not so, I'm averaging getting up twice a night, sometimes three times. A good night is now just getting up once for the bathroom. It boggles my mind at how much this is a necessity! Seems, the more this little one grows, the less room there is for my bladder and its contents. I'm starting to feel a little intruded on.:)

All that being said, I'm glad that I have a happy, healthy baby moving, a lot, inside of me. I know its happy, cause its gotta be, I mean, what more could you want inside your mom? He/she can be naked, stays at a nice warm temp all the time, is fed anytime its hungry, and can go to the bathroom and not wait for anyone to change its diapers! The good life indeed! The best way I can describe the frustration involved with this last trimester is sometimes you just want to pick up the bump and put it next to you so you can walk around with your back not hurting for a couple of minutes, but that's not feesable. So, I wait. Ten-eleven more weeks and we're golden.

Still nesting a bit as well, and I'll put up some pic's soon of the baby's room just as soon as we get our rocker in. Looking forward to a complete life-change, just need to get ready for it:)Hope you enjoyed!


Monday, July 25, 2011

I went for a walk...

I wanted to write this blog while it was fresh... I feel that the emotion is raw and that it is just very real of what is all going through my mind right now... To preface, I'm coming off of a spectacular, crazy busy, and unbelievable weekend. I mean, we celebrated two babies with showers, in two days... c'mon, nuff said, right? But this morning, as I woke up very early to use the restroom for what seemed like the millionth time, I glanced over and saw my wonderful mother reading her Bible, and I looked outside and saw what kind of a morning it was, and God gently spoke and said, "I think it would be a good time for one of Our walks today, don't you think?" The invitation out there, I was not going to let that go, no matter how my flesh wanted to go to the computer and check facebook...

So, I scarfed down some cereal, talked with mom for a sec, made sure Tim knew I was going for a walk, got my cute little dachshund all excited as I slipped on her leash, and then we were out the door, cankles and all...

And I have to tell you, I cried. For a brief second if I closed my eyes as I was walking along my parent's neighborhood, I could pretend, that this little cute thing I'm walking was my dog, and this beautiful older, shady (as in lots of beautiful old trees, providing shade, not that bad type of shady...) neighborhood with is soft grasses and big lawns, was my neighborhood. You could let the cool mountain breeze blow over you and just ingest all the goodness. The faces of my beautiful family flashed before me and the faces of their children. The faces of the children yet to come... My friends, I'm not Miss Popular back here by any means, but the friends that I have here make me smile so much. And there is so much history together, makes me happy.

Please don't get me wrong. The second I found out that I was going to live in Florida, I was excited. I was engaged to Tim and while it was devastating to find out that I was not going to be engaged to my fiance in the same state, I was so excited about living in a new place for our newlywed stage. Marriage is SO hard sometimes, and all the times lots of work, and to be able to discover a new city together, I felt like a frontiers-woman. It was just me and Tim and we were going to make it together. And I still feel like that in Florida. Orlando was not a place I was horrified to end up at, I was thrilled and excited!

But when you come home... My heart longs to have my child be close to his/her cousins geographically speaking, to visit friends often, to go to Athens in the fall and see UGA games, to hike mountain trails in Dahlonega...Who would have thought that while I was riding the backroads of my life with the top down listening to country music, I was actually falling in love with this place?

And once again, do not get me wrong... I live in a beautiful neighborhood, or at least the closest thing I was felt to a neighborhood in Florida, I have a wonderful cute home that I just love, we have an amazing church, with an amazing LigeGroup, and wonderful friends who do not think twice about praying for us and helping us out in an instant, they are our family, and I depend on them for support probably much more than they think.

So, how do I reconcile my feelings? I wonder this right now... How does my heart long to walk in an old shady neighborhood, and yet feel the love and excitement of meeting new people and ministries in our current situation. I guess that's why I cried, I'm just torn right now. I may not be tomorrow, I'll probably be fine in an hour or so. Just know, if you ever feel this way when you go home to visit that its not unusual, its so normal. I don't know many stories in the Bible of people felt torn in this way, so I guess I'll have to go back to the Bible to reconcile these feelings, and as this always works, focus my life around God my Father and follow His Will. It really was a good walk, full of good things... And I'll leave you with my final thought that God spoke to me:

LaurieAnn, I lead you to Orlando, and I give you All good things... Therefore, Orlando is good and it accomplishes my Work...

Yes, Lord, as always, You are Right...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I am so excited about this post today! Excited and nervous. I hope it comes out right, I hope you get what I'm trying to say, or even better, I hope you get something from God, I mainly hope you just read the whole post;).

So, if you have read any of my previous posts from the past year, you know I am a shameless promoter of things. I mean, I had a whole post dedicated to David Crowder... And why shouldn't I? He's a pretty cool guy. A couple of months ago I basically begged you to by a Derek Webb CD, which, I still think you should...(jk, kind of...) Buy now, you should also know I am a huge music freak. I LOVE music. But today, I am not pushing music, nope, I'm telling you to go get a book... yep, put your reading glasses on.

Now, if you know me, I am not about to go give you a book report about this book. Cause really, honestly, I haven't read the whole thing yet. But I'm looking forward to it. Its a book called 1000 Gifts. I did not post a link, but if you google it, it is the first thing that pops up.

All I'm saying is that my beautiful sister gave me this book back in April. I had just come off of a small group study of Grace, and I was in this place where I wanted to know more about God's Grace, how much I need it in my life. How I Love God's Grace. I will continue to learn about it, I promise. So my sister gives me this book on Thankfulness, and here is my exact super-churchy, shamefully spiritually snobby thought about this wonderful gift she gave me, "Thankfulness? Didn't we learn this in kindergarten? I am so thankful for everything, this is going to be a breeze, thank you God, right, ok, well..." And I didn't have any of my other books on Grace yet, and I needed to read, so I shrugged my shoulders and read the book. (And if you are wondering, I did not say any of those things out-loud, THANK YOU Lord...) And boy, have I gotten my socks blown off.

I learned I am not a thankful person. I can literally spend hours in prayer, praying crying out, begging God for all kinds of things in my life. And no time thanking Him for a thing. Not one thing. And then I wonder why I still feel there are no miracles, no answered prayer. Why do I still feel heavy? But the author of this book makes a very good point. "Eucharisteo precedes the miracle." The author explains that Eucharisteo is a Greek word meaning "He gave thanks" by using two other Greek words Grace and Joy. Wow, Thanks, Grace, and Joy, what a combination to have! She then went to give the example how when Christ received the loaves and fish to feed the 5,000, He thanked God first. He was grateful for the miracle that was about to happen, because He trusted God. My prayers were never full of so much faith. Because when I ask, and ask, and ask, but have no faith in the one that I am asking from, what good are my prayers? I know that the Bible says for us to ask and seek and knock. But the Bible also says in James 1: But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. This verse has stung me for most of my life. But something has happened. And that something is thankfulness. Being sincerely thankful for everything I am praying for. Being thankful for the friends that I am praying for, thankful that God loves us and, He has brought us here so far, and He will continue to bring us along. That even when our lives don't turn out the way be thought, being thankful that God has done greater things in our lives. Being grateful for the very moments, seconds you are living. It slows time down. Try it. When you don't want a certain moment to end, start thanking God for all He is doing. I just tried that on a little trip with Tim. Instead of trying to make stuff happen and get him to open up to me on the beach we were at. I just started thanking God for everything thing in that moment. From the waves, the sunlight, the sand, to the beautiful husband that thought enough of our marriage to bring us on this trip to be with just us. Do you know what happened? A miracle. Tim took my hand and walked with me on the beach and told me all about what he was learning in the book He was reading. Oh, I wish you could hear my heart sing, it sounds a lot better than I do... Talk about Thanks, Grace, and Joy all in one moment.

My heart if full. A lot more than it was. Because I am learning to be so much more thankful than, "I am thankful for everything." And I am also trying a new thing. It's a bit extreme, I know, but bear with me. When I receive not so good news recently, I literally sat there and thanked God, and I refused to leave until my heart was truly grateful for the news I received. I did not want to leave this spot worrying, fearing, playing fake with the Lord. I was determined to sit there until I received the blessing of the news. And it happened. I looked up and saw the small birds, and God whispered, "See how they are so fat because how I have provided for them? I love you a lot more than them, trust me..." And I was able to enjoy the rest of the day, Thankful, for the blessing, the promise. It is a practice that I have been missing for most of my life. But I am so full. And so Grateful! What are our other options when hearing bad news? Worrying? Trying to make things out of our control under our control? Doesn't work, I tried, a lot to make my life bend to my will. It never happened. But, when you wake up one day and realize you are 25, going on four years of marriage to a great man, and expecting a beautiful bundle of joy too... I realized I am SO thankful that my life bent to the Most Holy than my ideas.

Please know I am new at this. There are people who have been handed news that is more mind-blowing than I have experienced. But I will tell you, I don't like being worried, I can't stand to feel out of control, and when I set my focus through the practice of Thankfulness, all of those worries wash away. My devotional today said this, "Let trust and thankfulness stand guard, turning back fear before it can gain a foothold." I would have never known what that would have meant if God had not used this book to teach me more about Himself. And I will also admit that Trust has not been my strong point in life, but through Thankfulness, I am learning to trust God. Somehow, those two are linked very closely. I am so tired of being fearful, you have no idea how fear has integrated itself into my life. A cage I was just used to living in. How Thankfulness has helped me, not just unlocked that cage, but broken it. I mean, I'm still traveling this road, but I'm so glad, grateful really:) to be on the road in the first place.

Hope you have enjoyed my Ebenezer. I certainly am!


Monday, May 23, 2011


As many of you can see, I changed my blog... again, I'm trying to make it look like the way I feel about this site, cause it it important to me. It's important to me that I get to tell you about what I'm learning and doing, so I hope you like the new digs.
Feel free to tell me if you like or dislike (but be nice:)).

So, a lot of people have been asking me lately how I am feeling. I guess because pregnancy is so individual for so many people it is different for everyone. So, when I really have nothing to say that is crazy different about it, most people seem happy cause that means I am not feeling nauseous or puking.. well, I'll get to that, but I do have a lot to say about this thing called pregnancy. So, I hope this is helpful for all kinds of people, or maybe not at all, who knows?

Let me first start off by saying, everyday of my life I am totally shocked that I am having a baby. I know that most of you know that this was a planned pregnancy, its not like I wasn't going for gold or anything, I just really can't believe there was success, and for more than one reason, but the main reason being, I can't really believe that God put the OK on me and Tim to have kids, its kind of crazy! Now, if you ask Tim, he would say that we are totally a good couple to have kids, which I agree with him, but... Sometimes I do wonder about us. I consider it a huge honor to be here, seriously, being a parent is probably the hardest thing I will ever do in my life, and I've done some hard things (for me, mind you:)) Tim and I were actually on the beach last night, having communion on the sand with our church after some beach Baptisms, and Tim started thanking the Lord for our baby. And my only thought was..."Holy crap, I can't believe we are thanking God for a baby, we are going to have a baby!!!!" I know, I should really be wrapping my head around this idea, but once again, I never thought I would ever get married, much less have a baby, really, so the fact that we are here right now, and I'm only 25, it's pretty incredible. And I am totally blessed.

How do I feel? At its worst, my pregnancy has been uncomfortable. Some people might be hating me for this, but hey, if you haven't had kids yet, then this might be encouraging. I kid you not, there was no morning sickness, no nausea, no nothing. I kept asking the doctors and my poor mother, are you sure I'm pregnant? Because for the first 12 weeks, I had nothing to go on, other than a positive pregnancy test. It was kind of scary, but I was really thankful for no vomiting, cause, in my lifetime, I have gotten sick a lot and have vomited a lot more than a normal person should, mainly due to the fact that I can catch stomach flu from a mile away. Seriously. I am really susceptible to that stuff. And if you don't believe me, look at the Christmas card my mom sent out last year, everyone looking nice and refreshed, and I look a little busted and mad that we are taking this picture? Its cause I was throwing up everything in my stomach from the previous night... Merry Christmas... moving on...

So, I am thankful for no nausea and vomiting, but what else has been new with this? I didn't even know my belly button could stretch the way it has, and it is only half way there. It already freaks me out. I used to have this beautifully cute inny.. and now... it just looks like a huge circle with a bump on my stomach. And when those muscles are stretching as they grow... forget it. The only way I can handle that is by pushing in on my belly button. I do not like that thing messed with in the first place, and all this pregnancy has done is mess with my belly button! It's like pregnancy knows how to make you uncomfortable in your least favorite ways... Then there's the fact that I have never been anemic (its like a blood thing, google it:)) my whole life, and now this child, that I love and can't wait to meet, has sucked all of my iron out of me... and now I must take supplements of iron! So when you are pregnant, not only must you take prenatals, but now my iron pills, and then because iron causes constipation, I must make sure I am getting an over amount of fiber in my diet...and it doesn't stop there...

Cause about week 18 in this deal, my stomach decided that all food that I eat must first stay in my esophagus and burn continuously before it is digested. So, now whenever I eat, whatever I eat, my dessert is always two-four (depending on the severity of the burning) berry-flavored tums... yum! But!! It helps and that is all that matters! You only have to stay awake for an hour trying to go to sleep swallowing indigestion before you go get you some berry-flavored Tums! PS. thank you sister for introducing me to the berry-flavored ones, they taste much better than the normal ones:). So now, I take prenatals, iron, extra fiber something, and Tums, lots of Tums...

There are other things too, almost every night since this journey began I have been waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The baby sits low, very low. So low, it fooled the doctor one time when we were trying to find the heart beat! So, the baby had control over my bladder, yep I said that right, the BABY has control over MY bladder! Don't believe me? One little repositioning of that cute little sucker and I feel like I have to go like there is no tomorrow, only to then rush to the nearest bathroom (and if you go to our church, you know that that is not small feat) just to sit there and almost nothing come out... Nice little one, good trick you play on mom... And because this is a public blog, and I might have a male read this (doubt it, but there is a possibility), I like to keep things classy, but if you have any questions about boobs, well, lets just say I have a lot to tell you, its quite cool/unreal what happens to these suckers... But I haven't gotten to the best part yet...

This little thing inside of me moves!!! I mean, it moves like crazy! Once again, just like his/her father! So precious to be sitting watching tv or relaxing during the day and feel weird little movements inside that are not coming from my own personal organs. But from another little life that I get to carry. Still trying to convince my brain it is not gas, cause that is what it kind of feels like, so sometimes when little one start to move my body thinks I should go to the bathroom. It's all a bunch of mind games!

So, there you have it, I did not and have not felt sick at all this entire time. I have to take iron or else I sleep all the time and am super tired, my intake of fiber has increased 500%, my belly button hurts, I have no bladder control due to my child sitting on it :), and the best parts of my days are feeling this little one move inside of me. That is how I really feel about pregnancy. Oh yeah, and I still can't believe I am pregnant, writing a blog about pregnancy. Its pretty crazy/cool.

Hope this lets you in on my life as it is right now, I'll keep you posted if there are any major changes in the third trimester:)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oh, Mother!

This is the picture of the girls in my family. My Immediate family. I have a picture of all the girls on my mom's side of the family, however, I need my cousin to upload the pictures on something other than facebook, long story. Anyway, for those who know me very well, you know that I love, adore my family. I think the world of all of them, and I may, at times talk about all of them like super women. My grandmother married my grandfather at a young age, and was called out by God to start a godly family. Which began a legacy of strong Chrisitan families. She is truly a Matriarch. My mom and Aunt's are amazing Matriarch's in training. And I could go on out my sisters and "cousins' however, we all view each other as sisters, cousins just does not describe the relationship we have with each other. But since Sunday is mother's day, this one is for you Mama!

There are a million reasons why my mom is amazing. One being she had four children, my older sister being ten years older than my younger brother. So, basically, my mom had kids for ten years. That is so awesome, kind of wears me out thinking about it! I also admire my mom because, without getting any formal education, we has been able to achieve, and quite successfully a lot of things in her life that most people say you can't do without a college education. Seriously, when I start to think and give myself excuses about why I can't do something or how I'm not qualified, I just think about my mom, and all she has done with her life, she never made excuses for herself, if she wants to get something done, then she will.

I also admire my mom because she didn't just raise her children to go to church. That's kind of easy, I know a lot of people that know how to get to a church on Sunday. But she raised her children to live pure lives, to love God and have a relationship with Him, and desire to live a life glorifying to Him. I mean, I know I have messed up in my life, and I've done some pretty stupid things. But what got me through my tough rebelious times in life was first my relationship with the Lord and just listening to Him loving call me back to His arms into His will, but also my family challenging my decisions and calling me out on my walk. My mom did that to me a lot, and I kind of did not like her for it a lot, but I'm glad she did, she was my spiritual thermometer and I appreciate that more now than ever.

My mom is also amazing because she never gave up on mine and her relationship. You don't know this either, but for most of my life, communication was just not our thing. At all, I mean, we would get into fights and then realize we were saying the same thing. I don't know, all I can say is that when I looked at my mom and sister and saw how they related to each other, I wondered why me and mom couldn't be like that. But she never gave up. She would take me on shopping trips, she drove me to everywhere in the world (mainly for cheerleading), she would come into my room at any time to try to talk to me (have to say, most of the time I was not feeling that!). But she did not give up! Every chance she had to be alone with me and see what's going on, she did. And trust me, because of cheerleading there were SO many times we were in the car together! And she supported me in everything. I mean, I did cheerleading, its quite foreign to a a family who follows my brother's baseball, football, and basketball games. But she was there! (and if she couldn't be, she would send my brother-in-law to watch, shout out to Joey for being at all of my freshmen games!!) I mean, talk about A for effort! Did it pay off for my mother? You tell me...

She is one of my best friends, I miss her like crazy, all the time. I call her on Wed's and we get to catch up on life mid-way through the week. She tells me not to freak out about being a mother, she says I'll do great (were all at least hopeful for now:)) We love shoe shopping together, and I do have to say I have found some awesome shoes for her! One day, (I think it happened when my brain fully developed:)) things just clicked with us. Years of trying and effort paid off. Me and mom talk openly and honestly with each other, with consideration for each others feelings and we let each other just be. I don't know when, how, why, but it happened, and I'm so thankful. No we don't see eye to eye on every issue, but that is ok, because I have a deep respect for my mother, and she respects me too.

Here's to you Momma, I love you, and I thank you for my life, and most importantly never giving up on finding that relationship with a different kind of daughter. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

(Life) Lessons Learned

I got to take a long walk today. I live across the street from this amazingly beautiful natural lake, but you can't walk all the way around it, but the short section of our street that is by it, I save it for last. Its a reward for walking as much as I do, because when you round the bend and get a hit of the cool breeze blowing off the lake, and you get to gaze upon this gorgeous lake, you would understand why I save it for last... So I love my long walks because I get to do a lot of thinking and talking to God, and just pondering. And the things I pondered I thought I would tell you about. Things that I am learning. In life. And what to do with these things? Application is the key to all knowledge, it's Wisdom. So, here are some things that this Christian, mother-to-be, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and human is learning: (And in keeping with the Rule of Threes, or any good Baptist sermon, I have three main bullets, so I promise it won't be too long:))

1. Gratitude
My sister gave me a book about gratitude. I love it, unfortunately, I can't read it anymore (don't worry Jenn, I will pick it up again:)) because I feel so convicted about my ingratitude. Gratitude is a beautiful gift God gives us. It helps us to focus on the Lord and His Grace and Love, it prompts us to Thanksgiving, and it is fundamental to the Christian walk. Gratitude is the first thing we try to teach our children. It's not just about manners (although, being polite is apart of good character, I think...) It's about helping the children recognize that when they are given a gift, to acknowledge that Gift, and the Giver. If we were to do a pie graph of my prayers and make a slice for my portion that are prayers of Thanksgiving to God, and the portion that are requests to God, well, you would think that I missed out on my lesson of Gratitude. I get SO stressed out in my life focusing on things that I do not have or things I want, I very rarely look around at all that I am blessed with and just breath in and breath out a sigh of Thanksgiving and Praise. But I can tell you, that when I do, when I focus on the God of all creation and His many good and perfect gifts... I am in perfect peace. Mainly because I know at that moment, I am aligning myself with the Will of God, and that is to bring Him Glory and Praise... and it feels so good.
My application: As I round my final curve of my walk and see the Glorious lake singing the praises of the Most High. I join with it for a couple of moments... in perfect peace, being the creation I was meant to be.... Until my dog starts pulling at my leash, which leads me to my next point...

2. Trade-offs
What is a trade-off? If you paid attention in government class when you were in high school, you would have learned that, government happens because people are willing to "trade off" a certain amount of freedom to the government so that the government, in return will protect the people. What?... Sorry, ok, for every decision that we make in life, we give up or post-pone certain things to attain another. For instance, I married my wonderful husband at a fairly young age. Because I did, I guess you could say I "gave up" or "delayed" certain things that I would like to do in life. I won't be visiting Europe anytime soon, I can't do as many "girls night outs" as I used to, I mean, I gave up my freedom as a single person very early. But!!! I gained a partner, husband, (lover...) someone that when I do get to do fun things, I can spend that time with HIM!! Which, when I do get to do fun things, I feel twice as fulfilled. Riley would be my next example, about two years ago, I was lonely at home and wanted a playmate (or a baby, either would do...) and so we went out and adopted Riley! I love my puppy, but getting a puppy means I am vacuuming hair balls, making sure he is exercised, spending money on dog food, and we can't just hop in the car for trips anymore, cause we have to think about the poor puppy spending the day in his pin... We gained so much in such a cute dog, but we also gave up some freedoms as well. So what do I learn from trade-offs??
(Application) Contentment. Being grateful for the things that I gain in my decisions, and focusing on how those things affect my life for the better, rather than focusing on the things that I gave up. What good would it be for me to try to think about my life, if only I had not taken out college loans? Well, I didn't, so let me focus on how those college loans were a way (I would suggest, though, finding another way to fund your education:)) to get a college education so that I could have worked the job that I did for two years which blessed me tremendously. Being content here in Orlando, instead of closing my heart to the good things that are here to offer...When I am content I let go of control... which leads me to my final lesson...

2. I am a CONTROL FREAK...
We probably all are in some way, but I am a huge one. Worse, I am a subtle control freak (otherwise known as a manipulator). It is awful. If you would let me, I would tell you what to wear (Bright colors, fun skirts and dresses, but keep it classy) I would tell you what shoes to wear (high heals). I would tell you where to live (next to me). I would tell you how to decorate your house (color! lots of it!). Probably the only thing I would not tell you what do to is how to cut your hair, cause I still can't figure out how mine should be cut, but give me some time and a celebrity magazine and I will find a haircut you should have...seriously its bad. I think I mean well, but I don't think you should be married to me. And poor husband, he is! He has had to deal with me for 5 years now (for those trying to do the math, I am counting when we first started dating, because yes, I started on Tim then...) I have been hinting, poking, prodding, "suggesting" that my poor man wear this, say that, do this, buy that, go here... I mean, I was just sitting on the airplane this morning almost in tears thinking about how much stress this man deals with, and then he has to come home with ME trying to have my way with him ALL THE TIME... I mean, I have good intentions, but you know what they say about those... And then, I worry. All the time. Do you know what I worry about? Everything that I cannot control. That makes up 99.9% of my life. Cause if you think about it, I can't even control if my hair stays in my head, that falls out whether or not I want it to! I can't even control the beautiful life that is growing inside of me! This child has done and will do as God pleases it, since conception, even I have no control over the very conception of my child!! (its not really my child either, this is God's child, that He has so graciously let me carry for now, but that's another lesson, and I will get to that later, maybe...) I am not even sure if I have control over the words that I type... all is given and can be taken away from us in an instant. Don't believe me? Ask those living in Alabama, N. GA, Tennessee and elsewhere in the country. Ask Japan. Ask Haiti. They don't even have control over the very piece of dirt their feet stand on. And yet, I choose to believe I have some say in something...What do I do???
Application: I was once told that recognizing you have a problem is the first step in recovery. I am a recovering control freak, and just like an alcoholic is always recovering from alcoholism (its a true fact, I double checked with AA) I probably will always be tempted to take control of my life (is that really possible?) and run with it. Today I prayed that God would move the knowledge that He is our sole Provider from my head to my heart, and that knowledge that He is good and Loves me will move from my head to my heart. Every time I start to worry about things, I pray that. And to show you how bad I am, I prayed that like almost 10 times in just my 1hr long walk. I'll probably have to pray it a lot tomorrow, and throughout my life. Maybe that is why the Bible says to Pray without ceasing. I guess that's what it means for me...

So, in closing, Expressing my Gratitude, Focusing on contentment and the good results of my decisions, and Praying without ceasing. I feel like those are a lot to learn and I have so many other things I need to learn before my beautiful child takes his/her first breath. Practice makes perfect, and I look forward to more lessons...


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

She Must and Shall Go Free

My family (mostly my mom, love you mom!) has told me for years that sometimes it is hard to follow me when I talk because I change the subject of the conversation so many times, it gets confusing to keep up. I think I have gotten better at that I've gotten older, ironically, I married someone who has the same issue (I refuse to call it a problem:)) All this to say is that the following blog goes a million places and I am hoping I can write in such a way that you will follow, here goes nothing...

First, I will start off with admitting that I can be a huge spiritual snob sometimes. What is that? Someone who does not like to give simple church answers to questions, I like to give deep philosophical answers that are SO deep... haha, but seriously I totally got humbled three weekends ago. I was visiting my mom and dad's Sunday school class at church and one of the topics of the discussion was Joy and Joy "busters" (a joy buster being someone/thing that takes away/destroys our joy) and the teacher asked that class what they can do to deal with "joy busters." As I was sitting there in my chair thinking about how we can meditate on God's word and focus on all the good things He has done for us (as you can previously read, I'm big on remembering:)) This lady in the front row said, "I like to sing!" To which the teacher responded with an affirmative towards the lady. Here comes the spiritual snob thought that I am sooooooo ashamed that I thought (I did not say it out loud, only to you right now!): "Singing? What are we in kindergarten? Who really sings when they are upset? C'mon lady, you are like, older, can't you do better than singing????" I am really so embarrassed of myself sometimes... God is so good, tho, He's really into redeeming things. Cut to the next paragraph and about two weeks later...

So about two weeks later, Tim and I get into a little, small, teensy-tiny,"tiff" one morning over the phone and the conversation does not end well and its time for me to take a shower. I did not want to spend the day with my "joy busted" so, do you know what I did?? I brought my ipod into the bathroom and found Derek Webb on my playlist and listened to the CD "She Must and Shall Go Free" and SANG in the shower!!! Do you know what happened? Joy Buster DIVERTED!! HAhaha, I can be so foolish. Here I was thinking that if you can just sit down and focus on God, do you know how hard it is to just sit down and focus? Takes forever for me, and in the process sometimes I just end up focusing on Tim and how mad I am at him! Do you know how easy it is to focus on the Lord when wonderful music is filling the room with praises to Him?? So easy! So, I admit my haughtiness and confess of pride and repent, leaving it hear on this post on the internet... But... Derek Webb leads me to my next paragraph and thought...

So, ever since listening to "She must and Shall go free" that day, I can't get enough of that CD. In fact, if you have been wondering where all my cool quotes have been coming from on my facebook, they have not been my original idea (I wish) they are Derek Webb's and whoever else helped him write those songs. This CD is challenging, in a good way, my friends. Its kind of like, the words are the medicine, and the music is the sugar that helps make it go down! (thank you Mary Poppins) This CD came out "03/"04ish and I mean it could still be re-released today and I feel be just as powerful. I challenge you to get the album from wherever and listen to the songs and the lyrics and really let what he is singing seep in. I mean even today, I can't get enough, listening to it in the shower! (I do want to put a disclaimer in just so you know, two things about Derek Webb and the CD if you are serious about listening to some serious Christian music: 1. Derek Webb is a Calvinist and I believe that comes through in his lyrics, there is nothing wrong with Calvinism, you can look it up yourself, but I just think you should know, and 2. Um, some of the language is strong, in that manner I mean, he uses the word whore on the regular, mainly to describe himself and the church in the light of God's unfailing Goodness. If that kind of language is offensive to you, it's the same way that God refers to Israel in the old testament, then this is not the CD for you.) Good, disclaimer made, however, today I was thinking about my cousin Brenda as I was listening to the lyrics, here they are, some of my favorites:

"Like the Three in One, know you must become what you want to save, cause that's still the way, He takes to the world..."

Challenged yet? If you aren't well... anyway, why it reminded me of my cousin is that she is working for and organization that rescues females who have been sex trafficked. Don't know what that is or what that means? I did not even know this existed until about a couple of years ago myself. You know, we think that when women go missing they were probably killed, sometimes death would be better than what happens to these poor souls. Go to Brenda's Tumblir link I have posted for you, she has all kinds of info on sex trafficking, but in a breakdown, here is what I can tell you it is: 1.Young women are sold continuously into prostitution, drugged, and beaten everyday of their lives. 2. It is evil, and I am almost certain Satan himself is the head of these organizations.

My Beautiful cousin Brenda has become like those she wants to save, no she is not being sex trafficked, she is working at a house and counseling, loving on and literally fighting for the lives of these women, so that they may know that 1. they are not a commodity, they are daughters of a Greater King 2. They are loved beyond the confines of this world. How easy do you think it would be to convey this to a young girl who has been sold to be a sex toy for perverted men at a young age? My cousin is literally charging the gates of hell, and I believe that whether or not you even believe in God or a higher being, you have to admit that this sex trafficking is just evil at its worst.

Did I mention that safety is non-existent when taking in girls like these? We are talking about organized crime, and unlike drugs, these girls can bring in infinite amounts of money, because they can be reused until they are dead. So, if a young girl breaks free who was earning you upwards of (I'll ballpark it here) $1000 a day, do you think they might want her back, and would stop at nothing to get that child? Am I making you uncomfortable? I sure hope so, but you know what makes me uncomfortable, sitting here in my beautiful house writing on my computer hoping to open the eyes of anyone out there to the horrible truth, while my cousin risks her very life to give love and God's truth on the frontlines of spiritual battle.

Derek Webb was right, I cannot reach one lost soul that is being sold into sex slavery on my couch, my cousin will though. She has become like the ones she wants to save, cause that's still the way, He takes to the world. Please join me, in providing support to my cousin, through prayer (it is the MOST important) and financial support. Sending paper towels and batteries is really as easy as it sounds. Or, do you have an extra $25 to spare? Send it to the organization as a donation. A little or a lot goes a long way.

I hope you got my thought process, singing to ward of joy busters, singing Derek Webb to challenge your spiritual walk, Derek Webb reminding me that my cousin is being Jesus to the World, my cousin needing your prayers for safety, support, and encouragement, and ultimately to stop a one billion dollar industry created by satan himself. Yeah... that all make since right?

Thanks for hanging in there with me friends!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A General Musing...

To my friend Rachel who is getting married soon, I am sorry I put your blog title as the title for my post, but it really is a general musing today.

That is me on my wedding day. No, today is not my anniversary and I will not be writing about my wedding or marriage or anything like that...

I just wanted to put a reminder out there for all the internet and me to see, how really, really good I looked at one time. Vain? I don't think so, and maybe its because you don't know how much I really need to remind myself of things sometimes.

Do you lose sight of things sometimes? Isn't it nice to go back and look at pictures and remind yourself of things, sometimes?

The child in that picture was a very scared young lady. I had lived under my parents roof all the way up until I got married. I had never lived by myself, much less try to share a residence with a young man. But I SO looked forward to the future with bright eyes and great expectations. Do I still do that?

Tough question to ask and answer.

Here is to bright eyes and hoping for a wonderful future and remembering that God will take us forward, whether or not we are wearing a beautiful white dress that we hand-picked out for a special day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Come Thou Fount

Since I quit last November, people ask me all the time what I am up to these days. What do I do to fill in those 40-60 hours a week that I was normally spending doing my job?? And that answer to that question is... I don't know? I mean, I can tell you I do not sit around my house all day and do nothing. I could go into a list of things I do, but then I would just feel like I was trying to justify myself to you. I was volunteering at the church, but then I had to take a good look at my life. I was running around trying to do everything I could not only to be busy but to be a good and active member of the church, and one day, I just wound up unhappy and tired and miserable and crying at my friend Emily's house wondering why I feel like a terrible person. And here is what she said to me:

"You have the good girl syndrome..."

And there was a good and amazing conversation that happened after that. I believe I probably have struggled with that all of my life. The problem is, with us good girls. We want so much to DO things for the Lord, we forget to live life WITH God. I know you think that is silly because if you are doing something for God, you must be doing it with Him right? All I can say is that sometimes in my desire to do, I forget as to whom I am doing it for, and I hope I am not the only Christian on this planet that has done that, because if I am, that is so sad...

So, I have taken a step back and started to do things WITH God that I have not been doing that are very basic, for example, reading my Bible. Seriously, I will admit, I neglected it. Not proud of that, nor am I really happy with myself I admitted this on the internet. Moving forward... I started in Judges, I don't know why I just felt a need to read the Old Testament, and the only reason I know that I am reading where I need to be is when I am reading I feel like I am drinking in every word and I can't get enough. Loving these Old Testament stories. So then I come to 1Samuel and I read this Passage

"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer (which means stone of help) saying "Thus far has the Lord helped us."

Now, this is where Come Thou Fount Comes in. Come Thou Fount (of Every Blessing) is one of my favorite hymns only tying with Amazing Grace. I have loved to sing the words of this song, I look forward to it whenever I hear the intro. But here I have been singing it for most of my life and not knowing half the lyrics is unacceptable. This hymn is chalk full of Biblical references and here is the Ebenezer reference, right in 1 Samuel. Which got me thinking...

Samuel raised his Ebenezer when he won a HUGE battle, the first of the many battles he won as a judge of Israel. When do I raise my Ebenezer? When was the last time, I looked to God and said "Hither by thy help I've come!!" The first Ebenezer in any Christian's life is Salvation, for Salvation is from the Lord. There have been many Ebenezer's in my life. I don't want to name them, cause I'm sure you have Ebenezer's too. But in the Old Testament, the judges were always putting up literal images of reminders of where God had brought/helped them. That they may never forget, still seems as if Israel had a bad case of amnesia anyway.

All in all, this has taught me that, I need to raise Ebenezer's in my life. I need to be more intentional about remembering and having some type of literal image to raise when I can recognize a time where God Helped me. I want to build my life around God and the reminders of where He has brought me, because to be embarrassing honest, I guess I suffer from amnesia a lot myself. Because the next time I sing those beautiful lyrics "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come!" I want to be able to pin-point the most recent victory in a hard fought spiritual fight. Something just to chew on today friends!

Monday, February 21, 2011

May or May not...

For those of you reading this, I am participating in my friend Emily's blog where you can post a link on her blog to your blog... Its kind of like a fun game. All this to say, for family, this is not like a life-changing blog:)

So I may or may not cry a lot more than usual these days. I can't help it. When I hear a heart felt story on the news about a war hero (pick a war, any war, if they are a vet, I'm all for them:)) or football (yes, football makes me cry) I'm ballin. I just watched an episode of Off the Map on hulu and I teared up. I cry when you talk about babies, I cry when you talk about missing your family. I cry about anything. And not like pity party cry, just... its like I have extra emotion and crying is the way it gets out. I don't know. I'm not really proud of this fact. Its actually kind of embarrassing. I'm in church and the pastor is playing a story about a football team and I'm just ballin like a baby and I can't stop! Here's to a time in my life when I can't stop laughin, but until then, if you see me shed some tears, have no fear, its just me lettin out a bit of extra emotion:)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bible Stories

Have I ever told you that I am amazing at Bible trivia?? I mean, this is not something that I am bragging about, this is just a fact about me. I love all the cool things that are in the Bible. I love that God made a donkey talk to a rouge prophet in the old testament. I love how Elijah never died, he just went on up to Heaven in a chariot of fire... I mean, basically since I can remember I have been in Sunday school, every kind of Vacation Bible School, Bible Drill, Wednesday night Bible study... You name it, if the doors were open at the church, best be assured that my mother and father had me and my brothers and sister there to learn something (or maybe just to get out of their hair... duel purposes, right?) I also home- schooled for a few short years, and I watched my school on video. My Bible teacher was Mr. Bowman. I'm definitely sure I will see him in Heaven one day, because He taught me A LOT about the Bible, and I will need to thank him, he did such a good job, even on video:) I love all Bible stories, and I love re-learning them as an adult, because as a child, the wonder of hearing about Jonah in the Whale makes you worship at such a wonderful God that can work out those miracles. But as an adult, realizing that I tend to act like Jonah a lot, and worshiping at the miracle that God would still use me is so Beautiful.

All this to say that through the past year into this year, I have two Bible stories that I am really in love with. The first story is about the twelve spies of Israel who were supposed to go into the land of Canaan and give a report back to Israel of what they saw. You can read the whole story in Numbers 13. Basically, the premise is: God has given the Israelites the land of Canaan. It is their Promised Land. God tells the Israelites to gather some men from the tribes to go and check out all the awesomeness He has waiting for the Israelites just across the Jordan. Twelve spies go out, and they do see all the awesomeness, but they also see big giants and fortified cities that look impossible to defeat. Long story short, 10 of the spies say Israel should go and RE-SUBMIT themselves to slavery in Egypt. While only two spies trust God enough that He is going to hand this Promised Land to the Israelites on a silver platter. Needless to say, Israel sided with the 10 spies, and almost mutinied to over-throw Moses and go back to Egypt.

Why do I identify SO much with the Israelites? I don't want to, I wish I was like Joshua and Caleb and I just trust God. The Israelites operated out of fear 9 out of 10 times in the Old Testament. I mean, let me remind you that God was literally with the Israelites leading them as a cloud by day and a pillar of FIRE by night. They knew God. They walked on dry ground as they crossed the Dead Sea, and they SAW God part the waters. They saw God basically demolish Egypt (THE superpower of its time) with 12 plagues, and yet once again they doubt that God could come through for them again. They feared death in war, they feared they would be enslaved to these pagan peoples, even though God PROMISED the land to them. Their fear swallowed their faith in the most High. So, because of that, they did not get to step one foot into the Most awesome and fertile land. They spent the rest of their lives wandering a desert of dry lifelessness and wastelands, which I sure God designed to let them know that, that is what their hearts must have looked liked.

Is that what my heart looks like? Do I turn to fear instead of faith when my life is called into action by God? How many deserts have I actually chose to wander instead of take faith and travel to the Promised Land?

Once again, I am afraid of the answers to those questions.

Life was easier in the desert. It says in the Bible that the Israelites shoes or clothing were never worn in. They were personally fed by God manna and quail. But, all but two Israelites died of pointlessly wandering through this life. Walking zombies? They never fulfilled their true callings nor were they ever privy to see God in a way they did back in the days of Egypt. They just wandered till their death.

Lord, will I wander till I die? Will I ever defeat the constant fear that pulls me in my life? Will I die a walking zombie, never truly knowing my calling in this life?

The questions are ever in my mind...

There is good news though. Its another favorite Bible story of mine. Its in Joshua six. Its when the old generation of zombies dies. And the new generation is closer to God as ever, not wanting to die in the desert, they trust God and desire to take their Promised Land that they Trust the Lord has given them. Can you feel the excitement as they march around Jericho? Can you feel their hearts racing as they know this is the start of a new life for them? Even now I tear up as I think about being their the moment that the Lord commands them to shout for victory... even BEFORE the walls fell. Joshua and those Israelites witnessed first hand the Lord completely demolish a city. Not one Israelite died, but all in Jericho were destroyed (accept for Rahab and her family). The Israelites did not defeat the city by shouting, the only reason for the shouting was to PRAISE the Lord for the victory, because they Trusted and had Faith they He would deliver that city. And then, first hand, they SAW the Lord give them that city.

Oh how my heart desires to live that life. To trust instead of turn away. To find faith instead of fear. To live free instead of enslaving myself. God only knows how much I need Jericho. God only knows how much it means to me to have such a redemptive story.

And one day, He will wipe my tears away as I step into my Jericho and walk the land He has Promised me. That will be my story, and my song, Praising my Savior all the Day long...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Catching Up

So, I decided that I was going to update this sucker, mostly because it kind of bothers me thinking that I have this blog out there that is highly out-dated. I just read my cousin Amy's blog and she stated she would not comment on how long it has been since she has blogged, she is a better person than me. The reason why I have not blogged since September 2010...

I did not feel like it.

Things happened, so its not like my life has been so boring that there is nothing to write about, I just have not really been in the mood. And blogger kind of freaked out on me and my background went all whack... and I am not an expert at this stuff, but my friend Jacque just told me the other day that she updated her blog, and I thought...

Good idea!

So here we go. In November of 2010 I quit my job at Devereux on the 19th, which was one of the hardest things I have done in my life, not that I loved the job too terribly, but I loved my co-workers and many of the families that I was working with. But Tim and I really felt that God was calling me to leave the work force, and so I did. On Nov. 20th, Tim and I left for a Holiday extravaganza as we spent Thanksgiving with the Fam in New Hampshire. In 9 days we happened to visit three states (New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York)We got to see the inside of Tim's sister's new home, which is gorgeous and she even cooked us a small feast while we were there to visit. We also visited with Tim's grandparents in New Jersey as we were able to assist in helping them with a mammoth yard sale as they prepare to move from their residence they have lived in for 30 years. We did take pic's but they are on Tim's phone, I am so awful at this! Thinking that we put the coldest weather behind us after leaving New Hampshire, we then sojourned to GA this year for Christmas (no surprises like the awesome one we did last year) It was in GA, that for the first time in like forever, that we had a White Christmas. And I don't mean like snow that falls then melts on the ground, no, it looked beautiful blanketing the ground, the trees, and houses. As beautiful as snow is, it does not fool me. It is cold and wet, so I did not play in it, but Tim and the boys did. I think we have pic's but once again, on Tim's phone:( I also found out that we would be adding another beautiful baby girl to our family as my brother and sister (in-law) announced that they were going to be having a girl in May.... YEAH!!!!! I can't wait so see that little thing wrap my big bro around her little finger. It was good seeing family and I surely enjoyed being with them on Christmas.

New Years was amazing as my friends Jacque and Noelle came to visit with their husbands, so much fun when your friends literally marry your husbands friends. So the madness of the New Years weekend ensued. Basically, we went to a Japanese steakhouse then came home and danced in the street as our neighbors shot off fireworks over the lake we live near... So surreal and fun.

This first pic is just a good one of me and Tim:)

This second one would be of me and my girls;)

Sadly all my friends had to leave shortly after New Years to resume their normal lives, as did Tim and I... But wait, I don't work! What do I do now???

There is no way to simply answer that question, because the point of me quitting was not to fill in those 40 hours a week with more work. That would get us right back to where we started. When I am not horribly under the weather like I am right now, I try to exercise at least three times a week. I plan meals and grocery shop, clean my house, hang out with Tim and do fun things that I am hoping enrich our marriage... I read a lot, so if you have any good book suggestions (preferably a book I could get at the library or borrow from you!) I'm up for it, for now I have been raiding my friend Emily's books collection which is quite expansive and I am happy that she is willing to put books out on loan for me! I clean a lot, having a dog that sheds like there is no tomorrow. And out house is always open for guests and so far we've had a pretty good flux of visitors and that makes me super happy cause I love to host down here in O-town... Oh yeah, and I volunteer at the church, which is super exciting as I have been longing to do that for quite some time, but did not have the actual time to do so.

This blog was long and no very funny or whitty like I normally have with not many pic's. So I apologize it it not quite up to snuff, but I can promise that I will update more and have more fun or insightful things to read.

Love you all!!