Thursday, November 8, 2012


So, on facebook everyone is posting one thing they are thankful for each day of the month of November, leading up to Thanksgiving. It's awesome, it truly is. I'm just not doing it. I was talking to my friend the other day, and she was like, "I feel like if I start doing it now, I'm like jumping on a bandwagon." And I totally agreed with her. But I did think it was a good blog. So, instead of posting on facebook, I'm blogging about my thankfulness. Still probably jumping on the bandwagon, but what a good one to jump on!

1. Grace, that kind that was here at the creation of the world, but became known through Jesus Christ.
2. Salvation. Not the same as Grace, it's me confessing to you that I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died to take the place of me for my punishment. And that by accepting His gift of Salvation, I am adopted in the family of Christ, and when I die, I will live with Him in Heaven for all eternity, as He has saved me from the absence of His presence.
 3. My health. That encompasses everything about my body, to my absence of needing doctors in my life on a regular day basis.
4. For Tim. Because he's amazing and awesome and he helps out around the house and he loves Karis like whoah, because he is my sugar daddy, and doesn't mind, and he just is all this package of Mr. Fixit man who has a job and loves his family, and if any woman ever thinks she will get him... I will cut her. Jk, kind of.
5. For Karis. Because she lights up my life, every morning there is something new and different and she has more sass than I can handle, but she is beautiful. She steals my heart everyday, and I just don't mind. I have mommy love, and I will be ever in her debt for letting me experience that. Mommy love is amazing and awful all at the same time, but it's totally worth it.
6. For living in this country. I just got to vote, and I did not have to walk into a place with an armed soldier, I just voted. Like it was no big thing, except, it's kind of a huge thing. If you didn't vote, you should go live in China, and try to complain to someone about something the government does, and threaten their job. See if you don 't end up in jail, or dead. Now, if you can, do that in the US. You might get ignored, but at least you did not end up in jail or dead, that is pretty awesome.
7. For being a woman. It sounds so weird, but I get to experience some pretty cool stuff being a woman.
8. For family. They drive me CRAZY I tell you. But I love them so much. I would do anything for them, even take a bullet. I'm so glad I get to see them on a regular basis now. That completely rocks.
9. For friends. I seriously have the best friends in the world. They live all over the state of GA and throughout the South. Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, even have some peeps I made through Tim that live up North! We would have never made it the first year with out such a huge support system outside my family. These are the people I can tell them about how I really am feeling that day, and they still love me. I've cried in front of all of them, and they just hug me, and we have laughed, danced, some even fought and made-up. You guys are amazing, I miss all of you to the bottom of my heart. I ask God on a regular daily basis if we can all live on same street in Heaven.
10. For income. I think I would have taken that for granted about four years ago. But I do not anymore. Every time I have gone to tithe since we've been married, I thank God for an income to which we can give God back a tithe check, that's awesome.
11. Our house. We may not own it, but I still LOVE it! Tim and I have been fortunate to rent from some amazing landlords for our past two houses. God has blessed us through their stewardship of the properties we have lived in. But mostly oh so grateful to live in a house, period.
12. Our cars. Seems so dumb too, but once again, in this day in age, people are not being able to afford them. I am SO grateful we can.
13. The health of my family. I hear of these things that happen to people's husbands and children. Health is something that is never promised to us. So, for now, for this blog, I can say that both of my beloved ones are healthy. I must remember to be grateful right at this moment, just in case this past sentence changes in the future.
14. For the fall. Because I love it. It's so pretty with it's changing leaves and nice cool breezes.
15. The mountains. Especially this time of year!
16. For my education. I would not be able to pen my thoughts of thankfulness without being taught all the basics. I'm grateful for all my teachers throughout the years (my mom included) who have educated me.
17. For my grandparents. Grandparents are just cool people. I have two grandfathers who are now in Heaven (I assume sitting on a bench waiting for all of us to join them:)). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I could get a hug from granddaddy Roy one more time, or hear a WWII story from my granddaddy Frank. I do still have my Dot Dot and Mema, and they are pretty awesome. If you still have all your grandparents, give them a hug this Thanksgiving and let them know you are thankful for them.
18. For church on Sunday. Because Lord knows I need it! Seriously.
19. For The Bible. How have I not mentioned this earlier??? God's Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I'm so thankful that in times of uncertainty, that when the culture changes, the Rock at which I base my life on does not. His teachings are true and set me free.
20. For fireplaces. Because I finally live in a place that requires one during the winter. I'll never forget one rainy cold day in highschool, I told my mom it was "that time of the month" and I didn't feel good, and to please let me stay home. She knew good and well that is was not that time of the month, and that I NEVER had cramps of any sort. She let me stay home anyway, and I put on PJ's and curled up by the fire. Looking forward to more days like that.
21. For country music. Where was Taylor Swift when I was in middle school/ high school?!? I love singing songs about slow dances, first loves, and getting into trouble. Totally applicable to that time of life. And then the songs about how the husbands find their wives so sexy... I need those songs now. This music just puts a smile on my face.
22. Those times when you laugh so hard you can't breath. You become reeeeeaaaalll thankful you had those times in your life, when you are not certain you will have them again, for a long time. Here's to hoping for a future when you laugh so hard your sides split.
23. For coffee. I need  kurig, or something that will make me just 1 (one), cup of coffee in the morning. Because I need it with a one year old. Because my body does not work until 8. Thank you Lord, for coffee.
24. For my fenced in back yard. Because now I don't have to have my cute, BIG four-legged friend Riley in the house, at all times, anymore. That is SO nice.
25. For our church. Tim and I had a list of about ten churches to visit when moving to Peachtree City. While that task can be daunting, it is a nice problem to have. However, we walked in to the second church we visited and felt like home. We never visited the rest of the churches. We are joining this Sunday. I'm grateful God has lead us to such a beautiful body of believers (say that ten times fast!). Looking forward to seeing what he will be doing in the future.
26. For Thanksgiving. I mean, a holiday based on getting together with those you love the most, EATING so much foooooooood, and reflecting on all the good things that God has done in your life. What could be better? (If you say Christmas, we will fight).
27. For Love. For having found in not only in the love of my mother and father, but also in a husband who's daily sacrifices for our family do not go unnoticed, in the loving arms of friends who's shoulders I have cried on, who's necks I have hugged, in holding the most beautiful baby in the world she brings me to tears (honestly) if I hold or look at her too long, but mostly in experiencing it in the Love of Jesus Christ. His love makes me complete, not lacking anything, and I can be the person I am today, because He loved me first.
28. For Hope. For when days seem too dark, and the future seems very bleak, there is always hope for a better day.
29. For daily provision. Let's be honest, most of us have more than daily provision sitting in our pantries and refrigerators. The mere fact that people in this world don't should be cause for action. I am looking forward to helping those around us in this season.
30. For Forgiveness. Because I mess up all the time. Because I am constantly doing something or saying something that is hurting someone's feelings (not on purpose), because I'm human, and I am never going to get it right, not once. Today, I pray that if I have hurt you for some reason, in anyway. I ask your forgiveness. I am not infallible, and I know that I don't do what I'm supposed to all the time. Please forgive me, and know that I love you and will try to be better in the future.

I'm thankful for you all...

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 29th, 2011

I did not date this post wrong. This is the birthday of my first wonderfully beautiful child: Karis Laurie Harper. Oh man. What an incredible journey. I keep thinking about what I want to put on this post. What I want to tell you about her first year, about how she has changed, about how she has changed me. And I most certainly don't know where to begin. So, maybe I'll start from the beginning.

Karis was a beautiful newborn. I'm not lying, she was gorgeous. The first hour of her life her eyes were WIDE open. I'll never forget how she looked, starring up in awe as my mom and dad held her for the first time. She was completely freaked out, but totally there. Just looking, watching, taking it all in. And being totally gorgeous too. She was not necessarily easy as a newborn. She wasn't awful, no colic, or crazy diseases or sicknesses, thank the Lord. But not a chill baby by any means. She cried a lot due to gas, and unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I could not breast feed her longer than three months. So... formula was fun. The child did inherit a sensitive stomach from both me and her father, she was doomed in that department. So, while I could not blame her for being fussy with the gas issues, there were other mountains, I did not like climbing.

I discovered my child's will to be stubborn the first day she had to be stretched to go on a schedule. She was doing this awful thing were she started snacking every hour, and after a hard "come to Jesus" talk with my sister, we decided she needed to go on a schedule, 4oz, every four hours. Oh. My. Goodness. You would think that I has made the decision to be the cruelest person that ever existed the way Karis cried. She really gave it to me. And then, I loved when people visited, and they thought I was being over dramatic, and then they heard the wonderful sounds that came out of her wonderful mouth. Yeah, that was pretty hard. It took her about a week or two to get on board with the new schedule, but the scarring of hearing her scream for that week, will probably last me a lifetime.

But she grew out of it, we got the formula issues down, and then one day, I just keep receiving compliments on what a happy, cute baby she was. And she is! She smiles, looks people square in the eye, and laughs. She makes noises and wiggles, just to get people's attention. At playgrounds, she loves going up to all the kids and making friends. Just an amazingly social, happy baby, and I could not be more blessed.

I am in constant awe of Karis. All the time. I love looking at her think. You want to know what I do some days? I just watch her. She is always thinking, turning things over in her mind...plotting, really. One day we had our storm door open, and it looked like she could get out of the house, and she crawled as fast as she could for the door. She wanted out! And that is when I realized that my child will not be a homebody. At 11 mo's I know, she will not stay any longer than she can. She was born with wings, oh goodness I love watching her. Everyday, she amazes me. The mere fact that one year ago, she couldn't even hold her head up, and she is now the fasted crawler in the Harper family, "talking" up a storm, and will be walking (or maybe running:)) around any day now. She has done more learning and growing in this first year, than I believe I have done in the past five! And no one has taught her how to do any of it, babies just do it themselves! Crazy.

She has changed me so completely. I think about her non-stop. When she cries, my heart breaks. Today, I found myself just watching her walk around the house with her "walker" (some device that she uses to assist her at this time). I love to study her face, today she looked just like Tim when she had this supreme moment of concentration trying to do something, and she would not be deterred until she accomplished it. She amazes me, and inspires me. She reminds me so much of God. Not only is her name a sweet prayer on my lips to God for her every time I say it, but it also reminds me of how much I need Him in so many ways in my life, and my desperate need for His Grace. (Her name Karis, is really Charis, the Greek word in the Bible for Grace). Also, God gently speaks to me all the time about His perspective. When I am lost in wonder at my little child, learning from me, growing, listening to me, I get a Holy Spirit nudge. It's like He's saying, "Remember all those times you wondered how I could forgive you? And then, while you do get angry with Karis, you're heart always melts for her, and you continually love her, and you can't even stop it. You're just a human and you can do that, I am God, and I can do it even better. Please stop wondering why I can forgive you a thousand times. I gave in wonder at you too!" God makes me cry when I think about how much I love Karis, and how much He loves me more.

Yes, Karis has changed our lives. I don't want to speak for Tim. I would love to hear what he has thought about this past year. But I'll tell you what I think. Wow. I seriously love my life with Karis. She brings so much joy and laughter to our family. Confession: I like to take her out to places (especially places where I know older people will be, like Aldi) so I can hear and see people dote on her. I love her smile. I love the way she looks at me when I come into a room and I've been gone. And yes, I love that she likes being with me over you when I'm in the room. It does get old when I want to talk, but yes, I love the Karis prefers me, her mother. She's a little too clingy right now, but I'm going to chalk that us to a phase (hopefully). I can't see it lasting past her preteen years, anyway;).

I must admit, the last  literal moment before Karis came into the world, my last thought as a "mom-to-be" was. I'm not ready to be a mom. I'm not a big kid person, no one really called me back on a regular basis to babysit, and I'm don't blame them. I don't know what to do with kids, babies too. I didn't know if I could be the person that Karis needed. I hope she never catches on. I hope she always knows that although I was  100% not ready for her at all, I'm so glad she's here in spite of me. Grace. Karis.

I'm celebrating tomorrow, all day. Really, Birthday's truly are for the mothers. I'll relive my glorious child and her coming into this world and making my heart fill with a love that I had never felt before her. I'll watch her be her cute self, and reminisce about my tiny angel, and yet be SO thankful she is NOT a newborn. And worship Jesus, the giver of all good things, the Giver of my Karis.

Happy Birthday Karis Laurie Harper. While you will be receiving presents on this day from now on, I'll be the one the receives the present of you, everyday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Orlando,

This letter has been a long time coming, I guess almost five years in the making. I not going to lie, I guess if I was to write this letter about two and a half years ago, it would have sounded more like, good riddance. But it's not that. At all.

You see, I was so excited to move here, you were a brave new world for me and my new husband. Your mystery and promise for a new life for Tim and I, and the fact that you had four malls withing twenty minutes of each other, lured me in, I took the bait. And at first, things were great, I guess. But then, reality started to set in...hard.

It started to feel like that you were transient, many came and went, few stay to settle down. I mean, lets be honest, we very rarely meet those who are born and raised from Orlando, they even joke about having a club for themselves. There was the never ending search for something that looked like a "suburb". Orlando, you have no perimeter, so you just keep going. I mean, literally, I can drive for over an hour and STILL BE IN ORLANDO... what is that!?! For some reason, stucco houses are everywhere... everywhere... And I mean, seriously, it's hot here, so... why don't people plant more trees?? I know, hurricanes come through, so trees are bad in that instance. So, for the remainder of the HOT year, we are punished with no shade because a tree might fall on you if there happens to be a tropical storm/ hurricane? And why does it seem Brighthouse is the only provider for cable/internet? Do you actually make people submit to a driver's license test, or when they turn 16 or come to this country from another one (that doesn't believe in any kind of road rules) you just hand them a license? Is that why the lines in the DMV are not that long? And, instead of pulling me over for failing to use my blinker, why don't you pull over the idiot that is weaving between lanes going 80mph during rush hour? It also seriously seems like white women between their 20's and 30's seem to disappear, or are just swallowed up by Central Florida. When I moved here, it seemed monthly women were disappearing. What do you have against young women, Central Florida? Tolls. NO. I hate them... why? And really, what's with being called "The City Beautiful" that's kinda vain...

You were annoying. That's what you were, a pain in my side. And with each passing day, I wished and dreamed for the soft mountain breezes, and seasonal changes of my beloved Georgia. When I called my family and they were having an impromptu get-together, I would inwardly cringe and cry, and hang up the phone really fast. Birthdays of my niece and nephew kept having to be missed. I missed April's 30th birthday EXTRAVAGANZA. As much as we both wanted to be around for all events that happened, we had to financially prioritize what was important. And anyone who lives away from family knows that not only is that painful, it gets personal, and someone's feelings always get hurt, always with yours as well. It's hard.

So, I didn't like you, and I prayed, and I prayed. And slowly, things happened step by step that slooooooowly started opening me up to you. Maybe it started with my job. Not only did I end up working with an AWESOME group of women who were not only as passionate about child welfare and advocating for the safety of children, but also they were just plain ol' great friends and co-workers who cared and supported each other even when we were not at work. It was working with these women who were so diverse, not only culturally, but in our faiths, relationships, how we were raised, and many countless different other ways that I really learned and practiced that you really CAN truly love someone and support them, even if you don't necessarily agree with them on different issues.

It was at work that I was forced beyond my comfort zone. I went into houses, apartment complexes, trailers, ghettos. I had a client whose pitbulls chased me as well as started to fight each other right at my legs. I prayed for the safety of children that was certain would not be safe at night. I kicked a wife-beater out of his house. I made a young hispanic girl's mouth drop when I read her inappropriate love letter she wrote to her boyfriend in spanish. I literally watched a 17 year old child run away from me. Just straight booked it out of her sister's apartment. I was present when a mother has a psychotic break in my car. I remember talking to an older child and having to tell her it was really not her fault she was sexually assaulted by her cousin, but I was there the day that she walked in freedom away from such wrong thinking. I worked with a 17 year old that was shot while trying to rob a drug dealer who would never walk again. And yes, I did visit a mother in an apartment complex that a triple homicide has occurred recently at the time. (No worries though, I only wen there during the day!)) My favorite would be my older kid who was going on her second baby by the time she was 17, she was such a leader if she put her mind to it! Honestly, the people frustrated me, they made me mad, I screamed at some of them, I thought some were sick, some did frighten me, but mostly, most of my cases were just plain sad. Because all these people were doing was living in the chains and the cycles of crud that they only knew how to live in. They didn't know any different. It makes me so so sad, knowing how much I love my daughter, to know there are so many people who long to love like that, but don't know how, because they were never shown such kind of love. Orlando, I walked behind your closed doors. I talked to your hurting, your drug-addicted, your abusers. I don't hate you because of them, you showed me there are people out there beyond what my eyes would just like to see, and you challenged me to help them.

And then Orlando, you showed me your fun side. We adopted our dog and you showed us your dog parks, Fleet Peeples being my favorite. We met so many dog people, and had so much fun taking Riley to new parks and being his charming self. We discovered fun places that were NOT Disney, like Lake Eola on a Friday night, and the Farmer's Market in Winter Park in Saturday mornings. And there is almost always some type of festival coming through Winter or College Park every other month. We found places to walk around that made us loosen up and not feel so wound up by the city itself. And Orlando, I've got to hand it to you, you know how to eat. Dexter's, Bosphorus, 310, K, Ravenous Pig, 4Rivers, Fuji Sushi, White Wolf Cafe, Ghiarbaldi's... Basically any place off of Park Ave or College Park, and then a million places in between. Tim and I have eaten VERY well in your city, and you have proven to house the finest cuisine from many different countries and cultures. So, we blame you for our weight gain...

And then Orlando, although I really, really, really, really love fall. Everyone who knows me knows its my favorite season. So, for the longest time, I kinda really, really, really hated you when it was fall time. You showed me something. The pleasure of having no winter, like at all, rarely! I mean, there was that one year, where for some reason you thought six weeks of cold weather was funny. But, other than that, I mean, I kinda love you in December. When the rest of the country is freezing their rear-ends off and going through depression cause they haven't seen the sun in a week, you show up with 80 degrees, balmy, and a nice breeze. I can walk outside in shorts and feel refreshed. I must say, it is a nice touch. So, yeah, I'd say you made up for your lack of season change, with giving me five good years of no winter, whatsoever...I don't know what to think about that.

Orlando, it is here that we joined First Baptist of Orlando. Wow. What can I say? I guess I could go on and on about what an amazing church it is, but that would be taking away from the Creator of all churches. The Lord Jesus Christ put us in your city, and lead us to this church. I loved being apart of a congregation of all types of colors, backgrounds, countries, even growing up in different denominations. Where people go to honestly worship the Lord, study His Word, and participate in the community to love on people and share Christ's love. The church that believes it's not enough to give to those who have nothing, but to know their names, invite them to dinner, and love on them as if they have everything. Where I look out and there is not one set color of people. Where we are all learning to get past our comfort zones, and trust that each are coming in their own personal way before the throne of Jesus, no matter the language, culture, hurt, habit, or hang-up. I have loved feeling so at home with people who are so far away from their "homes." Learning that "home" is such a transitive word, because "home" is wherever God wants us. Because I have a family here, Orlando. So many people who do not like you, ended up here with me. We all loved having the same gripes together! But that is a side note, Commissioned is here in Orlando. They were/are my family. It took a little bit, we had to get past the newly-wed stage. The stage of looking like we had it all together, that we all loved our mates 100% of the time. We had to get past that to cry with each other, to share our struggles, to pray for each other, to carry our burdens. When our spouses didn't have jobs for years, when our family members died, when our spouses had health issues, when we were going to the mission field, when we had pregnancies, when we had miscarriages, when we had preemies... We had EACH OTHER! There was much laughter, and many tears. We didn't agree on some things ourselves, there was some inner turmoil, but we LOVED each other... I mean I LOVE them now and forever. I remember one of my friends reaching down and squeezing my hand one time during a prayer, cause we both wanted to have children, and both were not pregnant... It was the simplest act, but just to know, someone understood. They are the only ones beside my blood family, that know how much and how easy it is for me to cry, and they understand and do me the favor of pretending like it didn't happen. They give real hugs. And with each new friendship formed in my class, Orlando, I came to treasure you more. There is not an area I can go to without knowing someone I love, so there are wonderful memories all over your map.

Then we moved to Lake Killarney. Side note, if anyone has not seen where I live, you should, it's beautiful, I'm not bragging about where I live, I'm just saying, for the past two years, I have rounded a corner that looks over one of the most beautiful natural lakes, and my house has the most calm and serene view in the evenings. I loved it so much, I hated leaving it for work. So, I quit work. A long walk to talk to Jesus over looking the lake and calm so many nerves. Thinking about this not being my home anymore breaks my heart. But then after we moved to Lake Killarney, we got neighbors. Not just neighbors that live next to you, no, the Blackwells live two streets down. But neighbors all the same. That short five minute walk between our two houses has been our life line for the past two years. We have partied much, laughed much, cried much, prayed much, but most importantly loved much between these two houses. The depth of love and loyalty I feel for the Blackwell clan is very deep. But they know how much they mean to us. We were both here for the past two years. Being able to confidently walk into someone's home unannounced and them letting you in despite the condition of themselves, their children, or their house speaks volumes about the relationship you have with that person. So instead of gushing, I'm just going to let the past two years as neighbors speak for itself between the two of our families. But Orlando, you will always be the city with the lake, that holds those memories between our families.

Then, we had a baby. We didn't just have any baby either, we had Karis. Have you seen how much I love my child? Do you know how much she means to me? Have I not made you a little annoyed at the amount of pictures I send to you or post on facebook? I recently described her as winning the lottery. Every. Day. And I had her here, in Orlando, in one of the best hospitals I could have asked for. I'd say overall, the pregnancy/mother experience has been pretty awesome. Orlando, we took Karis out for her first stroll here. We have pictures of her at Lake Eola, Winter Park, church, all over the map, you name it. She rolled over here, she sat up her, she smiled for the first time here, she babbled her first unintelligible words here, and pulled up here. I do think you will not get the pleasure of having her take her first steps here. Sorry. But, as much as I will try to raise my daughter to be a sweet Southern Peach, she was my Florida Sunshine first. She'll always be my Florida baby. She may even get confused at some points in her life and ask, why was she in born in Florida, and I'll smile (yes smile, or half smile) and tell her about our life here. Playing in grass on our lawn, walking around the lake, laughing and playing in the malls...So, you get the Orlando. You own the early days with my daughter.

So, Orlando, here we are. In five days, you will not be our "home" anymore. You will be the place on the map, where somehow, I will look on you fondly?!? I will try not to talk about you too much to people I meet because they will probably just think "Well, if you like it so much why did you leave?" And that would be awkward, cause people down here, have heard me voice my disapproval of you... well, lets just say, more than some;). What do I tell you? I can't really, thank you for all my experiences, because ultimately, it was God who sent me all these beautiful people and places in my life. But Orlando, you house these people, my memories, my places. What do I do with you? Orlando, you be good to my people. Continue to be the city that holds the hopes and dreams of these beautiful people. Because, Orlando, you can have all the theme parks in the world, beautiful weather, and good times, but what really made me love you was the people you hold. They have all come together to place an Orlando-shaped tattoo on my heart. I leave with one of my favorite quote from one of my favorite Broadway musicals:

         Who can say if I've been changed for the better?But because I knew youI have been changed for good.

Love you much,LA

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Easier to Go Backwards than Forwards

I'm learning so much from being a mom. It's not because I'm a great mom, it's because Karis is teaching me so much, really it's the Lord who is showing me so much about who we really are, through an 8 mo old child. Karis and I, are not that much different, at least in spirit. See, she's trying to crawl right now. It is so stinkin funny. I mean, we probably have the wrong floors for a child trying to learn to crawl, she should be on the rug, but it is almost a shag rug, which provides little traction, and then if she rolls off of that, she's on tile or wood flooring. Once again, no traction. I'm hopeful she'll learn to crawl while were at the beach in a condo with some good carpet... We'll see:).

 But here's the thing I have noticed about Karis, she can crawl backwards, very easily. She can back herself up all the way across the room. Even when she was in her walker at her Nana's house, the first thing she learned to do is to push herself backwards. I'm no physical therapist (however, funnily enough, my brother is:)) But it seems that backwards is easier because it requires less muscle. I mean, for Karis to go forward crawling, she would have to learn how to get her hips under her, which would put more weight on her little shoulders and arms. All requiring a lot more energy, and strength. She'll need to build up her stamina. Right now, all she has to do is push back on her arms, and steer with her legs. I even saw her maneuver herself backwards to get to a toy this morning! But the drawl to go forward is very frustrating and she will get to her wits end and just cry.

 But aren't we all there? I mean, it is a lot easier to revert to "backwards" ways right? It's easier to judge you before I meet you, so I don't have to get to know you. It's easier to lie than to face the truth. It's easier to stay "18 and carefree" for the rest of your life, than move forward and begin a life all of your own. I know it is. God knows it is. He's there for my every other days when I just cry. He listens when I scream, "It's too hard and I don't want to do it!!" And He compels me to move forward. Why? Because while moving forward is the hardest thing you will ever do (just ask Karis). It really is the best thing for our lives. We must move forward to build, to create, to heal, we must move forward to GROW.

 When Karis starts to get frustrated I am tempted to step in and pick her up. But one day as I was contemplating it, I heard a clear voice from the Lord, "Get out of her way." God is the ultimate parent. And as I am so tempted just to give everything to Karis and not have her go through frustration and hardship, I must get out of the way. Have you ever asked God to intervene in a situation, and the prayers feel like they bounce off the sealing? I mean, you are looking up at the Heavens, you are screaming, begging, dealing, pleading for some kind of help. And you get radio silence...God is the ultimate parent, He's still parenting you. It means it's time for you to move forward. To learn how to get those legs under you and GROW.
He's there, He's watching you. But just like I know that Karis is just one correct hip placement away from getting those legs in the right place and strengthening those arms to hold the new weight that is going to be put on them. Now, I know for certain, that God sees us! He is fully aware of our capabilities, He is watching us, waiting for our spirits to strengthen because of the new weight we will carry. Because GROWING equals freedom. Yes it is hard, and it requires more strength. But Karis will be able to have her reign of the house. If she sees me go to another room, she will be able to follow me, instead of me carry her. She will have FREEDOM (I am so scared!!:))

 If I, a sinful human, want so much for my little girl. How much more freedom does God want from you? Karis doesn't know what awaits her when she can crawl. I do. You don't know what your future of freedom holds. God does. If He is not intervening, Trust He is always watching and waiting for you to grow.

 Karis could crawl backwards her whole life, I mean, she could manage to get around going backwards. I have lived a long time in life, managing to function "backwards." But while forwards movement brought me out of my comfort zone, staring right in the eye of my worst fears of failure and rejection, and cost a lot of tears. I have found freedom in Jesus Christ.

 Will you grow this year? Will you find freedom? Will you trust that God is there always watching you, and He knows your capabilities? Me and Karis, It's kind of like we are growing up together.:)

 Love you all, LA

Saturday, May 19, 2012

16 and 26

Ok, I know, I'm turning 27 in June, but the title was so fitting for what I'm feeling now. Life right now is so hard for me to grasp because I feel like I was 16 yesterday. That I just got my driver's license, that college and freedom where right around the corner. I was going to leave Powder Springs, even Georgia and NEVER LOOK BACK. It was only yesterday that I knew I was never going to have children, that my mom was just going to have to get used to the fact that Jennifer was going to be the daughter to do that. That I wasn't going to get married until I was 30 and I was going to run my own business! I even think it was at sixteen that I thought I was still going to be a cheerleader in college as well... My dreams changed so much in four years of highschool I truly can't remember where my heart was at, at 16. It was only yesterday that my parents surprised me with a Sweet 16 birthday party after me and mom spent a weekend in Ormond Beach. It was only yesterday I knew I had never met my future husband (whereas most of my friends already had...) and didn't know WHEN that was going to happen. (Funny to think it was only four short years ahead). I can just close my eyes and I am right there! In highschool, future wide open, options...well, not limitless, but definitely lots of them:).

And I open my eyes, and I'm right here in my sun room. Typing to you so quickly while my 7 mo old sleeps. I did go to college in GA, I didn't necessarily leave GA behind and NEVER LOOK BACK like I promised my teenage angst self that I would. I did get my degree and use it. Until it was time to come home to be a stay at home wife, then mother. I never did own my own business, which is such a good thing, cause I would have run it into the ground! I did give my mother a grandchild, one of many. (Maybe...) I got married at 22. A very farrrrrrrrrrrr cry from the independent, world-traveling 30 year old I had planned to be. And yet, I still close my eyes and feel my options are... well, there are still lots of them. It's probably because God Graced me with an amazing husband who never says "no" to my dreams. He mostly just shrugs his shoulders and says, "If that's what you want to do, I'm for it." Literally, there has never been a curve ball I haven't thrown at him that's he hasn't done that to. I love that crazy man.

But do you know what else feels so good? So, natural? That my life that it is right now, feels so right. Like when I sit at church in service and Tim's arm is around me and I'm snuggled up right under him, listening to our pastor together, and thinking about my little girl how she is probably having so much fun in the nursery. This is right where I'm supposed to be. Or when I'm at the grocery store and the twenty-something check-out boy is talking about college and what he wants to do and how he wants to own a home by 25. And I just look at him and I truly hope for the best for him when I say "good luck!" It feels right. It feels right that I spend my days cleaning the house, taking care of Karis, and trying to live my life as an example for our little girl. Obviously, my life looks so much different than I had imagined it. But I only choke when I listen to Satan's negative words over my life. Because truly, I feel right about where I sit at this moment.

I am a dichotomy. Do I love to dance to music, have girl spend-the-night parties, watch romantic comedies, go to weddings, by expensive dresses and shoes to go on a night out on the town, sing at the top of my lungs? Absolutely. I am still all of those fun girl things still.

Do I love going to bed early, cuddled up against Tim, walking hand in hand pushing Karis around a park, changing dirty diapers, wondering about Karis while I'm in church, seeing her smile at people in the grocery store, cleaning the house and having others over? Absolutely, and more. I love being an old woman in 26 year-old skin as well.

I hope the dichotomy never dies. I hope when I'm 88 (which, by the way, is the year I'm supposed to die, according to a website I filled out for a sociology class I took) I can close my eyes and feel 16 all over again.

I hope you have much life to live yourself,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy (Early) Mother's Day

I'm so excited. I've been patiently waiting for this since we booked the plane tickets. It's not any great special trip around the world. It's mother's day. But it's not just any mother's day. I get to fly up to GA and spend my first (second, I did count last year when I was pregnant with Karis...) Mother's day and I get to sit in church next to the two most awesome mothers I know. My mom and my sister. And if, by chance, the church asks the mothers to stand to be recognized, I get to stand next to my mom and my sister... I'm going to let that sink in for just a couple of seconds.

I'm seriously tearing up right now... Shocker, I know...

I think most people here know how much I esteem my mother and my sister. I don't know how many people know the long road that we have all had with each other. Last year I posted on how I love my mother so much because she never gave up trying to understand and communicate with me. I think it literally took her twenty years, but once I was about married we started getting into the groove with things. It only took twenty years or so:).

But as much as I love my older sister, we've had to come to changes as well. She's five years older than me, which is not forever, but its old enough that she has always been in a different life stage than me, and that might be that way all of our life. When I was in middle school, she was in college, and we were close then, but it was more in the way that she volunteered to be a mentor in the middle school so she was always in my life and dramas (probably a spy for momma as well;)). But we were never able to have the sister moment where you come to each other's room and dish on the boys that you like and what's going on. I did steal her cloths and we would fight over that, but it just wasn't meant for us to be close in a social aspect. I know my sister has always thought of herself as a more mentor/motherly figure to me, and I know she wanted to be more of a sister, and I know she knows how appreciative I am of her that she did mother/mentor me at time, but I still do want to be a sister with her. It's been a different road and hard for both of us at times. What's even more is that we don't back down. Just ask our husbands. So, when we get into fights with each other (which is so rare, trust me) It's kind of like a nuclear bomb. Seriously and unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. I'm sure our strong-willed/stubbornness make makes mom proud and exasperated at the same time:).

But here's the thing. I have ALWAYS admired my sister. I feel she has always made right and wise decisions. (Is she hasn't, she can be the one to tell you, not me:)). And as a younger sister that is amazing and challenging at the same time. Big shoes to fill and a big shadow to walk in are good and hard things at the same time. But here's the thing (again). She is an amazing mother. If you don't believe me, read her blog. She loves her children and they are becoming and amazing, Godly children who love the Lord and talk to Him.

Old LaurieAnn used to be afraid, mad, scared of such a high bar. Jennifer made perfect grades in school, all the time. She was the smart one. But it wasn't until I realized really who I was in Christ, and what kind of standards I made for myself, that I could be that way. I'm a mom now. And Jennifer has amazing children. I have a choice to make. And it's a super, super, super important choice, mainly because it affects Karis and the rest of my children to come.

I can either throw up my hands in exasperation and give up because there is absolutely now way I can do this a good as Jennifer. Or, I can reach out for help, and I can ask for prayer, for wisdom. I can look at the standard and instead of shrink back, I can advance. And I KNOW, that that is what my sister wants me to do. Never once in her high-achieving life had she wanted me to be intimidated by how well she did.

I am so grateful to God I have such an amazing group of women that I can stand in their ranks. If you don't believe me. Just come to my house when My Mema, mom, Both of my Aunts, All my cousins, and me and Jenn. You would be hard pressed to find a room full of strong, talented, and Oh so VERY opinionated women who love Jesus with all of their hearts. Yes, we are a bunch of Steal Magnolias. That does sound a little cliche as I read it, but I can't think of a better term!

And now, I get the honor of standing with them as Mothers. Can you feel my excitement. I mean, we already know my mom did an amazing job! I mean, just look at me and Jenn... and my brothers too...;)... That is kind of sarcastic, but so true. And now my sister and her two awesome kids. And I have a baby. And I want Karis to be an awesome kid like her cousins and then grow up to be a Christ-lover like her Aunt and I. I couldn't be in any better company this coming Mother's Day.

And I am SO Grateful. I can add that to my list.

So yes, this is another love letter to my mother, and maybe a first long over-due one to my sister. You can't begin to understand how excited I am, and how I'll probably never be able to express it outside the perimeters of this blog.

But I love you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

So Many Thoughts...

Yes, I promise you. I do have lots of thoughts. I think about blogging all the time. I think about telling you about hormones, my hormones, and how they lie. LIE! to you. Really they do. I think about telling you about my weight loss and what I've done and how I've killed myself, but I'm not posting pics yet, cause I'm not done yet! And there is the post that is coming explaining why on this wonderful, God-created Earth we named Karis, Karis. And how I "invented" the spelling of her name. But that is all in due time. It really is. Every day there is something new I think about to tell you. I think a lot about my marriage, and how we've changed, and yet, how we've stayed exactly the same (no, I'm not trying to confuse you!) I have SO many new pregnant friends, I want to tell you about all the hopes and fears and revelations I had with my first pregnancy. I want my new-pregnant friends to know you are not alone in the ups and downs. I want to put my crazy out there for you, so that you can look in the mirror in the down times and go, "At least I am not LaurieAnn crazy... that girl needs help!" I do. But I don't want to put myself out there right now. I am such an open book kind of person, its even weird for me to say that. Maybe its because I'm vain, insecure, and selfish and I need you to need me to do it. Or maybe, just maybe, because it's not the right time for all of that. For right now, I just want to talk to you about one thing:

I have a daughter.

Yeah, and I don't just have a girl. I have one of those girls who stares long and often at boys. She looks for new people to smile at. She's social. I mean, I don't want to say my parents got off easy, I definitely gave them a run for their money a couple of times in my life. But I will say, I was/am not social. I didn't to highschool parties, cause I wasn't invited. I wasn't popular. No boys were lined up to date me. My dad didn't have to come to the door too many times to flex his muscles to scare off boys. I did that myself. By not being able to talk appropriately in social situations... almost ever. And I was like that as a baby. I know it's true, because unfortunately, I saw the footage that proves from a young age, I didn't like to talk.

Not Karis.

She smiles, she flirts, she LOOKS for new people to catch there eye, and when she does she sticks out her tongue or laughs, give HUGE grins. All in the name of making sure that they know that she is stinkin cute. I have no magic ball, nor any expertise in any field to say I can predict what she is going to be like as a teenager. All I can say is, if right now she is lovin attention, and all she does her entire life is build on this... Oh dear... Ohhhhhhhhhh dear!!!!!

I pray a lot for Karis. I mean, I'm not sending up arrow prayers... Arrow prayers are good, but sometimes, arrows don't always succeed in what they are intended to do. I am sending up javelin like prayers. I'm talking about Roman soldier-trained javelin prayers intended on accurately and efficiently completing their tasks. Cause right now, I feel that the only hope I have in raising a daughter who loves people, and loves to make people happy, is to know that Christ is going to take that natural ability she has and transform it into something AMAZING that He can use to glorify Himself and make Himself known to the nations. That's the only prayer I have. That this beautiful, sweet, smart, and OH SO SOCIAL child will love Jesus more than anything in the world and she will love people closer to Christ. Good plan? I'll get back to you in 18-20 years to tell you how its gone...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Sometimes every one of us feels
Like we’ll never be healed
Sometimes every one of us aches
Like we’ll never be saved

When we’ve given up
Let Your healing come
When there’s nothing left
Let Your healing come
‘Til we’re rising up
Let Your healing come
Where You go, we will follow
Where You go, we will follow

It’s Your love that we adore
It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You, we’re lost in You
It’s Your love that we adore
It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You, we’re lost in You

It’s like we’ll never atone
For all the love we’ve known
Like in a smile or a song
When you feel it come
And that feeling’s gone
It flies

When we’ve given up
Let Your healing come
When there’s nothing left
Let Your healing come
Feel it rising up
Let Your healing come
Where You go, we will follow
Where You go, we will follow

It’s Your love that we adore
It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You
We’re lost in You
It’s Your love that we adore
It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You
We’re lost in You
It’s Your love that we adore
It’s like a sea without a shore
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid
Just set your sail

And risk the ocean there’s only grace
Let’s risk the ocean there’s only grace
Let’s risk the ocean there’s only grace
Let’s risk the ocean there’s only grace

I know, it's so high school/college to post lyrics on your blog. But I just can't get this song out of my head. Mostly because I keep thinking about a lot of people that had a sucky year in 2011. Please pardon my use of the word sucky, but I really can't think of a better word to describe last year for a lot of people in my life. And I can't get this song out of my head without thinking, this is my song too.

We are all irreparably broken, because we are human. We are born into a world with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. We are born into a world with disease, mental illness, and addiction. We crave a cure, we long for someone to come and just figuratively, maybe even literally put a cold (or warm, your choice) towel over our head, wrap us in their arms, and say, "It's going to be OK, I'm right here...and I'll be here when you wake up..."

I am fearful, and I serve a God whose love is like a sea without a shore, it goes on forever. And he controls it with ease, because He is God. I keep feeling that I want to live a bigger life than I have. I want to be afraid, but not of life, to fear God so much that I want to risk the ocean. Don't you? Maybe last year left you feeling like you're never going to heal. Maybe someone cut you deeply, maybe you experienced loss in your deepest core and its almost too much to get out of bed sometimes. Maybe, like me, you feel you know you want to live so much more than you have, and yet the first step off the ledge seems SO terrifying.

There's only Grace. In 2012 let's set our sail and risk the ocean...

Love you all,