Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Our Big Announcement :)

It's a.....

Baby boy is looking awesome, and measuring our biggest babe yet, in the 85 percentile! Woohoo! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Big Question

So the big question we're all asking around here is....

I thought it was a girl all along, up until recently. Then I had a dream it was a boy. Now I am just certainly uncertain :)

Do you believe in the wive's tales? You know....carrying low or high, wide or in front, what you crave, the heartbeat? I'll leave you with a shot of me and the kids from today and share some of those details. Then you decide :)

  • Carrying low and wide, very low...back is feeling it! 
  • Craving meat, salty foods, salads & hot sauce (very typical list for all my pregnancies).
  • Heartbeat has been in the 130's and 140's. 
  • Had more morning sickness and fatigue early on than usual.
  • Have not noticed a change in my emotions. 
  • We are very certain of a girl name and have nothing for a boy.

So what do you think???

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Praying for Our Husbands, Pt. 2/Week in Pictures

"You are an ezer, uniquely fashioned and supernaturally equipped to pray for your husband."

I'm grateful for those of you who have joined me in praying for our husbands, and excited to see the fruit that comes from it! One of my friends, who is joining in prayer, was sent this devotional just today, empowering us as wives in our role as help mate and prayer warrior on their behalf. I thought it was too good to not pass along. Click on the link above (the opening blue sentence) to view it in full. I plan to post as we continue on in our 31 days and would LOVE to hear how this journey is going for you if you've joined along. Please comment and let me know!

In other news, we scheduled our appointment for our ultrasound for our growing babe for this coming Tuesday. I CANNOT WAIT! We will have our appointment in the afternoon and come home to get the finishing touches (pink or blue) to our Gender Reveal Party we will have with our family. This is our first pregnancy back home, near family, and we are thrilled to share in all the little excitements with them. I will post pictures later and share here sometime next week. Stay tuned!

Until then, enjoy a taste of these beauties that I spend my days with:

Painting = loving them well and me trying to not stress out :)

Levi practicing his name, Judah doing the same...and getting frustrated. Check out his face!

Yeah! He did it!
Bath time (crazy time) with 3 kiddos in the tub. 
Clara so big in her rocking chair.
This is where she sits every night and says, "moon?" as she gazes out the window.
Loving to serve tea :)

This braid looked cute for a couple hours! She's so sweet :)
So irresistibly cute!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

Raising Godly Children: 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband (<----Click here for article)

I pinned this article, oh about a year ago, on Pintrest. Story of my life...just now opening it up :) Well, yesterday morning as I woke up early to spend time reading my Bible and praying, I was challenged by the Lord to pray consistently for Waylon. Ouch. I realized I've never developed this as a good discipline in my life. I pray all day long for my kids. I have times of day that are programmed in for prayer for them and we pray as we go with each ouchie or illness or struggle in disobedience. But I have not been a good wife in this area. I go more in "emergency mode" prayer for Waylon, when things are tough. I strongly feel a way for me to truly be a helpmate and love him well is to pray for him consistently. So, here's to developing a habit.

I'm on day 2. And already, I'm blessed for making this commitment. This article has you praying different Scripture over your husband each day, which is awesome. Praying the Word is powerful. It's truth and we want to line ourselves up with it. And, I'm seeing as I meditate on these passages and pray them throughout the day, I'm talking about them with the kids. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The Word is on my heart and coming out in conversation with my kids. We are sitting together to pray for daddy and in the process, we are cultivating their prayer life as well. I've had them think of someone to pray for and love in this way and am encouraging them to articulate to God their prayers. (Side note: do your kids always pray as if things are already done? Every time, without fail, Judah prays like this, "Thank you God that you have _______." He doesn't ask. He thanks God that He did it already. I always wonder...is this an example of having faith like a child? Whatever is going on, it fuels my faith:) ).

Anyway, I'm getting the word out about this cool article and seeing if anyone wants to join me in seeking to make prayer for our husbands a habit. Any takers??

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trusting the Author

Our stories are ours to share, though we aren't the Authors. We have a role, decisions to make, sure, but at times there are things that happen in our lives in which we have little or no control. 

Carrying a child always awakens my heart to this reality. Here is this life, that I have forming inside of me, and there is very little I can do to write the story just how I see it should go. Though I'd love each of my pregnancy and delivery's story lines to look something like this:  our little one grows and thrives easily in my womb, a beautiful natural delivery brings a healthy, chubby full-term baby, everything is in perfect working order for baby, an uncomplicated healing process and hospital stay for us, followed up by a smooth transition into feeding and sleeping and life at home....ummm....I can say that pretty much all of these things have not played out so smoothly. How many of us can say they have? I know I am not alone. So our stories are not as we would write them, but they are written by One we can trust. Why the dips and valleys in our storyline? 

Here's what I do know:  I have needed, desperately needed, to know how very weak I am. I can like all too much to be a "pull-yourself-up by-your-bootstraps" kinda girl. Whatever may come, I can handle it, don't worry about me. Sounds nice. Sounds strong. But it's wrong. I can't always handle it and I need help. He graciously tries to show me again and again, my great need for Him, and for others, for that matter. But this need for Him....I'm getting it more and more. Well, He won't let me get away from it really. He keeps writing my story and highlighting this fact. Bed rest=weakness; Miscarriages=weakness; Raising 3 toddlers with one on the way=weakness. But where is my heart in the midst of all this weakness? It's like when God and Paul interact as Paul asks God why he doesn't take away the weakness he has consistently struggled with (his "thorn in his flesh, messenger of Satan"...whatever it was, a weakness or a hardship). Their exchange goes like this: (God speaking to Paul) 

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" 

And Paul concludes this:

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12: 9,10)

Strength coming from weakness? Sounds all wrong. But, it's so right. We can easily be lulled to sleep, thinking we have what it takes when the picture is so rosy. But hardships, unexpected turns, change our perspective. We can see more clearly. Because we are not God, but we desperately need him. We need him more than our next breath.

Now on the other side of some of these seasons, I see the beautiful things He works inside us, as well as, through these pains that I would never know if everything was just as I would script it. Would I have embraced my calling of motherhood so whole-hearted without these trials? Would I have ever stopped to marvel at air filling my children's lungs? Would I have known the degree in which I don't have what it takes and how great my need is for Him? Would I have longed, truly longed, to meet Jesus in Heaven as I have with the loss of 2 children? In His sweet mercy, He has scripted my story. And though at times I have a hard time swallowing the reality, I'm grateful He is the Author, and I am not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love, love, love

Valentines is in the air. Everywhere, advertising abounds for this holiday that celebrates love. I'll confess....I've never been a big Valentine's celebrate-r. Odd, because I love celebrating. I love making a big deal about little things and so enjoy an excuse to bake something sweet. But Valentine's Day has always passed me by with little thought. This year, it's different. I realize, this thing we're all taking a day to celebrate is awesome. Love. What's better than love?

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. (1 John 3:16). This packs so much punch in my heart. Who doesn't want to be loved, to feel love? I've been on a search for this since I was born. You too? Wanting to be approved of and doted on by our parents, celebrated by our friends and family, and have our hearts skip a beat by that special someone? So much of myself has been poured out in searching for, and finding, love. Yet, sadly, I was looking in all the wrong places for so long. I sought pleasing people around me, and diving from relationship to relationship, desperately trying to hang on to them and make them work...just to have that feeling of being loved, even if only for a moment. Oh, but what an empty life I led! Grueling, tiresome, and ultimately, lonely were the ways I would describe it. And then, there was this: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." Yes. He did. God is love. He showed love. God was what my heart longed for, yet I didn't know. I didn't need to cling to perfectionism or awful relationships to feel loved. I needed to know God, this Jesus that gave his life for me. He has rescued me from the painful searches of throwing myself into things that will never satisfy my heart. He is it. 

 So we're celebrating this year. The hubs and I already got dressed up and attended a "Valentine's Banquet" Sunday night at our church, which was so fun (and he was so handsome!). The kids are memorizing Jeremiah 31:3 (a portion of it) "...I have loved you with an everlasting love..." and thinking of ways to share God's love with those who need it this week through their Awana program. (Plug for Awana Program: I love this program for my kids! My boys at 3 & 4 are memorizing portions of Scripture every week...which leads them to talk about these stories, and act them out, and truly know them. It also leads me in activities for them that are so great and practical and blesses me with the limited creative juices I posses!).They are giving 3 Valentines (hearts they've done some abstract coloring on:) ) with their verse for the week on it. We are so looking forward to loading up on Thursday and delivering their Valentines to some of our neighbors (an elderly couple without kids and a widowed man) and some of their friends. We'll be baking yummy cupcakes tomorrow to go along with them (again, enter any excuse to bake something yummy is fine by me...especially pregnant me!). I've been cutting and gluing and creating these felt flower clips to get ready to deliver to some women in the community that I've gotten to know that are hurting and living hard lives on Wednesday night. I love handmade gifts. I hope they do too! Woohoo! Let the celebration begin!

Peace out to my Scrooge-side of seeing Valentines as an over-marketed holiday. Everyone could use an extra dose of love!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Heavy Hearts, Holding Tight

This week has been heavy. One good friend lost her second child in 5 months on Wednesday, one full-term and one in her second trimester. Another good friend lost her mom suddenly on Thursday. Then I pull up Facebook tonight and see another friend I had from college lost her son just after delivery this week as well. Unexpected loss is so hard, so shocking. You can't prepare for it, but you're suddenly walking through it and the gamete of emotions it brings. Praying for these sweet friends this week and carrying around a heavy heart. 

Holding to these portions of Scripture today, trusting in His good control over all things and His heart of compassion that heals and comforts when we are broken.

"See now that I, I am He, there is no god besides me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal." Deut. 32:39

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

I trust in the grace of the Lord meeting all these families in their time of need. I know this grace. I have received this grace when the unexpected has hit me. I don't know what it feels like to lose a full-term baby, two babies so closely together, or my mom. The pain seems unbearable to me. But I trust that God is near and ushering these friends through these times. He will not abandon us in our time of need. I can only rest here. Thank you, God, that you have shown me your goodness and built faith in my heart. 

Small moments of goodness have passed me by this week, bringing smiles amidst the pain. I am grateful.

Brothers, with a bond ever-strengthening as they play and learn conflict resolution together :) 

 Growing belly, nice and round at 4 months, with little nudges of reassurance that all is well.

 Cheap, yummy coffee find at my favorite grocery spot, Yoder's General Store.

Clara's love for her Minnie Mouse, caring for her like a little Mother Hen, always needing her wrapped in a blankie.

Please pray for these families with me as you read this. May God and His nearness be real to you in this time, as well.

And for us to all smile and remember....

God is faithful! My, my, my! (click here)