October 31, 2012

Desperate times call for desperate costumes

I felt a bit uninspired in the costume department this year.  It felt hard to figure out what to do with a growing pregnant belly.

So naturally, my mind went to morning TV shows.  Actually it didn't.  I scoured Pinterest for ideas and totally ripped off the idea from someone else.  Because again, that's what Pinterest is there for people.

I'm the next contestant on The Price is Right!

I had my work make me a sign that looks like I just guessed the right price to win a spot on the show.  And my shirt says "I love Drew and PLINKO."  If you've ever seen the show, almost everyone makes some kind of outlandish, flashy shirt to get noticed in the crowd.  And if I did ever make it on the show, I would want the chance to win cash from the epic game of Plinko, rather than a hot tub or some lame car (sorry Price is Right, but they're lame these days).

So there you have it.  My super creative, totally stolen, costume idea. I doubt I'll win the contest at work today, but it's fun to play along with everyone anyway!

Happy Halloween everyone!

October 30, 2012

he (or the time I refer to my boobs and his butt in the same post)

He always kisses me good morning and good night and often times in between.

He will stay awake with me when I'm commiserating about my awful cough and allergy mess and suffers through it instead of making me be alone and awake at 5:00am.  And he doesn't think I'm ridiculous or dumb for crying about the fact that I can't breathe through my right nostril.

He always, always holds my hand.  Any chance he can get.

He always gives Tommy a bath for me and takes out the trash and washes the cars and kills the bugs because he knows I don't really like to do any of those things.

He usually puts gas in my car so I don't have to do it and it makes me feel like a princess.

He doesn't freak out when I spend a little too much money at Hobby Lobby to do silly things like make yarn wreaths.

He only flinches a little when I tell him I want to change a paint color in the laundry room because I don't like it anymore.  And then he'll paint it and give me his beaming smile when it's a new color because he knows how happy he's made me.

He never makes me worry that he's being unfaithful or dishonest.  He is trustworthy - and he's trustworthy even in the places that I'm still trying to trust him in.

He gives me permission to talk about my feelings and doesn't condemn me when I have to own up to something that I've done.

He calms me when I get worried.

He tells me how much he loves my boobs even though they're giant and pregnant and I kind of hate them very much.  He makes me feel good about myself and doesn't let me heap contempt all over my body.

He has the very best smile and the very best butt and he is so very good-looking and how did I score such a hottie?

He cares and he loves and he does and he is - all of the things that I never knew I would need.

And though he's not perfect, after all, he rarely picks up his socks.  But he's all mine.  And today I am very grateful for the man that I get to share my life with.  

(Even if it is at 5:00am and I only have one working nostril and we would both rather be sleeping.)

October 29, 2012

Ramping Up

The calendar is extra-full and somehow, busyness doesn't feel overwhelming or dreadful, but exciting instead.  It's almost as if it is the season for ramping up.  You can almost feel that the holidays are in the air and there is so much to look forward to.  Coziness and all of it's warmth and deliciousness seem to abound in forms of cocoa and slow-cooked meals and freshly baked-from-scratch goodies. The weather is cool and inviting.  Summer is clearly over.

Maybe it's because we just found out we're expecting our second son and my heart is still bursting with joy - especially now that I can plan and organize and make up a darling nursery for our little Jacob.  And maybe it's because it's simply the time of year where I feel the most like me.  Where planning and parties and holidays and gatherings and making things are part of the every-day and all of that brings me to a brighter life somehow.  I just have this energy and life that I always do this time of year.

Our week ahead promises to be full and busy.  But in the good kind of way.  In the way that I don't mind that there is little free time or me time for the next several days.

Costume finishing.  Youth group.  Picking out some worship songs to sing with my dad at an event a week from today - something he and I haven't done together in a very long, long time.  Halloween and taking our son trick-or-treating for the very first time while grilling hot dogs with friends from church.  Being reunited with a  much missed friend for her short visit here.  Getting a nursery underway.

And it's nearly November.  The season of gratitude and thanksgiving and taking the time to remember what is truly important in our lives.

I love the bustle of activity.  Probably more so this year because I know that most of winter will be spent in my third trimester when I'll need to slow down and take it easy and rest and prepare for the new life that spring will bring to me.  It's as if I want to do as much as I can before a new season of life and motherhood arrives and changes everything all over again. 

Until then though, I'm enjoying the energy my body has at 21 weeks pregnant.  And I'm loving the fun kind of busy this time of year holds. 

Halloween teaser:  I'm just a little bit in love with a very precious Captain America....

October 26, 2012

It's A.....

It's hard to pray for God's best sometimes.  Because God's best can often look like something else than we would like or imagine for ourselves.  And then you're afraid that His best is really His way of holding out on you.  Or that was how I used to think.  Earlier this year though that was the desire of my heart - His best.  His timing and His baby just for us. 

It's no secret that I've wanted a daughter from the very first day I found out I was pregnant.  I've been dreaming of frilly dresses and a nursery done in yellow and gray and sharing tea parties and playing Barbies.  I wanted a girl so much that I felt afraid of what my response might be if I found out that I was having another little boy instead.  I was convinced that I would be so disappointed that it would take me weeks to move through that.  And that my son would somehow know this and never feel wanted or loved because his mommy really wanted a girl.

But Wednesday morning as I caught the first glimpses of our sweet baby on the TV screen, I had an overwhelming sense of calming peace.  He was wiggling around so much that it was obvious from the very beginning, that it was no little girl in there.  It was most definitely a boy!  We had planned to have the screened turned off so we could reveal the gender together in private, but when I saw what I saw, both Todd and I knew right away that we were looking at our second son.

There was a bit of disappointment there for sure.  I would have loved to see a girl "us."  Yet, my heart felt and feels so overwhelmingly full.  I've had a joy and gladness in my heart that I didn't quite expect to be there and it feels sweet that my God, the Maker and Lover of my heart, gave me such joy even though His best looks different than what I had been imagining.

Maybe this sounds a little presumptuous, but I've decided that God has something special in store for my heart.  There are some longings and aches that He is entrusting me to hold and to live fully with.  Parts of my story and heart will continue to await the redemption that having a daughter would have touched.  I can only imagine that the waiting and hoping and living with those longings will have some kind of glorious ending whether I experience a taste of that here or in eternity.

The name we have chosen for our son is rich with meaning.  Jacob Paul.

Jacob - a strong and serious name, much like his older brother Thomas.  (Thomas - the disciple who is known for doubting, but really, he had such a heart for Jesus and desperately wanted to know and be known by his Savior.  Also, the name of my father).  And now Jacob - the man who wrestled with God in the Bible.  I've always loved that story - it tells me that it's okay to wrestle with Him and it's part of being in a relationship.  I feel like I know what it means to wrestle like that and I have throughout the years - sometimes even on a daily basis.  And however Jacob's story unfolds, I would hope that as He comes to know God, He will wrestle too - I think that's the only way of really knowing Him maybe.  Struggling, wrestling, and being real in His presence.

Paul is my Grandfather's name.  The man who has left a legacy and heritage for our family.  Because of him and his heart for Jesus, and the traditions we value and carry on because He started them - our son will bear his name as part of his own identity. 

So, God's best for us and for our family is boys - two beautiful, healthy sons.  I am so grateful and excited to welcome our sweet Jacob in to our hearts and our home.  Tommy gets to have a little brother and I get to continue living a splendidly adventurous, active life with my handsome boys around me.

Thank you for sharing in our joy!  It's a boy!

October 24, 2012


When I woke up on the morning of July 7th, I had a dream that I was pregnant and it felt so real that I had to check and see if I was.  Sure enough, two pink lines appeared and I was almost in disbelief that this was going to be happening all over again.

Since that day I've been waiting anxiously for two specific moments.  The first - the day we find out WHO it is that we're going to be welcoming into our family.  And the second - the day that I get to hold them in my arms for the very first time.  Though the second is far more exciting than the first I think.

But the first of those days has arrived. We get to find out "who" it is today.  Who has been making me crave chips and salsa?  Who is quietly moving within me and only gives me a flutter-a-day?  Who is this - the last baby that I will carry and, will for now, complete our family?

Because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and many other auto-immune disease related concerns, we've decided not to have any more biological children.  Adoption has always been on my heart though and perhaps one day, we will add another little one to our family should God open that door for us.

It's a big day and I have so much emotion in my heart as we await the news.  It's no secret that my heart deeply longs for a daughter.  Yet, I feel at peace knowing that even if we do have another son, that God's best is always better than what I could have planned for myself.  I do have peace as I wait - that there will be joy and gladness and celebration, because He is gifting us and entrusting us with another precious child.

Today will change things though.  Today we'll finally be in on the secret that God let us in on July 7th.  Today we get to start specifically planning and dreaming for either our daughter or for another son.  Today we will get to put a name to who we are waiting for - Jacob Paul or Ruby Lynn.  The names we've held and cherished for a long, long time.

For now, I'll keep you in suspense.  And by Friday, you'll get to know who too.

October 23, 2012

DIY: Yarn Wreaths

I'm not sure who invented these fun, crafty, yarn-loving wreaths, but I've been in love with them since I found them on Pinterest.  And after making my first one, I simply can't stop.

I love them so much that I've been giving some serious consideration in making them as a very small side business.  After seeing how everyone and their mom sells yarn wreaths on Etsy, I think I'm going to make them on a more local level.  And the whole, "Hey I make wreaths - if you want to buy one, let me know and I'll hook you up" thing might work too.  So that goes for you blogland, if you want one, hit me up and I'll see what I can do for you.

But I'm not yarn wreath-making hog.  Besides, these weren't even my original idea.  Several people have asked how to make them, so I've decided to share my own yarn wreath-making secrets with the world.  I'm sure there are a dozen different ways to do them, but this is what works for me now that I totally consider myself a yarn wreath pro.

#1) - Start with a super organized crafty space.  Or, just clear some space and do what you can.
#2) Don't buy foam wreaths.  Seriously.  Where I shop, foam wreaths cost anywhere from $8 to $15, and that just seems crazy to me. I found these awesome straw wreaths for half the price.  A good medium sized wreath is only $3.99.  Score!
 #3) This is where you'll get different instructions.  Some people unwrap an entire spool of yarn so that they can just continually wrap a wreath.  I don't know how people do this.  I never tried.  It seemed laborous to me.  So I invented another hard way.  I cut a very long strip of yarn off of the spool and glue one end to the wreath.  Starting with the price-tag is great as hot glue sticks way better to paper than saran wrap-type plastic!

 #4) The very long process of yarn wrapping commences.  Since I cut my yarn into long strips, once I reach the end of the strip, I glue it down to whatever side I deem as the back the of the wreath.

#5) If there is excess yarn that might fold over into the top or front of the wreath, I trim it, that way all of the pieces that get glued down are all in the back.  When you get good at this step, you will be able to use the glue to not only glue down the last piece of yarn from that strand, but when starting a new strand - uses less glue and the back will stay neater.  (This part feels hard to explain - if you need clarification, let me know!)
#6) Almost every time I get to about this point, I need to either take a nap or get something to eat or change a load of laundry.  I should warn you - the first time I ever made a yarn wreath it took me about 17 hours to wrap it.  Not really, but it was quite a long time.  Just know, if you get this far, you can keep on going.  You'll get there, I promise.
#7)  Not everyone does this, but I do.  I make a little loop - it works better for when you actually go to hang a yarn wreath on your door - whether you use a nail or wreath hanger. 
#8) To do this, I make a loop and run the yarn through itself to create a little knot.
#9) I do this a few times until the loop is three or four strands thick to support the wreath when it hangs.  Honestly, I don't know how I get this to work every time.  It just does.  Keep in mind, this loopy thing might take some practice.
#10 - Once you get to this point, you'll get super excited because you're almost done and you can see the light at the end of your yarn-wrapping tunnel.
 #11) And before you know it, wa-la!  A fully wrapped yarn wreath!
 #12) This is where it gets fun - the embellishing part.  Whatever you decide to add to your yarn wreaths, make sure you are sure.  Once you start hot gluing things on, there is no taking it back off neatly.
 #13) I almost always add felt flowers to my wreaths.  These are some of my favorites to make.
 #14) These are the easiest and I put these fun rosettes on almost everything.
 #15) After everything is glued down the way you want, admire your work.  Because look!  It's so pretty!
So, that's it folks.  All of my awesome DIY instructions on how to make what you've seen on Pinterest.  And seriously, if you don't want to do one yourself, send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to do one for you.

Happy yarn-wrapping everyone!

October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party 2012

It's officially become a fall tradition for us.  The party was our third annual and this year especially, I was aware of how much has changed in our lives since the start of our little autumn gathering three years ago.  The faces of friends and the people we are in community with has changed quite a bit in the last year.  And though maybe part of my heart will always miss what once was, I find myself full of gratitude for what is and what God has restored to our lives.

Last night as our home filled with friends, some old and many that are mostly new, my heart felt full and blessed.  Initially I was a bit overwhelmed with the response of how many people would be coming.  It's hard not to feel self-conscious when your house is only so big and you want everyone that is coming to feel comfortable and welcome.  But somehow it worked.  Somehow 29 adults and 14 kids all fit into 1700 square feet.  Though the back yard helped of course.

I'm getting good at this.  Gutting a pumpkin, creating a design and carving into them.  Though it still feels nasty inside.
The veterans were there - the only couple who has attended all three parties.  
 And the newlyweds were present - my recently married cousin and her wonderful husband.
 New friends.
 And more new friends.
 A whole back yard full of new friends really.
 And little boys who kept sneaking treats. 
 As always, everyone came up with some super creative designs. 
I couldn't fit them all into one picture - there were 16 entries total and the winning pumpkin was an awesome spider web design. 
We'll do it again next year I'm sure.  When I'll be carrying a baby on my hip and when newer friends are not so new. 

October 19, 2012


I'm particularly excited for this weekend.  Because it's October and it feels fallish.  I'm even wearing a scarf and I'm not sweating. 

I plan on finishing yet another fall yarn wreath.  I can't stop making them ya'll. And yes, at some point, I plan on making them to sell - but probably more on a local level rather than online.  I checked out Etsy and it seems as though everyone has a yarn wreath shop there.  Though I can't say I blame them - they're so much fun to make!
I'll be finishing up my very silly, dumbish Halloween costume for the contest we're having at work.  I totally stole the idea from Pinterest, but what is Pinterest good for if you're not stealing ideas from it?

We are taking our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch on Saturday.  Tommy especially loves going.  And I especially love hearing him say "ponkin."
I'll probably do some more cleaning and nesting.  And laundry - my favorite!

We're hosting our third annual pumpkin carving party on Sunday and I'm pretty sure we'll have a packed house this year.  I can't wait to see the creations that everyone comes up with this time around.

My awesome jack o lantern and matching facial expression, circa 2011.
And it will be the last weekend of not knowing WHO we are having in March.  Because next weekend I'll SO be working on the nursery!  I am so antsy and SO itching to get started on crafty nursery projects.

(Is it obvious that I have had caffeine this morning in addition to having the I-feel-awesome second trimester mojo?)

I'm not a big "here's my pregnant belly every week blogger."  But I did wake up yesterday and it seemed apparent that I was quite with child.  This is the part where you can tell me how radiant and glowy I look.
I hope your weekend is full of pumpkins and all things October.  Happy Friday!

October 18, 2012

What I'm learning from teenagers

A few months ago I decided to get outside of my little comfortable box of ministry and do something new.  For quite a few years now I've basically stuck to one thing.  And because of closed doors and changes that are out of my control, it felt like it was time to expand my heart and broaden my horizons and consider the possibility that God could use me and the healing that I've known in other places.

Todd and I recently made friends with the youth pastor and his wife at our church and he was eager to have us join his team. Though his eagerness may have had something to do with the ribs we made the night we had them over for dinner and wanting to seal the deal of getting in on some more in the future. (Is it true Nate?)

But, we jumped right in to youth ministry.  Teenagers.

While I feel comfortable in this place of ministry too, as I seem to easily make friends with young women their age, it can still be a bit intimidating. I find myself wanting to seem "cool" and I wonder if they will just think that I'm old and irrelevant.  Seventeen feels ages ago yet I somehow remember it well too. 

The past few weeks, we've talked about sex and relationships and friendships and where they struggle or land in those places.  I've had the opportunity to share pieces of my story and hear some of their own.  As I've both shared and listened, and even just observed these young ladies and all the youth around me, I've wondered if I'm the one doing more of the learning.

A few things I've picked up from them in the short time I've been a student ministry leader:

Listen to them more - talk less.  Much less.

There is always time for silly.

Crossed arms and hard faces soften when they begin to believe you truly care about them.

They REALLY want to talk to their parents.  But most of them feel like they can't.

Don't talk to them like children because they believe they're already grown up.

Dodgeball should be taken very seriously.

They want to hear real stories from adults - the ones where we messed up and made mistakes - so they don't feel lonely or horrible for what they've done themselves.  When we open up, they open up.

They are watching and listening to absolutely everything that the adults in their lives say and do and also what they don't say and don't do.  Absolutely everything.  This is especially important to take note of!

Apparently teen girls don't like saggy pants OR skinny jeans on guys.

There is a deep desire to know, understand and hear from God - but it feels hard and gets discouraging.

More freedom should always come with more responsibility.

 They crave consistency, relationship and attention even if they pretend to not care.

We only have ten years before Tommy enters teenagerdom, and only a few more years after that until our next child is right there with him.  I've heard so many parents say that raising a teenager is incredibly hard and challenging.  From observance, it tends to be the years that a lot of parent-child relationships begin falling apart because of some great disconnect.  It's not true for everyone, but it is common from what I've seen.  I'm sure that Todd and I will have our own share of hard and challenging when we face those years too with our kids, but I really hope I can remember what I've learned from the teens who have been teaching me now.  That ministering to their young hearts will somehow prepare me for my journey with having teenage children of my own.

When we first started attending our church, some of the first friends we made there had three daughters - two of them teens.  The oldest and I have developed quite a sweet friendship - I was even invited to go with her to get her first tattoo on her eighteenth birthday.  (For the record, her mom went too and the tattoo was totally allowed!)  We also went with her friends and family to her birthday dinner. 
Her friendship, as well as the others with the young ladies I've been getting to know, is a sweet reminder to me where I'm not "old and irrelevant."  But where I have impact and value to them, just as much as they do to me.

October 17, 2012


It may be a bit early to claim that I'm nesting mode, but I totally am.  House-cleaning (unless it's scrubbing bath tubs or shower floors) is like my most favorite thing in the world right now.  I find myself wishing for free days so I could spend that time dusting and clearing clutter and organizing my kitchen cabinets.  It's sick right?

One week from today, we should find out WHO we are expecting.  And who it is that makes me crave chips and salsa on a daily basis.  Hopefully he/she is wiggling around enough to let us in on their identity.  It feels a bit surreal to know that I'll be at the halfway mark on Sunday - the time feels like it's flying.  But I am so ready to know if it's a little Jacob or a little Ruby that will be in our arms in just a little over four months.

In the mean time I've been sorting through baby stuff.  I have a pile of everything that needs to be washed and cleaned out and made ready for a new little one.  I've made lists of the things we will need all over again.  And I'm grateful for friends who have already offered to throw me a baby shower - girl or boy.    

A couple of weekends ago, I sorted through buckets full of baby boy clothes.  I admit, I got a little teary remembering Tommy in some of those precious onesies and silly outfits I had to have for him.  I had so much of it though that I decided to get rid of everything he never wore or anything I didn't like. 

But we are all set.  I found a cheap dresser at a garage sale.  An inexpensive (Pottery Barn brand) changing table online.  And some friends gave us a crib.  Nothing matches, but everything will be painted and refinished once we find out WHO we are expecting.  I have a couple of fun nursery ideas in mind, though it's going to have to be done on a very tight budget!
That's part of life these days.  Making room for another life in our home.  Creating space and dreaming about who they are and how it might feel to be a family of four instead of the three that we've known for three years now.

October 16, 2012

Bleached: To be continued

There is more to the story.  So much more.  Everything was written out and ready to post this week.  However, I woke up early this morning having some kind of allergy attack which then resulted in a full on panic-attack which I don't believe I've ever experienced before.

I couldn't breathe and a million thoughts were running through my mind.  I was wringing my hands and it felt like something was sitting on my chest and trying to get out of me all at the same time.  I've struggled with depression and anxiety before, but nothing of this caliber ever in my life.

It suddenly became very clear that there was some great opposition in posting this piece of my story even though I not only felt ready to share it, but the story flowed out of me with ease as I composed it. I literally wrote five days worth of posts in a matter of hours. 

This part of my story is full of so much tragedy and heartache.  My depravity led me to the darkest and saddest of places.  And while I have felt free from those places and that time in my life for quite some time, I'm aware of where my enemy hates where he was unable to completely destroy me in it all because I belong to the King, not him.  And that was my message - that's why I was writing this in the first place. 

It was because of how that chapter of story ended.  Where Love rescued me, pulled me out of where I was, and came after me.  Where God, who I was so angry with, swept me off my feet and made Himself more real to me than He ever had before.  How He made it clear that He had never left me at all, even when I wanted Him to leave.  It's my gospel story - it's where the hope of Jesus Christ and the power of the cross shine the most brightly in this story that He has given to me to live. 

It's what I want to share with the world and where I feel called to love and minister to others because I know what it means to live in sadness and dark places and addiction and loss and anger.    He is why I have hope - in the midst all of life and uncertainty and hardship - I have real hope and real joy and real peace because of Him and how He has shown up for me.

I suppose the enemy hates the reminder of what God did and when I speak of it. 

It felt clear this morning that this needed to wait though.  Especially while I carry life within me.  That kindness means waiting and being more prepared for opposition when this story does go "public" so-to-speak.

For now, the story will remain untold here.  But not for long and not forever.

October 15, 2012

Bleached: The Heartbreak

I knocked on the door of my parent's house, tears streaming down my face one dark February night.  My navy blue sweatshirt still sticking to my arms from the vigorous workout I just finished.  Trying to cry and sweat away my hurt, stomach growling as I hadn't eaten nearly enough that day.

If I could just get a hug from him, feel his arms and know that someone still loved me and wanted me - if my daddy could just say all the right things, maybe I could feel better somehow and the pain would finally subside.

Robin answered the door and I went inside.  "Is daddy here?" I asked through my sobs.

"No sweetie - he's at church practice late tonight.  What's the matter?"

I didn't know what to say or how to say it.  The man that I had somehow fallen in love with over the phone and through e-mails and instant messages....this man that I was so certain was 'the one' for me, took one look at me and rejected me.  Though, that wasn't really how it happened.

D was never that way - he would never be that cruel.  He was kind and gentle and caring.  He explained that when meeting me, that the "spark" simply wasn't there.  That he wasn't attracted to me even though I was this amazing, incredible woman.  If I would have been honest with myself, I would have said that the same was true for me - I didn't feel a spark or attraction either.  But I so badly wanted it to be him.

Mostly, I didn't want to feel lonely anymore.  And D - our talks, our conversations about so many meaningful things - all of it gave me a taste of what it would be like to not be lonely.  To have a man that cared about me and my thoughts and who wanted to know me and be with me.

We went from talking all day long, to this nothing.  I now felt this emptiness and this hole that I had somehow allowed him to so quickly and fully fill.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  The tears hadn't stopped since I first got his phone call and later his e-mail that seemed to put an end to this love story, that for two weeks, I thought was the beginning of some amazing, wonderful thing.

I felt like a complete fool.  An idiot.  A moron.  To think that he would have wanted me.  This obese, pathetic, ugly, poor excuse of a twenty-something girl.  What was I thinking?  Nobody wants me.

"He didn't want me!"  I sobbed. 

I can't remember everything I told Robin or even the words of comfort she gave me that night.  But I remember the softness of the couch.  I remember that she was wearing her silky blue robe, hair wet from just showering.  The invitation to rest my head on her lap while I sobbed.  And I remember her nurturing, motherly hands stroking my hair.  How wonderful and disrupting and foreign that felt  to me - me, the motherless one, having some kind of daughter moment with the only woman in my life that could even somewhat play the role of 'mom' to me.  And more than anything, I remember how surprised I was to hear her crying with me. 

My heart hadn't ached that badly since the brutal murder of my first love, Aaron.  And losing D....or not ever really having him, felt like betrayal somehow.  I was confused at what God was doing.  It felt like He had brought us together for a reason and a purpose - even D had said that.  This simply didn't make sense.  I thought God was finally going to reward me for all the good that I had done and had been doing.  That I was being rewarded for not only being some super-christian, but finally tackling my food demon and working hard to exercise and stick to a diet.

But no.  He took something else away from me.  As if He hadn't taken away enough, He took my only chance at this wonderful, godly, kind, caring man and squashed it.  He had taken away my parent's marriage and my chance at a normal life.  He had taken away my mother and my chance to sing opera and my first love.  And now this too. 

Even after the care and the hugs and the tears that Robin and later my dad had for me, I walked out of their house, tears finally subsiding.  I felt my eyebrows furrow and the anger began to settle in.

"Why God?  Don't you care about me at all?  Are you just out to break my heart and take everything away from me?  You've done nothing but screw me over my entire life!  I hate you right now!"

That was the night that I began to believe that was true.  That God was out to get me.  That He wasn't good and that all this work I had done - all the church service and Bible studies and ministry - it was all for nothing.  It felt as though something in my heart died - perhaps something that had been trying to stay alive for years.  I was done with feeling pain.  Now - I was angry.  Seething, lividly, angry.

On that cold, dark, February night, in the room I lived in at my Gramma's house, was where I boldly told God to fuck off and leave me alone.

The heartbreak did me in.  And I was done with church and ministry and the Bible - and so very done with God.

October 12, 2012

Deeper Stories

There's been this piece of my story that I've wanted to share for quite some time now.  It feels as though it needs writing,  It needs telling and it needs to be visited.

Writing is a healing thing for me.  I've heard it said that for some writers, sitting down and composing story, whether from their experience or their dreams, that it's an escape for them.  However, I couldn't disagree more.  To me, sitting down to write, even if its something that isn't rich with expression or full of deep meaning, is this natural thing.  Rather than escaping, I feel as though I've come home.

When I think about this particular chapter in my life, I am filled with sorrow.  Not shame, not disgust, but sorrow.  I carry much regret about this season of my life,  yet in some ways it feels as though it was something I was meant to go through.  As violent and horrific and sad as it all was, somehow, it created this now tender woman.  They are the pieces that I'm learning to both live with the consequences of and be grateful for at the same time. 

To share this with the world, to write it here and have this permanent record of what happened then shouldn't be mistaken for me living in the past or dwelling on it.  Believe me, this piece of my past is the last place I would ever want to live or dwell in again.  Yet, I know the value of what it means to face the past when you armed with truth.  So many of the things I faced all of those years ago, are things that I battle with still today.  

What I have to share is sad and tragic and deep.  It's not a "read" for everyone - and it wouldn't be kind to share all of the explicit details here either.  But it's very much part of who I am today.  This woman who loves to make wreaths and bake and plays in the rain with her son.  This woman who fought to keep her marriage together and thinks a bit outside-the-box when it comes to Christianity and politics and relationships.  There are reasons why all of us are the way that we are today.  And this particular season of my life has so very much to do with that.

To preface, the year was 2005.  I was at my heaviest weight, at almost 350 pounds.  I was lonely.  I felt super-Godly and super-spiritual as if I had arrived at some epic place in my faith as a believer in Jesus.  And I had secrets.  Very dark, sad secrets that not a single soul knew about.  

I hope you will join me next week for some story-telling.....

October 10, 2012

Swapping some fall

I've heard of these before - blog swaps.  Where you meet someone new via blog-world, get together a little box of goodies to mail and wait for your own to arrive.  But I've never done one myself.

After I came across Kristin at Vignette's a few months ago though, when she announced she was orchestrating a fall blog swap, I decided - why not join in?  I love fall!

I was paired up with Beth over at Our Journey's Beginning.  Both Beth and I are expecting a baby - though she's a bit closer to meeting her little one than I am.  It was so fun exchanging e-mails and blogs with someone I had never met or come across before.  Beth lives all the way over in Virginia, where unlike myself, she gets to see the trees changing colors and experiences a more legitimate autumn than what I have to manufacture down here deep in the heart of Texas.

The shopping was maybe the best part - but only because I love shopping for goodies so much.  We were given a $20 budget and it's amazing what you can find when you look for deals.  I made Beth a mini-fall wreath and found some fun fallish things to send her way - like a yummy smelling apple pie candle, a fun scarf, nail polish and some fun things to use for baking.  I had a blast shopping and getting her box together.

Mine arrived over the weekend!
Beth found all sorts of great goodies!  A colorful scarf, yummy smelling candles, candy corn, a jar of ready-to-bake oatmeal cookie ingredients, a fun fall leaf kitchen towel and a hand-painted Harvest sign.
When we e-mailed back and forth, I told Beth that I had so much fall decor that I didn't really need much.  But that I had been on the hunt for a little black crow and hadn't been able to find anything I liked yet.  I was so excited to find a cute black crow in my box of goodies that she sent over!
Beth sprinkled in some fall leaves in my box which made me smile.  She shared some of her Virginia autumn with this Texas gal and I loved it.

So, thanks to my new friend Beth for spoiling me with goodies.  And to Kristin for hosting such a fun swap.  Maybe they'll be another one for Christmas?

October 8, 2012

me time

It's taken thirty-ish years, but I know myself well enough now to know that when I've had a week much like I did last week, it's crucial to make some time for me.  To do things that will bring me some calm and rest.  To say no to anything that feels overwhelming.  And to give myself some space so I can find my heart that somehow got buried under circumstance and negativity.

Both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I cleaned my house.  Oh did I clean.  I did laundry and dusted and vacuumed and swept and cleaned my kitchen.  It was glorious.  And since I enjoyed it so much is it safe to say that I've begun nesting already?

There was decaf coffee (and I don't care what anyone says, I can totally taste the difference) and some time to read.

I busted out my glue gun and made a fall wreath in about three hours.  This one was for my Robin.  I decided she needed something fallish for her front door.  And for some reason, I seem to have wreath-making supplies in abundance at my house.
I sorted through baby boy clothes.   {Two more weeks until we know who we are expecting!}  Though it sure was fun imagining another little guy in some of the things Tommy had.  I realized that I had SO many clothes, a lot of which Tommy never even wore - that I ended up getting rid of all of the outfits I didn't like, or that wouldn't work for him based on what it will be like seasonally and at what ages.  If I don't have a boy however, I have a couple of friends in mind to gift all of this stuff to.
It had been far too long since Todd and I went on a legitimate date.  And since his birthday was this weekend, it was the perfect time to go out and be together, just the two of us.  We saw a movie thanks to my awesome free passes, and we had dinner at the steakhouse that we had our very first date at seven years ago.  Todd went all out and ordered the steak of his dreams.  It was wonderful just to be able to hold hands and feel like a couple and just be us for a little while.  (Check out the guy's facial expression in the background - ha!)
The best part of the weekend may have been the amazing cold front that blew in.  The skies were cloudy and gray and yesterday was legitimately chilly.  We didn't even make it to 60 degrees. So, in honor of the glorious change in weather, I made chili and cornbread. 
October ushers in pumpkin pie season of course.  Making pies is one of my most favorite things to do when the weather shifts and since a lot of the weekend was about doing things to bring me back to myself, I decided it was also the perfect time to make a pie.  I make my crusts from scratch just like my Grammy taught me.  And I think it's safe to say I've perfected the art of crust-curling. 

We shared a slice last night as we celebrated the return of Todd's mom who has been in North Dakota for the last three weeks taking care of her dad who had surgery to remove cancer that was found in his bile ducts.  I think Tommy missed her more than anyone.
Everything - the house-cleaning, the coffee-drinking, the sorting through baby clothes and making wreaths and homemade pies and being alone with Todd - all of it was exactly what I needed.
I knew this because as I got in my car and headed to work this morning, I was finally able to pray a non-angry prayer.  I talked to God honestly and poured out my heart.  It was as if I felt soft enough to be able to go to Him and receive His love and care.  I was able to voice the things that I didn't even know where there until I was able to peel off the layers of my week and get back to the most real parts of who I am.

Sometimes this feels backwards from everything I've ever heard.  Like how the cure for a lousy attitude or places where you feel discouraged is where you go to God first and then look to the other things in life to enjoy and do that bring you some happiness and joy and relaxation. 

Maybe I'm wired differently.  Perhaps I'm "spiritually immature" or there's something I don't get about God or I'm simply self-centered.  Those could be true.  But I take comfort in knowing that He knows my heart above all else.  He knows that sometimes it takes me longer to come to Him.  He knows I have to be angry for awhile before I can soften.  He's the one who created me to love pie-making and wreath-creating and folding laundry.  And whether I acknowledge Him or not, He is there and He was there with me in it all.

Hoping your weekend was full of comfort, lovely things, and honest conversations.

October 5, 2012


Ya'll.  It's been a crazy week.  Or as my friend and I decided last night, it's been a "shizzy" week.  Which of course is right in the middle somewhere of both shitty and crazy. 

And I'm not sure if it's been shizzy because I have this tendency for adding up all of the negative things going on and allowing them to overwhelm me, or if it's been shizzy because it's felt legitimately hard.  Either way, my body, my mind, my heart, and the fact that tears easily spill from my eyes with any mention of words like baby, or cast, or $300 deductible, is proof that this was in fact, quite a week.

My house is a wreck.  Only two of the items on my "menu" this week actually got made for dinner.  And I'm missing my sister's play tonight because if I don't take some time for myself, I might endanger someone because I'm at that breaking point where I could be mistaken for insane.


At the moment, I'm counting down the hours until 1:00pm.  When it's officially time to leave work, pick up my boy and go HOME. 

Home feels like the loveliest word today.  It's where I want to be and rest.  And I have all of these grand plans for the weekend - like cleaning the house and baking a pumpkin pie and making homemade chili and cornbread in honor of the awesome cold front we're supposed to get, and maybe even starting another wreath.  But even if all I get done is a nap and reading a few books to Tommy and taking a shower, I will be HOME and that's really all that matters.

Here's to hoping for a shizzy free weekend and a fresh, new week ahead.  Happy Friday ya'll.

October 3, 2012

Love List

Cool autumn mornings.  

And how I think we are officially out of 90 degree anything!

Scarves.  This new one especially.
Pumpkin spice latte availability.

New friends who already know me well enough to say things like - "We'll talk about Tommy later - how are you handling all of this?  Are you okay?"

Chips and salsa.  (The baby wants it.)

A wonderful, loving, honest, and kind husband.

My Robin and our healing and blossoming relationship.

Being gifted with a crib for the nursery.

Baby flutters.

Smallish deductibles.  
Even if paid out of pocket, it could be worse.

Second trimester energy.

An able God Who can and will do exceedingly above all that I can think or imagine.

Being a mama.

"Driving" with Tommy.

Being pregnant and not gaining any weight in the last five weeks.  

Our church.  New friends.  Community.

Planning Halloween costumes.


Because some days it's just best to write out what I'm loving, what I'm thankful for and remembering the things that make me smile....

October 1, 2012

Three years old and cast #1

 This is what my Monday has looked like so far.....
Something called a buckle fracture - it's what happens when you're three and still growing your bones and they break because you were playing hard like boys tend to play.
 He chose red - like Spiderman.
 And to my surprise, he didn't cry or freak out or pull away from the guy putting on his cast.  He was seriously brave and was a total champ.  Though he may be a bit disappointed to learn that he can't remove it and it has to stay on him for the next three weeks.  *sigh*
 Nani came with us.  She sat with him so he could get his x-ray.  And she stayed with me for moral support because I thought at any minute I was going to break down and cry because a fractured arm and all that comes with it, especially financially, feels like enough to do me in right now.
I'm definitely overwhelmed.  It tends to feel like life always comes at once and just when you think you can breathe or you're ahead of the curve, life comes and knocks you on your ass and reminds you that you are simply never the one in control.  And I'm grateful too - that it wasn't worse and that he was brave and handled the whole ordeal with relative ease.  Had he been a wreck, I probably would have been too.  

So three years old and our first broken bone.  His childhood will continue to be an adventure, I am sure!