Thursday, August 26, 2010

Story of our life...

I wake up on Sunday morning and he's already in work clothes before I can manage to roll out of bed... and he asks me where I want the pooh bear pictures hung... the ones I bought for the room we'll use for foster care.  And he arranges them and I approve and he smiles and goes to work. 

And I go to the kitchen to make waffles and realize that most men his age are sleeping in and playing video games at this stage of their lives.  And he's home with his wife and his baby and the pooh bear pictures and he's smiling about it...

And we met when he was eightteen and that night that I walked in I barely noticed him and he knew he'd marry me.  And he remembers what I was wearing and said his favorite thing about me was my smile... and I've always loved to smile. 

And he wrote me and I wrote back and he asked if he could call... and from that very first phone call we have not gone one night without talking to each other.  And he's never forgotten to call.
And it only took me a few weeks to fall for him but I told him I wasn't sure about this love and it was so soon and he was so sure and I was the girl who'd spent the last few years of her life traveling because I couldn't stay in one place.  And I told him I wasn't sure and he said I didn't need to be...

And four months later, at nineteen, he was kneeling in front of me with a ring.


And I remember that night because I felt like I was going to faint.  And he's always been so sure of himself and I've always been the kite flying in the wind...

And six months later I walked down that isle feeling more beautiful than I'd ever felt in my entire life...

And he was sure and steady... eyes locked to mine.


And I was a basketfull of nerves... praying I wouldn't throw up... until my daddy gave him my hand and then I'd never been more sure of anything in my life.  And this love it was real and this man... he was my gift.

And that night while the snow fell we stood in the candlelight with friends and family all around... and we couldn't stop smiling... And that night people told us they felt Jesus in our love.  And that night we promised forever and better or worse and sickness and health.  And when his dad pronounced us man and wife I think I might have screamed a little.

And we drove off into a blizzard to catch our flight to Paradise and spent the next week walking the beach and collecting sea shells and soaking in the sun.  And we dangled our feet off the pier into the ocean while we dreamed of what was to come. 

And we spent the next nine months figuring out life and how to do it together and I dropped out of college because all I really wanted was to raise our babies and my heart was already with the babies who desperatly needed a mommy.  And he told me it didn't matter if it didn't make sense and if dancing with babies was God's call on my life then who was he to stop it?

And nine months into marriage I told him I thought I might be pregnant about 2 seconds before the stick turned pink.  And sometimes the unexpected is a far greater blessing than what you feel prepared for.  And in those next nine months I carried her and we got to see what the "worse" part of the vows really meant.

And he held my hand and prayed as we drove to the emergency room scared we'd lost her... and he came to the Dr.'s appointments to help me make sense of it all.  And he worked and went to school and came home exhausted and took care of me when I wasn't allowed to stand long enough to make a sandwich.  And he painted every room of this house and worked long long nights to make it a home.  And he repainted the nursery for me when it wasn't quite right and he went with me to look at 65 differen't types of baby bedding...

And he smiled.

And that day he brought her to me pink and screaming and I touched her for the first time all 4 Ibs 13 ounces of her... was the second moment I'd never been more sure of anything in my life.

And I layed in bed last night fingers laced through his... face to her face... as the words he said to me a few days ago kept rolling over and over in my mind...

"more and more this is becomming my dream for my life..."

And I love him more and more because he hangs the pooh bear pictures and writes sweet extras on my paperwork and the way he kisses Jayda's face makes me melt... and the way he holds my hand at night makes me come undone.  And his ability to see God move and make His dreams our dreams moves me... and his desire to love me well... shows.

And we didn't think it would all come this quick... the marriage and the love and the babies and the mountains of cheerios and the smell of her hair...  And I didn't know when I met him that his love would teach me more about Jesus than I ever could have imagined.

And we don't fight much because we can't... and please don't read this and think we're perfect... and please don't think our life is a little painted fairytale because it isn't (and if you need a reminder of that just read my last post)...  And we've had our battles with this life... and we've cried and we've hurt each other and we've had days we wanted to give up on each other.  But we simply need each other too much.  This life... the way we're living it... requires too much of us together... for us to be without each other. 

And these days I put eye drops in his eyes at night while he lays on my lap because his eyes are so swollen from lack of sleep... and he gets up and makes the bottle for me when I've been up much of the night.  And we laugh hysterically at 3am when she smiles and laughs and wants to play with us... and she has his mischevious smile... and my big wide take-in-the-world eyes. 

And her sweet fingers wrapped around mine make me stop dead in my tracks and worship for the miracle she is... and late in the night when there is baby pee in my bed and she's up and ready to play I remember how deeply I am going to miss this.

And he said it well the other night... "This is all you have ever wanted.... enjoy it..."  And he said it with the deepest sincerity.  And I Do... and I am... and I'm learning... and I have so much left to learn.  And you could write the alphabet in the dust on my furniture and you could make a tower from the cheerios on the floor and please don't mind the ring around the toilet or the shredded magazine you just found in your shoe. 

And he doesn't mind that I never make the bed or that smiling with her is more important to me than what's for dinner.  And I love the way he calls us his girls and can't wait to teach her all he knows.

And along with the paintings and foam hearts on my cupboards is this:

"Do ordinary things with extraordinary love..." -Mother Teresa

And maybe we never imagined that all this would come so soon when we layed there with our feet dangling in the ocean.  And maybe the moment I walked into that room and he knew he was going to marry me he had no idea the chaos I'd bring into his life... And maybe when I walked down that isle praying I wouldn't throw up I had no idea how much I'd love him or how much I'd need him.  And maybe the day the stick turned pink we never could have imagined how we'd fall madly in love the instant we saw her.  And maybe the things you don't imagine are the things that become your greatest dreams...

And maybe in the cheerios and the dust and the smell of your babies hair and the strength of your husband's hand is where you find out that all you never imagined for your life are all the things that have made your life. 

And sometimes... He's found in the small places of our lives...

The pooh bear pictures and the way he smiles at me.

The days like today where you dance nose to nose with a toddler because the dishes can wait and it really isn't the end of the world that your bed smells like baby pee.  The days like today where you spend an hour watching your daughter sleep because there is nothing that seems more important.

And God hears "Amen" wherever we are... and sometimes the way we live life is more worship than a song could ever be... and sometimes a mother's tears are more beautiful to him than any hallelujah.

And the pooh bear pictures are hung and the mountain of paperwork is in a folder on top of my fridge and I talked with the worker last week.  And there is a syrup handprint on my dining room wall and Jayda is sleeping and the ring around the toilet is waiting...And I'm sure the "we never could have imagined..." is only just beginning. 

And I guess all I really wanted to say is that sometimes the things you never thought would be your life become your life... and sometimes the things you never expected become the things that make it worth living.  And when the babies grow up and the husband grows old maybe you'll look back and you'll see... these were the best days of your entire life.

I know for certain they are mine.  These days, really are all I ever wanted for my life.  And sometimes it doesn't look how I thought it would.  And sometimes that's hard and sometimes it's my very favorite part of this entire thing.

And I guess the point of all of this was simply to say that those words on my kitchen cupboard are to remind me of that there is nothing too ordinary that it doesn't give Him glory.  And that the best moments are the ones when we embrace the dream that is unexpected.  Maybe I'll just write his name in the dust so I remember never to forget that. 

Amen.  :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

for all the mommies out there...

For all you mommies like me out there who ate chocolate chip cookies as a meal more than once this week (not because you're unhealthy but because it's what was available to eat with one hand) who haven't showered in 4 days... who could make a large sweater out of the amount of dog hair on your floor... who have literally been pooped on 4 different times today... who got less than three hours of sleep and are taking care of double that number in small people all day long... For the mommies out there whose washing machines run without ceasing and whose hands are raw from the endless pile of dishes...

For all of you who hear "why?" NO!" and "mmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeeeeee" much more than you hear "thank you"...  Whose bellies are altars to the fact that we've brought life into this world... and whose undereye circles are permanent...

To those of you who go without, shop at thift stores, clip coupons, and make lemonade from lemons...

For those of us who swore we'd never say "Because I said so!" and now find it a perfectly reasonable explanation... those of us who can't make simple decsisions because we're too busy watching Dora or smiling at babies... 

For those of you out there who, like me, have had a day that tops all days before it... a day so exhausting it brought you to tears... where little people ran wild and screaming went on for hours... a day where you felt so far beyond yourself you wondered if you'd survive... a day where you felt like no one saw the thousands of little things you did and a day where you felt like no one really understood just how hard it really was... A day where you felt unseen and inadequate...

To all of you, sweet mommies....

Although you may feel small, insignificant, and completely unseen.

He sees you.  And the ministry and the worship you do in diapers, baby rocking, dish doing, and people loving... is huge to Him.

He sees.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We start the paperwork for foster care today.  I know... I know... we were going to start it weeks ago.

But then the thoughts started to swirl and the doubt creeped in and I started to wonder... Can I do this?  Can we do this?  Can we love that deeply and then have to let go without it destroying us?  Can we give them all of us, regaurdless of our fear that we will have to say goodbye?

But then I looked at her as I danced her to sleep the other night and I couldn't imagine what it would be like for her to be without us.  Who else would fight for her?  Who else knows her differen't cries and what they mean?  Who else knows her story like we do?  Who could love her like this...? Who else knows that she is shy to smile at people she doesn't recognize and needs her fuzzy blanket by her face to fall asleep?  I know the smell of her hair and her long little fingers... I know that the glitter on the butterflies in her room captures her utmost attention and that being outside calms her.  I know her.

And in the end, isn't that all we need... all we crave and desire and long for... to be known and loved for who we are... right here... in this moment?  Isn't our deepest most sacred desire to be met where we are and to be loved there... in a way that makes us want to be better but doesn't require us to be anything more than we are?  Isn't that one of our deepest longings to have someone know the things that make us hurt and the things that make us smile and care about them? 

It's why I have pictures the girls next door made me on my kitchen cupboards...  It's why I make my sweet husband hot beef sandwiches almost every week... It's why I call my dad for advice... I want people to know they are valued and that the things that are important to them are important to me... really important.  I want them to know I love even the little things about them... even the seemingly insignificant things.  And do you know the smiles that crept across those little girls' faces when they saw their artwork proudly displayed for the world to see... beautiful.  And do you know how it makes me feel when my husband comes home exhausted from work and finds me trying my hand at canning salsa and stays up with me until 1am to help me and cheer me on for trying a new things?  Valued.  One of the things I love most about my husband is his ability to make me feel as if I have something to offer the world...  When he cheers me on in the little things like learning to ride horses with him or canning salsa or entering in the ebay shoe selling world it makes me feel like I can do anything.  So when I read the paperwork this morning my eyes welled with tears because eveyone should feel seen...

"My wife is the best person that I have ever met when it comes to dealing with children.  She has a true gift and it is evident."

He sees my passions.  He sees beyond the surface into the soul of me... into what I was made for... it's evident to him.

And isn't that all we really want?

And I look at him and I look at her and the love this house knows is so strong and yet so fragile and we hold each other with open hands.  And what happens here isn't perfect but it is so so good.  And we have this plaque in the entryway of our house that has all of the names of Jesus and every time I walk by it I reach out and touch the one that says Emmanuel "God with us" because there is no doubt in my mind that He dwells here

And do you know what it feels like to have Emmanuel love you while you wash the dishes and do the 17 loads of laundry and scrub the remainder of the salsa from the floor?  Do you know what it feels like to be loved in the midst of where you are and to know Him there? 

I want the babes who come into this house to know that.  To know what it feels like to be loved in the midst of the mess and to know that the very hairs on their heads are numbered... to know that He knows the story they've lived and the things they've seen.

And it isn't really a matter of can we really do this...?  It's that I heard him whisper this life into my heart 4 years ago and it's been burning in me ever since... and the flame isn't going anywhere.

And the love isn't going anywhere and Emmanuel... well, He isn't leaving either.  And I have to do this.  This life.  This way of walking it out.  And I love that there are two sweet friends living in our basement right now and their laughter fills my house.  And I love that there are children who fill my days with their giggles and discoveries and I love that we find canning salsa entertaining and shopping for shoes at thrift stores facinating... and I am blessed to have friends who jump in and do life and laundry with me when I don't exactly have time to meet for coffee. 

I've always felt like people struggle with what they are "called" to do... and maybe I got blessed in the way that it's been so evident to me for awhile... but in my heart I feel like all each of us is called to is to live out the gospel in a way that is real and true and makes us come alive... in a way that makes His words come to life.

loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, share your food with the hungry and provide shelter to the wanderer, clothe the naked, do not turn away from your flesh and blood, take care of the widows and the orphans, be humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at My word.  - Excerpts from Isaiah

And I've trembled at His words lately... the ones about the orphans and the loosing the chains of injustice..  The part that says if we do those things light will rise in the darkness.  The part that says when we do these things He will become the repairer of broken walls.

And I think that's my dream for this house... that all who enter would know the One who repairs the broken parts... that these kids... they'd know what it feels like when light starts to overwhelm the darkness.  That they'd know the One who dwells with us.  And I'll shelter them as long as I'm given and I'll do my best to love them a lifetime's worth while their here. 

And now it's time to stop tapping the keys and put pen to paper and walk this out.

Much Love,

P.S. I'm sure you've noticed the blog looks quite differen't... it's not my favorite background but I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to get my old one back... It may change more in the weeks to come... we'll see!  Any techy readers out there??? :)

P.P.S  Because of the high number of requests (and by high I mean all five of you who read this... :) the pictures of Jayda are up for you!!!  We are SO in love. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


As you may have noticed my blog is looking a little bare.... not sure what happened. I'm not techy that way. But, I'll be working on a revamp in the next couple of weeks :) Thanks so much for your patience!

Hope you are enjoying the last bit of summer as much as we are!!

Much Love,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shatter the Darkness.

As many of you who read this already know... I'm not the greatest at blogging consistently. It could possibly be the fact that I'm far too busy staring at my newborn daughter... or that the Lord and I have spent a lot of time together in the wee hours of morning together lately... hashing some things out. Could be that my heart has all the words... but my fingers can't seem to find the keys.

During my entire walk with the Lord... Okay... I'll be honest... walk isn't really the right word for me... During my entire love affair with Jesus the most ardent, consistent, pleading prayer I have ever prayed has been simple.

"Give me your heart..."

I have wanted and ached for that more than anything else. To be the gospel here... now... in the midst of a life that sometimes feels so... ordinary. And I've been battling lately with a few very real truths. I fell in love with Him on a basement floor in Chicago and my heart came alive... and then part of my heart died in the slums of Africa... And at 20 years old I held a baby boy who changed the entire course of my life... and at 21 I married a man who changed the course even further... and somewhere in the last several months... the months where we didn't know if she would live or die... the lights of all I thought I knew about Him went out... and I felt like He left me standing in the dark.

And you're probably wondering what's wrong with me because my daughter is a miracle and she lived and the story ends with happily ever after right?

And I haven't said it here because how do you say it...? In those months I stopped seeing people... really seeing them. And I didn't want to enter into their hearts or their pain and I didn't want to know their stories and that's not normal for me because I'm generally the person who introduces myself and then asks you what your deepest hurt it... I'm not very good with small talk and I get really uncomfortable when the expectation is to put on a smile and fake it. I'm the kind of person who has invited numerous women out for coffee after just meeting them simply because I wanted to know them... know their story... know their pain and know the Jesus in them. I'm the one who got voted most likely to save the world in high school and have spent countless nights awake trying to figure out how I can enter into the hearts of those around me. And as much as I called out to Him in the middle of the night... as much as I worshipped Him not knowing whether she would live or die... as much as my heart poured out onto these pages into words that were black and white... my world just felt grey. Areas of my heart lay in the shadows... in the places I had no words for...

and I'm so incredibly honored that so many of you walked alongside us in this... were moved to your knees by the story of my daughter. I am. But for the sake of honesty... transparency... truth... I need to tell you what else was going on all those months...

I was screaming at Him.
I was pounding my fists on the steering wheel of my car and begging to know why....
There were days I cried so hard I could barely breathe.
And my heart became divided between two things... wanting His heart no matter what the cost... and wanting to know why for so many... the story didn't end with happily ever after.

It ended at a grave... in a divorce... a broken heart... a shattered dream. Why some... when they are old and gray... die bitter and angry. Why some... after searching their whole lives... still feel as if they've come up empty.

Why my parents had to live every parents nightmare and stand at the grave of a son.
Why my dear friend had to live every wife's nightmare and hear her husband say "I don't love you anymore and it's... over."
Why the little boy who changed my life was sent back to abusive parents...
Why the old woman I met in Kenya rotted away in a hut in the middle of nowhere...flies waiting to devour.

We got the miracle. We saw the healing... We watched in awe when she screamed and we could all finally breathe. We held the full term baby who they told us may not even make it to "viable". We watched as our greatest fears were laid to rest when they put her in our arms.

So why am I still beating the steering wheel... fists clenched?

Why, for so so many... did the story not end the way ours did?

And I'm going to give you the most biblical... profound answer that I have.

I don't know...

I wish I did... I wish I had a better answer for those of you who have emailed me seeking. For those of you who have let me into your life... your pain... your story... but all I have is I don't know.

I don't know why you were asked to stand at the grave... or asked to face your worst nightmare. I don't know why He didn't heal her or why He let him leave. Why, sometimes, does it seem like the tears of the saints far outweigh the miracles?

And in the months we didn't' know... I just couldn't go there. I didn't want to know anymore. and I am so sad to say that this bitterness grew in my heart and I put up this wall that divided my heart and I was open about the times we praised Him... open about the fact that I told Him I'd love Him either way... open about how I ached for Him and knew Him in a way I hadn't yet known. But the other side of the wall... The side where I slammed my bible shut and threw it across the room. The side where there were days when I didn't feel Him... The days I felt abandoned and alone and afraid and aching... The part where I snapped at the smallest thing and began my obsession with clorox wipes... (and if you know me at all you know where this is going)

The part where I stopped inviting you out for coffee.
Stopped letting anyone see me cry.
The side of my heart that ached for all of the mommies whose stories didn't end like mine.

And please don't read me wrong here... I have rejoiced every day that Jayda has breathed. And my heart is so full... but until very recently... last night in fact... the lights were still out.

Until, in one breath... He shattered the darkness. And the scales over my eyes came off and I was able to see so many situations in new light. Someone who felt like an enemy became human... A shattered dream became a greater capacity to love. Fumbling for words became a way to tell the story... And for the first time in a very very long time...

I felt alive again.

Alive like I felt before the devastation of the slums in Africa... Alive like I felt before I rocked the little boy with the broken arm... Alive like I felt before they told me there was a good chance I was going to loose my daughter. Alive like I felt before I saw people's lives fall apart.

And I still don't have the answers to the questions that plague so many of us... I'm just no longer afraid to tell you I ask them too. And I want you to know that if you ask them... the hard questions... If you beat your fists against the steering wheel screaming "why?"

It doesn't mean you love Him any less. And it doesn't make you bad and it doesn't make you weak and it doesn't make you a failure and it doesn't mean your faith is too small...

It means your still alive.

It's when we stop asking... stop longing... stop crying out and just give up... that's when we should be scared. When we get comfortable sitting in the dark and decide to remain there because it's started to feel safe... that's when we should be terrified.

And I guess if you hear anything tonight... hear this. In those months I may have screamed at Him but underneath that still lay my desire to have His heart. There is much I don't know... there is much my heart breaks for... but there is no doubt in my mind that He is good. I don't know of another who would let me scream and pound my fists and then proceed to weep with me. I don't know of another who would walk me so gently through the dark parts of this life. And I don't know any other who can shatter the darkness like He can... who can break down the walls and allow worship and questioning to meet like He can. I don't know of another who would do this sacred dance of sorrow and joy so intimately with me.

And please don't be fooled... My faith is not that strong... on my best days it's a mustard seed. And if not for grace I'd be a mess... and on some days I am anyway. He's the one who claimed the mess of a woman with a mustard seed of faith could make mountains move. And I still don't get why the God I shake my fists at would be crazy in love with someone like me. And I don't know...

I don't know...

And when I was finally able to go back to the grave of my brother 12 years later He was the one who stood with me there... And when I lay awake at night feeling my daughter move He was the one who wept with me there and I don't know a lot of things... but I know one...

I'd rather do this with Him than without Him.

And that's enough to shatter the darkness.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Mercy

Dawn Breaks and I'm holding her warmth against my chest. We've done our mornings like this for awhile now and its a routine of sorts...

I nurse I diet coke (I know... I know...) while we watch the news... catch up on the blogs... and give Him thanks for mercy that is new every morning. And I need the newness this morning... My heart aches for the newness.

I need the newness because I'm grappling with the part where we love our enemies and bless those who harm us. And we've wrestled Him and I... and there's a part of my living room floor that's worn from the pacing and the praying and the asking and the pleading... And I'm wrestling with the part where forgiveness is not a magic wand that takes the hurt away... I'm having a really hard time with the part where I look the pain in the eye and say "God is bigger than this."

And in my hurt, human flesh I want the person to pay. I want them to know only half of the pain we've known. I want vengeance and I want to get even and I want them to know the sting of the words and the hurt of the glances. I want their heart to hurt like mine hurts... shredded from the years of the words... so many hurtful words... And the tongue really is a flaming arrow and it really can bring life or death... and maybe if they only knew the destruction it's caused they'd choose life. But I know that vengeance isn't mine to have... and I don't get to be the one to throw stones because what would that make me?

And the whore who washed His feet with her tears knew something I need to be reminded of... that those who have been forgiven much have a capacity to love much. And I pray for that capacity and the enlarging of my heart. And I want that for them... to know much forgiveness and maybe... maybe someday they will know much love. Because as big as this is... as impossible as it feels... I've known and I've watched as He does the impossible...

He did it in me.

And this is the hard part of the gospel... the part we love to talk about... the part that sounds pretty on the paper but is ugly when you face it. The part where we love the enemy and bless the one who has brought us much harm. The part where we choose to speak no evil... and oh Jesus how I've failed at that... The part that comes after the choice to forgive is the hardest part.

The choosing it over and over each morning... The offering of mercy over and over... and He's so good at that and I'm wrestling with the giver of mercy because it would be so much easier to throw the stone... write the angry letter... spew the hurtful words. And I want to go over every time and re live every situation and lick my wounds and we wrestle as I pace the floor and I'm begging for it to just stop... and I know the promises are true... how He will bring us out... carry us... sustain us... even in this. I know they are true... the promises... but right now they don't feel true and I'm weary and can't I just throw a stone?

And I want in my heart of hearts to be like Him... And His mercy is new every morning which means mine must be... And I feel like I'm working towards a graduate degree in forgiveness only I'm in the second semester and the road ahead feels long.

And the sun is up and she is sleeping and the wrestling is coming to an end... "God don't let me become bitter... I don't want to be bitter... I don't want a heart that's bitter."

And I know what that means... bitterness is fought only with the offering of mercy. And forgiveness doesn't mean enabling it simply means we release the other person from having to make things right. It means I don't have to wait for the change or the apology to offer the mercy. And it isn't about glossing over something. It's about releasing something...someone.

Because in the end... there is nothing I could release someone from that's bigger than what I've already been released from. And oh Jesus that's hard to swallow.

And bitterness chokes the grace of God and invades the lives of others and I can't... I won't let my daughter know a mother that's bitter. And I want her to know how to love and forgive well and I know it isn't up to me but it starts with me. And if I can't learn to offer the grace than I will miss what I want most in my life.

To preach the gospel without words.

And it's a beautiful idea but a really difficult thing to live. And the wrestling begins to end...

Because the mercy is new and I hold her and I thank Him for the newness and I need the newness because without it my heart would be as cold as stone.

A heart of stone... the throwing of a stone... I realize now how the two go together.

And if I don't want the first to be true than I cannot give in to the second.

and you could have thrown the stone but you didn't... and you could have left us here to face what we deserve but you didn't... and oh Jesus I'm grateful.

And as the newness comes... with it comes the hope that I'll speak life instead of death... offer mercy instead of a stone... love like I know what I've been forgiven of.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Dance

My daughter has one of the most peaceful gentle spirits of any baby I've ever known... unless I put her down... in which case she screams like she is being tortured.

She likes to be held. She feels safe in my arms... her favorite place to lay her head is near my heart and she nuzzles herself in... clutches my clothing to get just a little closer... and she smiles... She doesn't like to be alone. She doesn't do well alone. She feels peace in the holding. And although I've gotten every piece of parenting advice known to man in the last month...

"Let her cry. Crib train her. Soothe her. Don't soothe her. Let her sleep with you. Don't let her sleep with you. She needs to learn to calm herself. Calm her. Do this... Oh make sure you don't do that..."

With all due respect to Ezzo and Sears and Spock and the Author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" I've decided I'm throwing out the parenting books. :)

We're just going to dance it out.

And so night falls and we dance while the sun goes down and the world gets quiet... I dance my daughter to sleep while we sing songs to the Maker of heaven and earth and I tell her about the Jesus who saved her mommy in every way a person can be saved. And I tell her about the God who carried her... kept her heart beating... the One who has counted every hair on her head and has numbered her days and has written her story.

I dance my daughter to sleep while the tears of gratitude fall and the love in my heart overflows and spills out into words of thanks... I have so little to offer Him... The One who has kept my daughter... kept me... turned our fear into peace... And there is nothing better than this...

To dance her to sleep while I tell her of the love that saves a life... and sing her songs about the One who heard the cries of my heart and gave me her. And there is no love like a mother loves her child and I'm sure of this as I kiss her face and hold her hands and smell her hair and love her more than I ever knew I could.

And she has made me braver than I ever knew I could be... and because of her I've learned that every day is precious and life is fragile and I'd be wise to never let the things of this world cloud my heart to what is really meaningful... And this is all that is sacred and true and real in life and I don't ever want to forget all I've learned.

And I feel Him move my heart towards the things of heaven... and all the things that felt impossible feel possible. And I realize that vulnerability is a beautiful thing and sometimes all people really need to see Jesus is to hear your honest heart. Sometimes people don't need a sermon... they just need your hand. They don't need theology... they need to hear how you walked through the valley and He held you the whole time. And because of my daughter I want to forgive the person who will never ask my forgiveness and I want to write the letter to the friend I hurt... and I want to listen well... and love far beyond the point when it hurts... and I want to preach the gospel without any words and I want to cross the distance from east to west to make amends and offer mercy. And I want to live out the story of the women who washed His feet with her tears and loved so much only because she knew of how much she had been forgiven. And I want an undivided heart that loves Him with everything...

Because I don't want to get to heaven and hear Him say... "I really wish you would have..."

I only want to hear "well done". And life is fleeting and he's given us a story and I want to shout ours from the rooftops to anyone who will listen.

He still moves the mountains. And I dance a miracle to sleep each and every night and all I have and all I am is because He is. And any good in my heart comes from Him and the ashes He's made into beauty. And I think of the day I drove that road and told Him I'd love Him even if I didn't get to keep her... and I think of the day I married her daddy and the day we found out we'd made her and the road that led us here...

And all I have is gratitude... for all of it. Every single step. Every song in the night. Every tear we cried and every time our hearts ached because it's made me take nothing for granted. And it's given me hope because even when I was faithless He was faithful... even when I left He stood.

And today her daddy held me in the kitchen and I held her and I realized we can't possibly stop here because we have so much love to offer and when we got married we knew we wanted to be a mommy and a daddy to babies who didn't have parents... and we knew we wanted to give peace to children who'd only known turmoil and we wanted to show them they are well loved by a God who knows the stories they cannot tell.

And so we're starting the paperwork to be foster parents because life is short and ours is crazy and it's full but when you are part of God's family there is always another seat at the table and always enough to go around.... and we've been blessed beyond measure with a beautiful marriage and a big house and the knowledge that we are nothing without Him but if we let Him he'll allow us to be His hands and feet here.

And for us that means rocking babies and watching Sesame Street and sweeping cheerios off the floor. And we're ready to step into the dream God has laid in our hearts to show a child what it is to be loved by a family and in that to show them the love of Jesus.

And we're young and we've got a lot to figure out about raising babies but I know how to dance them to sleep and sing them songs about their Maker and tell them about the God who redeems all things. And in the end isn't that all that really counts... that each and every night I lay them in the arms of Jesus?

So that's the next step in the journey... and I'm terrified.

But everything meaningful should be scary because it forces you to trust.

And perfect love casts out all fear and at the end of the day you find yourself standing in a place you never knew you could.

And I realize my daughter is living up to meaning of her name... "wise"

She knows it's better to be held than to do it on your own... She knows peace is lying in arms that are safe. She knows that if she just lays her head on my heart she'll be safe and I'll keep her there as long as I can.

And I pray she never stops. I pray she never tries to walk out life alone and that she lays herself in the arms of Jesus each and every night. That her heart never stops reaching for His heart and that when she finds it she will keep herself there for the rest of her life. That she will never forget that peace lies only in His arms and that we never walk alone. I pray she grasps His hand... yields her heart to His... and dances with Him all the days of her life.

And as for me... I'll dance with as many babies as God allows.

Thank you for walking with us... for being part of our story... May you rest in the arms of God tonight knowing that's where peace is.

Much Love,


Monday, June 21, 2010

mountains and miracles

We walked in the front doors a mix of joy and exhaustion... relief and apprehension. As we went in to registration I glanced over at the emergency room desk. I put my hand over her and breathed...

21 weeks had passed since the night we stood in that emergency room and feared the worst.

21 more weeks I had carried her... loved her... prayed for her... dreamed dreams for her. In those weeks we had named her, prepared a place for her, prepared our hearts for her, fought for her.

And here we were... in just a couple of hours she'd be here. In the surgical prep room we made small talk, we waited, but we were quiet. No one really said it out loud... but we were all scared. We'd walked this road for a long time teeth gritted and fists clenched... and you could tell. We wore it all over our faces. The many sleepless nights... the fear... the hope... the laying her in His hands over and over again.

After they'd laid me on the table and began... I remember asking for more oxygen. The nurse told me my levels were fine... but it felt so hard to breathe. I just wanted to hear her cry. A few minutes in Dr. Goerish said she saw a foot and seconds later I heard her scream. I have never heard anything more beautiful... never.

She's breathing... oh thank you Jesus she's breathing...

"Is she okay?"

"She's just fine."

For a few seconds Micaiah brought her over and I touched her little face... her fingers... felt her warmth... watched her little chest go up and down in sweet steady rhythm. When they took her upstairs my entire body relaxed. The next two hours a a blur. I had a hard time coming off of the meds but I remember Micaiah and my mom coming back and forth and I would keep asking and they would keep telling me.

"She's fine."

Later that day... when I held her for the first time... and my whole world stopped. Nothing prepares you to hold that kind of weight in your arms. I stared at her in disbelief. No tubes. No oxygen. No interventions whatsoever. She was perfect... beautiful and absolutely perfect and not one thing was wrong with her.

It wasn't until a couple of nights later that it truly hit me.

I was alone with her... lying in the quiet of the hospital room just taking her in when I finally said it out loud.

"She's okay..."

She's okay... oh Jesus... she's okay... she's really okay.

Then the tears came... hard and long... tears that wouldn't stop. I think I said it to myself about a thousand times that night... and the tears just kept coming.

They didn't stop that night... or the next day... or the day we came home. In fact... for the first several days we were home I would burst into tears at any given moment if I simply looked at her.

I'd wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure she was breathing. I'd worry over every little sound... every small thing she did. I probably would have taken her to the emergency room 55 times that first week if my husband hadn't gently talked some sense into me.

But that's the thing... when you've feared the worst... for so long... it's hard to just let go and accept that everything is okay... Which sounds awful I know... I know.

I'm supposed to trust Him. I do trust Him. But I've seen the other side of it... the scary side of it. The side where things are not okay. I watched my parents loose a baby and it's awful... awful. So it's hard to just let go.

But one night... while rocking her to sleep... I realized something. No matter how many times a night I wake up to make sure she is breathing. No matter how careful I am with her, how much I protect her, how deeply I love her... there is so much I cannot control. And so I cried one more time... told Him how deeply I loved my daughter and laid her once again in the arms that have carried her this far.

Because the thing is... at the end of the day... there is very little I can do for her besides love her well and point her to Him.... besides live with intention and make the most of every moment I have with her. The best most beautiful gift I will ever give her is a mommy whose heart is at peace with the fact that He really does have the whole world in his hands... even the litty bitty baby...

Even now... in the middle of the night when she cries... I smile.

She's okay.

She is a living breathing miracle. And I know in my heart that the rest of her story will be just as beautiful as what He's already written for her.

He still does miracles... Mountains still move. My hope is knowing her story will help you believe that. As for me... I'm holding the sweet beautiful proof.

Much Love,

Friday, June 11, 2010

We're still here...

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the large gap between updates... can you guess why?

We've been falling head over heals in love with our sweet girl and it's hard to get motivated to write a post when all I want to do is cuddle my baby :)

I'm sure eventually I'll share my heart on the day she was born and moments following. But for now, for today... and possibly for quite awhile... I am just going to enjoy every minute of her.

She is continuting to do incredibly well and has surprised everyone with her strength and her weight gain (She is already up to 4IBS 15oz.). She has such a sweet spirit which makes it easy to be crazy about her.

Now... back to cuddling my daughter.

Much love,

Friday, June 4, 2010

She's Here and She's Healthy!

I am SO sorry to have kept you all waiting! I'll keep this short as I need to get a nap in before Jayda's next feeding...
Our sweet girl came into the world at 9:20am on Tuesday June 1st weighing in at 4 Ibs. 13.5 ounces and 19 inches long! She is perfect and totally healthy! She was with me within hours of my surgery and is doing really well!

We are still in the hospital because she is having a hard time with feedings and they just want to keep a close eye on her ane make sure she is doing well with weight and has an eating schedule before they send her home.
Beyond that... we are madly in love with her and savoring every second...

I'll post more soon :)

Much Love,


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Held Up.

There's a question people keep asking me... and I keep lying.

They keep asking if I'm ready... which, I suppose, is a pretty common question when you're nine months pregnant. I keep smiling and telling them I am.

I'm not though... not at all.

How do you get ready for this? How can you ever really be ready for something you know will change the entire course of your life? How do you prepare yourself to hold in your arms the child you've carried... to finally see her face?

As I sit here I can't help but let the last nine months run through my mind.

I'm six weeks pregnant and already there are complications... and I'm sobbing... asking my Jesus to please let there be a heartbeat. Telling Him how badly I want to keep her... but how I'll love Him either way.

I'm sixteen weeks... and I wake up to blood... there was so much blood... I scream for Micaiah... and on one of the coldest nights of the year we drive to the emergency room while he prays... because I have no words.

I'm lying on bedrest... and the songs in the night... they come. And I lye awake and I pray... I dream about her... I fear she won't make it... every ultrasound I hold my breath. And you... all of you... you surround us. You show us what it is to be part of the body of Christ... what it is to be held when you feel most fragile.

I feel her move for the first time... there are no words.

I make it to twenty-three weeks and they tell me my daughter is "viable". And we rejoice because the hematoma that threatened her life is almost completely gone.

I'm 33 weeks and go in for a routine ultrasound check "Your baby... she's much too small. We need to monitor you very closely." Again we pray. Again we hope. Again we wonder if our sweet girl is okay.

Wednesday... Dr. Goerish calls and tell me her lungs are not only not ready... but her levels are low... very low... especially for a baby this small whose mother has been given steroids.

Thursday... Micaiah and I lye awake in bed on the night that was supposed to be Jayda's birthday... he can't sleep.... "I just want her here... I just want to bring her home... with us."

Friday... We have an ultrasound and learn that Jayda has barely gained any weight in the last week and a half. She is still not even four and a half pounds. We drive to the cities in silence... we've been here before... the place of much being unknown. But in that moment... it's just too much. There's little left to say. We're scared. No one can tell us for sure what is wrong with our baby. No one can tell us if we will be able to take her home or not... whether she'll be okay or not. No one can tell us what to expect or plan for... because no one... not even the Dr.'s.... really know.

Today... I finally break. It feels like we've been walking this road for so long... we've been standing in this place for months... the place where the lights go out and we stand in the dark and we wait. Wait to hold her. Wait to deliver her. Wait to see whether or not she is okay. Wait to see her beautiful face...

Theres this song I couldn't stop singing this morning... because I knew if I stopped I'd just cry... so I just kept singing the words over and over and over... Yes, we feel like we've been standing in the dark. Yes, we are weary and scared and there are days when we feel like we don't know how much longer we can do this. Yes, we lye awake at night and wonder about our daughter. But in the midst of that... in the mix of it... He still gives the songs in the night. We still feel held even when we're crumbling... we're still hearing Him even in the long hard silences when we don't have anymore words to give eachother. Not one step have we taken alone. And although we're scared... He's still the same.

I feel like Moses right now... when he was on the mountaintop and had to keep his arms raised. And when he couldn't do it anymore... the other two they stepped in... and they held his arms...

I feel like that's been all of you. We we haven't had the words to know how to pray... you've covered us. When we didn't have the strength to do one more day.... it's been your letters... your phone calls... your constant encouragement that kept us standing. You've held us up...

Many of you I don't know... I've never even met you... and yet you've surrounded us.

And I guess what I'm trying to say is this... No, I'm not ready... You don't get ready to behold a miracle... you don't ever really get ready for your whole life to change in a moment. You are never fully ready for what's meaningful. You don't get ready to be fully and completley undone.

But if there is one thing we've learned in this entire process... is that it isn't really about being ready... It's about the songs in the night... the holding... the knowing that He knows every ache of our hearts and every tear we've shed... and that each of them matter more than we will ever know.

And as much as I'm scared... as much as I feel so unready... I'm just going to keep singing my song... because when everything feels so uncertain...

This is what's certain for me...

"My Help Comes From the Lord"- The Museum

When sorrows come and hope seems gone...
Your the Rock I rest upon...
When waters rise and I can't breathe...
Your the Love that rescues me...

Out of the darkness I lift up my eyes
Unto the hills... I feel my faith rise...

Maker of Heaven, Giver of Life,
You are my strength... my song in the night.
My Refuge... My shelter.... now and forevermore...

My help comes from the Lord.

This is the last post I'll write before we meet our sweet girl. And I just want to say thank you... for holding our arms up... for listening to us as we share our hearts and our fears. For loving us in the midst of our uncertainty. For covering us and our sweet daughter.

On Tuesday when we bring this sweet girl into the world... would you please hold us up one more time? We love you more than you know. Thank you for being part of our story... part of Jayda's story.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to us.

Much Much Love,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The bigger picture.

In the event that your life is as chaotic and unexpected as mine right now...

Take heart...

It's temporary. It's a snapshot. Not the big picture.

In the event that you too have had thousands of dollars worth of unexpected bills because your appliances keep breaking and lightening decides to strike... In the event that you too have walked a long road of a high risk pregnancy... In the event that you too are exhausted, overwhelmed, and going a little crazy... take heart.

In the end... this isn't what you'll remember.

Like me... when it's all said and done... you'll remember the good stuff.

Like the way my husband made me laugh yesterday as we threw away all of the food in our fridge because it went rotten when the fridge died. Like feeling Jayda do the cha-cha in my belly in the late hours of night... Like cuddling the dog that drives me nuts... Like the people who call and make your life just a little sweeter... Like the way my husband looks at me when he gets a new idea... Like standing up to someone who thought they could continue to push you around... Like forgiving that person even when they didn't ask for your forgiveness. Like doing the right thing even when it's the really hard thing. Like the fact that all things really do work together for good for those who love Him.

Because they do. Even on the really bad days... Even on the days when everything feels like it's going wrong.

Because at the end of the day...

bills, broken appliances, rotting food, and plans turning out all wrong... are a snapshot.

The grace... the love... the small victories... the baby kicking in your belly... stealing kisses with your husband... the praising Him even when life doesn't look how you want it to... that's the bigger picture.

Much Love,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As seems to be the theme of our lives.... our plans to have Jayda be born this week aren't looking so good.

Okay... well, they are a no-go completely.

The results from the amnio are in and despite the steroids, her lungs are not mature. So, although there are risks to continuing my pregnancy... the risks regaurding her lungs not being developed are even higher.

My Dr. was dissapointed... I wanted to break down and cry. The last week of waiting has been hard... really hard. When you are supposed to pay attention to every movement and feeling and need to be monitored so closely... it's just a constant reminder that things aren't quite as they should be. So, I'll be going in to be monitored on Friday and next Tuesday. They don't have a date for the C-section yet as things are fairly booked next week so she is getting back to me later today.

I'm still on modified bedrest... but right now Jayda is lying on my sciatic nerve so I have a pretty hard time moving around anyway.

Although we are extremely bummed... of course we want our sweet girl's lungs to be developed... so again we wait. :)

I'll post when I know more.

Much Love,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Small and Mighty :)

Just a quick update...

My amnio went great this morning! They monitored Jayda for a half hour afterwards and she is still doing just fine... small but mighty this one :)

Of course I'm anxiously awaiting the call tomorrow that will let us know if her lungs are developed enough. I told her I'd really appreciate if she could be ready this week as her daddy starts inventory next week and it would not be a good week for him to have to find someone to work the 4am-1pm shift at work. I also told her I'd appreciate it if she could be over five pounds.

I haven't been able to put on any weight the last couple of weeks... this week I even lost a pound or two because of the fact that our air conditioning is broken (well okay... completely shot as we just found out today) and that makes me very hot and very NOT in the mood to eat. That and our fridge went out as well so we have no cold food.

I'm not making this up.

No air conditioning... no fridge... and the hottest May I can possibly remember. I was joking today that I'm looking forward to staying in the hospital... at least they have air conditioning :) And cold food :)

For a minute I really did want to cry about all of this... the fridge and the air conditioning and the fact that it's like a sauna in my house and I'm swollen up like a balloon... and sweating like a pig... and the fact that no, we do not have $4,000 to fix these issues... But, I'm trying to keep it all in perspective.

If all goes well on the amnio I'm meeting my daughter in just two days. Months ago they told me she may not even make it to 23 weeks.... today I am 36. So the fridge and the air conditioning and all the little things... seem exactly that... little. Extremely little compared to the very big miracle that is our daughter.

Small and mighty precious girl.... oh how I can't wait to get you in my arms and kiss your sweet face!

In the nice air conditioned hospital room ;)

Much love to you all! I'll be updating from the hospital as I can. Watch the sidebar of the blog for tweets :) I'll try to use that for quick updates as I don't know how much internet acess we'll have in the hospital.

Hopefully next time I write you'll all be able to see her sweet face.

Much Love,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A few more details and growth update!

Jayda only got a 6 out of 8 on her Ultrasound today which isn't bad but they wanted me to come in for some further monitoring. I went into the hospital and they put me on the monitor for awhile. Jayda did just fine :) Oh! And she has grown a little bit too! Miss Jayda was weighing in at 4.4 pounds today. The ultrasound tech took several measurements and averaged them so hopefully this is accurate. We are praying she'll be close to 5 Ibs by delivery.

I forgot to mention last night that when Dr. Goerish checked me I was thinned out and dialated to a 3. Looks like Miss Jayda was planning an early entry anyways...

Let's just hope our sweet girl stays in there until next Thursday.

My C-section is scheduled for then! So... if all goes according to plan... we will be meeting her on May 27th!


People keep asking me how I'm doing.

And because I know what prayer warriors you all are... I'm going to be honest. Concerning Jayda I am doing just fine. I feel at peace about them taking her out early. My Dr. is incredible and has been throughout this entire pregnancy and truly truly cares about what is best for me and Jayda. She has been nothing but sympathetic and wonderful through ALL of this. I'm okay with the fact we may have to be in the hospital for a little while. I'm really okay with all of it. I'm ready for her to be here. I'm ready to meet my sweet fiesty little daughter.

However, there is a situation... totally unpregnancy related that I don't want to go into great detail over. But it's causing me a great deal of stress which is making it really hard to get any kind of rest and stay calm. There is really no way to know if thats why my blood pressure was elevated but I wouldn't be surprised. So without going into specifics... will you all just please pray that I don't allow it to get to me and steal my peace? Will you all just pray that God will move what looks like a very big mountain?

I know you all will... which is why I ask.

Thank you for covering me, Micaiah, and our Jayda!
We'll all be meeting her soon.


Monday, May 17, 2010

More of the Unexpected...

I had my 35 week appointment today... I am actually 1 day away from being 35 weeks. My blood pressure is elevated (but not to the point of any major concern). Also, I am now only measuring 32 weeks. We are thinking her other measurements were off because of Jayda being breech and having her head shoved way up in my ribs :)

Dr. Goerish does not feel comfortable with me trying to deliver naturally at this point (neither do I) as Jayda is already stressed, breech, etc. And we both agreed a C-section is most definitly the safest way. That said, she no longer wants to wait until 37 weeks. Although Jayda's ultrasounds look fine now... she said that with placenta issues things can happen very quickly and at any time and the safest possible thing to do is get her out. Assuming of course that her lungs are developed. Because smaller babies are more distressed and have to work harder anyway... and because I had steroid shots... we are doing the amniocentesis next Tuesday (at exactly 36weeks) and if it comes back showing her lungs are developed enough.... miss Jayda will be greeting us on Thursday or Friday of next week.

Yes... I said next week.

I know... I'm freaking out just a little too.

But I feel really good about it. This has been a long pregnancy with many MANY complications and we are all thinking our sweet girl will simply fare better outside of me at this point.

Because she will be a preemie... and very small (even for a preemie) we need to expect that she will be in the hospital at least an extra week if not longer. There is a good chance I will not get to be with her right away and that she'll need to be in the nursery. We will most likely have to do syringe feedings etc. The good news is that as long as there is room at the hospital... I will be able to stay with her for as long as she is hospitalized... and as long as there are no severe complications we will get to stay in Mankato.

So... here is the gameplan.

Pray! Very hard and very often... for Jayda's lungs to develop, for her to grow, for the C-section to go well, for the hospital stay to be short, for peace, and for extra room at the hospital so I can stay with my baby and for anything and everything else that may be laid on your heart.

I'm writing this in a rush as we have to get to our Newborn Care Class tonight. I'm sure there are details I'm forgetting but for now... this should be the jist of it. I will still have an ultrasound on Tuesday and Friday this week and if anything is off we will deliver immediatly. I am done with appointments with Dr. Goerish as I'll see her Tuesday for our amnio and then Thursday or Friday for the C-section (we do not know the day yet because scheduling was booked up so I'll post when I know).

Thank you... as always for your love and your prayers...


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jayda Update

Hey everyone,
Just a quick update to say that miss Jayda did just fine on her ultrasound this morning. She is doing excellent at breathing which is really encouraging! She is however, sitting on a nerve in my back which is making it really difficult and quite painful to move around! So hopefully she scoots her little self off of it sometime in the very near future. ;)

I have another ultrasound on Friday and then my 35 week appointment on Monday with Dr. Goerish. We should be able to know a little bit more at that point about what she is thinking delivery wise.

Thanks for the continued prayers, love, and support!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Beautiful Girl

As promised... here's our sweet girl :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

A perfect score!

The ultrasound went well this morning. They measured Jayda's practice breathing movements as well as her other movements and her heart rate. She scored 8 out of 8! Our sweet girl may be tiny but she is fiesty!

The tentative "plan" if Jayda continues to do well on her ultrasounds is to measure her growth again at 36weeks (because they can only make an estimate within a half pound this is the best way to know how she is actually growing). At 37 weeks I'll have the amnio and if her lungs are ready Miss Jayda should make her grand entrance the first week in June.

From the looks of everything I will have a C-section. This is not definite but because of my septated uterus, Jayda's breech position, and the fact that she is very small... right now this feels like the safest way to go. Although if Jayda starts to grow and turns herself head down... we may still try for a vaginal birth.

We got an adorable picture of our sweet girls face today (hopefully I'll get that up by early next week). We both think she looks like her auntie Kelsey :)

We're breathing a little easier knowing that although Jayda is small, everything else appears to be doing well. I had my 2nd steroid shot yesterday to help develop her lungs... hopefully it's just a precaution and she'll make it to 37 weeks!

Right now I'm just trying to rest up, take it easy, and find some preemie clothes for our tiny girl :)

Thank you for all the prayers, love, and support.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A few more details...

In my shock and exhaustion yesterday I realized I forgot to mention a few important details.

The reason they think Jayda isn't growing well is because they believe my plancenta was damaged because I had such a large blood clot for so long. I'm not sure exactly why it is showing up now vs. before (possibly because this is when babies are supposed to be growing the most). Her main concern is that Jayda's nutrition doesn't decrease. As the placenta is also her oxygen supply they also want to monitor her heart and breathing very closely. Her other main concern was that Jayda's lungs are not developed... which is why I'm getting the steroid shots. If I can make it to 37 weeks they will do an amniocentesis and if her lungs are developed at that point... the plan is to get her out.

But really, right now, our only sure plan is waiting to see how she does.

There is really no way of knowing how well my placenta is working right now... just that it's obviously still functioning well enough to give Jayda enough oxygen.

That's why we'll have ultrasounds twice a week... they will very closly monitor all of those things to make sure our sweet girl is still doing okay in there.

I will do my best to update every Tuesday and Friday (and maybe posts inbetween for the sake of my sanity as we all know resting is not my specialty :)

Thanks for all the prayers and love sent our way! We are blessed to know each of you.

Kayla, Micaiah, and Jayda

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I'm exhausted... and my head is spinning... and there are a million things I want to say.

But right now... I just want off. I want off this train that feels like it's going 200 hundred miles an hour. And I just want it to stop.

I had an ultrasound this morning and the results were alarming enough that my Dr. called me less than an hour later.

"Your daughter is not doing well. She is very small and is not getting what she needs. We will need to keep a very close eye on her from this point on. You need to come in for steroid shots immediatly to develop her lungs because there is a good chance we'll need to deliever her before they reach maturity. I want you to have ultrasounds twice a week and we will monitor her movements, breathing, and growth. If anything is off we will send you to the hospital and put you on monitors and deliver you if necessary. You need to be ready. My hope at this point is that we can get you to go another three of four weeks before taking her but if she doesn't grow it is safer for her to be born early than to stay inside of you."

Jayda is only three pounds.... very very small for a 33 weeker. All I could think about was how tiny that was...

She's too little to come yet... she isn't ready... I'm not ready.

I'm not ready to do this again... the ultrasounds and the waiting and the fear. I'm not ready for shots and monitors and a daugther that is much too small and not ready to breathe on her own.

Until the ultrasound we thought everything was fine. I was measuring a week ahead even... My blood pressure and weight were right on target. Everything looked wonderful until they took a look inside.

As we watched her suck her little fingers and kick her feet this morning I just marveled at my daughter. I wondered what color her hair would be and whose eyes she would have.... when we would get to meet her. Before they told me her weight I was even joking with the ultrasound tech that I was afraid she's be big because both Micaiah and I were 9 pounds.

I went back to Grace Refuge this afternoon and 5 little people laid their hands on my belly while Margy once again prayed for my baby. I'm telling you... you haven't experianced prayer until 3 year olds put their hands on you and pray for your baby to grow.

I came home with every intention to pack my bags and get things ready... instead I collapsed. I trust my Jesus. There was a time when we were simply prayed I'd be able to make it to twenty three weeks. There was a time when we never dreamed I'd be able to make it this far. And part of me feels like I should be grateful... But right now... this feels like too much to carry.... and I'm tired and I'm weary and I just want my daughter to be okay.

I have another shot of steroids tomorrow and an Ultrasound again on Friday. After that I will have ultrasounds every Tuesday and Friday as well as my appointments with Dr. Goerish. I'm not on stict bedrest but she wants me getting as much rest as possible and to take it easy. She said there is really no way of knowing when we will deliver her... and so again we walk it out day by day... waiting and praying.

unable to see what is ahead.

Again we covet your prayers... again we ask that you join us on your knees on behalf of our daughter.

Much Love,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Orange Hair, God, and Clorox

I used to be really good at rolling with the punches... not much of a planner by nature... definitely not one of those people who needed her whole life to be organized or color coded.

I was not a list maker, multi-tasker, or house cleaner.

Then I had six little kids running around all day... and if I did not perpetually follow them cleaning up... life wouldn't work. If I didn't plan and bring diapers and sippy cups and fishy crackers along at all times... I would most certainly live to regret it. If I didn't organize I would loose another pair of someone's socks or forget a feeding time. So, I learned... slowly... by the skin of my teeth (as it usually is when the Lord is trying to teach me a new skill) I learned.

Then I got pregnant, and some switch in my brain went into overdrive and I became a freakshow.

A clorox wipe obsessing, color coding, list making, organization loving, house cleaning, dinner making, planning way in advance, need to know the details... freakshow.

Maybe it was all the unexpected things in this pregnancy. Maybe it's just the momma coming out in me. Maybe I was this way all along and just fought it because I thought it would be more fun to roll with it and not have a plan.

Maybe it's simply that with each stage of life we change... We become more of who we truly are.... Maybe, at heart... I did always love clorox wipes and color coded closets and I'm just now realizing it :)

Or maybe, when life throws us a lot of the unexpected... we try to control the things we can.

So when the hairstylist turns our hair orange... we loose it.
Or when the house is trashed because of an insane schedule... we feel all out of wack.
So when the stack of unanswered mail piles up, the kids are screaming, and there is gum stuck to the floor of the van.... we can't handle it.

Because none of it was part of the plan. We wanted normal hair, a clean house, paid bills, kids who are well behaved, and a van that didn't smell like dirty diapers and have gum stuck to the carpet. By "we" here I really mean me.

See... there has been enough of the unexpected... so it's the little things... the small every day things that I just want predictable.

And all the time... I hear Him whisper... "just let it go...."

A year ago I thrived on the chaos and unpredictability of our lives... the messiness of Grace Refuge and what I did there... the kids and the fullness of our existence. I thrived on watching God show his face in unexpected ways each and every day.

And then both our jobs were gone, I was on bed rest, and we had no idea where we'd live... and I began to cling to what was predictable... safe... the little that did feel secure and normal. And although we now both have jobs again, we officially own our house and will not have to be worrying about where we'll live, and Jayda is doing fabulous and growing right on track... I find that I'm still clinging to all the little stuff.

Like the fact that the paint color in her room has to be perfect.
Or the fact that my hair has to be exactly how I want it... which, for the record... is not orange.
Or the fact that I like my van clean... even though that's simply impossible when five little people currently occupy the back seats.
Like the fact that I am starting to get really overwhelmed with being pregnant and am longing for my familiar body and familiar clothes and familiar emotions.

I knew something was slightly wrong with me when they told me Jayda was sideways (she is now breech) and said a C-section was a high possibility and I was actually relieved because I could plan for it...

I was relieved that I may have to have major surgery instead of have her naturally and I was relieved because I could "plan" for it.... for the birth... the pain... the afterward... I would know when it was going to happen... and that felt safe for me.

I mean... seriously... have I gone mad?

I'll probably bring my chlorox wipes and ask them if I can get my hands on the recovery room beforehand. You know... color code things a little bit.

And the voice repeats...

"Let it go..."

"So what if you have orange hair and the van is trashed and the kids are screaming at each other? So what if the dog made the floor a muddy mess and your insurance accidentally dropped your coverage and you now have tons of bills headed your way to made heads or tails of? Is it really worth loosing your joy? Your heart? Your cool? I healed your baby... gave you a home... and provided for you when you had no idea if you were going to make it and you're worried about your color coded closet and your orange hair? Don't you think I've got this... all of this... too?"

And then I breathe... I put the clorox wipes away... and I realize...

He knows how Jayda is going to come into this world.
He knows that there is gum stuck to the floor of the van.
He knows I hate my orange hair.
He knows I'm about to fall apart because of muddy paw prints, extra work hours, and the large portion of my closet that is currently laying on our bedroom floor.

He knows that even though my baby is okay... I still worry when she doesn't move for a few hours... I still hold my breath a little before every appointment... He knows that every day... there is still that little part of my heart that can't help but wonder if something might go wrong.

But more than knowing... He cares.... about orange hair and clorox wipes and my mini van. He cares and he sees and even when the stupidest things overwhelm my silly shaky heart... He still speaks.

Maybe the point in all of this was to draw us out of a place of safety and into a place of reliance on the fact that He is good... even when we don't understand... even when we're afraid... even when things don't really go the way we wanted.

That He is a God of the daily messes... the things that aren't life altering but happen to be wrecking our morning... He is still Lord even we our attitude needs a serious adjustment and our tone could be far sweeter. He still speaks when we are stubborn and having a meltdown over gum.

And the sweetest thing about Him... He doesn't ask me to give up the clorox habit or leave my hair orange. Only that I remember what is big in this life... and what isn't.

Only that I hand over the big and the small, and trust that he knows how to handle it when I feel like I can't.

Maybe after this pregnancy is over I'll go back to being happy to roll with the punches... maybe the clorox and color coding are here to stay.

Either way, sometimes all we really need is to know He loves us either way.

Now... I'm off to schedule a hair appointment and resume my cleaning ;)

Much Love,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pregnancy, House, and other things Update

I had my 31 week appointment yesterday. Jayda is measuring in at 32 weeks and looking great! She is lying sideways which we knew could happen because of the septum in my uterus (it kind of restricts her room). So, if she doesn't turn herself by 37 weeks they are going to try and turn her, which could be more difficult because of her already restricted room. If she hasn't turned by 37 weeks and they can't turn her then we will schedule a C-section. We'll also have another ultrasound in a couple of weeks just to make sure she is still growing properly as the combination of having the blood clot for so many weeks + the fact that I have a septum could make it a little more difficult in these last weeks for her to get the nutrition she needs. All in all Dr. Goerish does not seem worried as right now she is growing just fine! I'm not really worried at all, just so happy to be this far.

As far as for how I'm feeling... I feel great! I have tons of energy... enough that I'm back to work part-time with the kids at Grace Refuge! Enough that I'm going on hour long walks several times a week. So, I'm hoping this keeps up as I kind of feel like I'm making up for all that lost time I spent on the couch in my second trimester :)

Oh and the house...? Everything went through and we signed on April 14th the day before our taxes were due (we needed the paperwork for the 1st time Homebuyers Credit). So we're all settled in and still finishing up some projects in the basement and the outside of the house but nothing that has to be done anytime in the near future. Jayda's room is coming along... but I don't want to post pictures until it's done :)

Our life is beginning to be very full again. I'm back with kids and chaos and after I have Jayda I plan on splitting my time between Grace Refuge and a friend of mine who needs some help with her new Daycare. Micaiah was just offered a full time position with benefits at Home Depot (he has only been there about two months!) so we are seriously praying about that. We're taking classes at the hospital each week, wrapping up with our small group, and getting ready for the many showers, graduations, etc happening in the next couple of months.

From the outside our life probably looks normal and boring. Right now... we're incredibly thankful for that :) Because even in the midst of fairly normal days... and now what is a fairly normal pregnancy... we are still watching Him move on our behalf in ways that take our breath away.

He has been so faithful.

Much Love, Much Life, Much Grace,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'll tell Her.

I wasn't going to go last night...

I was running late... my hair was a mess... and I was putting on make-up and drinking a Dr. Pepper in between stop lights. My van was still full of the laundry I'd spent the day doing (we don't have a washer right now) piled high in baskets. The service started at 7pm. and I hadn't gotten home until 6:50. I fed the dog, took her out, put on a clean shirt that I realized didn't fit.... thought about just staying home... put on a different shirt with some sandals and ran out the door. Something told me I needed to go.

When I entered the sanctuary the service had already started. It was dark... lit only by candlelight.

It was beautiful... the entire service... breathtaking really. The words spoken... words about redemption... words about love that reached out and bridged the biggest gap we've ever known... words about radical living and the foolishness of the cross. The songs that were sung... songs of how our ashes have been turned into beauty... songs about the road of death He walked so we'd never have to... songs about the price He paid because of love...

At the altar lay wine and bread... and I watched in silent awe as slowly people began to get up... walk to the alter... and fall to their knees.... and remember. A body broken... blood shed... a veil torn... so that we in our sin and our shame and our failure might see a glimpse of His face... might know His heart for His people.

I could barely breathe as I watched a young father walk to the altar with his son. They knelt together before their God... the father with his arm around his son. And suddenly tears spilled down my face....

How did it feel to give your son for us that would reject you... us that would fail and run and compromise? Did your heart break as his blood spilled and the mockers taunted? Did images of his life run through your mind? Did you weep at His suffering?

I sat in that sanctuary... watching that father... feeling my own child kick and move within me...

Lord how did she feel when she watched the nails pierce His hands? Did her heart break as she saw the child she'd carried... the child she'd raised... the child she'd loved... give His life for those who didn't understand? Did all of the moments she'd pondered in her heart come flooding back into tears of grief as she watched the life of her son slip away?

I thought of the last few months and how much we love our daughter... a sweet baby girl who we haven't even brought into this world yet. I thought of how hard we've fought... how hard we've prayed... how we've cried... how we've hoped... how we've dreamed for her life. How, even now, I couldn't even imagine loosing her.

I was one of the last to make my way to the altar. And as I knelt before Him the moments that I have pondered in my heart... the ones that have made up my life with Him... the ones that have made my life. They all came back.

The night I lay on a cold basement floor and told Him I loved Him... the night I told Him I didn't know much about the bible and there was much of life I didn't understand. I knew only that this life was hard and that there was a huge hole in my heart.

The moment I felt that hole in my heart heal. I remember weeping because I'd never felt so alive.

The old gravel road I walked those days after I first gave my heart to Him and all the things we talked about... all the dreams I laid before Him.

The first time I knelt before an altar... much like the one before me at that moment... and fully realized what He gave.

The moment I held a starving baby and realized how deeply He loves and how desperately He aches for His own.

All of my broken promises... every time I ran... every time I made Him smaller than He was...
All of the moments I've beheld him... known Him... felt Him... the moments I have stood on Holy Ground. The moments I've known the sacred amidst the common and the holy amidst the profane.

Every middle of the night conversation... the moment I was able to stand at my brother's grave and not be angry anymore... walking down the aisle to marry Micaiah... sitting underneath a blanket of African stars wondering what was to come... Margy and I praying the first day I came to work at Grace Refuge... the ways those kids have brought me to my knees... The moment I stood in one of the most beautiful cathedrals in all the world and realized He did not dwell there. The people I've met whose hearts have given me glances into where He truly lives.

The tears continued to fall as I took the bread and the cup.

Again she moved within me.

And I lost all words. There are none. None that would be enough to thank Him... to describe Him... to describe this love that has ebbed it's way into my life. There are no words for what He has been nor what He has done. I am a woman of many flaws and many failures. I love imperfectly and I live imperfectly... and my faith, at times, feels so much smaller than a mustard seed. I've never made a mountain move. I've never walked on water. I'm the one who would have doubted and asked to see the marks in His hands... I'm the one that would have denied Him three times... I'm that disciple. I'm that woman... the one who deserves the stones to be thrown. The one who has no business washing the feet of her Jesus. I'm the one who has a hard time forgiving once let alone 77 times 7. I'm the one who has yelled "Why?" I've denied Him, walked away from Him, been unfaithful to Him.

I got a letter from a friend I haven't talked to for a long time. She told me she'd been reading this blog and that it seems "your faith has really gotten you through all of this".

I'm a ye of little faith. If this whole thing were up to me I wouldn't be sitting here... writing this. I'm here because He reached when I ran... He kept knocking when I refused to answer.... He continued to speak even when I'd stopped listening. He continued to pursue even when I pushed Him away. He forgave long before I could forgive myself. He was the one whose love broke this cold cold heart. He was the one who gave songs in the night. He was the one I felt beside me through every step of this broken road. When the lights went out... He's the one who held my hand and walked me through it. If it had been up to theology I wouldn't be here. If it had been about following rules and reading enough devotions I wouldn't be here. If there was a prayer quota or a good works assessment I wouldn't be here. If it was up to showing up on Sunday and serving on church committees I wouldn't be here. I'm here because one night... on a basement floor... he filled the hole in my heart... and at that moment there was really no way I could deny He was real. The night love flooded my life and I came alive... that's how I'm still here. Because He's held me in this place since the very first day I decided I didn't want to do life on my own.

He's the one whose gotten me through all of this. This life, my sin, my shame, the unknown places, the secret spaces, the hard edges of my heart.

Finally after drinking the cup... the words came as I placed my hand over my sweet baby girl...

"I will not forget what you did. I will not forget this love. Jesus I'll tell her of this love......"

"He died that we might have life... and have it to the full."-John 10:10

I'll tell her of the Jesus who gave her mommy a new heart and a beautiful love.

Much Love and a very Happy Easter to you all,

Friday, March 26, 2010


If I tried to tell the story of this house and all we have walked through recently to be able to live there... I would be typing for a good three hours. So I'll give you the short version of the last crazy month of our lives.

- We have an amazing God orchestrated night with Ted and Margy in which we agree to rent the home next to Grace Refuge and give it the TLC it needs.

- The home fails the rental inspection because they changed all of the codes in 2005 and basically any house built after that needs major renovations (ours would be to the tune of 40,000) to be rentable unless it is grandfathered in by an existing license.

- I go on a long ride in the van and bawl my eyes out. This part isn't important except for the fact that through lots of those tears I kept telling the Lord "I trust you... I do... I just don't see what you're doing."

-Ted and Margy come to us and agree to sell us the house on contract for deed. We are overjoyed and agree and spend the rest of the month finishing the renovations on the house and making it home.

-We spend the rainiest week of March moving ourselves in freezing cold weather with my van and Micaiah's jeep. We have just moved in the very last box and I am organizing cupboards when Ted comes in and tells us the bank just put a halt on the entire thing and will not allow the contract for deed to go through.

- I fall to the floor and sob... part from the sheer exhaustion of moving all week in the rain... partly because the situation now seems fairly hopeless and I can't imagine moving again. Micaiah at that very moment is finishing the very last room. I am mopping the last floor in ugly sweats... and crying (not in a pretty a mascara running all down my face way)... with my big belly in the way and Micaiah and I have this crazy lifetime moment in the living room where he cups my face, kisses my forehead and tells me God is going to take care of us. I laugh and tell him that I know that but I'm going to continue crying for awhile.

- I go take a drive in the van again that afternoon and bawl my eyes out (this is a theme with my relationship with the Lord if you haven't picked up on that by now :) I tell Him again through broken sobs that I trust Him... even if he takes this house away.

-That night Micaiah and I spend our first night in the new house and can't sleep because of a thunder storm that rages outside (which feels oh so appropriate at this point). We laugh... oh do we laugh... and he tells me that as long as we're together we're going to be okay. We joke about living in a cardboard box.

-We pray... all of us... for God to perform a miracle.

-Ted and Margy start the process of trying to refinance their Home so that they can own ours free and clear and sell the home to us on contract for deed.

-They put in the paperwork and things look good.

-We sign the purchase agreement.

-We wait.

That's where we are... we are waiting. Patience and trusting Him with all we cannot possibly know, see, or control seems to be the theme of our life these days.

On January 2nd when we drove to the emergency room fearing the worst... we handed Him our daughter.

In the midst of the weeks on bed rest we learned to hand over our fears, our dreams, our hopes, and all that held us back from full reliance on Him.

In late February when my parents business closed leaving Micaiah without a job... we handed Him our bank accounts, our finances, our need for those things to make us feel secure... and we learned that He provides.

On March 10th when Ted came in and told us the bank had contested the entire thing... we handed Him the home we'd put our blood, sweat, and tears into.

In the midst of the last three months we've handed over many things that we were trying to make work on our own. A little over a month ago I wrote a post saying we felt like we could only see ten steps ahead. On March 10th it felt like the lights went out....

And we were left standing in the dark with just one thing....

That still small voice whispering "Do you still trust me?"

And through broken voices and falling tears... we said "yes."

We trust Him. We trust His heart even when we cannot see His hand. We trust His goodness even when it feels like things are falling down. And in these last three months we have walked in uncertain places... and we have stood in the dark. But the tears have only been surpassed by the love we've experienced. Our marriage is different because we've walked this road. Our love is more real because we've walked this road. Our dreams and hopes for our daughter are more real because of this road. We are better having walked this. Because we had no idea what it truly meant to trust until we could no longer see and felt as if we were walking blind. We had no idea what it was to stand together and weather the storm until we sat in that emergency room and feared for the life of our daughter. We didn't know how deeply we could love each other until everything else kind of turned upside down. We didn't know how we relied on each other until we lost much of what made us comfortable. We didn't know just how real He'd make Himself to us before this... before we went to Him in the middle of the night bringing our deepest fears and our greatest dreams before Him.

We are better for having walked this... all of this.

So as we watch and we wait once again for Him to move on our behalf... we no longer feel shaken or dismayed. We stand firmly in the place of blind trust. Because inside of Him... we will always be home.

Will you again join us and pray that as we watch and wait... He makes Himself known?

Much Love,