Jeremiah 29:11

Do not fear what’s already been planned out.

I’ve never really been an anxious or fearful person. I like to have and make plans, but overall, I’ve always easily been satisfied with the answer that God has it all planned out. That was until my mom was diagnosed with end stage cancer. It’s fair to say fear overtook me. I became anxious and fearful, lost sleep, and lost my appetite. This was a huge thing happening in our lives. Not that it was the first huge thing, but this was the person I loved more than anyone or anything else. I didn’t understand it.

It was just my mama and I for most of my life. We didn’t have a typical family, and she was my best friend. I was closer to my mom than most, and when she got sick, my world shattered.These feelings of fear and anxiety were new to me.

While my husband and I were going through infertility, I again experienced these anxious and fearful feelings. Once again, something big was happening, and I honestly wasn’t even partially healed from the experience of losing my mom. But one of the things that God placed on my heart as we transitioned from fertility to foster care was that I needed to come to Him just as fiercely, just as passionately, just as intently when I’m not walking through fearful, anxious, and “big” times. When I pursue Christ daily with the same passion, those big moments aren’t quite as scary. I again find myself feeling some level of peace with the knowledge that He’s got this.

I’m not going to say anxiety and fear don’t exist when I draw nearer to Christ, but I will say that dropping that fear at the foot of the cross and allowing Christ to bear the weight of that load… sister, there’s relief that comes with that action. Why is it so easy to call on Christ when we’re walking through difficulty, yet in the mundane day to day, it’s so easy to cut time with Him short, or worse, skip it all together? Why was this time with my Father not a priority during those easy summer months of relaxing and going on vacation? At first, I knew when I was putting off time with Him or cutting time short, then I’d realize a few days had passed… well I was really busy or the baby was teething during those days…

We again find ourselves walking through a time of transition. Only this time we are walking through with the protection of Christ. The more time I spend with Christ during those easy times, the more I learn of the character of the Father that is walking with me through trials.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Whether it’s an easy season or a season full of trials, I encourage you, sweet sister, to cling to the Father. Dig into His word and pray He overtakes your soul, equipping you and sustaining you. He is the only constant in this world. As the world changes and darkens, as seasons come and go, He remains. He is good, He is constant, and He loves you beyond measure.

 

Enough

I wrote this about a year ago and so much has changed in this last year, but friends, this remains the same…

I am enough.

Why is it that this statement can be so hard to believe sometimes? There’s always something else, someone else, another load, another project.

Can I be honest with you? We’ve been living out of our dryer for over a week. If I would have told you this last year it would have had 10 excuses attached to the end of that confession. Attempts at justifying my “less than” actions, or “lack of actions.”

I had folding laundry on my list of to-do’s today and welp, it didn’t get done. What I’m not telling you is the things that have taken importance in this last week or so.

If I count my success based on what’s not done, I’ll never be enough.

Sisters, you are enough.

Our girls are 10 months apart. We had our baby for a week before our 14 month old came into our home. Everyone encouraged me to get the girls on the same napping schedule. I quickly learned that this didn’t work for me. I’d rather stagger their naps so I could give them all my attention for a little bit of the day. This being said, normally a portion of their nap does fall at the same time. Today, our baby didn’t fall right to sleep so I laid on the bed with her and we “talked.” When she finally fell asleep she was holding onto my finger. My scheduled time to get things done quickly went out the window.

I was right where I needed to be.

I want to soak in those moments.

I am enough because of what I AM doing.

I encourage you, sweet sisters, to remember what it is you are accomplishing. I’d rather have a wrinkle in my shirt and the memory of her dimpled hand holding onto mine, than to not have had that moment with her today.

That moment of nothingness is teaching her tiny little soul attachment, connection, and love. How can that not be enough? Find your sufficiency in the Father – in the Truth.

We all have these moments where we feel less than. In these moments I encourage you to see where you are moving, where you are succeeding, where you are enough.

The Lord made you perfect for your husband and children. He knew your strengths and weaknesses before He designed your family. Look at yourself through their eyes.

To both my husband and my children I am enough.

With Christ I am enough.

Now I just have to believe it and stop listening to the lies of the devil. The devil has nothing on the Father. Don’t let him win! Fill your soul with the Truth and be confident in the knowledge that the work you do for your family makes you enough, sweet mama. Honestly, no matter how much you do there is always going to be more. If you’re constantly reaching for total completion you’ll be missing so many beautiful moments in this life – moments that God has you in for just the right reasons.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 

2 Corinthians 3:5 (ESV)

it’s been awhile

Welp its been awhile! This year has been the craziest, best year yet – full of change and y’all… change can be such a beautiful thing! Last year we packed up our life and drove 1,973 miles from Southern California to make a home in Tennessee. I never could have guessed we’d rent for almost a full year before finally moving in to the house we’re making a home but we couldn’t be happier.

We knew we’d probably never have the opportunity to drive across the country -just Ryan and I again – so we were excited to pack up the car with the three wiens and take our time getting to Tennessee. We were able to stop and see family in Arizona, friends in Texas, visit Magnolia Farms, stop in Monroe, Louisiana and see where Duck Dynasty is at, and see some of the prettiest sights in this country. Mississippi kept a little piece of my heart. The entire drive was spent with one or the other of us saying we’ve never seen such beautiful places.

We finally reached Nashville and after 5 days in the car it was a welcomed sight! We still had a few days before all our stuff arrived but we towed a trailer out with most of our day to day things inside. We spent the first few days checking out all the yummy places right around our house. From the moment we got to Nashville we both knew we were home!

We moved here at the end of October and it was definitely our first experience with a true Fall. I couldn’t believe the colors of the trees. Everywhere we went people would tell us, “oh this is nothing. It was too dry this year.” But for us, it was gorgeous! We may or may not have taken tons of pictures of the trees during those first few weeks.. We went on picnics and visited Cheekwood to get pumpkins. Did I mention that because there is no traffic here we actually got to do things AFTER work?! What is this world??

Ryan ordered his first chicken and waffles after church one Sunday and was hooked after that! We spent the first couples months exploring different places near Nashville. We didn’t know where we wanted to look for our home yet so we took our time checking out the different areas. After a couple months we were fairly sure we had it narrowed down to two areas. Our house in CA finally closed after the 1st of January and we immediately bought a lot of land in a neighborhood we loved and began building… something I never wanted to do again but here we went!

Winter was a new experience for us! We saw our first snowfall together and the wiens were less than excited about our little photoshoot in the snow. Heidi especially decided she’d stay inside for the winter.

So needless to say the first few months in Nashville changed our lives in all the best ways. We missed family and friends but we experienced more life together in those months and I’m so grateful to be on this adventure. Spoiler alert… It’s only gotten better!!

 

Unplug

Unplug.
Ryan and I started a new little “tradition” in our family. On Sundays we decided from now on, to leave all technology off and out of the way. Our very 2016 iPhone’s will be temporarily converted to the basics of a flip phone. Phone calls only. Since it seems people don’t really call anymore, you can imagine this means our phones are pretty quiet all day.
Ryan took it seriously enough that he actually turned his phone off and left it in our bedroom all day. We did a morning Bible Study together while the girls napped and it took us twice as long because there was literally nothing distracting us and we did more than we ever have in one sitting. (Even bathroom breaks took less time for some of us, HAHA)

Can I admit something pretty embarrassing you to? The first Sunday was hard! By noon I was pretty mortified at how much time I normally spend on the phone. I guess we don’t really know how much “checking” we do be it on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. BUT Ryan and I talked ALL DAY! I told him stories I probably wouldn’t have thought important if he would have been “busy” on a devise. Our kids got our FULL attention all day long. By dinner time (which was a date night anyways) we were having major, in depth conversations and noticing all the couples on their phones around us!
I’d say about half way through the day I noticed my desire to “check in on social media” was becoming less and less. That feeling of missing something was less. Why did I feel like I was missing something on social media when all these weeks, months, etc. before I was actually missing out on the ones that mean the most to me?
We are so in tune to others little square images of life that we forget life is happening right in front of us.
This is where we are truly missing out.
The days might be long but the years are short and we don’t get the same day back again.
Needless to say, I’m truly looking forward to our weekends together now. Not that I wasn’t before, but when we are all truly present we make more memories even in the smallest of moments. We reconnect in areas we didn’t even realize we needed to. 

The Month of May…

Oh the month of May! You come around every 11 months or so and each time I have had/probably will always have a different reaction and feeling on the topic. March is a busy month for us. Its full of birthdays! Literally there are 12 birthdays (including mine) between just our families not to mention friends! So it’s busy but super fun and family filled. But May holds much more for us personally even though it only has 3 real days of events. These days have held the biggest moments of our lives though.
First comes Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate the woman that is most taken for granted in our lives. My mom was my best friend. She was the lady that I told EVERYTHING to (often embarrassing or mortifying my husband… sorry babe!). She prayed for me, prayed with me, fought with me, cried with me, cried for me, laughed with me, and she loved me unconditionally. I was often made fun of in school for how close I was to my mom but to all you who said those things… I think you’re weird to so we’re even! Any ways back to Mother’s Day. If you’ve been following me online or know me in any sort of way, you already know that I lost my mom to colon cancer a couple of years ago. Obviously, along with changing my daily life, this changed the terms of my “Mother’s Day” quite a bit. It’s a different sort of day for me now. It reminds me that the most irreplaceable person in my life is gone and can’t be pampered on this day. It reminds me what I’m missing, as if I needed reminding in the first place. It reminds me of thing and moments I regret with my mom. It reminds me I can’t go back and say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” to her again. If I were writing this post last year at this time it would have looked much different. I was excited to remember my mom on Mother’s Day last year. I had different feelings and emotions. This year I’m much more sad and I’m sure, in part, that has to do with the next topic I’ll touch on.
If you read my last few posts about our infertility struggle you already know that Ryan and I have been unable to conceive and will be doing IVF soon. If you didn’t read that and would like to, click here and here. I guess I never thought we’d have this hard a time getting pregnant. Every women in my family has become pregnant before they even wanted to and no one has had issues until after they were done having kids. I never thought years would pass of us trying. I never thought I’d be getting pregnant in a doctors office instead of our bedroom (insert cover the eyes monkey emoji!). But anyways that’s part of our story and we’re rolling with it because that’s just what you have to do I guess. But I know this Mother’s Day has been on my heart becasue we so hope to be parents and I thought we’d for sure by now be celebrating with our baby. I know God has a plan for us and right now I’m drawing near to Him to get through this weekend celebrating my sweet mama friends, my step mom, and my mother in law, all while remembering the most important person in my life, my mama!
Up next for us in May is our anniversary! Yup, May 15th I said “I Do” to my handsome hubby. This year, to celebrate, we are taking a MUCH needed weekend and going to Palm Springs. I didn’t want to travel anywhere far because half of our getaway would be traveling so we’re going about an hour away to celebrate and I could be looking forward to it more! In the craziness of everyday life it is so incredibly important to put the focus back on us so our anniversary couldn’t come at a better time.
Lastly, the most life-changing event happened in my / our lives. I lost my mom. May 24th will never look the same again. Somedays I feel like I talked to her yesterday and other days it feels like 10 years has past. I don’t think you ever stop needing your mom but I’ll tell you, I feel like I need her now more than ever. So many changes are happening in our lives right now that I so need her and her wisdom. But God is quickly showing me that He is more than capable to handle me and my issues (and I have plenty!) and most importantly, He is the safest place to rest.
I’m so thankful for the Instagram community. I’ve made so many amazing and encouraging friends through it, one of which has been MarriageMore. I listen to their podcasts and am so grateful for them. Although I don’t know them personally I feel like I have so much in common with Mandy and have learned grace and grown as a wife through their sharing. I so recommend this to everyone! I like to listen on my way to work (although I work 2 hours away and can listen to 4 or more on my way… I try to space them out!). My husband has also really grown from these. One of our biggest problems since moving has been finding our niche. Its sooo much easier making friends in high school! My high school self would laugh at me now but it’s true! We had a church and friends and family where we used to live and it’s like starting over here. We’ve been here a year next month and we really haven’t found “our place” with in the community yet.
* Side note: we FINALLY found our forever home church out here! We initially attended a Calvary Chapel because that’s where I came from before we moved, but we couldn’t really dive in and meet people. The groups met at conflicting times with our schedule and the overall atmosphere was a little older. I loved it because I am used to the Calvary teaching but I could tell it would be difficult for us to grow there so we went back on the hunt and found our perfect place! The first Sunday there I ironically knew someone! He had worked with my mom for a few years and Ryan and I felt right at home! Praise God!   
Anyways, back to MarriageMore. I finished a podcast this morning and it really spoke to my heart. I believe it’s a couple months old, but Mandy shares a few ways she’s working to become a better wife. You guys, I’m no pro by any means, but I’ve seen through real relationships in my life that the women that work on themselves everyday ultimately end up with a better marriage, better relationships, are better moms, and are just better humans in general. I’ve been in a rut all week so I needed this encouragement.
I’ve been harsh, grumpy, impatient, annoyed, and just all around moody. My husband has shown me extra grace because he knows this week is a hard one on me, but it’s still little to no excuse. If we’re friends on Instagram, you probably saw that we’ve also been fighting with Chevy regarding our lemon. Our brand new Tahoe is a lemon and I’ve been out of a car for a couple months now. We went this week to finally pick up my new car and they brought in the wrong car! I couldn’t believe it! So now that process just got more complicated and the car we wanted of course sold so they are trying to find us another one. Anyways when it rains, it pours.
I’m telling you all this to lead up to a few things God’s placed on my heart. First of all, I love Ephesians. Ephesians 5 speaks to me in such a real way right now. Partially this is because my Bible has incredible footnotes or study notes on this passage that really breaks this down in real life terms (even though this is a super easy to understand chapter… it just adds to that meaning for me). But one verse that really stood out to me was “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ… For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…” The footnote spoke about how our example of marriage is an example of Christ’s love. It painted such a beautiful picture for me of the sanctity of marriage. Then I thought about how my bad attitude is polluting my marriage… really put things in perspective for me!
Secondly, as I listed to MarriageMore’s podcast, they were interviewing Ryan and Selena Frederick of Fierce Marriage(also amazing and I’ll talk on them soon!). Ryan and Selena told a story of a friend of theirs where the wife felt lead to better love her husband as he is not as she wants him. This is so real for me right now because women and men are just different and thank goodness! But sometimes I find myself starting to resent Ryan for what I want of him that he isn’t instead of loving all the incredible and wonderful things that he is. I know everyday that God is working in me and in Ryan. God knows what I need of Ryan and He knows what Ryan needs of me. If I show Ryan unending love and support and kindness and interest in him as a person right now, God will use that to mold his heart toward the things I need that maybe aren’t 100% there. Knowledge is power and after diving into these passages and hearing these podcasts today, I know a couple of real things to work on within myself and I’m committing to work on them. Yikes! I’ll let you know how this goes!

Hubby and Wifey

I love love love my husband… He is definitely the peanut butter to my jelly. I didn’t know what the heck this meant the first time he said it to me a few years ago and honestly (funny looking back) I was kind of offended when he said it! So with his little grin he explained that we are so different but we just aren’t as good apart as we are together… AWW! I have told him multiple times that someday when I have nothing to do (insert laugh!) I will have to come up with a less food-like comparison.
It always amazes me at how different two married people can be yet how happy they are together. On paper, Ryan and I probably wouldn’t match up as friends let alone partners in life. He is very laid back, always takes others actions as kind, he is loyal, caring, gentle, sometimes lazy (haha), quiet, and he is comfortable being comfortable. I am always going a hundred miles a minute, like things done 5 minutes before you realize there was something needing to be done, I’m a straight shooter, inpatient (mostly with myself), protective of those I love, am good at giving honest opinions (if you ask, I’ll tell), I come from a loud family, am kind, caring, and mostly uncomfortable when things feel too comfortable. So yes, we do have a couple key qualities in common but as you can see, we are mostly opposites.

I have good qualities and I know I definitely have room for improvement, as we all do! I like that we are different because I think we can learn from each other. With these differences come obstacles also. I handle situations differently than Ryan. I am assertive, which can sometimes look like impatient, and expect others to work at 100% because that is how I work for others. Ryan’s roles are so different than mine. He has the patience role fit to a T. He is the builder of our house. The one to calm me down in a storm, the one who reminds me it’s okay, the one that sees the best in others. He really is the better part of me. He’s also the one that I get to encourage to do more, be better, and remind that the sky is the limit.
Most often I see our differences come out in a disagreement. Although we really don’t argue often, when we do we are reminded almost immediately that we are two very different people. Ryan is a communicator, I am a thinker. I like to be left alone for a while were as Ryan likes to talk things through (sometimes talk things straight through the ground, haha!).

All this to say, I am constantly amazed at how opposite people can love each other so strongly, live together so well, and really make two halves whole. I often tell Ryan that I’ve always prayed to have more patience and God brought me him. He is my daily reminder of how to have patience as his example of patience is nearly perfected. Along with this, he sometimes is the source of me needing to show the patience I work so hard to have… hehe J