The End of 2014

The End of 2014

2014 began with this…

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And ended with this…

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A special year indeed. When I chose my word for 2014–Behold–I had big goals. I wanted to run 1000 miles this year. I wanted to go to Colombia with my dad and teach women about the love of their Savior. I wanted to start writing a book. None of those things happened.

Instead, I spent much of the year being the vessel for God to grow a beautiful baby girl. Which means I spent much of the year moving more slowly than I would have liked. “Be still,” I heard him whisper over and over.

We begged God to keep Ethiopian adoptions open, and I heard Him remind me, “Hold on.” I walked with two people I love dearly through the searing pain of divorce and heard the same reminder, “Hold on.”

I faced new fears, new doubts, new questions and felt the weight of the angels’ anthem, “Fear not. For Behold, I bring you good news of great joy.”

I never imagined Behold becoming so literal, but it did. Be still and hold on. Two things I struggle with greatly. I want to go and do and move and see. He asks me to be still and know that He is God. I want to abandon the endeavor when it gets hard or I think I might fail. He asks me to hold fast to my Hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful.

I loved studying how often God used the word Behold in his love story to us. It’s as if He knew we would need the reminder time and time again. It’s as if He knew I would be prone to struggle with control and perfectionism. He knows me so well.

Sometimes we run across the finish line and sometimes we pad gingerly banged up and bearing scars. But I’ve learned this year, what matters most isn’t the speed I travel but the Hand I’m holding.

He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it. (1 Thes 5:24) Someone needs to hear that promise today. Someone needs to be still. Someone needs to hold on. Someone needs to stare fear in the face and declare, “Behold.” We do not walk this road alone. And tomorrow we begin a new year, but before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow night we will have already messed up. But January 2nd we will begin again. And January 3rd and January 4th.  Our goals may change because God has surprises in store we cannot imagine. Some we will like. Some we will resist. But the promise we can always hold on to is that He is faithful. Great is His faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see.

With a grateful heart for the blessings and lessons of 2014 and with an expectant heart for what 2015 holds, thank you, Lord, for being my Sustainer and for never letting go.

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Hospital Bag

Hospital Bag

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSince I went past my due date with Lydia, I took my sweet time packing my hospital bag with Charlotte. In true Lottie fashion, she decided to come early and quickly. So, I left my doctor’s appointment that Friday, October 5th with strict instructions to go straight to the hospital and check in immediately. Needless to say, my bag was missing a few things.

In an effort to be a little more prepared this time, I just finished packing my bag since Thursday is BABY DAY!!! (I’m just a tad excited, can you tell?!) My friend Kimmie posted what she took to the hospital when she had her son Sutton in April, and I thought it was so helpful. So, here are some of my recommendations…

Snacks: SmartWater and LaraBars are my go to portable snack. I love the seasonal flavors, especially Snickerdoodle. I’ve packed some snacks for Matt too.

Fuzzy socks & slippers: Since the artic blast has descended upon us, I am taking my favorite fuzzy socks and slippers for when I walk down the hall.

Pillows: I love my pillow, and I sleep much better when I have it. The colorful fabric at the top–that looks like honeycomb because you know my thing with bees–is a pillowcase I bought for the girls’ room a while back, and I’m borrowing it to put on my pillow so I won’t get it confused with the hospital pillows. I’ve got one for Matt’s pillow too and a blanket for him.

Boppy: I like to bring it with me to use for nursing.

Comfy clothes: I’ve packed my trusty lounge pants and my new Lindsay Letters sweat shirt along with some nursing tanks, nursing sleep bras, and a favorite long sleeve t-shirt.

Baby Book: I love this Sara Midda baby book. It’s the one I’ve gotten for all three babies. I packed it up so the nurses can put baby’s footprints in it.

Friends on DVD: I always take a season of Friends to watch in the middle of the night when I’m feeding baby and nothing else is on.

Lanolin cream and EOS lip balm: For the inevitable chapping…

Candle warmer and candle: This idea came from Kimmie. She brought a candle warmer and her favorite candle to the hospital room to make it more pleasant. I am a BIG candle person, and I loved this idea. I packed my favorite Tyler candle in fleur-de-lis scent and found a warmer for less than ten bucks.

Nursing pads, pads & dark-colored underwear: Because, let’s be honest, the miracle of birth has its less than beautiful elements too.

Going home outfits: I’m unashamedly wearing my black lounge pants home. I threw in a black maternity tank and sweater to wear with the lounge pants. I have baby’s going home outfit packed too. I didn’t pack much for baby other than the going home outfit and a few diaper bag essentials like burp cloths, a warm blanket, and swaddle blankets. Since we don’t know gender, I don’t usually do lots of outfits on baby at the hospital.

Toiletries: I pack all the usual stuff for going out of town. A couple extras I include are the facial cleansing wipes in case I don’t feel like walking to the bathroom to wash my face, more EOS lip balm because I have it all over the place, and bobby pins/pony tail holders to keep my hair back.

I can’t believe it’s only six days until we meet this baby and find out boy or girl!!! Matt thinks girl because he had a dream. I go back and forth. Lydia thinks girl, and Charlotte is still in denial that Momma is having a baby. So, that should be interesting. I would appreciate your prayers for a safe delivery and healthy mom and baby!

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully

Fearfully and Wonderfully

photo (47)There are a million things I’m afraid of, and I’m pretty sure some new thing is added to the list every day. Thanks to the internet I can know about every single freak accident that occurs in the world. And suddenly I’m afraid of chemicals in my sun block while at the same time afraid of skin cancer. I’m afraid of BPA in my canned organic tomatoes and afraid of pesticides on regular tomatoes. Not to mention my filling from 5th grade is probably giving me cancer as we speak, and if it isn’t then the electromagnetic field from my cell phone certainly is. There is always something new to be afraid of.

Today was no exception. We had our big ultrasound, the one where they check to be sure everything is where it’s supposed to be. I was anxious, especially since this time I have an anterior placenta and can’t feel nearly as many kicks as I could with my two previous pregnancies. But I had a lot of people praying for a calm heart, and God provided just that. I loved watching you on the screen, your ten toes and ten little fingers. The dominoes of your spine and that precious heart beating fast and strong. I’m staring at your picture right now. I can’t believe that, Lord willing, in just twenty short weeks we will meet you. You had your legs crossed just like your big sisters helping keep the surprise until November.

The nasty thing about fear is that it never goes away. It’s always there. It’s just whether I choose to stare at the thing I’m so afraid of or whether I choose to stare at the One who is bigger than my fear. The One who holds me in the palm of His hand, just as I hold this baby in my womb. There are a million new things to be afraid of today and even more tomorrow. I can choose to go to Google and stare at those things or I can go to the Word and stare at Him.

I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. As I watched her check the individual chambers of your heart and count each tiny toe, I felt those words. Maybe we were created to fear, but we’re fearing the wrong thing. Maybe instead of fearing sickness and pain and tragedy which threaten to paralyze me, I can shift my eyes to the One who creates miracles. To the One who organizes billions of cells into tiny eyelashes and fingernails, who fashions a beating heart and a brain and a spine into nine little ounces of wonder. To the only One who can bestow a soul and a God-sized purpose. Fearfully and wonderfully made. 

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Party of Five

Party of Five

This is where your story begins…

It was a Monday, and I was pushing your big sisters in the cart at Target. I had to get more toothpaste for Lydia and passed the aisle with tests. I was a few days late, so I grabbed a two-pack Target pregnancy test and threw it in the cart, certain I was wasting money.

After the trouble we had getting pregnant with Charlotte, I doubted I would ever be pregnant again. I took the test that afternoon, and before I could even look away I saw it was positive. Immediately, fear gripped my heart. I wasn’t on progesterone like I had been when I got pregnant with Lydia and Charlotte.

I called my doctor stammering and not making much sense. She told me to come into the office for blood work the next day and started me on progesterone that night.

After the initial blood work looked positive, they scheduled me for an early ultrasound. We could see a sac and a fetal pole but no heart beat. I feared the worst. I cried and thought, “God, please not another miscarriage.”

In the middle of all that fear, my friend Lauren, who knew just what I was feeling, spoke life and light into me. Oh, how I wish every hoping momma could have a friend like Lauren. Her confidence and faith in God became my confidence and faith in God. She saved me from a spiral of paralyzing fear. She gave me the hope to keep praying. And a few days later we heard your heartbeat, strong and beautiful. And I cried big, joyful, relieved tears.

Your due date is Thanksgiving Day, a day I love already. Your daddy proposed to me the day before Thanksgiving, and I remember waking up Thanksgiving morning to the smell of my Papaw cooking sausage and biscuits and the sparkle of that ring on my finger catching the morning light. It seems entirely a God-thing that your due date is a day devoted to gratitude because that’s just what I feel.

God has given a word to me through each pregnancy since my losses. With Lydia it was hope. With Charlotte it was faithfulness. With you it is abundance. I pray I get to hold you, raise you, kiss your tiny toes. But no matter what, I love you fiercely. You’ve taught me much already about God’s abundance and about the power of hope over fear.

I love you, little Turkey!