Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It will be soon.

I have gone over so many words in my head today. So many have flooded my mind. But right now I don't even know where to start.

Today was a hard day. I have cried more tears than I have in a long time. Even now they won't stop. My head hurts, my heart is raw and my eyes are puffy. In a way I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep it all away.
But words just keep coming and all I have ever known to do with them is to write them.

A few weeks ago, on November 7th, we found out we were pregnant with our 4th baby. A baby we have always known would be. Always known we wanted. The only question we had was when it would be. We waited a long time after having Mia to let ourselves be ready. She turned 3 on the 29th and we told all of our family that day that she was going to be a big sister.

I debated on telling people, but then decided that regardless of age, this baby was our baby from the moment of conception. And that we would celebrate every single day of it, just as we do our other children.

I have shared our story from the very beginning. I have opened my heart to others because in a way it has helped heal me. I have found that in our own vulnerability and honesty, in our raw-ness...God had used us most. And that is always my hope in sharing our story.




I thought that this time, I would be stronger. I would be braver. I had learned and rested and I had waited. But when you hold the life of a precious soul in yours, the life you want more than anything....all of the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders. No amount of time can prepare you for that.

It's not that I thought I could control anything. Like anything I did or didn't do could change what happened. I have freedom in knowing I couldn't have changed it. I'm thankful for that freedom.
But my heart is broken tonight. The baby I just barely got to know, but loved so much, will never be in my arms on this earth.

We had a dr appointment today and just as the baby appeared on the ultrasound screen, I just knew.
I said the words before my doctor could because I knew they would be hard.
"No flicker."
... No beating heart.

Today at nearly 9 weeks, we found out that our baby's heart stopped beating at 8 weeks.

Our doctor, whom we love so much, said to us that God must really trust us with all that we have been through. I have thought about those words a lot today. It is not that I don't think I can handle everything I've walked through, and more....I just don't know why I have to.

I do know this....my losses have never been this early. My heart has always gone out to moms who lose a baby early on, but I never felt tied to that loss. Like I knew it. I have known the loss of 20  & 24 week old baby girls, laying in my arms.... But this is new to me. This struggle of never knowing or seeing a baby, of it being so new and small, yet still loving it beyond comprehension, is a hard one. I know this loss now. It is a new one for me, but I know it now.

We had to tell the kids and I was dreading it. They have already become so involved and excited about this new baby. Already kissing my tummy and talking about names. Bella would tell me each morning that she prayed for the baby the night before. When we told her that the baby had gone to heaven, some of her first words were "but how could this happen? I prayed for it every single night!"

Those words broke me. I wanted to say to her "my sweet girl, I have asked the same thing, and I don't have the answers"
But I know one day she'll understand better. She will learn, just like I have, that the answers may never come. But she will learn to be ok with that because her faith and trust in God is stronger than the unanswered questions. He knows better. He has a plan.

I told Brandon that this story of ours, of hope and of loss, it's not just his and mine. Our kids are watching too. Feeling and processing and walking through it with us. It will be part of their story one day too. And God will use them through it.
That is my redeeming hope.

Asher cried hard. I wasn't expecting it. Bella is my deep feeler, but Asher seemed to take this harder. I think because his understanding was more clear. Bella didn't get it right away. But Asher did and he cried harder than I have seen him cry in a long time. He buried his head in my lap and I just let him.
I know in my heart that God will use that sweet, compassionate heart of his one day.

And we will try again. We will have our 4th earthly baby one day. We're going to take a few months, but then we will try again. I know that some will question this. Wonder why we don't just give up. But we know in our hearts we were meant to have a 4th. I won't let the enemy rob me of another baby because of fear. Like Brandon said, we know the end result of the "risk" and it is worth it. Beyond worth it. Our 3 precious kids are evidence of that.

I wanted this baby more than words could say. It feels like it will be an eternity before I get to hold him or her in my arms, but I know that the day I do will be one of the sweetest days of my life. I look to that day with hope, but I will live in this day with joy.

I know my heart will heal. The time we have between heaven and earth...the time we wait to see our babies one day, is like a blink in God's eyes.
It will be soon.




Thursday, December 5, 2013

-Perspective-



I know I'm not the only mom who lays awake at night thinking about the day.
I replay episodes in my head and most days I go to bed with plenty of grace. I've learned to accept it. To accept that I'll mess up or make mistakes or lose my temper. But other nights I will replay an episode in my head and it's all I can do to just shut my eyes tight and wish for the new day to come already so I can start it all over and do better.

I was having one of those moments tonight. Replaying a scene in my head. How I acted. How I sort of lost it over the girls picking up their toys, and Asher leaving his shoes in the middle of the stairs. As I replayed it in my head I saw myself as this crazed lady yelling over such silly things. And then I started to want to shut my eyes tight and make the day be over. Wishing I had stayed calm. That I hadn't over reacted.

But then I remembered the minutes just after. How even after I acted that way, even after I felt so unworthy of love or affection...my kids still come to me and want to hug me, or kiss me, snuggle me, or just be with me.

Bella does this thing where she will randomly come up to me, give me the biggest hug she can and say "you're the best mom in the whole wide world."  Sometimes it's as if I didn't just get on to her for spilling her milk (again) or get on to Asher to finish his homework, or remind Mia (for the 100th time) not to touch other peoples things. Those times where I feel like the mom who is constantly correcting or disciplining. The mom who is tired and at a total loss of patience...

They don't see that mom.

They see past all of my crazy and they see me. They know me. They know who I am and how much I really love them. And they are confident in that.  At the end of the day, whether I think it was a good one, or a bad one, my kids get tucked into bed knowing their momma loves them without any doubt.

It is such a beautiful reflection of God's love and grace.  No matter how much we mess up and regardless of how we see ourselves,...Nothing changes. He loves us the same.

As I was writing this I was reminded of a video I saw not too long ago. It goes hand in hand with what I feel God speaking to me tonight. I thought I would share it. Praying it encourages you too if you are needing it.



A New Perspective For Moms
 from Elevation Church on Vimeo.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Comfy + Cute (What I Wore)


When it comes to my style, I'd definitely say these two things are a must. While I always gravitate toward trendy & cute (what girl doesn't) it also MUST be comfortable. I can't be bothered with annoying pieces of clothing that I'm having to tug on or readjust. Obviously there are exceptions like say, my wedding day, when my dress was so tight I could barely sit down to eat. Shoes are also an exception. Because let's be honest, no 6 inch heal could ever be considered comfortable, but sometimes you just have to suffer for the cause, am I right?



This outfit is a prime example of what I'd call comfy and cute. The second I put on the top I fell in love. I could seriously have taken a nap in it it was so comfortable. It fits pretty loose so I decided to tuck it in a little and then added a necklace. When I can put an outfit together in under 10 minutes, I know I've picked some good pieces. And the mustard color....does it get any more Fall than that?



I put this outfit on early Saturday morning to go downtown with my sister and pick up our race bibs for the half marathon we ran this weekend. We went to lunch, ran errands and then ended the day with the whole family for dinner. When I can wear an outfit all day long and not want to rip it off my body and throw it across the floor the second I get home? That my friends is a mission accomplished.

Flowy tops, skinny jeans, boots, flannels, over-sized sweaters, scarves and leggings are all comfy staples in my closet for fall/winter.  What are some of yours?



Top: c/o Riffraff
Skinny Jeans: H&M
Boots: Target
Necklace: Forever 21


Friday, November 15, 2013

F A L L











I just love Fall. The colors---mustards, creams and browns. The smells---my two favorite fall candles right now are from Bath and Body Works: Autumn & Sweater Weather (Get them!)White pumpkins and pretend fall leaves because here in Texas we don't get much of the real thing.

I'm trying to hold on to it all a bit longer. It's so hard when every store has Christmas out and people are already putting up their trees. I'm seriously fighting the urge to do the same and so far I'm staying strong. I won't lie though...I have started listening to Christmas music.

What about you? Are you holding off a little longer, or have you started decorating for Christmas?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween

"Darkness can not drive out darkness, only light can do that; 
Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that. 
{martin luther king}


Growing up, we never "celebrated" Halloween. We stayed inside with our lights off. Usually we'd do our own special family thing, and honestly we didn't really feel like we missed much.  In fact, early on my parents sat us all down and we watched a documentary on what Halloween was really all about. I can still remember a lot of it and to this day, I am still not a fan of the holiday. At some point in elementary school, my class was asked to write a paragraph about what Halloween meant to us, and while all of the other kids were writing about candy and costumes, I wrote about the history and rituals that Halloween was really about. I remember the teacher looked at me like I was crazy when she read it. Makes me laugh now.

I really think my parents generation has come a long way with religion and while our basic beliefs have never changed, I think that more than strict rules and hostile guidelines, FREEDOM seems to be more evident in the Christian faith now a days.

Not in the sense that lines are blurred but definitely in the sense of acceptance and open arms, and personal conviction.

I don't like the word religion. I don't consider myself or our family to be religious. Instead we live a life in pursuit of God. In pursuit of people, because of a God who loves them. And I don't think that strict rules and hostile guidelines are what will draw them in. I think forgiveness, and love and acceptance is.  I don't want religion for myself or my kids. I want relationship.

Fast forward to Halloween this year. I felt my heart was different in how I looked at it. In years past, I would turn my nose up at people who went trick or treating. How dare they call themselves christians and then take their kids trick or treating!

So dumb. So judemental.

Over this last year God has definitely taken me on a journey of freedom. Not just in my own sense of self, and confidence and away from worry of what others think of me, but in the way I look at others too. I feel like God has created us each different and unique in order to fulfill a calling specific to us. And in that same note, He's given us our own convictions, thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

With that revelation, I've really been able to free up a part of my heart that felt like it was my job to convict people, or even change them. It's not. What is my job is to love them.
Whether I think that what they say or do is right...Love them.
Maybe I really don't like what they're doing, or how they live, maybe I don't agree with it...
Love them anyway.



This year, for the first time in my entire life, I did something with my kids that I never have before....we carved a pumpkin. I know its crazy but at nearly 31 years old, I have never carved a pumpkin. I just never did before because that was something that was part of the history and rituals of halloween that as christians we just didn't do.

I have to be honest that I still felt a little weird about it. It's hard to re-program yourself from something you've believed for most of your life. something you thought was "wrong." And I definitely had a moment where I questioned whether it was the right thing. Did I lead my kids down a road that I wouldn't know how to navigate? open a door to questions I wouldn't know how to answer? Where exactly do we draw the line?

We carved an owl. It wasn't anything scary. While I have opened my heart to the freedom of our own convictions, I definitely don't think that subjecting my kids to witches, and ghosts and evil skeletons is in our Halloween future. I work hard as a mom to protect their precious hearts and minds and eyes from things that could perpetuate fear, so I think that that part of halloween is something we will always steer clear of.

I don't have this all figured out. I don't have the perfect answers to give. I still don't like Halloween. But I do know that closing doors is not the answer. I know that turning my nose up is not the answer. I know that I want to love people no matter what. I want them to see something different in me and in and our family, and be drawn to it. Not away from it. And I know, above anything else, that that is God's heart for his people here on earth. To draw them unto Him.

What I, as a mother, want most for my children is balance. I truly think there can be so many extremes when it comes to christianity.  But I want them to be so rooted in their own relationship with Jesus that when the world throws up some crazy temptation or questions their beliefs, they'll not only turn to Him, but turn others to Him. I want them to live with conviction and I want them to live with love.

I think if we could loosen our grip on what we think is "so right" or "so wrong" and open our eyes and hearts to the world around us...to a world that needs what we have, then God's love would be more greatly shown. 

Every year its become a tradition to go to my grandmas house on Halloween. We eat chili, and the kids wear their costumes and get candy. They don't go trick or treating and when the door bell rings,  they don't pass out the candy.

But this year, I decided...How silly is that? Why is one thing ok (dressing up), but another isn't (trick or treating.) What was my heart saying about this in not allowing my kids to do those things? Did I think I was better or holier? I sure cringe to think that may have ever been my heart.

I think it is so significant that in both passing out candy and trick or treating, people are opening their doors. For maybe one of the few times of the year,  people of all walks and all religions are opening their doors without hesitation. Why, as people who love Jesus and carry His light, would we not open ours too?

What tells a louder story of God's love? Turning out lights and shutting the doors, or opening them and shining His light with our actions and words? I have been asking myself this question.

In the end I think we each have to decide for ourselves where to draw the line. We have to look in our own hearts and discern why we are doing or not doing something. I for one want to live a life of conviction based on my relationship with God. A true, revelation of his love and grace for me. Not condemnation or judgement, or fear of what others will think.

I can't say I've got it all figured out yet, but I know God's began something in my heart that has nothing to do with the hype of Halloween. I want to look past rituals, rules and religion, and I want to see people the way God seems them. And some of those people? Some of them are so lost. I just can't help feeling the burden to share the hope and GRACE of a God who truly loves them.

In the end, that is what truly matters isn't it?


xo, 
Laura 



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hope Spoken


H O P E  S P O K E N  2 0 1 4

"Hope Spoken is a women's conference where we all can come to know Jesus more, and make Him known in our lives. Our conference will be filled with stories. Stories of Christ in each of our lives, and how we can use these stories for His glory. This is a weekend to rest and feel His love, to lay burdens and hurts down and feel His grace. We want to let women know that they are enough, to encourage women to use their passions, their words, and their creativity for the Lord. We, above all else, want to glorify Jesus' name and share the hope we have in Him."

I'm excited to be a part of this conference and will be there as one of the small group leaders for the weekend! I believe that right now, tickets are sold out, but they are looking at adding more soon, so if you are interested in going, keep an eye on the website here

I'm linking up today with Casey, Emily and Danielle so that those of us who will be attending, can start to get to know each other a bit better. If you plan to be at Hope Spoken, I would love to hear from you! If you linked up, let me know so I can go check you out and say hello! :)


+Here's a little bit about me:
I'm Laura. Married to Brandon. We will be married 9 years this coming November!
Together we have planted a church here on the North West side of San Antonio and LOVING it. 
We have 3 kids. Asher (almost 8) Bella (5 1/2) and Mia (almost 3)
I will be 31 this December and really can't believe that. I still feel 21 ;)
I love my family. They are my number 1 priority. I love the Lord and I love serving along side my husband to see God's kingdom advanced. I have a huge, soft heart for people in general. I own a little online shop that I love and I also really love Target, new notebooks, candles, and fresh flowers. 

+Something I'm nervous about for the conference weekend:
Hmm....uncertainty, I guess? Not knowing what to expect or how to plan. 
I'm such a planner and I like to know what to expect. But I have come to learn that it is in these situations of uncertainty that God shows up big in my life and uses me, speaks to me and enlightens me in a whole new way. So while I'm nervous about it, I'm also super excited!

+Something I'm hoping to take away from Hope Spoken:
Relationship. Friendship. Connection. 
While I have "met" so many of the women who will be there through social media, I am most looking forward to truly connecting in person. I can't wait to hear their stories and to talk face to face. I can't wait for God's glory to be shown and talked about from all kinds of women with all kinds of stories. 
I really don't think you can beat -in person- connection. I'm a hugger too, so just know if you meet me, I will probably hug you. 

+Something fun or random:
Let's see....I am so random that it's hard to narrow this down...
I can't stand sleeping with socks on. I eat my ice cream with a fork. I am super intrigued and interested in other people. My kids take a bath every.single.day. I really love to dance. I am training for a half marathon. I'm addicted to carbs. I've got a major case of baby fever right now. I do not take myself too seriously and am usually the first person to laugh at myself. 

++++++++++++++++++++++
Ok so for real, don't make this all about me. Did you link up? Are you going to the conference? 
Let me know!
Did you not link up? Do you have no clue what linking up means? Are you so confused right now? 
That's ok, either way...I would love for you to tell me something random or fun about YOU now :)
And also, if you leave me a comment, I almost always reply in the comments, so check back there! 

xo, Laura


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Corn Maze

The weather this past weekend was absolutely perfect and beautiful. I left the house Saturday morning for a baby shower and as soon as I walked out the door, I decided we had to take the kids to do something fun later. It was just too beautiful of a day not to enjoy.

We wanted to go somewhere that would take a few hours and had lots to do. We decided on the South Texas Corn Maze in a near by town called Hondo. It's about 45 minutes from where we live. The perfect amount of time to feel like you're getting a mini road trip, but not too long where the kids get too antsy in the car.

Aside from the huge corn maze, there is so much to do for the kids. A hay ride, animals to pet, a huge jumpy thing, hay bales to jump over, a large field of pumpkins, a tractor train ride, and Asher and Mia's favorite...the huge slide. You have to pay a little extra for this and we assumed Asher and Bella would love it, but it ended up being Asher and Mia who did. Bella is our "play it safe" girl, where as Mia is the little dare devil. It's funny because I still look at her like my little baby...my peanut. But she was so brave and kept right up with her big brother. They would come down together, then turn around and climb the hill to go again. Over and over. While Bella was perfectly content to hang and watch with mom and dad. Love all of their different personalities.

We left the corn maze part for the end of the day and got some roasted corn and funnel cake right before. The sun was setting and it was absolutely beautiful. I am such a sucker for sunsets. I stopped to grab a picture of how beautiful this tree looked against the setting sun. It takes my breath away how beautiful God paints the sky for us each day.

We didn't leave until well after dark. The kids had a blast and the girls were sawing logs before we even got out of the town. It was such a perfect family day. I'm so glad we were able to make it this year. And I even remembered to take my "real" camera to capture some of the moments from the day.




Mia bonded with the llama. She said he was talking to her because he was making little noises.











 




It was the perfect day. I'm so thankful for memories like this with our kiddos. As we were leaving Asher grabbed my hand and said "thank you mom and dad for today" Which then led Bella and Mia to chime in with the thank you's too. Melted my heart and made my cold, tired feet totally worth it.

Have you made it to any pumpkin patches or corn mazes this year?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

-The BEST Apple Dip. Ever-




Ya'll know I don't share a lot of recipes here, but this one is a MUST share.
A couple of years ago my sister's co-workers gave her a baby shower and that is where I first tried and fell in love with this dip. I then stalked my sister until she tracked down the recipe for me from her friend/co-worker Michelle.

You will want to make this asap. It's the perfect fall dip. You can actually have it year round of course, but I save it for the Fall because if I didn't I would be 10 lbs heavier. It's seriously addictive.  Make it and share. Thats my advice. Just trust me on that one.



Here's what you need:

-Apple Dip-

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2- 8oz cream cheese
2- 6 oz of heath toffee bits

It's pretty simple from here, just mix it all up and refrigerate for a bit. I usually let the cream cheese soften first. We like to eat it with green granny smith apples but you can obviously use any type of apple you like. The heath toffee is where it's at with this recipe so don't skimp. Also don't kid yourself into thinking you might try and cut calories by using the 1/3 fat cream cheese. It's totally not the same so just go all out with it and ENJOY!

Let me know if you decide to try it.
xo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our Weekend

I wanted to give you all a quick update on Genelle's family. Because of the generosity of many of you, we were able to bless the family with two $200 visa gift cards. They were so incredibly blown away and blessed by it.There are so many details to this story that unfold every day. God is really showing me how and why He has intertwined our families. I will definitely share more some time. Thank you to those of you who donated and extended yourself to a family you have never met. You were and are God's hand and feet. I'm praying double blessings over each one of you.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So I'm completely thrown off by yesterdays holiday and keep thinking that today is monday. Anyone else? We had a full weekend of family. I love that about this time of year. We have so many birthdays this mixed in with all of the other fun things to celebrate, so we get lots of fun family time.

My older sister doesn't live here in San Antonio and since the pleas and signed petitions for her to move back haven't worked yet, when she comes to visit it's always a treat. My sisters are my very best friends. They just get me. They get my humor and they know me best and they just get me. I am so thankful to have these two in my life as some of my "constants." I've been thinking a lot about the constants in my life. The people who have always been around and always will be and I've just been feeling really thankful for them. Get a handful of really good people around you, who you trust and who you know truly love you and you'll always be grounded.

We celebrated my nieces birthday at the neighborhood park and it was so hot, but so fun! Especially for the kids. It was a costume party so they all got to wear costumes. Since we don't really put much emphasis on dressing up for Halloween, I always appreciate another reason for them to get to dress up. And I can't tell but I think they kinda dig it too...




Sunday was an extra special day for us as pastors. We had our first baby dedication since planting our church and Brandon and I got to dedicate our nephew Charlie. He is the most precious and sweetest little boy. My brother and sister in law live only a street away and I've contemplated kidnapping him a time or two. We love him so much and it was such an honor and blessing to dedicate him back to the One who gifted us with him. Baby dedications always get me so choked up. They are so special don't you think? Having the privilege of dedicating my brothers son was something I will always cherish.
Let me honest about one of the reasons I love having girls: dressing them. It is so dang fun. And also I like to coordinate us sometimes. Maybe this is a little obnoxious but I just can't say that I care. And at the moment the girls don't either, so we're having fun with it. This day we were feelin the leopard. Please note that Mia's jeans were supposed to be "skinny jeans" but because she's just a scrawny little peanut, they fit more like boyfriend jeans. The girls got no booty.  Can't say I relate with her on this one.


Now let's talk about this weather real quick. Are you getting any Fall weather in your area? Cause here in Texas, we're being teased by a cool day here and there mixed in with hot and humid. This time of year I always wish we lived in a city with actual 4 seasons.
Tomorrow though, we are supposed to get a cold front with a high of 64! I can't tell you what this does to my heart. You better believe I got me a yummy cold weather crock pot recipe ready to try out in celebration!

I'll also be sharing peaks of our Fall decor soon. Do you decorate for fall at your house?

Hope your Tuesday is a good one friends.
xo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

-And If Not-

Praying for Genelle over these last couple weeks, I would sometimes hear these words echo into my heart.

"And if not..."

I pushed them down, because I didn't want to think about the - and if not.-

Now that things are beginning to settle down into my spirit I can hear them again. And as if by some God whispered nudge, my friend Danielle posted these words on instagram and they boldly stared me back in the face. 



I believe it with every part of me. That He is still good. That He is good. That He knows far beyond what I could imagine and even try to think I know. It's silly really, for me to even question. And yet, I know that God's ok with my questioning. 

I remember a moment sitting in my car, right after we lost Faith. I had a lot of anger. I wasn't mad at God. I never have been. But I was just angry. I felt like my fight for her wasn't good enough. Like I had done all I knew to do, and still I failed. And I remember this moment in my car so clearly where I began a hard conversation with God where I pushed for answers and I kinda felt Him push right back. Like it was ok. You know I think when we push, we move forward, and I felt myself moving forward. Changing. I remember feeling distinctly that it was a pivotal moment and that in my anger I could either stay right where I was, or I could allow my faith to literally be catapulted to another level. 

I never want to stay where I am. I want to move forward and grow, change and transform. Thats my hearts desire. So when something comes at me and it challenges me, you'd think I would welcome it. But thats just not human instinct. Instead, emotions take over and our flesh rebels. What we wanted didn't happen. We didn't get what we wanted and that makes us angry. But if we choose to move past that emotion, there is so much more beyond it. 

I can feel it now too as I push forward, my heart and faith have grown. I believe with all of my heart that God is good. And that He is able. And that His ways are not my own. I truly do. 
And so in that I rest. 

I don't have the answers. I have Him. And that is enough.

-And If not- Still I will praise Him.


Monday, October 7, 2013

-the Hope of Glory-


I've tried hard to figure out how I was going to word this post.
The truth is, I don't know. My heart is torn up. I have no answers and so many questions.

Friday afternoon, just as we were walking out the door to take the kids to the park, I got a text from Genelle's mom letting us know that Genelle Glory had gone to be with Jesus.

Staring at the words on my phone, I felt an incredible mix of pain and disbelief.
My heart just broke. Thinking about her mom and the familiar sting that the death of a child brings. Not just to your heart and soul, but to your faith. Especially your faith.

I won't try to cover up the fact that I just don't get it.
I believed. I prayed. I knew and I still know that He is able to perform miracles.
Genelle needed a miracle.

I've had many conversations with God the last couple of days. I still feel so unsettled. It's not that I think I deserve answers, or that I think I will ever understand. It's that I truly believed for a miracle for this sweet girl. I believed I would see her run and laugh and play.
Why didn't that happen?

"She was healed. God did heal her. She is perfect and whole and in heaven now."

Thats a familiar answer. The easy one. And one I have rested in before. One I still truly believe. Don't misunderstand me. I truly believe that. But. It's just not good enough for me right now.

And maybe that's why I'm here in this broken place. This place of uncertainty. I've never felt so secure in my faith and so sure of the love God has for me. And yet. There is so much about this life that I simply don't understand.

Do I stay there? In that place that says, "I may not have the answers, but I'm at peace without them." The place I've been in for years. Do I stay there, or do I go deeper. Do I search his word and cry out on my knees. Maybe thats what God wants from me. Maybe He wants me to ask him and demand and beat his chest with tears in my eyes.
Because thats where I'm at.

I'm so angry at the devil for stealing this little girls life.
I don't know why any parent should ever be robbed of getting to watch her take her first steps or say her first word or start her first day of kindergarten.

I do know that my passion and burden for other moms who have lost a baby is even heavier. I know that my mission to show hope to these moms is fierce. I know my faith is being challenged in a way that makes me want to go deeper. I know my love for God is real. I know that He is always good. These things I know.

I look for reason and purpose in everything. As I begged and cried and prayed for God to show me a fragment of a reason in this for me, I only felt my heart for Genelle's mom grow heavier.
I don't have the answers. But I have Jesus and I have hope.

How though do I give hope to a mom like Genelle's, who has held her daughter for 4 months. Looked straight into her big brown eyes. Watched her first smiles. Knew she liked classical music, and how she liked her milk... How do I give that mom hope?

The answer is I can't. It's not my responsibility. But I can show them Jesus and pray they search deep within Him to find that hope for themselves.

We walked outside with the kids that day, and I told them to look way up into the sky, "you see how beautiful it is? That's where Genelle is now. In heaven with Jesus."

And I was reminded of one of the reasons we named Mia, "Mia Glory." One of the definitions of Glory is: "the splendor or bliss of heaven; perfect happiness"

I know that's where Genelle Glory is now. In that bliss and splendor. It's all she'll ever know.
Thats a beautiful truth.
And yet, it doesn't lift the hurt I feel for Genelle's mom.

So I keep my eyes on the hope of glory.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
{2 Corinthians 4:16-18} 


If you'd still like to donate to this family, I am receiving monetary donations for help towards funeral and hospital costs or any other extra expenses. I can not imagine the extra burdens they are facing in so many areas. I know every bit will help. You can send a donation through paypal to bitsofsplendor (at) yahoo (dot) com. Or email me.

love to you all
xo

Thursday, October 3, 2013

-Praying For A Miracle-

I debated on whether I was going to write about this, but I decided tonight that I am.  This isn't my story but it's some one else's and what I keep thinking is if my words or my reach or my prayers can help bridge the gap for someone else, then that is mine.
maybe not this story, but that responsibility as a believer, is mine.

It's been a heavy few days. Sunday afternoon I held the hand of a friend/neighbor as we watched paramedics try to bring her 4 month old back to life. They had checked in on her while she was napping and found that she was not breathing.

I knew nothing else to do but pray. I held her mom and we prayed. I spoke the name of Jesus and I prayed God's holy spirit would breath life into that sweet baby girl.

I watched her dad cry out on his knees, praying and banging his fists on the ground.
I saw them pick her up and raise her little body into the ambulance and stared at her little chubby legs dangle.

All I kept hearing and speaking is "He is ABLE."
Though what I was seeing said different, I believed he was able to bring that baby girl back.

We later found out that they were able to get a pulse by the time they'd reached the hospital.
I knew right then that I had already seen a miracle. But I knew God wasn't done.

Genelle Glory is this sweet baby girls name and I only recently found that out. They'd always just called her GG. Glory is significant to me for so many reasons. We even named Mia, Mia Glory because we called her our little glory girl. The manifestation of God's goodness.

And that is what we are praying for Genelle. She is currently on life support. Tests on her heart have come back perfectly, but the rest of her organs are struggling. specifically her liver and kidneys. They will have an MRI tomorrow to see where any damage is in her brain. She did not pass many of the brain tests doctors performed, but she is breathing on her own. Irregular breaths right now at 6 breaths per minute (normal is 20) BUT she is breathing on her own. That right there is hope. 

We are believing for a miracle. And I am writing this so that you can believe with us.
I strongly believe in the power of prayer and allowing others to come along side believing for the same.

We went to see Genelle the other day and we prayed over her. I laid my hand on her chest and felt her heart beating strong. I held her little feet in my hands and believed they would one day walk. That her lips would one day speak of His goodness and her hands praise His name.


Her mom is tired. Understandably. But hopeful and strong. She is not and will not give up on her baby girl. I have tried my best to do what I can and be the support that I can be. We brought Genelle a lovie and her mom a journal to keep with scripture verses and to continue to write God's promises as he speaks to her through this.

I want to do more though. I hesitated in putting this out there, but I have had many people ask how they can help since I posted about it on my instagram.  At this point I know one of her biggest struggles is spreading herself between her three kids and having to drive back and forth across town. I know this feeling and tug at her heart and it is not easy. I also know they are at the hospital a lot.

So I was thinking, if you were one who wanted to give something, I think gift cards for gas, or groceries or restaurants would be perfect. If you want to make a donation, I could take the money and buy the gift cards myself. I know this family could use this blessing right now. I know it won't take the emotional burden off of them but it would help take some of the extra financial burden they are facing.

If you'd like to donate any thing, monetary, gift cards, or something more personal you think would be encouraging in some way, please contact me at bitsofsplendor @ yahoo (dot) com. You can also send donations directly through paypal at that same email address. Just make a note that it is for Baby Genelle.

I'd like to collect all of this asap so they can use it in the days and weeks ahead.

More than anything friends would you please pray?  I'm finding myself praying bolder than I ever have for this little girl. For God to perform a miracle just like he did in the bible when he raised the little girl up. He took her hand and he said "Talitha Koum" which means, little girl, get up.
We are believing this for Genelle Glory.

This little girl will be a living, breathing, walking, talking, testimony of His goodness.
He is able. 

Thank you for your prayers for this sweet family.
xo.

F R E E





{Top is from TJ Maxx,  Jeggings and Shoes from Target}


"You turned my mourning into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. That my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord, my God I will praise you forever."
Psalm 30:12

I remember not long after we lost Grace, I suddenly found this huge love for music and dancing. Now mind you I can't really dance. I'm definitely not terrible, but I definitely don't have rhythm. So somewhere in between those two? thats about where I am.

I remember dancing in the car to a song that came on the radio with Brandon and being fully aware that I looked so silly, and being just as fully aware that I could care less.

Thats what was suddenly different. Not the love for music or dancing to it, but the not caring how silly I looked while doing it.  I remember the moment I realized that had changed. It was one of the first moments I think I really started to see how God was transforming me.

I've had so much on my heart recently and so many of the feelings of my past have been resurfacing as I walk through some things with people close to me. So much of the struggles and the emotions, and the things I had to walk through to get to where I am. It feels like they've all come back to stare me right in the face again. Almost like a test to see if the areas where I thought I'd healed, really had.

You know I honestly can't say they have completely. I'm not sure they ever really will. At least not until eternity. But one word that keeps striking my spirit is "F R E E."  It's become one of my favorite words. It says that though I may not ever be rid of the struggles, I'm not bound by them. I don't live my life imprisoned by them anymore.

One of my biggest issues and struggles has always been that I worried about what people thought of me. For so long, I hid a lot of my heart and a lot of what I was going through, because I was afraid to let people in too close. Afraid of getting hurt or criticized. It was my way of protecting myself. Really I think it was my way of feeling like I could control the parts of me people knew or saw. I built up walls so high people couldn't see past them.

But freedom for me, came in dancing. As silly as that sounds. It started there. In being confident enough to let people see me not be perfect and put together. Not be completely in control. To let my walls crumble and just be the person God made me.

You and I? We're free! To live, to sing, to be happy, to be filled with joy, to see the good, to smile and laugh, to celebrate, to dance. It doesn't mean those things we struggle with disappear, it means they don't control us. They have no power over us.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let your heart be burdened again by the yoke of slavery." {Galations 5:1}

So here's what I say y'all. Turn up one of your favorite songs and get to dancing. Be Free. Cause Christ has already set you free! That good bit of truth is just awesome, isn't it? I don't know about you, but I need to remember to live by it more.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

-Fresh Starts-




I have this issue with my phone. I am constantly out of storage space on it. I went through not long ago and deleted a ton of apps and photos. That solved the problem for a little bit. It was glorious to be able to take a few pictures without that notification of "no more storage space" popping up.

Until...it did. Again. And I was right back to where I was a couple weeks before. I realize this is pretty low on the list of world problems but this might be one of the most annoying things ever to me.  I feel like I am constantly having to go through and delete what I think is "extra" and try to keep what I think is important. Those sorts of things stress me out. How am I supposed to choose which picture of Mia in the pumpkins is keep-able and which can be trashed?

This is how I feel about life lately. Sort of loaded down. There is a lot on my plate and even more on my mind. It sometimes feels like there is not enough time in the day. I thought about writing a list yesterday to help me sort out the priorities from the "extras." Maybe that would help clear my mind. But even the thought of sitting down to write a list was overwhelming.

I'd sat at the kitchen table earlier in the morning with my devotional out in front of me, notebook ready to write, headphones and pandora set to Jesus Culture. The set up was perfect. But I was so distracted.
My mind just kept racing forward to the next thing I needed to do. The email I needed to send, the orders I needed to package, the errands I needed to run, the groceries I had to get...

And then I suddenly found myself scrolling through instagram instead of my Bible. Because when life feels heavy and loaded why not add more with images and words of what everyone else in the world is doing, right?
Please tell me I am not alone in this habit? Am I the only one who finds herself mindlessly scrolling through instagram when there are so many other {and better} things to be doing?

Yesterday evening, I went for a run and decided to listen to a podcast by Steven Furtick. It wasn't long into my run and into his teaching that the realization between this storage issue with my phone, and the issues in my life were ironically similar.

It got me thinking about what I've been storing. What had I been feeding my heart and mind and spirit? I've piled so much in that I've left little space for Him to speak.

I don't think the answer is to shut the world off.  And I don't think the answer is needing more time.
I think the answer is simply, leaving more space...

Space for Him to move in my life and in my heart.
Time enough to be still and quiet.
Not to waste it on things that aren't encouraging me or uplifting me.
Not to pile my to-do list so high I can't see past it...
But to instead fill my heart and spirit with His word. To dwell in day long conversation with Him.
To check in with Him when I'm feeling weighed down.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The air has been cooler these last few days. It feels dry and clean. Literally like a fresh breath.
Reminds me that a new season has come.

Today, I'm praying for that fresh air to blow through my heart and spirit. To show me areas where I can use my time more wisely. To clear away the clutter I've been storing and to leave that space wide open for Him.

I'm so thankful for start over's, aren't you?
Happy Fall Y'all.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

-Sharing Spaces- {the Girls' Room}

Did you ever watch the TLC show 'Trading Spaces'? I was obsessed with it. Obsessed I tell you.
Brandon and I were dating then and it would come on on the weekends and I was all about staying home with rice crispy treats and Trading Spaces. Talk about a cheap date.
I wanted Vern to come decorate my house one day and I wanted to be BFF with Genevieve.
Now that I think about it, not much has changed. I would much rather stay in on the weekends with a few episodes of House Hunters, Brandon by my side and Ben & Jerrys in my hand.

This all has absolutely nothing to do with the post except that when I wrote the title, I thought of the show.

So, a few months back I decided it was time to combine the girls together into one room. Mia was ready to transition from a crib to a big girl bed, her room is pretty large, and we needed a space to use as an office for Brandon now that he works from home. It just made sense to move Bella out of her room and into Mia's.

I was a tiny bit nervous about how they would do together. Bella is majorly independent. And even more so, she loves her sleep. Mia is a free spirit and would have an all night dance party in her room if Bella let her. Fortunately she doesn't. Girl means business when it comes to her sleep, so it has worked out really well.

Even if we had the extra space to keep them separate I'm not so sure we would. I shared a room with my sisters growing up so it just feels right to have them sharing. My favorite thing is to walk in on them playing some made up game or setting up houses for their Barbies. Takes me right back to the days I was doing the same with my sisters.

The main thing I tried to do was keep it fun and of course girly. I also wanted to do little things here and there to differentiate the two girls in some way. I came up with the idea of the monogram letter over each of the beds and then went from there.
















Most of the prints and hoop art in their room are from Blossom & Vine. 
Comforters, Rug, Cubby Shelves and Dress Up Bar from Target
Large White frames over the beds are from IKEA 
DIY Glitter Letter Monograms found: Here.


The girls have loved sharing a room and I love that they are together. I am sure when they get older, we will reevaluate, but for now its working for us.