Sunday, November 20, 2016

Brody, Brayden, Jase and.... ???

Thursday, we got to visit Santa early and got this little gem of a photo.

And.... yep! Another baby is on the way! We are super excited and have a wonderful sense of peace and contentment that I know only comes from God. And contrary to what the picture shows, both boys are really excited to become big brothers (again and for the first time).

I kinda think that is one reason that pushed us to having just one more - seeing the boys with their baby cousin made me long for them to have a playmate. Plus, during these past two years, if you ever asked, "Are you going to have any more kids?" I always hemmed and hawed. We were perfectly content with our little family of four, but something never felt finished.

Now we know why. It's the best feeling to know that this feels just perfect. Because yeah, three kids has a whole 'nother level of keeping up with the kiddos attached to it, but I like to think that we're as ready as we'll ever be and with God by our side, all things are possible. Plus, we know that every baby grows into a toddler, kid, and adult and doesn't need quite as much hands-on from us as the parents.

If you know anything about our story, you will also know that one reason we hesitated on another pregnancy is because today marks the six-year anniversary of our firstborn son, Brody Mark. He came at 21 weeks because my body couldn't hold him longer. I had a cerclage put in place for six months of the pregnancy with Brayden and Jase, and this little baby will be no different. That means I'll have weight lifting restrictions starting at the end of this month (okay, my mom is starting them now!) through 36 weeks (May?). I also have to be somewhat cautious on what I do. I did the least with Brayden because I was the most nervous. I did more with Jase and my body did great. I'll probably keep similar activity as I did with Jase, since my body held up well. So if you see me sitting down during praise and worship in church or something like that, I'm just trying to be cautious about my body so it doesn't get overworked.

My kiddos are at an age where they are excited about the baby, able to do much on their own, and great helpers for mommy and baby. I will try to be very good about asking for help when needed and gauging what me and my family need... not easy, but I've learned that asking for help is vital.

Anyhoo, that's my story. Today we think ahead to baby #4 with excitement and we honor and remember our littlest, biggest buddy Brody. You mean the world to us, Kiddo. Hugs and love from me and the fam. We'll have a sweet treat in your honor and celebrate you today.

Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement and support that you have given to my family during all that we have been through and all that we will be through. I know having a little kiddo here next year is worth all the effort.

Monday, July 4, 2016

an easy, on-the-go Independence Day lunch

Happy birthday, America!

I have been blessed to study more about our founding fathers and founding documents and I am very grateful for all those men have given to ensure a solid foundation for our country. Thank you, Lord!

Today we got to celebrate at home with family. It was really nice! That's really a few of the best parts of life... Celebrating God's goodness, being with family and being outside.

We went fishing with my in-laws over lunch. Since it was a last minute decision I had to convert our plans for taco salad into something travel worthy for eating on the boat. 

You may be able to guess my solution... Walking tacos!

I had fun planning this. I grabbed a ziplock bag for everyone and put in some chips and shredded cheese and a plastic fork.

Then I cut up a container of cherry tomatoes (on sale at Aldi!) and made a bag of shredded lettuce. Last was the ground beef. Well, technically I cooked that first, let it cool and then put it in a Tupperware. Lastly, I threw in an unopened medium taco sauce into my lunch backpack. 

When time came, I took out the fork and threw the ingredients in the bags. 

Next came a small amount of taco sauce. 

Next came the crushing and shaking up... Then eating!!!

It was a hit with everyone but our two-year-old... He didn't love the lettuce. Ate a bunch of everything else. 

When the sun poked out from the clouds, the boys decided they needed shade. 😀

Cleanup was easy... Just zipped the bags closed and threw it all back in my backpack!

Overall, a huge success! Definitely a future alternative to sandwiches! 

Anyhoo... I am forever grateful for the opportunity to freely be with my family and celebrate all God has given us! 

Happy Independence Day, America!

Monday, April 25, 2016

sneak peek of my new book!

We are close to the one-month countdown until my devotional officially releases! June 1 is the day, although you can pre-order online now! A sneak peek of what's inside is below... but first the official picture and description of the book:

"Within the pages of this beautiful women’s devotional, you’ll find the encouragement you need to celebrate every day, as you are reminded that your heavenly Father pours out His love on your life. With more than 180 just-right-sized readings, each encouraging devotional is accompanied by a related scripture selection that will leave you feeling perfectly loved."

Now, my favorite part... the sneak peek of what's inside! This one is from the section on endurance and shows the general format of the devos.


Immerse Yourself in God’s Word 
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11 NLT

Enduring through difficulty can feel impossible, but it isn’t. Read, study, or memorize God’s Word and give yourself ammunition to make it through difficult times.

When you are alone, the Holy Spirit can remind you of Hebrews 13:5.  When you are scared, you’ll remember Psalm 23. When you need healing, Isaiah 53:4–5 will come to mind. The Word of God is filled with power. It will strengthen you when you need it the most.


There you go! If you want more of these bite-sized nuggets for your morning, pre-order a copy, okay? Thanks! I really hope you enjoy it. 

By the way, if you're looking for a mom's day gift, you can always pre-order it and put a nice note in her card saying that a book will be mailed to her soon!

I remember thinking of you, my audience, when writing it. I hope you are encouraged to live daily for Jesus as you read what's inside. 

Have a great day... and thanks for reading and being interested in my writing!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A day at the zoo!!

Yesterday, my parents and I took the boys to the zoo while Erik was at work and getting ready for a weekend fishing trip. The animals were awesome and a vivid reminder that our God is an amazing Creator of this world! Here's a glimpse of the day! (lots of pics to follow!)

Lunch time! (Once B put his hat on backwards, J followed and grandpa couldn't resist the trend!)


Goats and the baby animals came next, including the petting area where you get up and close and personal, particularly if they know you have food! 

We saw baby piglets just a few days old!

Next was a highlight... Watching the penguins get fed!!

Beautiful underwater creatures came next!

I thought this one was just a plant in the water... Amazing how it blended in!

Another big moment was the feisty bears!! They put on quite the show! (keep an eye on all three bears... the one on the left is heading to the rock for some extra sun!)

Why hello there, Bear!

And yes, those are striped jammy pants on Jase because I completely forgot to change his diaper until ...well, let's just say it was absolutely necessary! 😳

B and J have loved learning about cheetahs recently so it was fun to have something similar to see! (Leopard!)

This was just a glimpse of what was, all in all, an amazing, fun day! 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

the rhythm of life

Every once in a while, I think I get lost in the repetitive nature of life. Wake up, prepare food, play/work, prepare food, play/work, prepare food, get kids to bed, work, go to bed. Yep, that's my day! But there is an added constant battle that comes with motherhood as I attempt to keep the kids well fed and well rested and learning about life and Jesus in a way that honors God.

Yeesh, you wouldn't think that sentence would carry so many weight and so many different ways to fulfill it, but it does!

The Lord has been renewing in me my heart for Him. It's always been there and it is the bedrock and foundation of my life, but He's renewing my focus on pulling from Him rather than myself.

There are so many fears and uncertainties that come with motherhood, not to mention all the pressures from everyone else about how best to live your life, it can get exhausting. But at the heart of it all, I come back to praise. I come back to my home - God's heart.

I wish I did a better job of representing Him. I still have my guilty pleasures related to this world that are hard to let go because they do help me relax, and I think that's okay, but probably just for a season. (For one, I'll admit, I'm a Marvel movie fan!) God is slowly turning me toward Him and working on my heart. He's showing me how to trust Him in situations I find impossible. He's showing me how my definition of "not-meeting-Bible-standards" isn't the end of the story. Just because a situation isn't going as planned or as it should go doesn't mean that God can't and won't have the ultimate say. I'm working on getting that perspective back in my mind of His sovereignty. He has the ability to change hearts and literally love on people to move them towards Him in a way where they choose Him willingly -- not because He twisted their free will, but because His love is that powerful. It is that encompassing and beautiful--and He knows how to get through to people in a way that I --and even them -- will never understand.

Trusting Him. Learning. Growing. Every day... and trusting God that in the middle of that trusting, the kiddos will watch and learn about the relationship I have with God. Because when it all comes down to it, it's not so much about a salvation prayer, although that's the beginning. It's about a relationship with God Almighty, who can also become your best friend.

Friday, January 22, 2016

why do we have to go through valleys?

Psalm 23 says that David waked through the valley of the shadow of death. That doesn't sound like much fun. In fact, for many who are going through a difficult time, it begs the question, why do we need valleys? If God is good, couldn't He use His goodness and power to keep life fantastic for us at all time? Wouldn't a life of mountain tops be better?

Actually, that question itself is impossible. A land filled with mountain tops would be a flat valley. Mountaintops are made beautiful by the very fact that there are valleys. And depending on where you are, valleys are filled with foliage that cannot be appreciated from the mountaintop. Both experiences create a fuller experience of life.

For us to be dogmatic and assume all of life should head in a certain direction is an invalid conclusion because the beauty in life and the beauty in creation comes from the multidimensional terrain.

God didn't make this life a flatland. He made it a beautiful world of valleys and mountain tops. It's our job to trust Him through it all. As we trust Him, we can hunt for the beauty in the valleys and soak in the majesty of the mountain tops.