Monday, August 21, 2017

Today was a historic day.

eclipse, moon, night
Today was a historic day. 
For some it was because of the Eclipse. 
For some it was because their babies started school. 
For some it was because they said “yes” or “I do”. 
For some it was because they’d made it to 1 or 5 or 10 years cancer free. 
And for some it was because they got a positive cancer diagnosis.

It wasn’t too long ago, that my Mom sat me down after a lovely Christmas visit, the day before we were to fly back to our NC home at the time, to break it to me that she had cancer and was having a very serious surgery in the following days.  Fast forward to almost 5 years later and she’s thankfully doing great.  While there is still a shadow looming (like there will always be now), much like that Eclipse many of us witnessed today, she is healthier than ever and the strongest fighter I know! (read more here)

Others don’t have the same outcome though.  Cancer is mysterious.  Cancer is devastating.  Cancer is cancer.  Even in the day and age of wonderful, revolutionary science and modern medicine, they don’t know much about cancer.

Today was the day a dear friend of mine, whom I’ve known for 15 years, got the news that nobody ever wants to receive.  There are still so many unknowns because it is early in the diagnosis and cancer just has so many unknowns.  I can’t imagine the helpless and, even at times, hopeless feelings my friend and her family must be going through right now.  Life already is full of unknowns with jobs, children, family, neighbors, etc.…but to put your health into that just is hard.  I am truly heartbroken for her.  Cancer stinks.  We should lean into God for the strength to fight, for answers and comfort.  But it doesn’t always come that naturally.  Could you please lift up a prayer for her and her sweet family?  And could you also add them to your prayer list?

Let’s hug our loved ones tightly when we see them and let them know we love them.  Let’s lean into the Word of God.  Let’s lean on a friend.  Reach out for help or offer help.  Let’s pray like we’ve never prayed before.  Not just for my friend (which I’m sure she’s appreciate) but also for our families, our country, our world and our walk with God.  Let’s get closer to each other and to God.  

Today reminds me of how short life truly is, and how we never know when we’ll meet our Maker.   

Jesus was 33 when He died.  He was the age that I am now.  That’s all.  In today’s standards that’s a short life, but He completed everything He needed to in that time frame.  Although you could argue that since He was still fully God while He was fully human, he likely knew how long He was going to live and therefore could be highly efficient with His time which He would be anyway because He was perfect.  Since we aren’t at all God, not even a little, shouldn’t we be super efficient with our time since we have NO IDEA when it will be up?  We’ve only got one chance at this life, and none of us are making it out of here alive.  

While I hope and pray my friend's cancer is treatable and as curable as some seem to be, there are no guarantees in this life.  Well, there is one and it is that life will end for each of us.  Then there are two ways to go:  to be united with God forever or to be separated from him for eternity.  I know where she and I both stand, do you?

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's a start

We just got back from a much needed weekend away that was completely unplugged. (Literally because we had no service!) While we had a great time, it was so sad to come home to such tragic news of the events this weekend. While I am still processing how some can have so much hate in their hearts, I am not really surprised.  I hear so many people say things like it’s so much better than it was before civil rights or we’ve come so far….but have we really?

A few weeks ago we were coming home from the mountains and stopped at a visitor center to check out the view.  I was with my husband and son when I went to the counter to ask if they had any Jr. Ranger books.  My son had been sitting in the car for an hour before we got out to stretch and was kind of cranky (like any two-year-old might be at any given moment).  The ranger looks at him, interrupting the conversation she was having with me, to say:  “Are you being a good boy today?  Because if you aren’t we’re going to string you up in that tree.”  My jaw dropped.  I didn’t even have words.  I really wish I would have called out her racism and how inappropriate her comment was.  Not only was it inappropriate for a child (or anyone) but with the history in this country of lynching…and the fact that it still happens her comment was just ridiculous.  I didn’t have words, so I scraped my chin off the floor and booked it out of there. 

I certainly don’t have a fix all for our country or for racism but I keep coming back to a few things:

1.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9)

2.  Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. (1 John 4:20)

3.  Perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)

4.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. (Dr. Martin Luther King)

5.  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. (Dr. Martin Luther King)

Let’s hold our loved ones a little closer tonight.  Let’s be kind and love well.  Let’s pray.  Let’s lift up more prayers than ever before. <3 font="">

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


So, it had been getting harder and harder to see for the last few months.  It came on gradually and sometimes my vision would seem perfectly fine.  Then other times it’s just like I was looking through some frosted glass.  It seemed to come and go  and was thankfully only affecting my right eye.  I attributed it to allergies for a bit until the beginning of July when I finally decided to make an appointment to see an eye Dr.  I had a couple other things going on in my eyes, so I wanted to see an Ophthalmologist… 

I had my appointment last week, and long story short I’m fine.  I’ve had some sort of eye glass Rx for about 10-15 years…but it’s been so little of a difference from my regular vision I was only told to wear them when I wanted or at night when driving but I’m not restricted on my driver’s license or anything.  So basically…that means I don’t wear them.  Unless maybe I’m doing a lot of computer work and get eye strain…but really, let’s be honest.  Have you ever seen me in glasses?  Probably not!  Ha!  Ironic because I begged my mom for YEARS for glasses and just like she said…when I got them, it turns out I didn’t really want them! 

It had been over three years since I’d been to the eye Dr. and sure enough…all I needed was a stronger Rx for glasses and….get this….to actually wear them.  LOL  Slightly embarrassing reality that my eyesight has just gotten worse….but I’m so thankful my optic nerves and everything else is pretty much perfect! 

Today my glasses got in and I’m a little on the fence about 1.  The way they look/feel on my face and 2. How I like this Rx.  It’s still not a very big Rx but it’s big enough that it’s taking my eyes and brain some time to get used to.  The coolest thing is possibly that I can see SO much better.  I was driving to meet my niece for lunch and I could see not just the trees lining the street (like I always could) but all the leaves on the trees, as well as street signs before I’m right on top of them, etc… 

Isn’t that just how life is?  Things change gradually and we don’t even notice it until it hits some sort of breaking point?  I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t seeing the full picture.  I had gotten comfortable.  So, I  just need glasses to be able to see clearly.  I’m sure you could tell exactly what I needed from the opening sentence, and that’s also how life is sometimes.  We can see solutions to other people’s problems easily but not our own.  Or, we can see the speck in our friends’ eye and not the plank in our own. (Matthew 7:3)

Hint:  that’s me a lot…although also something I’ve been working on a lot this summer!  The removal of my own figurative plank in my eye…Perhaps then I wouldn’t need glasses at all! 

  I'm not fishing for compliments really, but if you have any feedback or tips I would love them!  Since I'm basically a glasses newbie!

Monday, July 31, 2017

An invitation

adult, architecture, candlesticks
This morning was a gorgeous Colorado morning that was slightly warm with lots of sun and shade.  I parked in the usual spot I do to drop off the check.  I got out and then got my son out of the car to walk it up to the door.  As I was about to press the doorbell, I saw the front door open.  There was my sweet landlady (is that a word?), one of her sweet daughters and their little dog greeting us.  I handed her the check and before I could turn around to leave she invited us in and I accepted. 

I feel like you likely know me pretty well if you are reading this, but I am not really one to show up unexpected to places.  I am terrified as being perceived as a burden.  I also would never want to come across as needy, or not busy enough (or too busy or fill in the blank).  But you know what I end up missing out on?  Community.  Friendship.  Relationships.  Or at least conversations because I’m too wrapped up in trying to be put together, or something.

In the day in age of social media and all the instant info on every one of your friends list, it can be so hard to actually like genuinely to connect with someone.  Or, I guess I should say for me it is.  Perhaps you don’t struggle with that.  I don’t think I did so much when I was working outside of the home and regularly had lunch or dinner with friends. 

I have a bit of theory about it though.  I think it may have something to do with the fact that social media gives us this false sense of intimacy.  When we see all the pictures of our friends’ daily lives and big events happening it makes us feel closer than we really are.  Sure, it helps ‘keep up’ but does it really?  I mean, I know what you ate for dinner last night but do I know how you’re actually doing?

It just isn’t the way that we are really wired.  We are relational people.  We need actual SOCIAL interaction.  Not just social MEDIA interaction.  I think that’s partially why the rates of anxiety and depression are at (I believe) an all-time high in the US right now.

The more we know about everyone the less wonderful our lives seem.  Or the more we know about…the more we compare.  The more we want to share, and maybe shouldn’t.  We find out when people start dating, or break up immediately.  Do you even remember the times when you had to wait for your BFF to call you to tell you (and no, I don’t mean text, I mean call) that she had broken up with her boyfriend.  Or maybe she just showed up on your doorstep to talk it through?  I do.  That’s how it was when I was dating. (Thankfully!)  I’ve said it more than once, that I am SO glad that social media and all he drama that comes with it wasn’t around when was growing up.  It’s not only changing the way we interact with the world, but the way we think about it.

I am so thankful for a sweet friend who invited me into her house and life, and that I said yes.  (Her sweet kiddos played with little man and he had a blast, of course, too!)  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

9 years ago today...

Jesse and I had our first date on July 25, 2007.  He asked me to marry him on October 20, 2007.  We said “I do” on this day 9 years ago.  We were in love.  We were excited to being our life together. I'm not entirely sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  I mean, I know that we both understood that marriage was a lifetime commitment and all, but what exactly marriage is, I don't think we even could grasp that at all.

The last 9 years have brought us: 
9 jobs between the two of us
7 years to build our marriage before we became parents
6 more nieces (& 1 more nephew!)
5 apartments to call home
5 years in North Carolina
4 years in Colorado
3 Church families
3 people to mourn the loss of, my grandfathers and our miscarriage.
2 cross country moves (one as a couple & one with a 5 m.o. baby!)
1 sweet growing boy
lots of joy
lots of sadness
lots of choices
lots of adventures
lot of asking or offering forgiveness.
more love than I thought was possible.

There have been more ups and downs that I ever would have imagine, like most of life.  But I wouldn't trade a single day of it, because it’s made us who we are. Together.  Plus, all those downs make the ups so much sweeter.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better match, partner, mate or father for our child.  God has bestowed many blessings (and a ton of grace) on me throughout my life, but one of the greatest has been you, my sweet husband Jesse.  I love you!  Happy Anniversary! 

"A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." -Ruth Bell Graham

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It's not you, it's me. (Why I think I have a hard time opening up)

Does anyone else struggle with being open with others?  I’m not just talking about being open and transparent with friends or acquaintances…but with people who are close to you, like close friends and family, your “people”?  Well, maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this.

I think part of it goes back to high school, when I had a boyfriend who, I thought, I was pretty crazy about.  I also a had a really good friend.  I’d go so far to call her my BFF, except for the little fact that my boyfriend cheated on me with her, at Prom.  I think that’s when I realized that I couldn’t really trust people.  Or, at least that I couldn’t trust people without the risk of getting hurt.  Perhaps I should have realized that sooner, but I was naive until then.  So, I just kind of stopped trusting people.  Stopped being vulnerable.  Stopped being close with people.  (Except for my mama, who I’ve always been close with!)

I wish I could say that kept me from ever being hurt again….but it didn’t.

Fast forward to going away to and loving college, but being ready to move on by the end it and moving back home for a job.  Then finding the love of my life, getting married and moving back to my college town where he was finishing up grad school.  Then we moved across the country for his post-doc and five years later we moved back across the country to, ironically, the same town we went to college in.  We love this town.  But, coming and leaving, and coming back and leaving and coming back again…makes for an….interesting dynamic to say the least. 

I’m not sure if all that story is entirely what accounts for my inability to open up to others, but I’m sure it is part of it.  I guess the other usual suspects of insecurity, shame, guilt, etc.… are also factors.  I was made very aware of the fact that it can be hurtful for me to not be open even with my closest people a few months ago.  I guess I had kind of lived in denial of my tendencies until then.  

Maybe it’s all because there is SO much going on inside my head that I’m afraid that people won’t understand me.  So, I’d rather just sit back, and be “normal” and very guarded.

Maybe it’s because I just have a super tough time trusting people.

Maybe it’s because this life can be really lonely.  It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who has been “there”, no matter where “there” was.

Maybe it’s because I have a challenging time believing that I’m not a burden.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like parts of my past, the hurts, the disappointments, etc. and I’d rather not rehash them?  (At least until I'm ready?)  Whether they happened 20 years ago, 11 years ago or last month.

Maybe it’s because I am insecure.

Maybe it’s just the way I am?

It’s a coping mechanism.  I know.  I am aware of it.  I am working on it.  And I am more proud of who I have become DESPITE things I’ve been through and who I am in Christ.  So, I guess sometimes, I just feel like the past is better left in the past.  I hope that helps you to understand a bit more about me, or people like me. 

It’s really not you, it’s me. 

(And, if you were wondering, yes, I still find it easier to open up online than to a person face to face.  I can’t really explain it.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Four ways we are striving to be more intentional with money

As you probably already know, and might be sick of hearing, we took Financial Peace University recently and it completely changed the way we think about and handle money!  I feel like we kind of went from "where did all our money go?" to "this is where our money is going!" every month.  Which may not sound like much to you.  But for us, it has been HUGE!  I want to be intentional in every area of our lives, so money is a great place to be intentional too.

1.     Emergency Fund

In Financial Peace University Dave Ramsey has these 7 baby steps.  The first is a little $1000 emergency fund.  I call it little not because I don't think that $1000 is a lot, because I do, but because a "full" emergency fund is 3-6 months of expenses that is Step 3 though.  Anyway, step 2 is to pay off all debt except your house if you have one.  Then you move on to the full emergency fund, and house down payment in 3 a & b.  Like that saying “It's not a matter of if but when” for a disaster, emergency or other big expense to come up.  The Emergency Fund is intended as an insurance policy NOT a savings account.

2.      Paying off debt. (and other baby steps) 

I guess I always kind of thought we'd have our student loans or some sort of debt payments, so we were saving up aggressively for a down payment for a house up until January.  Then we started this class and it changed the way we think.  We decided to use most of what we'd saved up for a house to pay off all our student loans and some of the car loan we still had.  We are poised to pay off the rest of our car (that we bought two years old in January 2016) at the beginning of June.  From there, we’ll finish off our full emergency fund (Baby Step 3a) and begin saving aggressively for our Down Payment for a house (Baby Step 3b) that we hope to purchase in the spring/summer of 2018. 

3.     Budget-telling your money where to go.

I really kind of hate to admit this, but Jesse and I never really lived on a budget until February, like as in a few months ago.  I mean, we'd plan out what we wanted to spend on groceries, etc... but when some categories got overspent we'd just sort of give up and just check our bank balance.  If there was money we'd go to the store.  If there wasn't, we wouldn’t.  Or if we really needed some food or gas or something, we’d put it on the credit card and pay that off as soon as we got paid again.  We were very much living paycheck to paycheck.  (Not that we aren't now...but I'll get to that in a minute.)

We have been using EveryDollar for our budgets, like I’ve mentioned before.  We’ve been keeping a zero-based budget, for the last four months and that’s where every dollar and cent is accounted for.  I love the way that EveryDollar has it set up with categories like this:  Income, Giving, Saving, Housing, Transportation, Food, Health and ‘Lifestyle’ which is basically everything else (clothes, haircuts, misc.…).  It makes it so easy to budget for things and to rearrange when life happens.

4.     Sinking funds.

We have been using a ‘sinking fund’ as Dave calls it for years for regular bigger expenses like car insurance.  Now we even have a place in our budget for a vacation sinking fund for any trips we’d like to take and Christmas gift sinking fund.  A Sinking fund is where you take the amount you need for something, like say your car insurance is $600 every 6 months (or $1200 a year).  You divide that total by how many months you have to save for it, which would be $100 a month, and then you put that in a special savings account and use it for just that.  When the bill comes around you already have the $600 ready for the bill!  Makes those bills so much less stressful. 

Now, I do have to admit that there was one place we strayed from Dave's plan a little.  We did cut up our credit cards (they didn't have any balances on them anyway) one of the first weeks of the class but when we took our nest egg to pay off debts we saved some of it for a bit bigger of an initial emergency fund so that we felt comfortable not relying on using a credit card even just to carry us from month to month.  Dave would likely disagree with what we did here.  We did it because that way we knew we'd have peace of mind and be able to not fall back into the trap of credit cards.  We also knew we'd be able to pay off all our debts in about four months still.  So for us, that just worked. 

Have you taken FPU?  If you are interested in taking the class here is a link to where it is offered near you!  What has been most helpful to you in changing the way you think about and handle money?  What would you add to this?

***I’m not getting paid to recommend any of this stuff!  (Because no one knows who I am!)  It has just completely changed the way we think about and handle money, so I wanted to share some of this with you!***

Friday, May 19, 2017

Where do you find your identity?

Whenever we try to find our identity or worth in something other than where it truly is we come up short.   It doesn’t matter what you do.  If you’re working mom, a stay at home mom, a career professional, a pro athlete, a student, an avid reader or playwright.  When you look to things that are temporary for your worth and identity it will always come up short.  There will always be someone who is smarter, faster, more talented, more successful or better than you.  And that doesn’t actually matter.  There will also be scores of people who are worse than you, which also doesn’t matter.

Do you know what does matter?  Eternity.  Eternity matters.

Do you know whose opinion matters?  Hint:  it’s not your teachers, bosses, friends, coaches or even your parents.  It’s God.    

You know the best part though?  Is that God already loves you.  There isn’t anything you could do to take that away.  There isn’t anything you could do to earn it. 

Before I have some angry mamas or papas writing me.  Of course, their opinion matters, to some extent.  At the end of the day, at the end of our lives (whenever that comes) there is only one who holds it all—and it is His opinion that matters and inevitably what you decide to do with it that will determine your eternity.

There are two options: 
1.       Believe His opinion of you, cherish it and put your faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection which was the ultimate way for God to show His love for us. 
2.       Reject it.

When we choose option 1, we accept God’s opinion as the only one we strive for and listen to.  We’re daughters and sons of the King!  We’re beautiful, cared for, loved and full of hope for the future.  We know that we'll spend our eternity with Him.  Option 2 is a lot more grim, relying on this world to satisfy which it never could even come close to doing and being separated from God forever.

  • When we look to this world to make us feel loved, we may feel that way for a while but it is always fleeting.  People will disappoint. 
  • When we look to this world for encouragement, it all fades too.
  • When we look to this world for enjoyment, there is only the temporary game, book, movie or relationship…
  • When we look to this world for our value, we realize we are easily dispensable.
  • When we look to this world for acceptance, that too is only temporary, with strings attached.
  • When we look to this world for answers, we come up with far more questions.
There are things we can definitely enjoy while spending our time on this earth-definitely.  I’m talking about where we find our identity, our worth and our true sense of joy.  It’s when we look on the face of God through His word that things start to come together.  We realize:

  • We have purpose. (Eph. 2:10, Hebrews 11)
  • We have strength. (Phil. 4:13, Eph. 3:14-19)
  • We are seen and known. (Psalm 139, Luke 12:6-7)
  • We are loved. (John 3:16, Eph. 3:17-19)
  • We have hope and a future. (Jer.29:11, Rom. 8:28)
  • We are not alone. (Josh. 1:8-9, Rom. 8:31-38)
  • We have identity in Christ. (Gal. 2:20, John 1:12)

I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mom – yes.  But I’m first and foremost a child of God.  A Christian.  I’m a sinner saved by grace, who has been forgiven and blessed more than I could ever imagine by the Creator the Universe.  When I look to this world or what I do to fulfill me, it will always disappoint.  When I look to God and who He says I am, there I find my identity.  My joy.  My hope.  My life.

Whether or not you get that promotion.  Whether or not you make the sales quota.  Whether or not you get into the school you wanted to.  Whether or not you make it Pro.  Whether or not you get married or have kids.  Whether or not you _____________.  You are loved.  You are known.  You matter.  Life will always have ups and downs friends, but when we find our identity in Christ rather than this world, it makes it all a lot more bearable!  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Some of our current favorite books featuring kids of color

My son and I had a great time at Story time at the library this morning and then picked out some books to check out.  (And just so you don't we are those perfect people who make it to every story time, and make it there on time and in good spirits--just know that today is the first time we've made it to one early, found a parking place and actually stayed the whole time with no meltdowns!  Yay! #reallife #momlife)  We found three to add to our favorites featuring kids of color!  Woot!  Here are a few of our faves including three finds at the bottom!

My husband and I try to seek out mentors, friends and barbers, etc who are people of color for our son to look up to.  We also are intentional with the books we choose to bring into our home.  Yes, you'll find lots of classics that may only have white characters, but you'll also find multicultural books and books of families of color.  Because, we live in a diverse world and we are a diverse, transracial family.  Even if you don't have a transracial family I highly recommend these books because your kids will have friends, family, etc who look different than them too.  

Just like it's important for my son to have racial mirrors in real life and in books, it's important for everyone to have books (and friends) that are diverse and feature people from of all colors, shapes and sizes.

Buy on Amazon
I am pretty sure I've talked about this one before, because it was one of the first books we got when we decided to adopt transracially.  It's great, has silly and cute illustrations and overall has you embrace your differences!  Love it.

Buy on Amazon
I likely featured this back in January when we got it, but this series is awesome and this one about MLK doesn't dissappoint!  It covers the major things about who Dr.  Martin Luther Kind Jr was, what he stood for and how he did what he did.  Plus the big head and little body people, are

Buy on Amazon
Denene Millner's newest book and it's ggreat!  You may know her name from her popular blog My Brown Baby, or all the other books she's written.  This one features a girl as the main character who is about to sing for Church.  Her borhter, mother and father are all there too.  And the illustrations are spot on and amazing even down to the details in the hair.  

Buy on Amazon
Written by Misty Copeland, the famous and super talented black ballerina.  Yes it's about a ballerina, but not just any.  And ok, maybe i got more for me than my son at the library today.  But it's amazingly well done.  

Buy on Amazon
Super cute peekaboo book!  This cover reminds me of my son before his first haircut. (tear)

Buy on Amazon
Super fun book about all the family loving this baby so much.  

There are no affiliate links or anything here.  These are just some of our favorite books right now that feature kids of color that I wanted to share with you and I provided links to be helpful.   We bought them from amazon or checked them out from the library.

Monday, May 15, 2017

13 Reasons Why NOT

(This is written in response to the new show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix.)

I don't know where you are right now.  And I certainly don’t know what’s going on in your life.  Maybe everything is going well right now.  But maybe it’s not.  Maybe your spouse just told you they are leaving.  Or your girlfriend broke up with you.  Maybe your parents are ill.  Maybe you just feel alone.  Maybe you feel afraid.  Maybe you are being bullied.  Or otherwise feel hopeless.

In short
1.     You matter.
2.     You are unique.
3.     You are irreplaceable.
4.     Your story is still being written.
5.     You were created for a purpose.
6.     Things in this life are temporary.
7.     You are not alone.
8.     You are brave.
9.     You can’t see the forest through the trees.
10.  You are strong.
11.  You can change the future.
12.  You are known.
13.  You are loved.

1.  You matter.  You are more than just some number or name.  You are a person.  You are someone’s child.  Someone’s friend.  Someone’s student.  Someone.  You are a person.  A human being.  A soul.

2.  You are unique.  You may think that you want to be just like everyone else or just want to ‘fit in’ but you are the only one like you.  You aren’t a copy.  You’re an original.  An individual.

3.  You are irreplaceable.  Since you are one of a kind, there’s not another who could replace you.  Ever.

4.  Your story is still being written.  Tomorrow is a new day and although it may not change much, it will be at least a little different.  A little better.  Give it one more day.  Then give it one more day after that. 

5.  You were created for a purpose.  I can’t exactly tell you what that purpose is, because I am still trying to find out my own.  But as you learn and grow, you’ll find out just who you were created to be.  Even born leaders had to grow up and go through hard times. 

6.  Things in this life are temporary.  Friends come and go.  You won’t be in school forever.  Family may even come and go.  But so will bad things and good things in your life.  Again, give it one more day.  Then give it one more day after that.  We can really only live one day at a time anyway.

7.  You are not alone.  It can feel like it when you are in the middle of hard circumstances, but you’re not.  Others have likely been in a similar place before and made it through.  Sometimes you have to be the one to speak up though.  Reach out and hang out with someone, or go to a Church, Moms group, College group, Singles group, Bible Study, or other meetings where you can connect with people similar to you.

8.  You are braveOnly you can make the choice to change your life.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship, seek counsel.  If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, talk about it with someone.  If you are depressed, reach out and get help -- you don't have to go at this alone.  Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

9.  You can’t see the forest through the trees.  No matter if you are 15 or 50, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of life and not see the whole picture.  Instead of focusing on what is going wrong right now, the bills you can’t afford to pay, or the kids making fun of you.  You can make up classes.  Bankruptcy happens and isn’t the end.  (Millionaire Dave Ramsey once had to file!)  Relationships come and go.  Even when we take a step back we can’t see the whole picture because we are just one person in a much grander scheme.  Try to gain some perspective and reach out to a parent, teacher or friend for help. 

10.  You are strong.  Struggles and Challenges help shape you.  If everything always went well, you wouldn’t be the born fighter you are.  If you never were challenged you wouldn’t know how to overcome.  Each obstacle helps grow and shape you into the person you are becoming.  We also can’t see every battle someone is fighting.

11.  You can change the future!  Be a listening ear to those in need.  Help others overcome.  Help others realize their full potential.  Help others see they are not alone.  You can’t change the past, but you can change the future and make new history.  If you are here for it.

12.  You are known.  You are seen.  You may not feel like it right now, but it is true.  You are known and seen by the Creator.  Just like you were made with a purpose, you are known.  He’s knows your past, present and future. 

13.  Last, but certainly not least, You are loved.  Hopefully evidently by the people around you, but undeniably by God.  In fact, He loved you so much, even though we had all sinned and separated ourselves from Him, that He sent His only Son to earth to be born of a virgin and later die on a cross for the sins of the whole world.  Just so, as it was written He was raised in three days and the veil was torn.  We have a direct line, a direct way to God now, through Jesus.  

Reach out if you or someone you know is thinking of hurting themselves.  Talk to a friend, a mentor, a parent or find a counselor at your school, college or your Church.  If you or someone you know is actively suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It's OK to have mixed feelings about Mothers Day

Throwback pic to just after I was born and the first pic of us as a family of five. 
Mothers Day is on Sunday.  I have a few thoughts to share about that day and I want to start by thanking my Mom.  The one who gave me life, and love and taught me almost everything I know.  The one who stayed up countless nights waiting for me to get home from play practice or dates.  The woman who was my confidant and best friend.  The one I could always count on.  The one I hated to disappoint, but always knew she’d be there no matter what.  She’s amazing.  She’s a lover and a fighter.  She’s the strongest woman I know.  Even looking cancer in the face she stayed strong.  So thankful for such an awesome mom.  I wish that everyone could have a mama like her, or even a friend like her.
One of my all time favorite pics of my beautiful mama.
(Taken by me on the Outer Banks of NC in 2014)
I’m also super thankful for the woman who raised my husband, the love of my life. I still have such mixed feelings about Mothers Day though.  I suppose it started around the time we started “trying” for a baby.  There were so many months that I would wait and see if it was going to be the one where we got pregnant.  I would buy pregnancy tests from the dollar store because I always had a supply in my dresser drawer and let’s face it, that was a way cheaper way to buy them.  If I was a day late, I’d test just to be disappointed again.  
Looking back, I am kind of glad that we were blissfully clueless of our infertility at that time.  I suppose I had some suspicion, but I’d also heard that it just took some couples longer to conceive than others.  It was difficult to see seemingly everyone around me, including my sisters and friends with their growing bellies and families and…me with another negative result, but we kept it to ourselves.  Very few people in our lives even knew we were trying, much less how long we had been hoping for a little one. 
We’d always planned on adopting, and since we didn’t see any reason to postpone anymore (only reason we had ever postponed it was because we didn't know how long we'd be living in CO and then NC), we started pursuing in 2014.  Cue the fundraising and the wait that ended up being pretty short really.  Then in 2015 I became a mama and came that bittersweet first Mothers Day.  “A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”  (Jody Landers quote) 

Then a few months later I got the long awaited big fat positive.  I was pregnant.  Then we lost the baby.  The we were diagnosed with infertility but so, so thankful for the babe in my arms who called(s) me mama.  I still think that one of the most thoughtful things someone said came very unexpectedly from my maternal grandmother when I called her the day I became a mama.  She said, "I know you're happy, you've been waiting so long for this moment."  She was so right.
My first selfie as a mama.
It’s been quite the adventure to motherhood and while there were times that were heartbreaking, God and my husband have been there by my side the whole time.  I think about the what if’s sometimes, and I think that’s normal.  But I focus on the reasons I’m thankful.  Thankful for my Mom, my husband, my son.  Thankful for my son’s birth mother.  Thankful to have been chosen to raise him.  Thankful to have a story and a life to live.  Thankful for all the many blessing that far outweigh all the bad stuff.
Mothers Day is bittersweet for me, but I often think of those who also have trouble with this time of year.
Those who have lost their husbands or wives.
Those who are single parents.
Those who have lost their mothers.
Those who have lost a child at any age.
Those who have placed a child for adoption.
Those who long to be mothers.
Those who are pregnant.
Those who are waiting for the big fat positive.
Those struggling with infertility.
Those waiting to be matched.
Those struggling marriages.
Those underappreciated, overworked mamas.

Let’s pray for all the women we come into contact with this week.  We don’t know the battle she is fighting, but more than likely she’s fighting one.  Let’s encourage one another.  Let’s tell those mamas and women they are doing a great job.  Let’s spur them on.  Let's also just remember to breathe in and out.  It's totally ok to have mixed feelings about a day that was created to help celebrate our Mothers, but also just brings up a lot of hard stuff.  Happy Mothers Day, whether you are a mama right now or not.  You are loved.