Friday, April 1, 2016


PSALM 139: 1-6 & 13-16

O LORD, you have examined my heart
   and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
   You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
You see me when I travel
   and when I rest at home.
   You know everything I do.
You know what I'm going to say
   even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
   You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too great for me to understand!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
   and knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
   Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
   as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
   Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
   before a single day had passed.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

This isn't . . .

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be able to make them matching big sister/brother shirts like I did when Jennifer, Samantha, and Allison were born. They were supposed to be baseball themed like they were when CJ was born.

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be surrounded by my children shortly before giving birth. We were supposed to take one last picture as a family of 7 like we did when all the others were born.

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to make it to at least 38 weeks so that he would be fully "baked". I was supposed to be able to skip the NICU stay this time around like we were able to do with Elizabeth and Allison. (As of this writing, we're still about 15-20 minutes from knowing for sure whether he'll be staying there or not.)

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to have an epidural that blocked the pain from my belly to my feet like I did with the 5 previous. I was supposed to be protected from the pain of pushing/delivering and not just the contractions. 

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. I was supposed to have my 5 oldest waiting in the waiting room to come see their new brother. I was supposed to let them in my room to hold him and snuggle him and meet him face-to-face. I was supposed to be able to get at least one picture of us as a brand new family of 8.

This isn't the way it was supposed to be.  I was supposed to be sitting in my hospital room, recovering, with my newest baby boy curled up in my arms. I was supposed to have him by my side, not laying in a bassinet somewhere else in the hospital, trying to figure out this game of life on his own.

And then it hit me . . .

He's not alone. Joshua 1:9 says that God will never leave us or forsake us. He is in the room with my little boy right now. He is holding him in the palm of His hand. What an assurance that is for a mommy separated from her baby!

God's not surprised by any of these "supposed to be" moments. He's not surprised that I desired events to be a certain way. (Psalm 94:11) He knew beforehand that they wouldn't turn out the way I wanted them to. (Proverbs 16:9) He knew He had other plans for this moment in my life, in Chase's life, in Elizabeth's life, in Jennifer's life, in Samantha's life, in CJ's life, in Alison's life, and in Chance's life (Psalm 139)

Just because our circumstances say that Chance will be admitted to the NICU, doesn't mean he will. Johnson 16:24 says, "Until now, you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you WILL receive and your joy WILL be complete." (Emphasis added)

God's in charge and He isn't leaving me or my boy to figure this out or walk this alone. 

*Thank you, God, for your gentle reminders.*

Friday, March 20, 2015

Uncertain Days

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still, the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days
Because He lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just
Because He lives

Friday, January 30, 2015

Update and Prayer Request

I started this blog about 3 years ago, just weeks before the birth of our third child, Samantha. I was so excited about it and posted something almost every day. Add in another baby (CJ) 12.5 months later and Miss Allison, who is due in about 6.5 weeks, and I think it's safe to say that things have changed! I go months without posting (all while dying inside because I have so much I want to say and share!), but I don't have time to sit down long enough! I'll survive though. I wouldn't change my life for anything - except maybe moving closer to family. And more sleep. Definitely more sleep!!! Anyway, I wanted to give an update on this pregnancy and ask for prayer as well. It is too much for a simple status on Facebook, but I have several people asking how things are going. So, here it is.

Elizabeth was a full-term baby, coming just 5 days before her due date. She was healthy, though she only weighed an even 6 lbs. Jennifer came next. She was born 4 weeks and 3 days before her due date. She weighed 5 lbs., 15 oz. and was in the NICU for 10 days. Samantha was next in line. She was born 3 weeks and 5 days early. She was 6 lbs., 1 oz. and stayed in the NICU for 7 (I think) days. Then came CJ. He was 5 weeks early. He weighed 5 lbs., 7 oz. and stayed in the NICU for 10 days. I know this is a lot of info and seems unnecessary, but it will help you understand our circumstances and the prayer request a little better. The doctor told us they were probably all coming early because they were so close together and my body was tired. She suggested we wait a year before getting pregnant again. We made it 11 months before I had an allergic reaction to two different birth controls. We decided that was God's way of telling us it was okay to stop waiting. He did give us another 4 months though before he created Miss Allison.

This has been, by far, the hardest pregnancy so far - physically and emotionally. Maybe even mentally. Thankfully, God has carried us through and has provided friends and family to help at just the right time. He created this little girl and He is taking care of her, and me!

Anyway, I went last week for my 33 week checkup. The doctor said everything looks great. No dilation or anything so far. I didn't really think there would be. I have been resting more with this baby and haven't had many contractions. He also said that, according to the sonogram, she is 5 lbs., 8 oz. already and in the 84th percentile! This gave him (and me as well) hope and concern.

His explanation that caused hope:
Sometimes when a woman is carrying a small baby (like at the end of second and beginning of third trimesters), her body will recognize the pressure that the baby is putting on her, but because it's not much weight, the body will not adapt to that pressure and tighten up to hold in the baby. As the baby gets bigger, the body seems to recognize that significant weight and then will tighten and hold the baby better. He is hoping, since Allison is already bigger than CJ was at birth, that this same thing will happen with my body, and she'll stay in until at least 37 weeks.

The thing that caused concern:
As you can see above, my three oldest, whether early or on time, all weighed within an oz. of 6 lbs. (They were all even the within half an inch of the same length!) He said it's very possible that my body was just tired, but it is also likely that my body just can't carry a baby over 6 lbs. This causes concern because she is already so big. If I can't carry a baby bigger that 6 lbs., she could come earlier than any of her siblings have.

None of our babies have arrived before 35 weeks. I figure that means the progress starts some time in the 34th week. The safe point is 37 weeks. I realized that means that for the entire month of February I need to be off my feet and taking it easy. The issue that arose with that realization: How do I do that with 4 kids (ages 5, 4, 3, & 2) at home and my husband gone to work for 13 hours a day??? In order to help this situation, our families in Houston have requested to take our children - all 4 of them! - for the first two weeks of February. About Valentine's Day and just before Samantha's 3rd birthday, they will come home and one of Chase's sisters will come with them to take care of them here at home. This way, they'll be here for Samantha's birthday and (hopefully) be back before Allison is born. They, obviously, won't be in the delivery room when she's born, but I would like them to at least be in town and at the hospital.

So, here are the prayer requests:
1.) Though I don't particularly want to give birth to a HUGE baby and don't have a problem having another 6 lb. baby, pray that my body will adapt and hold her until at least 37 weeks even if she gets bigger than 6 lbs.

2.) Pray for me around here as well. I've been told it's okay to get up and move around (as long as I don't overdo it), but that I shouldn't be mopping or vacuuming. If you know me, this is a difficult thing for me to do, especially when I'm nesting!

3.) Please pray that I'll be wise in what I should and shouldn't be doing. Please pray that I'll listen to my body (and obey it, as the doctor said!). Pray that I'll know when I'm about to overdo it and not when I've already overdone it.

4.) Pray for our family during this time of separation. I know it's only 2 weeks and that we just did this with our three youngest while Elizabeth and I were sick, but it's still hard to have them gone. It's also hard for them to be away from me. In addition, Elizabeth has not be gone from me for that long before (the others hadn't either until last month), and she is very insecure about it. She doesn't want to go, and though I know it's what's best and what needs to happen, I'm having trouble with the fact that I'm going to have to make her leave on Sunday. Please just pray it all goes smoothly.

Thank you all for being here for me and joining me in prayer for myself and my family. I appreciate it more than any of you will ever know! 37 weeks is the safe point so we are shooting for February 25th, though I wouldn't mind waiting until after CJ's 2nd birthday on March 1!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Yesterday at church, we sang the old hymn, Because He Lives. This has been my favorite since I was a little girl. I sing it around the house all the time. It's one of the songs I sing when I'm rocking my babies. I sing it while I'm washing dishes and when I'm folding laundry. It's almost like it's just a part of me. I sing it without even thinking about it.

But yesterday? Yesterday I wasn't distracted with kids or clothes or dishes. I didn't have my mind on anything else. I was totally focused on the song I was singing. And for a slight second, it brought me to tears. I was taken back to that day. It's been almost 10 years, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. 

I remember staying awake all night waiting for him to come home. I remember praying and crying for hours on end. I remember police at our front door telling my mom that it was too soon to file a missing persons report. I remember her telling them that this wasn't normal for him. I remember her telling them that he was always home at the same time every day. I remember begging God to bring him home, even though, deep down, I already knew we would never see him again this side of eternity. I remember sitting in the living room feeling guilty because there had been multiple times over the past several months that I had had the feeling that something wasn't right with him. I remember vividly thinking he wasn't okay. 

I remember the next morning getting a phone call that he had been found. I remember a glimmer of hope that he was still alive. I remember that hope come crashing down when we found out he had ended his life. I remember our car pulling into the parking lot of the warehouse where he worked. I remember seeing the ambulance with its flashing lights. I remember seeing his car, walking toward it, laying my head on the back window with my arms outstretched, as if I was trying to hug him while hugging his car instead, all while my mom screamed at me to "don't go in there!" because she thought I was going to try to find him. I remember the police questioning my mom as a suspect even though there was no possible way a woman that small could have done that to man as big as he was! 

I remember days of looking through pictures, of planning a funeral. I remember floods of people pouring through our house bring cards and money and food and words of encouragement. 

I remember the funeral with friends sharing our grief. I remember my "nephew" - who was just 3 at the time, sitting on the front row with us and asking his mom, loudly, why that man was sleeping in church. I remember the giggles rippling through the church as people responded to the little boy's innocence and tried to remain reverent at the same time. I remember enjoying having kids come to our house and the funeral because they brought laughter and joy and happiness during a dark time. I remember speaking at my dad's funeral, though I don't remember what I said. I remember the slide show we put together, and I remember the friends who sang and which song they shared. But mostly? 

Mostly, I remember singing a congregational hymn. And I remember, after everyone had exited, our family gathered around his casket and sang the chorus of that hymn accapella. The hymn? Because He Lives. 

At the time, I knew it was true though my heart had trouble believing it. These past 9.5 years, I have struggled with trying to figure out what I learned through that experience. My family all talks about how they have learned to trust God more because He has proven that He is there for us. I, on the other hand, have been saying that it made it harder for me to trust Him. I mean, I know I can trust that He is able to do anything. But trusting that He will? That's a whole other ballgame. While the death of my father has proven to have positive outcomes for my family, I felt like it only had a negative impact on me. 

And then Sunday came. Sunday morning, the tears dried up as quickly as they came. My sadness turned around. Joy came in the morning, just as His Word says it will. 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Whether that tomorrow is the death of a parent or other family member. Or a spouse addicted to pornography or having an affair. Or financial problems. Or an illness. Or a rebellious child. Or even something as small as burning dinner or misplacing an important piece of paper. WE can face tomorrow because of Him.
Then there's this. "Life is worth the living, just because He lives". Our tomorrows may be painful. They may be filled with deep, deep valleys. They may have mountains so tall and steep that it feels doubtful we'll ever reach the top. On the other hand, we may live a peaceful, joyful, happy existence with never an issue in sight. Whichever path our lives take, those situations can be learning experiences, but they're not our reason for living. They're not what makes or breaks life. They are but a brief moment in all of creation. The only thing that makes life worth living is because He lives. Without that, nothing matters. Even the person with the easiest life has no hope. With that, the death of a loved one, illness, unfaithfulness of a spouse, it is painful, but it doesn't remove the hope we have.

The second verse, though, is what spoke to me most.
"How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day because Christ lives"
I've always loved this verse. When I was little it was because it said something about a baby, and we all know how I feel about those! In more recent years, since I've started having children of my own, it's become a promise that my children can face those uncertain days. Sunday it became personal. I can face uncertain days. Not my mom and stepdad. Not my grandparents. Not my siblings or my nieces and nephews. Not my husband. Not my children. Not my grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

But me.

I can face uncertain days.

I've always known God can do anything. I've struggled with will He? Ya know what? It doesn't matter. I may walk through dark valley. I may face painful times. There will most likely be tears and hurts. He will be with me through it all. He will walk beside me. He will hold my hand. He will dry my tears. He may even carry me at times. But He will never leave me. How do I know? Because He has promised, and Because He Lives, I can trust that He will keep that promise.

Everything He does and everything He allows is part of a greater plan to draw me and others closer to Him and to reveal His glory among other aspects of His character. If it's for His glory, surely I can face uncertain days, no matter what they contain. He will never leave me or forsake me. He Lives.

Because He Lives

God sent His son
They called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives

Because He lives, I am face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just 
Because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day because Christ lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just
Because He lives

And then one day, I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victr'y
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just
Because He lives. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Almost Ashamed

She was cold. She was tired. She was thirsty. But mostly, she was hungry. Truth be told, she was starving. She was, in all reality, dying from hunger. All of her family was gone. Their bodies had surrendered to the fight days ago.

She had one other problem though. She had no money. She didn't have a single penny to her name. At this point, she was going to have to steal if she ever wanted to eat again. 

"Who cares?" she thought. "Even if I get caught, at least I'll have shelter and they'll feed me."

These wouldn't have been her thoughts under normal circumstances. She knew stealing was wrong. She knew it was a sin. But in conditions like this, the brain makes us do crazy things. 

After days of walking, eating nothing but a stale piece of bread, the only food she'd had to bring with her, she finally made it into a town that the famine hadn't affected. It was full of life and energy and . . . food! She walked past a stand and grabbed an apple as she kept going. She found a hidden place to eat, but she had already drawn attention. 

The condition of her body was enough to let people know she was starving to death and that she was desperate for food. They'd had their eyes on her from the second she stepped foot into their precious town. They "knew" she'd try to steal food. 

As soon as she took the first bite of that sweet apple, they were upon her. They grabbed her and marched her through town as if she were on display. Through the entire walk, she heard remarks from the townspeople. 

"Don't give her our resources!"

"She probably only stole from us so she could go to jail and get free food!"

"Pretty soon everyone from wherever she came is gonna hear how good she has it and they'll be here next!"

"They'll overrun our town! They'll eat all our food! Pretty soon we will be the ones starving!"

She tried not to cry and make more of a spectacle of herself than she already had, but it was difficult. Where was the compassion? In her town, in her family, she had been raised quite differently than this. Even in her sickened state, she recalled verses her father had read from his Bible, in Matthew 25, shortly before the starvation took hold of him. 

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.'"

She then recalled the next part of the parable, where the people on the left were criticized for not doing those things for him and how they asked him when had they neglected him in that way. 

"And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'"

Even in her near death state, she knew her father was right and these people were wrong. 

Would justice win out or would the townspeople have their way?

The above story is a sad one. How terrible that a town wouldn't welcome a dying woman and meet her needs. How awful that they would turn her away and be afraid of others "like her" coming to have their needs met, needs that couldn't be met in their own hometown. How horrendous for this dying woman. People aren't really like this though. Right?

Friend, I'm here to tell you, today, that it is because of a situation of this type that I am almost ashamed to call myself a Christian. 

You see, a dying man, a man that couldn't get sufficient help in his own country, came to us for help. Maybe he did it the wrong way. I don't know. I do know that any one of us would have done whatever it took to get life saving help. And we did help him, but we criticized him and complained throughout the entire process. We said that if he got better then he should be put on trial for his deeds. We were angry with him. We called him names. We prayed that his illness wouldn't spread to us. We prayed that his sickness wouldn't affect us. 

Did any of us actually pray for his healing? Did any of us plead with God on his behalf? Did any of us bring his case before the throne of the Great Healer and ask Him to make this man better? Did any of us give of our resources to help this man who was dying, not only physically but possibly spiritually as well?

It's not enough to be a missionary and go "over there" to help them out, if we can't even welcome them to "our" country with open arms and any prayers and resources we have to aid in their recovery.

We were/are so worried about US that we didn't take time to realize this was a person. This was a human created in God's image. He was no different than any of us. 

I can only hope and pray that God isn't as ashamed of the way we acted as I am. I can only hope and pray that He is more merciful and gracious to us than we were to this man. I can only hope and pray that if/when another situation like this arises, we will step up to the plate and be the people He has called us to be. 

(By the way, since I never actually said it, if you're still wondering, I'm referring to the man who came over with Ebola.)

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Public Apology

I have to apologize. Tremendously. I have been so greatly blessed - especially in the last several years.

I have been giving wedding showers, baby showers, and diaper showers.

I have been given numerous gifts while in the hospital giving birth.

I have been prayed for. My NICU babies have been prayed for.

I have been given TONS of help. I have had people stay with me for weeks and help care for my millions of children while I recuperated from having yet another or was on bed rest so baby didn't come early.

Family members have opened their homes to us as we come in town for a visit. No one ever complains about the number of people we bring. No one complains about the noises the kids make or the crying of the babies. Not only do they not complain, but they help me out with them. Not to get them to shut up (though that might have something to do with it!!), but because they love them.

Friends and family members both have helped us financially and physically to get our vehicles up and running. They have both given random gifts of food or toys or cleaning supplies or etc, etc that, unknown to them, helped us make it to the next payday or allowed to have something to give our kids for their birthday or Christmas when we otherwise wouldn't have.

My kids, my husband, and I have all been given birthday presents and Christmas presents. Family members have blessed my kids with Easter baskets and egg hunts.

Just a month ago, I was given a surprise birthday party. Each of my siblings and their spouses and children, along with my grandparents, and mom and Tim, drove TWO hours to meet me halfway for a surprise party. I thought I was meeting my sister and her youngest for lunch, but when I showed up, they were all there. If that isn't the sign of a person who is loved, I don't know what is!

So, what am I apologizing for? Well, I haven't been a very grateful recipient. I mean, I have been more than appreciative of all of the love and care and support, but I haven't shown it. I have not written a single thank you note. I have not made a single phone call to express my thanks. It's not that I don't think about it. I do. If I could remember it all and had unlimited hours, I would sit down and write a thank you to each person for each thing. I can't do that. I want to. I can't. So, for all of you that have been a part of the repeated blessings that have come our way, I'm SORRY. I'm sorry that I haven't shown you how grateful I am for you and what you did. I'm sorry that I haven't taken time out of my busy schedule to thank you for the specific deed/gift you sent our way. THANK YOU. Thank you for taking time out of your day to think of us. Thank you for being a blessing in our lives. We would not be who we are today if it wasn't for the kindness of our friends and family. Thank you for allowing God to use you to be a blessing in our lives. Not a single gift, not a single action, not a single moment of time went unnoticed. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. With deepest appreciation, thank you.