Sweet baby mine.

   I wrote this post a long time ago....back on that precious, precious day I found out about our third little blessing.  Of course I couldn't share it right away because we hadn't announced it yet,  but then even when I could finally share it, I didn't want to.  It still felt too special.

   But today, with Christmas just around the corner and the pageant behind me and the feelings of playing the role of the mother of Jesus so fresh in my was just time to share.  I am bursting with the promise of a new life and I can't keep quiet about it!  Is there anything in this world more miraculous than an unborn child?!

   The awe never fully fades.  The wonder never dies.  The amazement, that God would bless me with a life growing inside.  And each time I wander into the kitchen and see this strip of black and white photos on my fridge of our tiny little one, with its fists clenched and tiny little nose, ears, toes, shaped so perfectly and heart beating so soundly, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

So, here it is.  My thoughts on that day.

I just found out about you today.

   And your daddy isn't home from work yet and I haven't told your big sisters and so right now in this moment, I am the only person on the face of this whole, wide world that knows about you.  Besides Jesus, of course.  It is truly, quite literally, just you and me.  Our little secret.

  And I'll admit, I love it.  Don't get me wrong,  I will relish telling your daddy and I will shout it to the whole world, but for right now, I am just drinking in this moment and just wrapping it tight around me like the coziest blanket and breathing it in.

My baby.

   I hadn't been planning on taking a test today.  I thought it was a little bit early still and so I was going to wait until at least tomorrow....but then about half-way through the day I just couldn't stand it any longer.  I had to know.

   I loaded up your sisters in the bike cart and I pedaled as fast as my legs would take me to the little convenience store in town.  I snatched the one (and only!) pregnancy test from the shelf and immediately felt self-conscious buying only that and so I grabbed some Ketchup too (like that's going to make it any less obvious).

   I paid as quickly as possible and loaded them up again and was on my way.  I remember that ride so clearly....a sunny October day with a hint of the crispness of fall in the air.  As soon as I got home I rushed inside and distracted the girls with something and escaped to the bathroom.

I never knew 3 minutes could stretch so long.

   Before I even saw the result (and I had to shield it from my eyes with my hand so I wouldn't peek) I was in tears.  Tears because the emotion was so strong.  It's such an insane adrenaline rush....knowing that in literally seconds your life could be changed forever or your hopes dashed.  I couldn't get myself to look and I couldn't tear myself away.  And just like that the time was up and it was time to look.....

Two pink lines.

   I sagged to the floor in relief.  Tears poured down my face as I lifted my arms and cried "Thank-you Jesus!  Thank-you Jesus. ThankyouJesus".  Over and over and over again.

   It hadn't even been that long.  For the years and years that some people have to endure, waiting, trying, hoping praying....what I endured was nothing.  NOTHING.  It was only a few months.  But that was enough for me.  Enough for me to know that a day can feel like a month, a month like a year, and a few months, a lifetime.

   I cannot even being to imagine the pain of year after year of dashed hopes.  But this time, it wasn't a "surprise".  It wasn't "unexpected" or half-planned, or a shock to the system provoking those "What have we done??!" feelings.  This time, it was what I hoped for and prayed for almost every single day.

   It is a painful truth of humanity that we never fully appreciate something until we don't have it, or fear that we may not ever have it again.  That is when it becomes something so much more than ordinary.  Something infinitely more than the mundane.  That is when it becomes a MIRACLE.

I am so grateful.  I am so grateful.  I am so grateful.

   I get to be your mama!  I get to grow you, deliver you, raise you, nurture you, and mother you, if it is God's will that I have the privilege of seeing it all come to pass.  Who am I with such a high and holy privilege?  3 children.  THREE children!  That will call me mama.

Thank-you Jesus.

-Your mama


The choice of comparison.

   The other day, Randy and I were talking and I asked him, "Do you ever struggle with comparing yourself to others and constantly feeling like you're falling short?"  I was dying to see what he would say because I'm pretty sure I just summed up the basic struggle of all female humanity into one sentence.  His answer?  "No."

   I shouldn't have been surprised.  Of the two of us, he is certainly the more logical, level-headed, steady, and collected individual, especially as far as emotions are concerned.  So it stands to reason that something that is a HUGE obstacle, temptation and downfall for me, isn't so much of a battle for him.

   So I ranted and raved a while about how overwhelming it all feels and how "out of my control" it seems and that's when he stopped me.

"Just make a different choice."
"But I can't control how I FEEL!" I wailed pitifully.
"But you CAN control how you respond." He replied.

   And of course, he couldn't be more right.  We have a choice.  We are NOT helpless.  The enemy is not Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or a blogger, or a friend, or our worst enemy, or anything else that we think "makes us feel" something.  Inadequacy, lack of talent, poor self-image....the list goes on and on.

    Sure, you can't help a feeling from cropping up inside of you.  We walk through the mall and see poster after poster of airbrushed model and BOOM.  It's there.  We browse through a blog or magazine and see room after room of impossible interior perfection and BOOM.  It's there.  We attend a party and taste dish after dish of culinary art and BOOM, it's there. We get a Christmas letter heralding the million achievements and successes of their row of children and BOOM, it's there.  We watch someone seem to effortlessly achieve our wildest dreams, and BOOM, it's there.

But we not have to stay captive to those feelings.

I'm not enough.
Not smart enough.
Not creative enough.
I'm not as good as she is at ______.
My home isn't fancy enough.
My art isn't amazing enough.
I have nothing worthwhile to say.

   Quick as a wink, those thoughts and feelings creep up.  And you're right, there was little we could do to prevent that.  (Aside from putting on the armor of God BEFOREHAND, which is another whole post someday, and very likely the key to this whole thing!)

   But as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, my dear husband was exactly right.  We DO have a choice.  Once those feelings are there, we choose what we do with them.

   Do we dwell on them?  Letting them circulate and fester and grow until they're bigger and stronger and uglier and mightier then they were ever intended to be?  Do we take them in our arms and hold them close to us like some kind of beloved pet or friend when we should be treating them like a venomous snake?  Do we stack them up on top of each other like building blocks, creating walls around us so high that no one will ever be able to get in?


   WE open the door.  We fling it wide and WE invite them in and we ask them to put their feet up and have a cup of coffee and stay awhile.  WE make agreements with them.  WE nod our heads to what they say, and WE pile on shame and failure and defeat until we are wallowing in the pit that WE created.


And I think it's time we make a different choice.

   How are you making that different choice when it comes to comparison in our competition-crazy culture?? I'd love to hear.


The meaning of Christmas.

   This year is our church's 25th annual Christmas pageant, and I am privileged to have a part in it playing Mary.  If you're local, come see us tonight the 10th at 7:00 pm, Friday the 12th @7:00, or Sunday the 14th @ 6:00.  Located at 35100 Goltra Rd. Albany, OR 97322. (photos from two years ago, Mark Ylen. Sorry so old, I didn't have any others!)

   It has been really difficult to play this role.   God has been breaking me.   Humbling me, stripping me down until the deepest parts of me are left exposed and it has left me feeling more vastly insecure and vulnerable than ever before. 

    But at the same time, what has felt like the searing flames of refining fire to me, has helped me see Mary in a whole new light.

Is this how she felt?

   Broken down, misunderstood, and unknown?  I cannot imagine the emotions that must have raged in her heart.  Having all of her hopes and dreams and plans shattered in a single moment when she realized she was going to have a baby, while still being unmarried.  How terrified she must have felt!  

How frightened.
How alone.
How confused.
How broken.

But she trusted God.  

   She must've wondered a million times a day what He was thinking with this unbelievable plan of His, but she decided to put her faith in Him.  She decided to let Him lead her where she could not see the end of the road, where she could not even see beyond her next step.  She decided to place her entire life in His hands because after all...........

It wasn't about her.

   It was about the prophecy coming true, God coming down to earth, being born of a virgin and dying on a cross to pay the price of our sin, and rising again to give us all a hope of eternity.  

  So this year, I hope you, like me, can focus on the true meaning of it all.  I haven't always.  I have gotten swept up in the presents and the shopping and the trees and lights and pageants and performances like anyone else.

But this year is different.

This year I am once again realizing what it truly, is all about.


Bump style inspirations.

  Anyone else notice that the bump makes its appearance a WHOLE lot earlier with baby #3 than with baby #1? Wow.  Wasn't expecting that one.  I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot more wear and tear out of my maternity clothes than the first time around.

So here's a round-up of some of my favorite bump-style inspiration lately:

   First up, Grace from Camp Patton.  She's a mother of four under four, so really, she should be something of an expert when it comes to bump style.  I find myself gravitating toward the kinds of comfy/casual outfits she throws together, and having some of the same pieces myself, it is easy to replicate.

Images via Camp Patton

   Next in line on the round-up is the lovely Naomi from Love Taza.    She is currently expecting her third little one any day/week now, and I will be a little sad when the bump pictures come to an end.  Her outfits are always creative and colorful and I love seeing the unique combinations she throws together!

Images via Love Taza.

   Next we have Bridget from Tales of me and the Husband.   They have a super cool love story and a beautiful, growing family, and I just know you will want to check her out.  Another bump I will be sad to see go, but happy for her when her little guy arrives and she'll be on the "other side"! 

Images via Tales of me and the Husband.

  Lastly, we have Arielle from Arielle Elise who is an insanely talented photographer and mama to three little darlings, and quite possibly the snazziest maternity dresser I've ever even seen.  Seriously, this woman cannot put a bad outfit together.  

Images via Arielle Elise

  So you would think with this plethora of adorable inspiration I would be able to get out of my "I'd just rather sit here in sweatpants, thank-you" phase, but it's been a little difficult through this 1st trimester.  The 2nd and 3rd are a lot more fun in general, mostly because you're no longer feeling like crawling in a whole and hibernating until your due date, but they are also a lot more fun to dress.  So...looking forward to that.

Hope you had  a lovely Monday! 


Giveaway winner and prenatal smoothies.

And the winner from Tuesday's giveaway is.................Jessica M. from Iowa!!!

   I've already emailed her and hopefully she will be receiving her Lilla Rose clip soon, just in time to style for the holidays. Thanks to all who entered, and a big thank-you to Grace for sponsoring!  FYI, If anyone else out there has a product they'd like to offer for a giveaway, shoot me an email and we can work something out.

   In other news, if you happen to find yourself battling through the awfulness that is known as the First Trimester like me right now, you may find yourself with a deep aversion to all things food.  Well, all things healthy that is.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  It doesn't matter HOW queasy or nauseous or fatigued or wretched I feel, cookie dough ice cream and Doritos just never seem to lose their appeal.  Why IS that??!

   But as much as we'd like to imagine (hope, dream, wish) that a healthy and happy pregnancy could consist of a diet of Twix bars and Ginger Ale, *spoiler alert* it can't.

Enter, the prenatal smoothie.

   Today for lunch I warmed up some chili for the girls and thought I was going to lose my cookies.  Chili was just NOT going to happen today for my lunch, no matter how healthy, filling, and protein-providing it was.  Sorry baby bump, not happenin'.

  So I looked in my fridge, desperate for something that didn't make me want to heave, and I saw....nothing.  Nothing!  So, rather than turn to the pantry for some sugary snacks, I turned to my blender, whipped up this smoothie, and it saved the day.  Hence, I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

   Now, it's pretty comical that I would be sharing a recipe with you all because I'm just not the recipe type.  When cooking, I usually just throw things together and see how it all turns out.  And a smoothie is like the EPITOME of throwing things together.  So this is not an "official" recipe, it's just a vague idea of what I like to throw together.  Make sense?

   Oh and a few disclaimers....everything in here is optional.  It's a smoothie, get creative! If the spinach makes it too gritty, use less.  If you don't need it a little sweeter, skip the honey.  If you DO need it sweeter, use less yogurt, or use flavored yogurt.  And lastly, I added Floradix because I have been dra-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-gging and need the boost of iron.  But of course you can skip that, or consult your doctor on that first if you'd like.

O.k. here we go:

2-3 (or more or less) frozen bananas.
1-2 (more or less:) Cups of frozen, thawed, strawberries.
Two huge handfuls of spinach.
1-2 TBS of wheat germ.
1/2--1 Cup of plain Greek yogurt.
2 handfuls of ice cubes.
1 TBS of honey.
Few splashes of milk. :)
10-20 ml. of Floradix.

  Add all ingredients to the blender, mix it all up and garnish with a lemon and pretty straw.  Presto, a meal that is healthy, wholesome, and doesn't make you want to curl up in the fetal position.




Letter tracing fun.

   We've been trying to find ways to beat the winter blues around here, with the colder weather keeping us from playing outside.  I've heard some Jocelyn's age are already writing their names apparently??!  So I'm late to the party and just trying to keep up with teaching her to trace letters.

Preschool world-record holders, we are not.

   In any case, my 2 and 3 yr olds get a little bored with tracing over letters after a little while.  So of course Pinterest has a remedy for that.  What doesn't Pinterest have a remedy for??

   It's as simple as it looks, just write out their name (hopefully they have shorter names that fit on the paper better) and trace with glue, and then top with Cheerios!  Good luck keeping them from eating them all first.

   What are some of the ways you are beating the winter blues and/or tackling preschool work with your littles because I'm am like, the worst and need some tips.  Happy Wednesday!

Oh and one last reminder to enter the Lilla Rose giveaway!  It ends tonight at midnight!!


Lilla Rose giveaway!

'Tis the season of giving.

   Our house is freshly decked in real greens and twinkly lights, and the dollhouse we're making for the girls (shhhh!) is out in the garage surrounded by piles of sawdust and leftover wood pieces.  Christmas pageant practice is in full swing, and the night of the first performance will be here in a week!

December is going to fly by.

   So to start things off right, let's begin December with a giveaway!  And maybe if I get the hang of these things a little more, they'll be appearing more often on this blog.  Which is never a bad thing, if you ask me.

   Today, Grace is giving away a Lilla Rose "Victorian Inspiration" small flexi clip, pictured below.  Great for working with any hair style, or styling with a thin scarf.   Even if you're not interested in it for yourself, enter for a friend!  These would make great gifts.  See how I styled mine here.

   If you love the idea, but are interested in other styles or sizes, visit Grace's website for more information.  But now, on to the giveaway.  Just use the Rafflecopter thing-a-ma-jigger at the bottom of this post to enter, and it's open immediately and closes tomorrow at midnight.  I promise it's not as complicated as it looks, don't be intimidated.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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