Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Today I am reflecting on seasons. No...not "fall" or "winter" aka "summer" in Tejas. The kind of seasons that relate to what we are walking through. We have big seasons in life: high school, dating, college, falling in love, being broke, being pregnant, being up all night with kids, fighting kids, pooping kids, screaming kids. You get the point. We have these little intervals of life when things are different. Phases when things are hard and then phases when things are even harder. Blah blah blah. We have all heard this. The reason I am reflecting this today is because I am in the early stages of studying Esther and the word cherished came up today. I love this word so much. Matt Carter used this word a lot at family camp in describing how he wanted his wife to feel. Cherish means to care about DEEPLY. Admire, adore, appreciate. I am thinking of times that I have CHERISHED different things.
There have been times (namely when we didnt have kids yet) that I absolutely cherished everything about my husband. I got butterflies at the mention of his name. Don't get me wrong, I love that guy's guts...but you know how it is after 8 years. We sometimes find ourselves on a merry go round of this thing called life and all those butterflies get shuffled around in the mix a bit. I get the butterflies still and Lord willing I will get butterflies around Justin for the next 80 years, but let's face it. I do not get them at the mere mention of his name.
There was a time that I CHERISHED my mom more than anything. I valued her opinion over any others. I sought her approval daily. I wanted to please her at all times. I think we are all like this when we are young, but then I lost my mom and I didn't know how to feel like I was doing things right. She was the one who built me up and encouraged me. When she was gone I wasn't sure who would acknowledge my strengths and forgive my weaknesses.
There have been many times that I have CHERISHED friendships. From a very young age I always thought the more the merrier was the way to go! I never went anywhere without 15 of my favorite people. I was an only child, but for some reason being alone was never comfortable to me. I brought this idea into my adulthood and slowly God showed me that quality heavily outweighs quantity. I have learned that people pleasing gets you into more trouble than it could ever be worth. Helping turns into manipulation and honesty turns you into a moving target. Being the girl "that likes everyone" can leave you feeling very lonely. It has taken a lot of prayer, tears and frustration for me to come to place where I realize that LESS is MORE. I wish I would have learned this 15 years ago! I have made so so so so so so so so soooooooo many mistakes as a friend (and as a mom and wife and daughter too!).  I am so flawed. I am so sinful. I am so so many things. I am able to see the long journey that I have been on and this time of reflection when things are so clear is when the Lord has brought me a core of sisters that cannot be beat. Perfect timing. Why am I surprised by this?
You see, there have been times where I CHERISHED lots of things more than I CHERISHED my Father. Through the years I have been stripped down to a whole new me. A me that CHERISHES Him above all others. Above my husband, children and friendships. It has taken losing a lot to realize what I have gained. A real and precious relationship with Christ, a deep and meaningful relationship with my husband and friendships that are based on love and truth and honor. 
I cannot have butterflies with my husband and I cannot feel adored and forgiven if I have not put Him first. It just doesnt work. I know this because I learned it the hard way.
And because my God is a God of all that is good and beautiful and amazing and redeeming...I walk through my most difficult time of life with this little nugget of info in my pocket: HE CHERISHES ME. More than I will ever ever know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 in 10

ten things that have happened in the past ten days

1. justin was admitted into the hospital on tuesday. he had some bad lab results (ck levels through the roof etc. ) and they needed to do iv steroids and get some things stabilized. he is home now and resting. we saw dr. f today and reevaluated his treatment plan. he tweaked a few things and we are hopeful this flare up will get under control asap. there are some concerns for his phosphorus and calcium levels and also his blood sugar. it has been a tough few days but we am so grateful for the many people that help, pray, offer to help etc. during scary times like these! justin is exhausted and we are grateful that he is able to rest in his own bed now. 


3. I went out to my car this morning to take the big boys to school. I noticed I was about to run over my crazy neighbor as he came running down the street after me. So I stopped and he let me know I had a flat tire :( Bummer because I really was hoping he was just being weird. 

4. Brody got to go to a gymnastics party and he LOVED it!

5. Bryce started coach pitch baseball. He is the youngest one on his team...but he is doing great :)

6. I made a fall wreath with some friends last week. I am READY for the fun fall activities to BEGIN!

7. AWANAS started for the big boys. Bryce is in Sparks this year and learned John 3:16 for his second meeting so he could get his vest. I taught Brody to say "Jesus Loves ME!" and he came home in his little vest. I am so proud of them!

8. is really moving along! 
we are excited. come try a wont regret it!

9. We had a pinata in our backyard for brody's actual birthday after school. Brody hit it for about 15 minutes straight and loved every second. Bryce hit it once and all the fun stuff came out! Everything mickey mouse of course :)

10. Braxton had his first chopsticks experience. 

Life has some curveballs. Well, more than just some. Kind of a lot. But, in the midst of the chaos we have some pretty great things going on. We are right where we need to be. And we are surrounded by just the right people. God is one incredible dude. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

brody is four

When I was 9 I met a little girl at school who had downs syndrome. I wanted to be her friend and I didn't understand why she was different. I couldn't figure out why she had to be in a different class and why she had to eat lunch at another table.
When I was 12 I met three boys that were 7th graders just like me. They all had downs syndrome. I wanted to be their friend. I left my "cool" friends in the lunch room and sat with them once a week at their table. I did not understand why they were different. I just knew they were.
When I was 13 I read a book called The Man Who Loved Clowns.
I went home and told my mom..."I do not know why some kids have downs syndrome, but I hope God let's me have one."
At that point in my life (age 13) I did not have a relationship with Christ. I knew Him. I knew He made me. I knew He was good. I knew we got presents on His birthday...but that was really it.
Fast forward 10 years. During this time I accepted Christ to rule my life (post on this coming soon), I got married and I had a 2 year old. I sat down with Justin one day and said can we PLEASE have another baby. He said "um yeah...i guess." So we blinked (or something like that) and then we were pregnant. From the moment I was pregnant I thought something was different. I knew nothing was wrong...but I felt like something was just different. During my 6 month of pregnancy, I was drinking a glass of water in the middle of the night and I heard very clearly the Lord say to me "this baby is going to be very special" I had forgotten all about downs syndrome pretty much. I didnt go to school anymore so there was no life skills class to eat lunch with. I worked in an office and took care of my two year old. I forgot all about what the Lord had laid on my heart ten years before.
On September 11th 2008 Justin and I had the most perfect little angel baby boy named Brody. We just stared in amazement at him when he was born. He was so beautiful and so perfect. We felt undeserving of such a perfect baby. 12 hours later (and in the midst of hurricane can dig back on the beginning of the blog for that crazy story) we were about to evacuated to another hospital when a doctor came in and told us "your baby needs surgery, he has downs syndrome, he is on his way to another hospital. you can see him later... if you can get there on time" (seriously, its a LONG story) Our world had just been rocked. We had about 15 seconds to mourn the loss of our "perfect" child and then drag my post partum/had a baby 12 hours ago butt to another hospital. We were devastated. I cried out to God and said "please Lord let them be wrong. let them have our baby mixed up with someone elses!"
When we finally got to him...God hadnt mixed anything up. Brody was ours. He was in one of those little domes, so we could not touch him. He had an IV in his forehead, tubes in his nose and one down his throat. I felt like that saying "God doesnt give you anything that you cannot handle" was a crock of poo. I COULD NOT HANDLE THIS! Justin was speechless. We just sat there and cried.

I called my mom to tell her the news and she said "oh good honey, God answered your prayer."


I am pretty sure I hung up on her.

Then I prayed. Then I remembered that I did specifically ask the Lord for a baby like this over 10 years ago. I realized in one big rush of emotion and tears and heartache and flat out hurricane ike chaos, that God had given me what He had already promised me. I got my Brody...and I had ALWAYS wanted him.

I simply cannot write this without giant tears rolling down my face. If you know me personally, then you know how GREAT Brody is. You know his laugh is contagious. You know that when he bosses are pretty much going to do what he says. You know that when he is around...there is just no chance of a bad mood. You know that God gifted our family with him. It is just indeniable.

Dear Brody - Tomorrow is your 4th birthday. You have brought joy to our lives. You have brought laughter to so so many. You have taught us that patience is important and that a hug can fix ANY problem. You have shown us that determination can beat ALL odds. You love strangers. You love to eat. You love mickey mouse. You love school. You are one very special boy. You have taught us lots little buddy, but the MOST important thing we have learned from you is that God doesn't answer ALL prayers...but He sure does answer some. Thank goodness for that. We love you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


i have been a blog delinquent. 
so bear with me as i catch up on a few things. 
as far as justin is just going. we are sitting in a very awkward place right now. we are trying our hardest not to allow this illness to take over our lives. and then we are trying our hardest to steer clear of complacency with his condition. God does not desire for us to get comfortable in illness and earthly hurts. He does call us to fight for His truth, but finding a healthy place between
gratefulness and fear is tough.
like, real tough. 
 we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. 
we are stuck between contentment and complacency. 
we are stuck between a desire for healing and gratefulness in the life our Creator chose for us. 
we are stuck between not letting illness define our family and knowing that we have serious limitations. 
we have reached a challenging spot. we will get past it and there will be a new obstacle to overcome. and we will. because God is good...all the time. 
psalm 68:19 reminds us that He daily bears our burdens
i may need that tattooed on my...everything. 
He has equipped us FULLY for this battle. one of my dearest friends sent me a bit of encouragement tonight and she hit the nail on the head. 2 corinthians 6:10 says that even when beaten down and sorrowful we are  rejoicing, poor yet making many rich, having nothing yet possessing everthing. 
sometimes i feel like this family has been beaten to the ground, but there is still ALWAYS so much (and i mean soooooo much) to be grateful for. our precious children, our home, our friends, our family, our community, the fact that we found a family in this town when we needed a family the most, my health, Bryce's health, Brody's health (which this is HUGE ya'll. he was "supposed" to have all kinds of issues), Braxton's health, Justin's job, the financial burdens that are constantly lifted from us, and so much more. we are broken in many ways, but we won't be defeated. we have lost much, but we have so much more. we have the gift of eternal life with our Father.
 that cannot be beat. 

in other news...
the first week of school was great!
everyone is adjusting...i am even adjusting to the new 22 minute commute vs. our 30 second commute from last year :) its tough but worth it!

big boy brody gets to ride a BUS. yup. he pretty much knows that he is the coolest mac up in this shack. brothers are jealous. he loves it. tues-thurs he gets a ride from ppcd to church. his bus driver (who is ADORABLE and i wish she would drive me somewhere) says "he sure is one friendly fella" yeah. we know :)

i hosted a girls art night for our sunday school class. 
coffee, corks and canvas came and set up my living room like a night for sure. 

braxton and i have enjoyed our mornings alone. brax sure enjoys being the center of attention.
 and i sure like how much i can get done with just ONE kid :)

these crazy heads started preschool today! look at those dapper boys in their "daddy shirts"
it sure was weird to be on the mommy side of today rather than the teacher side!
grateful for this time to spend with my main squeeze

and on a final picture note...
now that bryce is a big first grader he gets to be in charge of bedtime stories. 
precious moment for sure. 

God is faithful to us...always.

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