Monday, December 1, 2014

The Struggle

A few Sundays back our Pastor was speaking on our struggle. 
That primary sin that keeps holding us back.

I stopped for a moment, waiting for that familiar guilt to wash over me, knowing that sin that keeps holding me back, the one that came to mind every time a message like this came around, the one that has held me so long it's almost a familiar friend....

and I felt breathless.

I realized without my knowing it, that hold on me. That addiction. It had left me.

Let me back up a bit, and let me just say that this is a hard story for me to tell.
 Because though I feel a new freedom, I still feel shame knowing how strong a grip this addiction had on me.

It started so long ago, 18 years ago to be exact.

 I was 13 years old.

I lived in a loving home, with a foundation in the church, growing up with a Southern Baptist preacher for a Pa-Paw. 

 To anyone who knew me, they couldn't tell. 
I wore the greatest mask of my life.

To them, I was happy. cheerful.

But inside I was awkward. insecure. sad. lost.

and one comment in a conversation I overheard, with no frills or encouragement towards the subject matter turned me down a path I couldn't begin to navigate. 

"I had a rough childhood, I used to be bulimic and made myself throw up and lost so much weight, it was scary."

To most people that would send them into empathetic words of sorrow and send the message not to ever do that.

To me, it was a a quick fix for how I was feeling...I could now strive to be "prettier", to be "confident".

That night was the first time I made myself throw up.

From then on, it just got worse.

I exercised tirelessly, wanting toned muscles, wanting that "perfect body".
13 years old.

I conditioned my body in such a way that I couldn't even keep water down.  
 I would binge and purge while I was alone. Caught in the cycle. 

I had concerned family, who found out.
two years into it my dad came to me one night with tears in his eyes because he could see my spine through my shirt.
 But I made promises to stop and hid it so that they thought I did. 

Then at 16 I met a boy.
This boy would hold my heart from the first smile.

This boy who to everyone else just seemed like a big guy who didn't talk a lot, held me one night and cried with me, and begged me to stop because he wanted to marry me and have babies with me.

I know.
What kind of person can't stop after that?

This person.

So I made the same promises.
and kept hiding it. 

I married that boy.

and two years later, we had our first baby boy.

and then a girl.

and then another boy.

and through each pregnancy, not as extreme but still present ,
(this is so hard to write out) 
I continued on with my addiction.

NOTHING stopped me. Not the knowledge of a little life inside me that I should be taking care of. Not chest pains. Constant heartburn. Stomach issues. NOTHING.

I would pray, beg, cry and plead with God to take this away from me.
I would read articles on recovery and wonder WHY it wasn't happening for me. 

I wished I had never started this. I was spiraling out of control with no hope of stopping. 

 But then as the kids got a little older,I started eating better. Exercising (in a healthy way).

It didn't stop. It was improving. But I still struggled.

With every large meal. A dessert I should've passed on. A late night snack.  

the struggle came back. 
Then by His grace, this September we found out we were pregnant with baby #4.

And I panicked.
I wanted to do this right. I wanted to be healthy. 
But I worried that with every pound I gained, I would want to go back.

Then last Sunday. I realized.
And this still makes me awestruck.
I hadn't purged ONCE in this entire pregnancy.

While this doesn't seem that great to some....oh my heart. It's such a miracle to me, that I can't help much smile and shake my head as I type this out.  

I can't say I won't ever have those thoughts again.
I can say that I truly feel like I've been relieved of the heaviest burden I've held.
and that I will hold fast to the relief. 

 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29

He's taken it from me.

And my heart is grateful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Grace Case


1. courteous goodwill.
2. a divinely given talent or blessing.

 In the list of words we use often in our home, it's up there with "respect", "kindness" and "gratitude".

And because I can't go a whole day without rhyming, like "put some gratitude in that attitude", we say  "have a case of grace"...though I do end up adding "yo" to the end of that, because I'm so gangsta. 

There's so many beautiful verses regarding grace:

  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 

2 Corinthians 12:9 

  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it

Ephesians 4:7

And most of the time,I truly feel like I  can give grace pretty easily. 

When someone is late to a get together?

Grace. Easy!

When the kids are having attitudes that are.... LESS than stellar.

Grace. A little more effort, but still...done!

When that person makes their backhanded compliments about your appearance
 or abilities in life.

Grace. With deep breathing and a momentary clenched fist, and yeah ok sometimes an eye roll.
But still ...I can do that!

How about having grace with ourselves?

When we sputter out an awkward declaration or observation and immediately realize how rude it could have sounded?

Do you have grace with yourself? Or do you ponder over that encounter for the next week, hoping that person doesn't think you're a total jerk?

Me? Jerk face pondering.

Or when our house isn't as clean as "we" think it should be?

Grace or Hermit mode? used to  be grace, but has crept into hermit mode.

When we feel like we are FAILING...EPICALLY failing to do what we feel we should with:

Housecleaning. Cooking. Parenting. Friendships. Faith. Teaching. Homeschooling. Time Management

But...but...our CAPES!

 What about our "Superwoman-I can do ANYTHING, just give me five minutes and Pinterest and I'll get it done" capes?! 

I don't know about you....but my cape, is torn, stained, and some days downright threadbare. 

So, as I'm writing this and most definitely possibly crying and feeling worn out, and ready to throw my cape in a fire and buy a leotard, but then I remember how unflattering leotards are, I want to send this message to you all. 

You mama's, sister's, friends....who feel like I do regularly lately....

Have a case of GRACE, for your friends, your families...


Let's not be weakened by self-doubt, feeling inferior, guilt or shame.

We can keep those capes, and pull them out on the occasions that we need to, but let's also pull out the pillows and blankets and rest our bodies and rest our weary heart's when we need to.

 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16


Sunday, October 12, 2014

This brain was made for a floor sample.

You heard right, folks!

God is good and we are expecting baby #4!!!
(here's the post for those who don't know the journey)

We are feeling so grateful for this time in our lives right now...

the weekly development of our wee one.
the love and encouragement from family and friends.
the excitement brewing daily,

and then my very favorite.
Being able to say "I'm with child!" every time someone says or does something I don't care for!

(It's USUALLY said in jest, but I'm not afraid to pull it out at random!)

But there's one thing I forgot that I personally seem to possess at random times in my pregnancy:


I can cry/laugh/or get incredibly frustrated at the drop of a hat lately.
It's a gift...or a curse. Depending on which moment you catch me in, I'll say either. 

Here's some things that have amused/frustrated me in these first weeks/months of pregnancy:

Frustrated me:

(though to be completely brain really didn't have much of a chance.)

I recently set up a get together with some homeschool mamas to  chat, eat dessert and talk about our first few weeks of school...

Yes, I set it up.

I even posted on our page THAT MORNING that I was looking forward to seeing everyone.

and 20 minutes after the shindig started I got this text while I was sitting on the couch, having showered and gotten into my grubby jammies watching a show with the Chief:

I FUH-LIPPED out! I jumped up yelling "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! How could I have forgotten?!"

and proceeded to make myself feel like a putz for this "travesty" that I created.

Talk about needing to give yourself some grace!
(that's a whole other blog post, I have literally been the WORST to myself!)

 I got to the destination...40 minutes after it started. 
Luckily the gals were full of giggles and grace for my scatterbrain.

Amused me:

There are times when my brain actually amuses me. I have to be amused because if I crawled under a rock every time I said/did something ridiculous, I'd basically be Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants.

This morning after church was one of those days:

We had a great worship service
 (at least I thought so...probably because we sang several of my favorite songs),
 and after church I was chatting with friends here and there, but I had to  get going quickly because  a dear lady from our church invited my daughter Roo and a friends daughter to come over and pick out a bunch of Barbie's and other toys that she was getting rid of and I  didn't want to keep her waiting.

So I'm getting my keys out for our new van, with it's fancy little key fab
 (fab...faub? I don't know how to  spell it, the thing with all the buttons!) 

and I'm standing by my car, with my daughter and her friend and I'm pushing the button to unlock and it's not working!!

I'm frazzled, going "what the heck is wrong with this thing? It's BROKE!" as I'm pointing it at the car, willing the button on the car to go up and say "Ok I'm unlocked now".

I'm there for almost 5 minutes...pushing that button. Panicking. 

 When suddenly I look over at the car next to  me...and the doors are open...and unlocked.

I had been trying to unlock my friends van the whole time!!!!

Oh lordy! And I'm barely 7 weeks pregnant!! Stay tuned for the many adventures of my pregnancy!

Also, a thanks to Christina over at The Olive Tree for encouraging me to blog!
 Hopefully I can make it less than 4-5 months before I post again!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Live your life.

 Well HEYYYYYYY there! It's been awhile my loyal 13 followers!
You've stuck with me through this dry spell, and I'm ever so grateful!

I've had a dear, sweet friend who has been faithfully encouraging me to get back to blogging and I'm ever so thankful for her!

It's not that I haven't WANTED to  blog....
I would say it was more like I didn't know where to start.

You know those game shows where they stick someone in a payphone-like container full of dolla bills and then start the wind machine, and they try to catch as much mula as they can?

That's how I feel about blogging. 
But instead of money I  feel like I'm trying to grab one of the bazillion thoughts running through my brain at any given moment, hold onto it and write about it.


So much has been going on, but nothing so profoundly clear that I felt like
 "Oh yeah, I'm gonna share this because I could TOTALLY formulate words for this situation!".

But one thing (one dolla bill) that has been coming to mind pretty often lately is this:

Live Your Life.
(and not just because I'm in love with MIKA and this song)

As I've written before, I'm a people pleaser. I should even have a special plaque because I've always been so  darn good at it! But as I've gotten so deliciously older and wiser, I've relaxed on that feeling, stepped back and thought " on earth am I going to please all these people in my life, and still be ME?"


I can't.

I could try to be less silly and not sneak my friends camera phone and take pictures like this:

Because the proper people think that's totally gross and immature.

I could stop bursting into song at the drop of a hat.
because I might get a disapproving look, affirming my awkwardness.
But seriously, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

I could only hang out with a small circle of friends, to  avoid the drama of different personalities.
But lord have mercy I'm not a fan of encouraging Diva attitudes. 

See, there are SO MANY THINGS about myself that I would have to change in order to  satisfy the personalities and opinions of others, but the only one I want to be totally and completely satisfied with my attitude is my God. 

So I'm gonna sing awkwardly, laugh loudly, cry often
be silly, dress weird, hug tons, smile big,
 dance like a dork, snort laugh, love fiercely and shine brightly.

and I strongly encourage you all to do the same!

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Saturday, March 29, 2014


"I'm giving you my heart, and all that is within.
I lay it all down, for the sake of you my King"
video here

This song, and these lyrics have hit me hard as of late.

You see, God is working in our lives, for realz.
He's working in MAJOR ways over here!

And, I've come to realize that my life is the most beautiful, 
the most exciting and transformed,
 when I surrender my stubborn ways.

I recently told a friend that I feel like God put me on this earth, JUST so He could have a good laugh. To take this stubborn woman and set in her ways gal and show her how silly she is.

I should've know after our homeschool adventures that He would use my "Oh no, we're never going down that path again" attitude and make it positive.

Here's a little back story:

My hubby and I married in 2001, one MONTH after I turned 18.

It wasn't a spur of the moment decision, it was just two young people who KNEW with all their hearts that they were meant to be together. And like I said back then, when everyone was telling us to wait, "If we marry now, we can celebrate our 50th anniversary sooner!"
(C'mon, that's pretty impressive for an 17 year old)

So after a little over two years of marriage,in December of 2003 at the age of 20 (and 22 for my Chief) we welcomed our first baby into the world.

Jackson Tyler

Life as new parents and a family of three was blissful. Learning all of these new "baby things" together, was amazing!

Then in August of 2005, we were so blessed to have a baby girl.
Ryleigh Madisyn.
 Our little doll, and the apple of her daddy's eye.

"Our plan" was to wait until Ryleigh was two,
 and then try for our 3rd baby.

(oh those PLANS!)

Well....when Roo was 9 months old...SURPRISE!

in February 2007, we welcomed Gavin Michael into the world!
Once a Peanut, always a Peanut!

3 kids in 3 years!

We were surrounded by "baby"!
Baby toys, baby songs, baby shows, baby furniture, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, burp cloths.
 You get the picture...

It was like Groundhog edition.

Needless to say, we were DONE.
 Do not pass go, do not collect free time,

So, we truly convinced ourselves that God was speaking to our hearts and telling us to get Jeremy a vasectomy. I mean, seriously...we couldn't possibly take care of a another baby. We were tapped out.

Now, listen. I'm not by ANY means speaking out against vasectomies. Because I can't in good conscience be the "judge" of that choice, because as I said, we REALLY felt like it was the best choice. And maybe it was at that time. Maybe we needed that choice.

Because every time we were around another baby, or toddler,
 we would both give each other that know the one.

*eyebrow UP*=

"Aren't you glad we aren't in their shoes anymore??"


when someone was in the throws of potty training.

"WORST days EVER!"

On the rare moments that I felt sad about not having more babies, my hubby would QUICKLY go through the "list" of why we are better off without a baby:

"No more diapers."

"Remember all the work?"

"Sleepless nights?"

"our kids are so self sufficient now!"

Yes, we were THAT couple.

But then, on a Sunday afternoon in January; we went to the beach as a family after church to enjoy the rare sunny day we had in our little coastal town.

I'll never forget that day, because it started out with a simple dress:

pic taken from that day
 In that flowy blue dress, I was watching our kids run and play in the water and sand, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, when my fella came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me, and I blurted out..

"Oh...this is going to sound weird, but for a minute there I wanted your hands to rest on my pregnant belly."

expecting our usual "Oh yes, oh well...look how awesome our lives are now!" banter, instead I got a quiet moment from Jeremy... he then cleared his throat and said:

"Well, it's funny you say that, because I feel very strongly that God has put it on my heart to get my vasectomy reversed"

to which I simply replied.


and then he proceeded to tell me all the amazing ways he felt the Lord was speaking to his heart.

 I took it all in.

Not with squeals of delight, not with a grin of excitement.
 I just..listened.

I am being honest when I tell you that my first response was NOT to pray about it, my first response was to text family and friends saying "You would NOT believe the conversation Jeremy and I just had!!!" but I didn't. Oh I wanted to, I wanted to get advice from someone ASAP!

But slowly I felt my heart thawing, moving and responding to this idea.

And I prayed.

By Monday night, the VERY next night my friends;
Jeremy and I were praying and crying and KNEW this was the path we were meant to be on.

Everything just fell into place so beautifully.
The doctor we checked into had a average 6 month waiting list.

We had an appointment not even a MONTH later!

And now if you know me, you know that I am a worrier, more specifically about what other people think and feel. I hail from the People Pleaser Pack.
 I'm embarrassed to say that often I let my feelings get ruled out by others.

Well, I have been tested on this!
 I have had; well meaning talks, opposing opinions and some pretty snarky ones from different people. But I don't hold bitterness towards any of these, in fact they just bring me back to the fact that this is a God thing, because I feel this overwhelming PEACE.

So, friends and family, I know a lot of you already knew about this adventure and are already praying and sending love and encouragement. So for those that are doing this, I thank you and ask for continued prayer. For those who just found out, I say the same.

Because this day:

We surrendered.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Parenting Pride Takes a Hit

They say pride goes before the fall...


I know I'm not the perfect parent, nor do I have the perfect kids.

I try to be honest and open about that fact.

and reading this article from Hands Free Mama 
reminded me of how much worse it is to always hold it in.

But parents, you know that feeling, 
when your kids are on a good track?

Good attitudes!

Manners a'plenty!

Helpful Hands!

Thankful Hearts!!

Oh mercy, aren't we lucky? 
*and maybe that secret pride...
"I think I got this parenting thing DOWN!"*

and then reality sets in:

 your standing in the line at Subway, giving a "treat" of sandwiches for lunch.

And your kids start to argue at the table...

you let them know (via "mom look" and "quiet wolf" hand signal) that they need to cool it.

You see the lady at the adjoining table looking their way (and yours).

Then they keep it up, so you go over for the warning "If this continues, we will not be getting sandwiches today" (thinking of COURSE they will obey now!)

then they don't. 
The threat of losing a round of thumb war has frustrated your youngest to the point of getting his hand ready to smack his brother. While his sister argues along.

And you have that split second
 (where like 20 things run through your mind)..

"O.K, they had their warnings, you know what you have to do."

"But...maybe if I just look the other way...I mean kids will be kids..right?"

"that lady is looking at you, you have to make your choice."

"it's gonna suck"

"Yeah..but here we go."

The worst does indeed happen.

Your oldest holds it together, while the other two scream like they have NEVER screamed before.

People turn to stare.

A LOT of people.

People you don't know, some that you do.

You. Just. Keep. Looking. Forward.

Because parenting isn't for sissy's!

And it sure isn't about making everyone happy, all the time, regardless of the circumstances!
*though there are times when that seems like a REALLY great plan!*

No, it's bigger than those moments. It's about taking those embarrassing, scarring, horrific moments..
and growing.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We've come home, we've talked about it & cried about it. 
We've discussed the consequences.
This is a life lesson, folks. 

And it's under our belt.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Let's try not to do this with each other!
Encourage, be honest, be open, be understanding.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's an epidemic!!!

Are you aware of this
 (not so)newly  discovered disorder?


Maybe if I tell you a little bit about it, you'll guess what it is,

Symptoms may include but are not limited to:

a knot in your stomach.

high blood pressure.


excessive eye rolling.


Any guesses? Surely you've experienced these symptoms. I know I have!

 You my friend have PTFD

It's Present-Traumatic-Facebook-Disorder.
(present because clearly we're not past it)

that knot in your stomach could be caused by those pictures you see of your friends...hanging out...*gasp* WITHOUT YOU!!
what jerk-faces, not thinking I deserve to be in every social situation!

that high blood pressure could be caused by those "combative" articles you see containing opposing opinions, you know..the ones you want to comment on, but are worried about the reaction it would get.
 *I'll tell HER what I think of her political views!!...ok no I won't!*

excessive eye rolling? 
Gigi posted another status update about how perfect her relationship is.
 *does Dirk Square-Jaw ALWAYS bring her roses"just because"??*

Lucy posts "inspirational" quotes and status' about her workout routine. She's fit and feeling fine!

  that could be the late nights you spend pouring over pages of "perfection"
*just ONE more picture...then I'll call it a night!*

Oh it's toxic.
and baby your slipping under.
ok, sorry..I blame Dutch Bros. for blasting it on the radio..yesterday.


But that heartache??

That blame my friends, belongs solely to ourselves. 

Because life more often than not, DOES look pretty darn peachy from our view.
Because if we choose to look at Facebook for what it really is, a glorified cliff notes of our lives, then we'll understand that those posts, those pictures...they aren't our friends and family trying to stick a knife in our envious little hearts.Those are simply our loved ones showing us their very best. 

Their moments they want to share:

The roses their husband bought them.
*because they've been so busy, they've barely gotten to see each other*

The Disneyland vacation.
*that they saved for a year and a half to pay for*

The picture of their new car.
*that took them months to decide on*

The status update about their kids getting along.
*because they've had a hard week and having a moment of peace is a blessing*

The selfie before a night out.
*because they are so happy they get to feel pretty*

Instead of looking at these posts in a green tinted light, 
let's be happy for them! Smile when we see those posts, those pictures, those highlights.
 Heck, maybe we can really branch out and do more than just "like" their status and tell them WHY we like their status!
For pities sake, they are on our Facebook for a reason, right?? 

Let's do this, because we don't know the full story on Facebook. 
And we don't NEED the full story.
That's THEIR story to tell, to those they hold dearest to them. 

That's OUR story to tell.