Monday, July 1, 2013


I feel like I start every post out with something to the effect of "'s been awhile."  This time, though, I'm neglecting that, because let's be honest, it's obvious.

But hello, JULY.  Where has this year gone?  I can officially say I graduate with my MSW next month. Alleluia...

The real reason for this post, though, is to write out some of the lessons God has been teaching me lately.  So, if you are wanting a super fun mom post about my sweet and adorable daughter, maybe next time (for the maybe 3 of you who read this...).  I will say, she is still sweet and adorable even if she is super ornery. :)

Here I go...back in May, I believe, I was at a mission committee meeting and the head of the mission committee mentioned that he had received a request for a female speaker from our church to go to India to speak at a conference that was being put on.  My stomach did a flip, and not that I hadn't paid attention the whole meeting because I had, but I began to listen even more intently.  He went on to say that he had already asked another couple to go from our church but that there may be a possibility for another couple from the church to go along with them.   I had two reactions to that...1. I was disappointed to some degree that I wasn't asked but 2. I went right on in to thinking that maybe Dan and I were suppose to be the other couple to go.

So I went home, and talked with Dan about everything and we began praying.  To make a long story short,  we talked to a few people, let them know our interest and kind of put the fleece out there to see if God would do anything with it.   Dan and I continued praying though and asking God to guide and direct us...

Eventually, we found out a few things, that the conference that was going to be happening had expanded and was going to last another day and that there was opportunity for involvement, but not necessarily a need.  So this really kind of shifted where Dan and I were thinking and what we were thinking to maybe the conference really wasn't where we were suppose to be involved. 

We continued covering this in prayer and asking God to open doors or shut doors and really to just lead and guide us.  And right now, things are still up in the air as to what is going to happen, but I know God is never late and He is always on time.

So that's the basic background.

In the midst of all of this, I really feel like God used the conference to open up my heart, mind, and eye to my desire to serve Him internationally and show me that there is a need and possibility for me to be involved.  To some degree, I feel like, I have been so focused on my MSW and being a new mom that I put my desire to be involved in missions on a back burner and not that it wasn't still a priority to me, it was a "I just can't do that right now" (that being traveling) type of thing.

But I can...and if God is calling me to it, then I must be obedient regardless of the cost.

The big dilemma, though, was and has been Eliana.  From the get-go, I was like, "Yes, this is perfect, Eliana is under 2 she will still fly for free, she's going with us".  I was dead set on it, ask my parents.  I had it all planned out in my mind that we would pack diapers and it would be perfect because if we bought any thing during our time there we would have room to bring them back.  I had also thought through what food we would need to take for her to survive for the 2.5 weeks we would be gone, what outfits would still fit her at that time of year depending on the temperature where we were at, etc.  You know, my OCD, type A personality was in full swing.

And then, in a conversation with Dan and my parents, I realized how much work it would be to travel with her.  And not only how much work it would be, but how miserable she would be with the time change, how frustrated I could possibly be to not be able to participate in meetings or going to different villages, etc. if I had to stay back with her.  And how taking her really could limit how effective I could be for the Kingdom.  (Dan and I even went as far to talk about who could go with us as a babysitter...)  But I struggled with the idea of leaving her SO much.  I have NEVER left her and really had no intention of leaving her until I have my next child.  I love being a mom and I love spending time with her, so it just made sense to me, at first, that I was taking her with me.  But it was during that conversation that God really began working on my heart.

I wrestled with God about this for a week or so before I really laid it at his feet and said, "God, I don't know that I can do this...I don't know that I can leave her.  What do you want?"  And you know those times where God probably laughs at you for asking a question like that or is just waiting for the perfect opportunity to tell you what He has (probably) been trying to tell you for awhile? was one of those times for me.

He said to me, "She's not yours anyway.  She's mine."

WOAH.  (Of course He didn't stop there...)

And then he went on to say, "If I can sacrifice my Son for you, you can sacrifice 16 days with her to expand My Kingdom."


Maybe woah is not the right word, but I'm not sure what is.  However, He sure did get my attention. 

Eliana Joy, my precious daughter whom I am so in love with, is not mine.  She is HIS.  He is letting me borrow her, letting me raise her, letting me live my dream of being a mom.  But ultimately, I must commit her and my parenting to Him.

It was at that point, where I truly feel God showed me that, yes, while it is going to be painful to leave her (if the trip comes to fruition), my first priority must be honoring Him in all that I do.  My first priority is not being a mom or a wife, my first priority is being a daughter of the King.  Daughter of the Almighty.  And if I want to truly set an example for Eliana of what it means to live a life fully devoted to Him, I cannot ignore when he calls me to obedience even if it is hard or feels impossible.

So, as excited as I am for the possibility of serving the Lord in this manner, it does not come with out pain.  I still struggle with guilt and doubt, but I know that is the evil one trying to steal my joy and distract me from what God has in store.  But I must trust.  I must walk forward knowing that the safest place to be is in the hand of God.  And that goes for me, and my daughter.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Apparently I haven't uploaded any new pictures of Eliana onto my computer since this was taken in March.  I do love this picture, though :) 

Anyway, I've been thinking lately about a lot of things.  Perhaps it is because Mother's Day is on Sunday or perhaps it's just because I am me and I think a lot.  But, I just feel the need to say how blessed I am.  I have been so overwhelmed at the goodness of God and his blessings in my life over the past few weeks, it almost brings me to tears.  And the few of you who read this blog, you know that is a big deal because I am not someone who usually cries easily.  It's almost one of those times in life where I feel like things are going so well that I am almost anticipating something bad happening, and I hate that I think like that.  So I am praying that the Lord helps me to change my thinking and that He just allows me to relish in the blessings He has given me.  This is a good time to remember that my life verse (picked out in high school) is Matthew 6:34; "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own."


But seriously, I am so thankful for where I am at in life and for where how God is leading me.  Most nights, I go to bed tired from caring for an energetic, ornery, and hilarious one year old, but my heart overflows with love for her.  Most nights, I want to go in and wake her up to play with her some more or go in and put her in bed with me so that I can have a few extra snuggles.  I restrain myself, and my husband refuses to let me.  It's hard to believe how fast this year has gone by with her, and during the no sleep/cry all the time phase, there were times that I wondered if we would ever make it through.  But we did and now I only have faint memories of what that was like.  (That can only be from me.)

I don't think I have ever worked so hard at something in my life, though.  Yes, it absolutely brings me the most joy I have ever experienced, but getting to where we are now has been some HARD work.  And, it amazes me that after all that hard work, I still want more kids--as many as my husband will let me have, actually.  Even if they are all as difficult as Eliana as infants and as stubborn as she is now, it is worth it and I will survive.  Only by the grace of God, but that makes it worth it.

Through this joy that I have been experiencing and feeling, I have realized how passionate I am about being a mom and a wife and just my family in general.  But through this growing passion of mine, I have realized that there are sacrifices that have been made and that will continue having to be made in the years to come.

(Confusing yet?...Most of the time I confuse myself, but bear with me.)

You see, my husband asked me the other night how my internship was when I got home as I trying to get dinner around for Eliana.  (Have I mentioned that she is one of the pickiest eaters ever and has texture issues?  She may live on toasted cheese for the rest of her life...)  And I responded with, "It was fine."  Because it was just that...fine.  And he said something to the effect that, "You know, the one difference I have noticed between your internship and your previous job is that you are not nearly as excited about what you are doing now as what you were.  When you were working you would talk non-stop about how your day went and now your response is just that it was fine." 

Woah...for one, I was shocked that he was that observant and for two, I had never thought about it like that.  But he was right.  (And man I hate when he is right...ha.  Kidding, kind of.)  I really enjoy what I am doing, but counseling is much different than what I did previously.  And it isn't as "exciting" if that term can be used loosely.  (I mean in a counseling office you typically don't have to deal with cockroaches, lice, or people giving you obscene amounts of parenting advice after their children have been removed by the state.)  And there is a part of me that misses that...I know, I know, I'm crazy, but I do.  And I probably always will.

Now, I am sure that some of you are like, why will you always miss it?  Why can't you just go back to it?  Well, I could, I am sure, but I have to ask myself at what cost would it be for me to go back to it?  And, that cost of sacrificing time with my little girl and my family is just not worth it because after my relationship with the Lord the thing I am most passionate about is my family.  And then, if I actually made a list of the things I am passionate about, the third thing I am passionate about it helping other people.  And in counseling, I am still helping other people, just in a different way than I was doing previously. 

Obviously, I am well aware that God can move mountains and open that door for the "perfect" job where I could still work intensively with other people or change my thinking in some way or another, but if He doesn't, I am content.  Not complacent...content.  He has called me to be a lover of Him and a lover of people, and ultimately, I think, feel, and know that is what I am doing.  It may look differently than what I thought it might after I receive my MSW in 15 weeks from Sunday (Alleluia.), but I don't think that is a bad thing.  I think it is a good thing, because He has known the plans for my life all along.

And that is yet another reason that my heart overflows with thankfulness and praise.  So who knows, besides Him, where I will be in 3 years, 5 years, 15 years or even 50 years...but I know that as long as I keep my passions, God, family, and others in order, I will always be blessed in ways beyond my wildest dreams.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Just a few pictures from the last month.  This little girl is the sweetest thing; not that I am biased or anything.  I cannot believe that I have already started thinking about first birthday plans...the year has gone TOO fast.  This month Eliana has learned: how to play Pat-a-cake, shake her head no, where her mouth is, how to make a funny noise with her tongue, walk behind her push train, where the bathroom is, how to crawl onto the bottom shelf of her changing table, how to play a game on the Ipad, and I am sure there are other things.  She has little to no desire to eat babyfood anymore and prefers what we are eating; she is known to beg.  And sleeping is still a struggle, though we have been improving.  (Fingers crossed that it continues!)  She still usually naps three times a day because she hasn't figured out how to lengthen her morning and afternoon nap to avoid having to go down that third time.  We have also started turning the TV off more during the day and the radio on so that she is not distracted (this girl LOVES her Disney Junior), and we play very intentionally with her during this time (not that we don't play with her when the TV is on because we do, but this is when we try to teach her new tricks!).  She is enthralled by her books, and if we are sitting with her in the chair and say, "Eliana, do you want to read a book?"  She will lean over the side of the chair and laugh for a second, and then if you don't get a book from the basket to read, she will start to cry.  Or if she wants to be read to she will pick up a book from the floor and cry until you pick her and the book up and read to her.  (Her favorites are Stinky Face, Book Book Book, God Knows All About Me, and Circus Parade.)  She has also discovered the joy of turning pages and very rarely will let anyone turn a page for her now.  I cannot imagine what this next month has in store for us, but I know we are itching to get outside!  Eliana giggles every time we walk over to the door to go outside :)
In other news, Dan started his job full time mid-way through February on night shift.  This is a huge answer to prayer, but it has taken some adjusting on my part as I am learning how to be brave at night by myself :) Thankfully my parents are only 5 minutes away...that makes me feel safer!  I'm still at my internship 3 days a week, sometimes more depending on the week, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I am anxious to be done with school all together, but it will be here before I know it.  Nothing else is new besides me starting to make headbands for Eliana and trying to get an etsy site up and running to see if anyone else is interested in them!  Oh, and anticipating the arrival of my two NEPHEWS and a couple other pretty special babies too.  (Two are due to make their appearances in May, one in July and one in August.)

That's all for now :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

I love this girl.  I got a new camera for Christmas, and I am slightly obsessed with taking pictures of my sweet Eliana.  This year is full of new things for us besides a new camera.  I started my internship on January 7th that will last until mid-end August for my MSW.  Dan will be starting full time on his paramedic job in February.  There is likely a small business venture that I am going to undertake just because...(I know, I have all the free time in the world, right?!)  And daily Eliana is learning new things! 

She is a master crawler; she pulls up on all the furniture and scales around it.  She loves to feed herself.  She never sits still.  She enjoys pulling all of the books from the second shelf out of Mommy and Daddy's bookcase.  She likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse still, but prefers Doc McStuffins more now.  When she's standing holding on to something, if you say "bouncy, bouncy, bouncy", she will bounce.  If there is music on and she is standing holding on to something, if you say, "Eliana, can you dance?" she will dance, but it looks a lot like bouncing.  She loves her books and laughs when we get them out to read to her.  She got her first tooth on her 9 month birthday; her second is trying to make its appearance.  She just learned how to give kisses this morning.  She loves being held, loves her peach blanket, and loves puffs.  She's ornery, and she's still a fairly miserable sleeper.  But, boy, is she loved.  :)

I am so blessed...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today I turned 26.  My husband told me today I am old; I kindly reminded him I will never be as old as he is.  And let's be honest, 26 is not old, he just likes to make a big deal that I'm closer to 30 than 20 because he thinks it will freak me out or something.  Anyway, I have been thinking of my birthday thankful list for a few weeks, so here I go:

1.  My relationship with the Lord; He is always constant, never fails, and always gives me what I need right when I need it.  He has been faithful this year is so many ways.
2.  My Husband; I have fallen more in love with him this year as we have started our family and we have had to learn to work together on a completely different level.  He is the best daddy, he loves me unconditionally, he willingly helps me out around the house, he is a phenomenal cook, he laughs at my jokes, he is a spiritual leader, he is a hard worker, and so much more. 
3.  Eliana Joy; God truly did answer with joy when he gave me her.  Although she has been one of the most difficult babies I have ever known in my entire life, she is the sweetest thing.  Her smile melts my heart and her laugh makes me well up with joy.  Snuggling with her is one of my favorite things, and reading to her is equally as fun.  My days are far happier with her in them.
4.  My mom; she has willingly sacrificed so much to help care for Eliana.  She is offers a listening ear whenever I need it (even at 2 a.m. to complain that my child does not sleep), she encourages me, she also laughs at my jokes, she set an amazing example for me as to how to be a mom, she hangs out with me, she loves being a grandma, and so much more...
5.  My dad; he has sacrifice time with his wife to allow her to care for Eliana.  He makes me laugh, he makes sure our house is in working order, he picks things up in town when I need them, he checks to make sure I am doing ok, he loves being a grandpa, he, too, laughs at my jokes, he loves being a grandpa he sets an amazing example of what it means to be a fool for Christ, and so much more
6.  My sister and niece; I just love them.  My sister gets me and we share so many memories together, and my niece is just the sweetest thing you'll ever meet. 
7.  A good relationship with the in-laws; my husband and I have talked multiple times this year about how thankful we are that we get along with both sides of the family.  It makes things so much easier.
8.  To have been able to stay home with Eliana since she was born; God has been so faithful in providing, and I know I will never get these months back.  I cherish them with ever fiber of my being.
9.  To almost be done with my MSW program; I start my internship in less than 2 weeks, and while I may not be excited about leaving Eliana, I am thankful to almost be done and that I am doing my internship 15 minutes from my house instead of 35 and that I got to set my hours.
10.  My friends; God, again, has been so faithful this year with the friendships He has allowed me to make and keep.  There have been so many difficult days with a seemingly impossible baby and I have a couple friends who just "get it" because they've been there.  It's so encouraging to know there is hope.  And then there are other friends who don't have babies but love Eliana so well and still love me well even though my days and time is consumed with caring for her.
11.  Community Bible Experience; for lack of a better word, small groups, from our church read through the New Testament in an 8 week time frame; I loved it because it not only gave me a focus for reading the Bible, but going to group each week taught me more about the scripture and made me hunger for more of God's word.
12.  Living in close proxemity to my parents; some people may say that 5 minutes away from your parents is too close.  I simply love it.  It has been so nice since having Eliana to be able to run over there with her really fast if I need something, for someone to run home if I forget something, or for my mom to run over here if I need her to look at a mysterious rash on Eliana's body.
13.  Our Pediatrician; might seem kind of crazy to be thankful for that, but I am.  I have just been genuinely impressed with her; she personally has called me back every time I have called the doctor except for one time, she looked out for Eliana's best interest even though she kept her in the NICU longer than what I thought was necessary, and she took concern when she saw how Eliana was acting as an infant before we got her reflux/colic situation figured out.
14.  Volleyball; helping coach this year again not only allowed me to build my friendship with one of my best friends, but it also allowed me to invest in the girls' lives.  I love them all to pieces, and it is a privilege to coach girls who have character
15.  My job at FBS; working as a Family Behavioral Specialist for nearly 3 years has left a lasting impact on my heart.  I miss my clients on a daily basis, and I am thankful that I was able to invest in their lives and do what I did for as long as I did.  I am also thankful for the stories that I will forever have from them.
16.  My experiences in India; while I have not been since before I got married, I forever treasure my time there.  Not only did I meet some of the most precious individuals ever, but God shaped my heart for the nations there.  He taught me so much about who He is and what His desires are there as well, and I am forever changed because of it.
17.  The ability to dream for the future; from what our next house will look like, to how many children we will have, from what job I will land after my MSW, to whether or not we will move oveseas
18.  Couponing/Saving money; while I have always been frugal (some say a tight wad) I have learned to appreciate using coupons and price match and am thankful for the opporutnity to save a little money and have fun doing it!
19.  Facebook/Cell phone; keeping in touch with people is such a privilege.  I think we take it forgranted and abuse the way it has evolved by being too addicted.  I don't want to ever depend on it, but I am thankful that I have it as a means to say hi to those I love and to show those who live far away pictures of Eliana.
20.  That my dream of becoming a mom has come true; this really goes hand in hand with Eliana, but seriously, I have wanted to be a mom my entire life, and I love it.  Sure, it gets hard, especially with a child who doesn't sleep, but what a gift it is to be entrusted to raise her.
21.  A clean house; this always makes me feel so accomplished and satisfied.  I'm not sure why, but it does.  And I probably appreciate it more this year because it doesn't happen often with a baby and grad school
22.  IWU; I LOVED college, LOVED it.  And I feel like the four years I was there I learned so much about myself and loving others; I would not be who I am today without it.  And honestly, I am sure it has more to do with the people I met while I was there, but either way, I am thankful.
23.  Our Church; I love going to church on Sunday.  I just do...I might love it at another church, but I am thankful this is where God has us now and for the relationships we have built and for the freedom we have to even go to church to worship our Lord and Savior.
24.  Merom; the 17 or so years I went to church camp with my family are some of the best memories ever.  The relationships I built there I truly believe are eternal, and I am forever grateful for the time I was there and the ways God used that to shape me into who I am.
25.  A sense of humor; I seriously would not have made it this year without a sense of humor.  My motto a lot of days has been laugh so you don't cry. 
26.  For another year to bring honor to God, be with my family, watch Eliana grow, follow where the Lord leads, make memories and love others.

I am seriously so blessed...
Happy 26th birthday to me. 

Also, I rescued a cat from the barn below our house today.  I am thankful for that too...we will see if it sticks around. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I really should be sleeping; however, tonight, sleep eluded me as I lay in bed.  I am not sure how and I am not sure why because last night between 11:00 p.m. and this morning at 6:40 a.m. I was up approximately 5 times, feeding Eliana twice, rocking her once, giving her her pacifier once, and putting her in bed with me another time.  I suppose I will blame the coffee I had this morning for the first time in 15 months.

But tonight, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to the point of being giddy.

Tomorrow Eliana will be seven months old, yes seven months.  I am not sure where the time has gone, but I do know that these seven months have been the best months of my life.  I have waited for what has seemed like an eternity to be a mom, and I love every second of it.  Sure, I have my moments where I want to throw myself a pity party for the simple fact that I have not slept through the night in 15 months, that my daughter typically only takes 30 minute naps, and that she refuses to sit still for me to cut her fingernails.  But tonight, I am thankful for every last minute of being her mom--in the good times, frustrating times, joyous times, heartbreaking times, and never-want-to-forget-these-moments times.  If I could have, I would have crawled in her crib with her just to get an extra snuggle in with her today for I know she will not be little forever.  But I didn't because, alas, my daughter is a horrible sleeper; one day, though, I have no doubt in my mind that I will crawl in bed with her just because I can.

Each night I pray over my sweet girl--I pray that she would come to know Jesus and love him with her whole heart, that she would serve him, honor him, and tell others about him.  I pray that God would continue giving me the strength and endurance I need to raise her to the best of my ability, that He would teach me how to raise her in a God honoring way, and I thank him each night that he has chosen me and Dan to raise her even if at times we feel like we do not know what we are doing.  (I also pray for straight sleep--tonight I prayed for five hours.  I mean, we serve a big God who cares even about the sparrows, I know He cares for me and my lack of sleep...)

But tonight, it hit me.  It hit me that I think God smiles at me an awful lot when He sees how much my Type A personality has been changed.  Albeit, reluctantly, but it has had to change.  My house is not immaculate any longer, in fact, I could write my name in the dust on my coffee table.  There are two loads of laundry that need to be folded; one of which has needed to be folded for nearly five days.  There is another basket of clothes of Eliana's that needs to be put away that has been sitting in my living room for over a week, dishes that need to be washed and others that need put in the dish washer; my bed does not get made every day any longer, and I'm lucky if it gets made once a week.  I have no shame in not showering every day or wearing a shirt or sweats with spit up on it.  My carefree spending days have been put to an end, and I now proudly clip coupons and make it a game for myself to see how much money I can save each week with grocery shopping. 

And I never knew life could be so sweet.

I am in love with being a mom.  I am in love with Eliana.  And I am in love with my husband who does more for me than most could imagine. 

But most importantly, I am in love with the One who has prepared me my entire life for this, who gave me the desire to be a wife and a mom, who has been chipping away at the control I like to have over my life, and who gives me the strength each day when I question my abilities.

I am so undeserving, yet He has chosen me anyway. 

God truly did answer with JOY when He gave me Eliana Joy; I just did not realize how many ways or on how many levels he was going to answer over these last seven months.

So blessed.  So thankful.  So unworthy.

Lord, thank you does not seem like enough, but yet I find myself repeating
it over and over.  You are so good to me, and I praise you for
the ways that you are teaching me and growing me through the fun times
and the not so fun times of motherhood.  Guide me, teach me, and
use me.  You are so worthy.  I love you, Abba.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I love being this little girl's mom.

She's 12 weeks old now, and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone nor how much she has grown and changed.  However, I would be lying if I said that these past 12 weeks have been a walk in the park, because they haven't.  I wouldn't trade any part of our journey thus far for anything, so don't mistake any of the following information for complaining it's just the way things have been.

I think every new mom has expectations of what their little bundle of joy will bring and add to their lives; I know I did.  I'm realistic enough to know that sleeping through the night would be a thing of the past, and because I've never been a good sleeper anyway this didn't seem to bother me.  I was also realistic enough to know that there would be periods of crying and days where I would be unable to take a shower and I was ok with those things too.

However, I was not prepared for the acid reflux, colic, or the desperate need to be held all day every day that Eliana demands.  I was not prepared to not be able to take her places because she screams and screams and screams, and I was not prepared to not be able to do homework without having someone else holding her.  But I was also not prepared for how much love I would feel for her, how much joy it would bring me to see her smile, hear her coo, and to see her respond to me singing to her, reading books to her, and playing with her on her playmat.  She is a gem, and I truly do love being her mom.  But she does hear multiple times a day that she is special because of how demanding she is.

I would be lying if I didn't say I'm looking forward to the day where she will nap on her own for me to get the house picked up, laundry folded or dinner made.  But, for now, it all can wait.  And I will do my best to cherish this time I have with her.  It's hard to not want your baby to do exactly what all the books says they are suppose to do right when they say they are suppose to do it, but what I do know is that this time goes by much too fast to wish it all away.

She is actually sleeping on me right now, but she is sleeping well enough for me to be typing and that is a huge success in itself.  (Of course right as I type that she is stirring, but we'll just go with it.) 

Because of Eliana's demands, I made a decision to not go back to work even part time.  I couldn't stand leaving her knowing that someone else might have to listen to her scream all day, and there was no way I could balance work, school, and her.  So, as hard as it will be not having client interaction, I must remind myself that this too is only for a season and that I did all that I could while I was there to make a difference in the lives of those I came in contact with. 

But for now I must go as the little one is awake and crying and ready to be fed...and let me just tell you, when she wants something she wants it NOW :)