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...