"It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which he creates." ~Amy Carmichael

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby, kittens, fleas, car accidents, ministry...life.

*sigh* If it's not one thing, then it's another. Trying to have a good attitude and just take things as they come...but, goodness, life can be tiring.

For the skim readers:

Our life of late has involved: Kittens (8 of them, actually). Open House. Bed rest. Baby Adalynn Grace. Emotional rollercoasters. Life adjustments. Major ministry/life decisions. Fleas. Car accident. Insurance hassles. Spiritual stretching and growing. An awesome husband, adorable baby, and a good God.

And for the long-winded readers who actually want some detail:

Early August, we rescued 6 young kittens and bottle fed them around the clock for a few weeks before they were old enough for wet/dry cat food. Oh, and that was after bottle feeding a couple of my parents' kittens for a day or two. Unfortunately, for various reasons, in the end only one survived. Trouble is a tiny, curious little thing, who fully lives up to his name. Thinking he's been lonely, we adopted a recently weaned kitten from my parents' cat to keep him company. So far their interaction consists of Trouble curiously trying to play and Lucy (twice his size) hissing threateningly and batting him away. Best friends in the making, I'm sure.

Mid-August we held an open house. About 75 people showed up for chili, children's games, visiting, and Contra Dancing. It was a fun day and we were thankful for their encouragement and support for the ministry.

But I guess transforming a monstrous house from a construction zone to being company ready - between work days - making nine crockpots of chili, preparing prizes & paperwork and hosting 75 people in our home must have been a little much. Two days later, at 35 weeks pregnant, I was having a lot of contractions and beginning to dilate, so I ended up on partial bed rest for the last few weeks of the pregnancy...

The following week, after two days of regular, time-able contractions, no progress had been made and we decided the baby *probably* wasn't coming quite yet. So I spent a weekend at my parents' house while Nathan flew up to Canada to attend his sister's wedding. I stayed down as much as possible that weekend, just to make sure baby waited until daddy came home! Thankfully, she did wait...

Until the day after daddy returned home - sick. Nathan got home late Sunday and promptly went to bed with either a flu or food poisoning of some sort. I was then 37 weeks and 2 days and Nathan was home, so the idea of bed rest flew out the window and I was able to take care of him that day. By the end of that first day of being up and around, my waters started leaking, which meant that we needed to get labor going for real (contractions had never really stopped for about two weeks by that point)...

So that is how we spent the next day. And the day after that. The amniotic sac seemed to have resealed itself by that point so we no longer felt that we HAD to make labor happen. So the midwife stayed one more night and we went to bed figuring whatever was happening might settle down while I slept. The sleep idea lasted about an hour and a half. Labor was finally progressing...

And about 12 hours of intense-no-break-contractions later, a 7lb, 12oz Adalynn Grace was born. When she was born, the midwives told her to cry (to clear out her lungs) and, being the obedient child she is, she proceeded to cry for about the next 24 hours. Perhaps next time they should be more specific.

Then followed the usual weeks of recovery and getting to know this baby. I'm happy to say, I have been enjoying this time with Addy and bonding more easily than I expected. I'm less happy to say that recovery wasn't so great, especially with weeks of daily headaches and stomachaches thrown into the mix. But, we were/are both generally healthy so I can hardly complain.

Since she's been born...
Life has been about as routine as Missouri weather and has felt about as solid as a water bed. Like I said, I *have* been enjoying getting to know my little girl. However, otherwise, it's been tough. Between not feeling well physically, exhaustion, post-pregnancy hormones, and struggling to get on some sort of schedule...it's been a little tougher than usual to take life in stride.

Yes, I have been around babies my entire life. Yes, I know how to change and bathe a newborn, how to calm a fussy baby, and how to use a car seat (they seriously have instruction manuals for those things). I've even done dishes, cooked dinner, paid bills and folded laundry one-handed while holding a baby. Yet, somehow, it feels like I am having to relearn everything I know in life right now.

I've always had the option of giving a crying baby back to its mother. I've always had the option of waiting to do something until someone else could hold the baby. I've never had my (very) limited hours of energy/productivity interrupted to feed a baby.

And I am only just now realizing that the functionality of virtually ALL of my relationships has changed to some extent. Add to the relationship adjustments the fact that I just quit working regularly after working the same job for nearly 7 1/2  years, and I was on bedrest for several weeks (before/after birth), and we recently moved just far enough away that it's no longer convenient for people to drop by anymore...I admit that feeling lonely/isolated has probably been the hardest thing for me by far. I'm definitely not used to being at home all the time. I love my baby girl, but sometimes it feels like she is about the only person I have much of a connection with anymore. And she's not much of a conversationalist so far ;)

Right around when Addy was born, the kitten had picked up a serious amount of fleas. Oddly enough, they didn't spread anywhere else, so I quit being paranoid about them. I figured it was probably because we let him in the house less frequently and he was only ever allowed on the hard floors. Until we made the mistake of getting a flea collar. The kitty feels better I'm sure, but the fleas suddenly spread like crazy. Even after banishing him to the outdoors (the poor thing felt so neglected), thorough vacuuming, being careful about clothing that's been in contact with him, washing bedding repeatedly...we still haven't managed to completely get rid of them. But apparently fleas are picky about who they pester. They have hardly touched Nathan, Bria or Addy. I am the lone, unfortunate person who has been perpetually attacked. Let me tell you, being COVERED in bug bites while recovering from pregnancy/birth = NOT fun. But at least I didn't have to worry about the baby; she has not had a single bite.

Oh yes, speaking of Bria. She moved in with us in early September. It has worked out very nicely for both her and us. She needed a good place to live where she could get away from life stresses, and we have appreciated her helpfulness. It's nice having someone else to hang out with occasionally too!

This last week I was just beginning to think that life could start finding some semblance of normalcy. Until a dump truck side swiped us on the highway this weekend. We had planned on picking up my eldest niece and nephew and taking them with us to see a show, then having a dinner date later. What actually happened was we spent most of the afternoon dealing with insurance claims and police reports. Which, as Nathan pointed out, was better than spending it at the hospital. Other than being a bit shaken up, we were all fine. Both Nathan and I saw it coming, but there was nothing we could do as we were caught between a big, old dump truck that was changing lanes without looking and a concrete barrier wall. It messed up the whole left side of our car, but it could have easily been worse. Not even any broken glass. Thankful for God's protection.

Unfortunately, cleaning up the mess isn't going to be as easy as we'd hoped. Turns out that the other driver's insurance policy was inactive. Which means we have to come up with a fairly large deductible amount and hope that our insurance company can get it reimbursed someday in the future. This morning was spent trying to figure out what to do about his lack of insurance, how to get our car fixed, and what to do about our lack of a vehicle until it is fixed. Fun, fun.

But on the bright side, we are all generally healthy, I have an awesome husband (who is also a pretty awesome daddy), an absolutely adorable (albeit stubborn and feisty) little girl, and a good God. The rest are pretty much all just details anyway!

And now I'm going to try for a shower, if I can, then get on to other Monday stuff.

Farewell until next time. (Hopefully sooner than two months from now!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

He Asked...And I Said Yes!

One year ago, today, I accepted this gift from my best friend...

...Followed by this gift...

...And I have been claimed by the most wonderful man on the planet ever since.

I am SO thankful he chose me!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There is just something about walking barefoot through a field...sitting atop a grassy hill...feeling the breeze on my face. There is something about it that makes it easier to be still. To notice the light clouds floating through the Summer blue sky. To watch the tall grasses wave along the fence line. To simply be still and know that He is God.

Of course, it didn't take very long before I just felt like a 7 month pregnant woman, sitting on the hard ground in the hot sun. I soon had to remove myself to the comfy couch in our otherwise empty living room (thankful again for air conditioning!). But, brief though they were, I needed those few moments alone with God.

Every day has been busy, containing constant challenges that remind me how overwhelming our current circumstances are. I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy thus far, but, even still, it has been hard on me and my limited energy adds to the overwhelming feeling when I look around me. So I needed to just be still and know that He is God. I needed the moments of reassurance that He is my strength. He is our Provider. He is our Rock. His grace is sufficient. His peace is real. And He is very present, amidst the turmoil and weariness of each day.

I needed to feel Him close to me again. And I am thankful, once more, for a God of kindness and love. A God who not only meets our physical needs, but fills our desires with Himself - simply because He loves us. And He is good.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Coming Soon...

Some of you have heard about the new venture we are stepping into, many of you have not. Whether you have heard a little, a lot, or nothing at all, here is a brief description/update of what God is doing in our lives right now...

The Vision:
We are planning to open a home for young women facing crisis pregnancies. We are working to provide a home-like environment where young women can be made whole through the salvation of Jesus Christ, regenerated through relationship, and given the tools to succeed as mothers, leaders, and daughters of God.

This will be a 6-12 month discipleship/mentorship program, in which the girls will receive counseling, tutoring, practical training for pregnancy and motherhood - and most importantly, opportunity for healing relationships with both God and people.

Where We Are Now:
Next Saturday, July 9th, Nathan and I will be moving into a large house in Dallas County (about 45 minutes North of where we currently live). Lord willing, we will be turning a large, empty house into a loving home where young women can find hope and healing.

Current Needs:

1) PRAY.
  - More than anything else, we covet your prayers for wisdom, guidance and strength. This endeavor is far beyond what we can accomplish in and of ourselves.
  - Pray that we will be able to raise the funds necessary to accomplish the work at hand.
  - Pray that God would surround us with skilled people who can assist us in doing what needs to be done. Especially with the initial start-up, we need wise counsel at every step.
  - Pray that God would fill each need as it arises - finances, staff, volunteers, etc.
  - Pray that we would have faith, grace and strength to continue each day, especially during the times when things look bleak or life is tough.

  - If you live in the area, we need help making phone calls, compiling information, planning, fundraising, etc.
  - We could also use some help moving next Saturday, as Nathan has a sprained wrist and I cannot lift things while pregnant; between the two of us, this should be interesting, eh?
On a side note: Moving our small apartment of belongings shouldn't take too long, and anyone who helps is welcome to stick around and make use of the in-ground pool at the new house! Hey, a little bribery never hurt anyone, right??

  - If you do not live in the area and would like to help - have no fear, we can put you to work too! We are needing to get both a Facebook page and a website up and running pretty quickly here. Both will need to be maintained and updated on a regular basis. This could be done by someone(s) near or far!

I am working on a detailed list of needed items for the home. In the meantime, know that we are essentially starting from scratch in furnishing, equipping and decorating a 7 bedroom/6 bath 9,200 square foot home. So all donations of furniture, household goods, and maternity/baby items in *good* condition would be immensely appreciated!

4) GIVE.
Our ability to bring this vision to life will depend greatly on the financial support of those around us. We are looking for people to help us fund the initial start-up costs of the organization, as well as seeking monthly financial supporters as time goes on. Whether it is $5 or $5,000, every donation helps. Many hands make light the load!

More details and updates will be coming soon, but I wanted to at least make our friends and family aware of what's going on. We are just taking one day at a time right now; as long as God keeps opening the doors, we shall continue to walk through them. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

And now I had better get back to packing if we're going to be ready to move in a week...

Thursday, June 30, 2011


You realize, of course, that I had every good intention of actually using this blog when I started it up in January. Thing is, our plans were rather altered and I was not sure what to do with it. What sort of entry does one post on a blog that was initially designed to follow our journey of adoption...after finding out that we're pregnant?

It certainly took me awhile to mentally shift gears. But I think I have shifted gears enough to be able to come out of hiding and post again. Actually, I considered blogging again awhile ago, but time seems to be lacking for such things of late. So here is a quick one. Just some thoughts from recent weeks...

Do you know what I find ironic? (Other than the fact that I found out I was pregnant two weeks after blogging about wanting to adopt this year.) I find it ironic that we pray for things, and then we are surprised when God answers. It seems a little odd, don't you think? Yet how often do we do this very thing?

Think about it. We pray for God to work in a situation and when things start happening, we are surprised - or skeptical. We pray that God would make clear HIS direction for our lives, then when life starts to shift in order to make way for that very thing - we freak out. We ask God to do something big in and through our lives, then we spend months wondering why it seems like life has been turned upside down.

Sometimes it takes us only a few minutes to figure out what is going on. But I think more often than not we are pretty slow about it. It may take days, months or even years to catch on to the fact that "such and such" was simply a direct answer to our very own prayers. IF we ever notice at all.

Interesting how often we think we are praying with faith, only to find ourselves startled by an answer. Kind of makes me wonder how much faith I really had. Which, in turn, makes me consider what sort of faith I am praying with now. Do we actually believe that God is listening and will answer in his own perfect way? If we do not, then why do we bother praying? If we do, then why don't we act like it?

Do we pray for rain, then look at the weather forecast and leave the umbrella at home?

What prayers have you been praying? Maybe it's time to find your umbrella.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quote for Today

A challenging/encouraging quote from Sally Clarkson (www.itakejoy.com):
"We have a choice to say, 'I don't like this cup' and we can throw it away - but when we do that, we throw away our opportunity to glorify God and to show what it looks like to walk through life with contentedness and peace...You are limited in your understanding of your circumstances, but God is providential in providing his grace and wisdom in your life. So when we come to this area of celebrating life, we have to choose to be thankful and learn to be content. Enjoy life, celebrate the reality of God's love...in every season." 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Steps

"It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which he creates." ~Amy Carmichael
Amy Carmichael said well the thoughts which have been going through my heart and head in recent weeks. If God has placed a desire in our hearts, will he not fulfill the desires he creates? Will he not satisfy the longings he builds within us? I must believe so. Does ever he call and then fail to equip? Has ever he failed in faithfulness to those who take a step of obedient faith? I think not. 

So with that in mind, Nathan and I are praying and moving toward the fulfillment of a call that the Lord has placed in our hearts and on our lives. 
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted...you are the helper of the fatherless." Psalm 10:14 
The heart of God toward orphans is clear. The command to believers is just as clear. We cannot but believe that we MUST obey this command. Answer this call. Does this mean we believe that all are called to adopt? No, of course not. We do, however, believe that all are called to care for the fatherless. Obviously not every Christian is in a position to adopt, and there are many ways to care for orphans. But still, this leads us to believe that those of us who are able to adopt ought to be willing. 

Therefore, we are making ourselves available to our Father to do with us as he pleases. By accepting the sacrifice and salvation of Christ Jesus, we surrendered our lives to him - and to his service. He is our Lord. Where he leads, we follow. And he has been building in our hearts the desire to love His children as our own.

All that to say, we are praying and working towards adoption - hopefully in the near future, though we do not know what God's timing will be. Whatever the timing, we do believe this is the direction we are to go. So we are doing what we can to prepare and to walk in that direction now, believing that he will open the doors when the time is right. 

That said, there are plenty of obstacles. This is pretty much an impossible venture at this point. However, all things are possible through Christ. And, again, we can surely trust him with the dreams he gives us, no? The up side is that there is no feasible way we can jump ahead of God on this. Though it is hard not knowing the future, it is actually rather nice knowing that we can't force a door open before its time! 

We are starting this blog for several reasons...
First of all, we would like to include our family and friends in this journey. 
Secondly, and more importantly, we are asking for your prayer and support.
Thirdly, and fairly unrelated to the topic, I just need to start writing again! (Which means I'll probably be blogging other thoughts along the way...)

Some may think us crazy (or naive) for jumping into this so quickly after getting married. Perhaps they are right. But I am okay with being crazy if it means allowing God to do as he pleases in and through our lives. I honestly don't know how soon things will start moving. It may be awhile yet anyway; but for now we are praying and preparing. 

We began looking into adoption options while we were still engaged and, though we don't know what God's time frame looks like, we are currently working towards adopting before having children ourselves (though we would be plenty happy the other way around too. I just know that it will be harder to adopt after we have small children and I am no longer working). I have already been asked if this has anything to do with my health issues, and I expect the question to come up again, so allow me to answer it for everyone - nope, that has nothing to do with it whatsoever! Our desire to adopt is simply because there are children who need homes and we are willing to allow God to give one/some a home with us, if he so chooses. 

If you have made it through to the end of my chattering, I applaud you ;) Thank you for joining us on this journey. We covet your prayers! Only God can make this dream a reality!

Current prayer needs:
Before we can even bother applying, we need to rearrange some things financially.
- We need to sell a car as soon as possible (2010 Mini Cooper - know anyone interested??)
- We currently have renters in Nathan's house back in South Carolina (it was rented out the DAY Nathan moved to MO! God is good!), but the contract is up in March. We are looking at various options, but ideally we would prefer to be able to sell it out right as soon as the rental contract is up.

Otherwise, we just ask for general prayer for guidance and that God would open whatever doors need to be opened. Thank you all!