Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful and Blessed

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It's hard to believe that it has been three months since I last wrote. Things have been crazy around here but since I have a little bit of down time today I thought I'd take the chance to be thankful publicly.

Above all, I am thankful for my relationship with a loving God who offers me peace in the midst of trials and storms, grace in my shortcomings, love and encouragement in my daily life, protection from this crazy world, and an everlasting life with Him to look forward to.  I cannot imagine living life without His presence, without the knowledge that He is for me and He is with me always. 

I am thankful for my parents for so many reasons. My childhood was ideal, I wanted for nothing --each of my physical, spiritual, and emotional needs were always met and were met with love, support, encouragement, discipline, hope, and laughter.  Now my children get to experience that same love and support and it is a blessing to watch.

I am thankful for my brother Brian and my sister Shannan.  Growing up we fought often and although our relationships today aren't what they could be, I love them and I'm grateful for the many memories we've made together.

I am thankful for Jason.  We have had peaks and valleys, some very high and some very low, and yet God is still working in us to grow us into what we vowed and promised to be for each other 6 years ago. I am thankful for the work he does for our family and for the way he gives so generously. There is nobody else who I'd rather fall asleep with and wake up beside each day.

I am so thankful for Riley ~ What a blessing we were given almost 4 years ago. Her personality, her spunk, her creativity, her wit, her imagination....I am amazed.  She is so smart and so funny and honestly is just so much fun to be around.  I am thankful for her spirit, for her love and trust in God, for her grace and patience as a big sister, for her morning hugs, for her made up songs, and most of all for her kisses and "I love you"s.

I am so thankful for Logan ~ It's hard to believe that I doubted I'd be able to love another child.  From the beginning Logan has shown us her own personality.  She is possibly the happiest person I know.  Her smile, laugh, and constant joy are uplifting.  She loves to dance and listen to music and she is starting to sing some of her own tunes! I adore the times when we are rocking in the darkness and she curls her head on my neck and I just listen to her breathe.  I'm thankful that her health is perfect now and all of our worries have been erased, God is good! I can't wait to hear more from her sweet voice as she continues to learn to talk.

I am very thankful for my dear friends.  I have some wonderful people who I call friends who have laughed with me, cried with me, celebrated with me, grieved with me, encouraged me, prayed with and for me, and who love me unconditionally.  I am blessed to have fun-loving, Godly friends to lean on in all circumstances.

I am thankful for our new house.  Our old house was just too small. We were happy there and were surrounded by great neighbors but having more space and being in a different part of town have been wonderful blessings for us.  I am thankful that we were in a position to afford this house and build it the way we wanted it.

I am thankful for my career as a teacher. I take my role very seriously and pour a lot of myself into the kids in my classroom. I love the moment when a child accomplishes something new, meets a goal, exceeds his own expectations because of something I have done to help.  I have learned a lot about life from watching and listening and guiding young lives who come from many different types of homes and situations. I am blessed to work with people who also love kids and are willing to work together to make life and learning possible for the ones entrusted to us on a daily basis.

I am thankful for my freedom.  I take so much for granted and I know that it is because of so many willing to sacrifice on my behalf that I am able to do so.

I hope that you are able to see how many things we truly have to be thankful for and count them all as blessings.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Negative that's very Positive!

So many of you have lifted our family, specifically Logan, up in prayer lately and I wanted to let everyone know that the results of her EEG have returned negative! 
If I'm completely honest, my first reaction was relief followed by a bit of disappointment.  Strange huh?  The relief is obvious but the disappointment surprised me.  It wasn't as if I wanted something to be wrong, it's just that it felt like it wasn't a real answer in some way.  Doubts crept in about the results, the testing, the facility, the drs/nurses.... and then I remembered - this IS what we prayed for! This IS what we wanted! And then I was able to thank God for His grace and mercy yet again, that Logan's health and strength are exactly as they should be, and we can move on knowing that He continues to hold her in His mighty, capable hands. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Daddy ~ by Riley

For Father's Day I asked Riley to fill in the blanks about her Daddy.  Enjoy! :)

My Daddy's name is Jason.

How old is Daddy? 41 I think.

How tall is Daddy? big, big, BIG! (arms stretched out)

Daddy's favorite color is green.

Daddy's favorite food is potatoes!

One thing Daddy loves to do is play dress up with me.

The best thing Daddy cooks is all of the things.

I love it when Daddy gives me a tickle on my armpits.

I think Daddy is great at cooking and sleeping.

When I grow up, I want Daddy to love me and marry me.

Daddy is good at eating.

My Daddy is great because he's really great!

Is there anything else you want to tell Daddy?  Yes, I will when he gets here.


For Mother's Day I was able to post about personal experience as a Mommy and was able to honor my Mom.  Today I want to honor my Dad as well as Jason for being amazing fathers and role models for me and for our girls.

Thank you! Thank you for making the rule that you always go to church, no matter what, no excuses - it has transferred into our family life and was the beginning of my faith journey.  Thank you for teaching us to prepare for everything and try to get to places/meetings with time to spare - because of you I am organized and on time.  Thank you for setting the example in tithing - because of you we have put God first in our finances.  Thank you for the high expectations you always set for me - because of you I push myself and strive for the best and to be the best I can be.  Thank you for singing all the time - because of you I've learned the lyrics to MANY songs and I've learned that singing is good for the soul.  Thank you for teaching me the Bible alphabet - because of you I'm able to say "W - What time I am afraid I will put my trust in Thee". Thank you for loving Mom so openly - because of you, I knew the kind of man I wanted to marry.  Thank you for being tough and realistic - because of you I'm able to step back from a difficult situation and look at the facts.  Thank you for always being at every softball game I played, every move-in day at Winthrop, and reading to my class every year - because of you I felt important, valued.  Thank you for bragging about me and my accomplishments, however small they were. Thank you for believing in me and making me feel special.  Thank you for loving my girls with open arms and a smile - because of you they have a Poppa who is willing to swim, wear silly bands, paint his fingernails, and play with sidewalk chalk. You have no idea how excited Riley is about her loud day with you! Thank you for being a wonderful Dad and Poppa!  I love you! Happy Father's Day!

Thank you!  Thank you for choosing me to spend the rest of your life with.  Thank you for loving me and creating two beautiful children with me.  Thank you for teaching me that children need a Daddy - someone to throw them in the air while I cringe thinking their neck/back will break or they'll crash into something, someone to toss them onto the couch as they pratice "flying", someone to give them fruit snacks for breakfast and ice cream during lunch, someone who will let them ride on their shoulders and see the world from a different point of view, someone who will gladly dance with them and be Prince Charming.  Someone who's hands seem larger than life and who's hug can protect them from anything the world might throw their way. Someone to play music too loud and wrestle with on the floor. Someone to take them to the playground and splash with in the pool. You have never had a more precious look on your face than the days that you first held Riley and Logan.  Thank you for loving both of our girls so much and for being the true meaning of Daddy in their world.  Thank you for taking that responsibility seriously, the girls are blessed to have you in their lives!  I am thankful for all the memories you've already made with them and I'm looking forward to what else we'll be able to accomplish together!  I love you! Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Whew, what a crazy ride it has been!  Logan will be 8 months old tomorrow (where has the time gone!) and within the last month she has been through some crazy stuff.  A little over a month ago we started noticing her making a strange jerking motion with her head that took her head over to her left shoulder.  It started out being two or three times a day and moved to being episodes of five or six at a time throughout the day. I tried charting it ~ time of day, what she had eaten, what was happening at the time...there was no pattern or consistency at all so we took her to Dr. Hansen who referred us to a neurologist.  We began the testing process to determine what was causing the episodes with the mindset of elimiating seizures or brain function abnormalities first.  Our first step was a sleep deprived EEG.  On Mother's Day we had to keep Logan awake until late at night then wake her up at five in the morning and keep her awake until noon.  She was a champion!  Then, after hooking her up to 27 electrodes, they let her fall asleep for 15 minutes and then woke her up to flash lights in her eyes to monitor how her brain reacted to a stressful situation.  I wish they would've monitored me, certainly my blood pressure! Most positive memorable moment during the process was the nurse asking me a question and then telling me to keep talking because Logan's brainwave activity spiked while I was speaking!  Even while she was asleep, she recognized and responded to my voice! This is a picture of her staying up late - look at that smile! The other picture is sleepy Logan after she was all hooked up ~ bless!

Logan truly did a great job and I felt so proud of her!  Then we met with Dr. Nahourii in Charlotte about the results and I have to say that he is one of the most knowledgeable doctors I have ever encountered.  He told us that the EEG results were negative and then Logan started doing her jerking and he started studying her with it.  I was so glad that he got to see it happen in person, it really is hard to describe unless you see her do it.  He started listing all of the possibilities and then doing different simple tests with her while asking us questions to eliminate many of the options.  I was very impressed!  He determined that it is either partial seizures, a motion disorder, or something related to sugar or calcium levels in her blood.  We were told to return for a 24 hour EEG and given a lab order for bloodwork. 
The 24 hour EEG consisted of being hooked up to the same 27 electrodes except this time they were wrapped in what I can best describe as a gauze turban and attached to a little medical battery pack.  We were supposed to keep it on her for 24 hours and write in detail what she was doing throughout the day.  This too went very well, Logan is far braver and more adaptable than I could ever be.

Riley thought Logan's special doctor hat was great and surprisingly Logan didn't mess with it or pull at it while she had it on.  She even slept pretty well with it on.  The next morning Logan woke up with a smile and stayed in a pretty good mood while we removed all of the electrodes, but it was a chore!  Each one was taped on with medical tape (she has a lot of hair!) and the electrodes were stuck on with gobs of wax so they were stuck all over her head too.  Even Riley "helped" with the process. At the end of it all we covered her hair in conditioner (tip from the nurses) and then let her drink her bottle before we tried to wash it all out!


Today was the bloodwork and it was traumatic!  Logan was tired so the timing wasn't great and the nurses couldn't find a vein on either arm so the decision was made to use a finger prick instead.  That wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't need to fill FOUR viles!  It took 35 minutes and to say that we were both highly stressed and shaken from the experience is an understatement.  I kept reassuring her that I was there but she was looking at me while I was holding her down as if to say "make it stop" which was heartbreaking! Thankfully the testing process, at least for now, is over and we are waiting for results that should come within a week. 
Thank you for everyone's thoughts and prayers and encouragement, it means so much to us!  We know that Logan was created by God and that He is not surprised or confused by what's going on and He has her in His hands at all times.  He loves her even more than we do, that's a great foundation to stand on through all of this!
And so, even though she can't read this yet, I wanted to write this post to honor Logan and all that she's been through lately.  Baby girl does it all with a smile and a chuckle and a clap and a twinkle in her eye that melts this Momma's heart.
I love you Logan, Happy 8 Month Birthday <3

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mommy's Life

A mother is a special person for many reasons.  I happen to believe wholeheartedly that I have one of the best mothers that ever existed and I strive daily to be the best Mommy I can be to Riley and Logan. Let me tell you though, motherhood isn't for the weak!  The process begins internally when a child starts developing inside of you and you can feel kicks, bumps, and twirls knowing that something very important and special, a miracle in fact, is occurring inside of you.  The amount of love and devotion that comes with the knowledge that God is creating a person inside of you is inexplicable.  Then, the obvious part, the birth.  You know how preachers say that you should honor and serve God for no other reason than that Jesus gave His life on a cross?  I believe the same about mothers ~ they should be honored simply for giving birth! Whether a natural delivery or a c-section, all mothers incur a lot of pain bringing a child into this world and nobody should ever try to demean that or take that away from a woman who has suffered through it.  Motherhood brings sleepless nights, stained clothes, the loss of all privacy or personal life.  There are also the moments of silence in the rocking chair feeling a baby breathing on your neck peacefully asleep or times when you're staring into the crib wondering how you could have ever been given such a precious gift!  Even your conversations change, who knew so many discussions could revolve around breastmilk, poop color, and sleep habits! As a mother you celebrate every single milestone, big or small, and you jump into action at every cough or random sound.  You become a constant cleaner - cleaner of rooms, closets, toys, bottoms, hands, noses, and faces.  You start to notice the world around you much more thoroughly now that you are responsible for what your child sees, hears, experiences, and learns. You have to be the strength and comfort in the midst of pain and the constant reminder of rules and expectations.  Motherhood brings a new spark to your imagination.  You are the entertainment and the source of activity every day ~ you better be good with playdough, crayons, gluesticks, glitter, puppets, building blanket tents in the living room, and turning any cardboard box into an afternoon of fun!  Playing at the park, reading a book together, taking a walk and watching the clouds, listening to a child sing and dance to made up songs, these are the joys of motherhood.  Motherhood is full of trials and failures, as well as pockets of love and pride.  Tears of disappointment and tears of joy will be shed on numerous occassions.  And I've only had 4 years experience! While motherhood can be exhausting, daunting, and overwhelming, could there ever be a more important, precious blessing than to be called Mommy?  If you are a Mom, then I honor you!  I honor your dedication to your children and I say to you well done for what you've already accomplished!  Keep up the good work!

Now to my Mother: You are amazing!  I can never relate to someone who doesn't have a great relationship with their mom because you have blessed me in so many ways and surrounded me with support and love through every part of my life.  You continue to amaze me as a Nanny to Ethan, Riley, and Logan and I just want to say that I love you and admire you and want to be like you for so many reasons.  Thank you for believing in me, for encouraging me, for praying for me.  Thank you for being the ultimate example of God's grace and love in my life.  Thank you for your strength and for the way you sacrifice wanting nothing in return.  I love you!

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Who's Choking You?

I want to begin by saying that I feel so blessed to be a part of a church that is unwaivering when it comes to preaching God's never-ending, never-failing love.  I am so thankful for the ways that Elevation church has breathed fresh life into my marriage, my life as Mommy, and my teaching.

The message today was provided by TD Jakes, a very inspirational man of God, who spoke on the topic of forgiveness.  There were so many amazing points made and I don't think I'll come close to doing it justice but I wanted to share with you an overview of what he said because I really do think it can be life changing if forgiveness is something you struggle with, and really, who at some point in life hasn't struggled with it?

The message began with comparing unforgiveness to choking; literally taking the breath out of the life that God has intended for us to live. I thought that was such a strong visual of what unforgiveness can do.  Jakes pointed out that refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die.......powerful right?  He also said that refusing to forgive someone is like refusing to exhale.  When you breathe, you take in what you do need and let out what you don't need.  In, out, in, out - one of God's natural systems created to sustain life.  The purpose of exhaling is to let out what isn't necessary. When you live a life spent holding on to grudges, grief, anger, and bitterness -- you are literally choking yourself and cutting off the life that has been meant for you to live. Essentially, when you let unforgiveness poison you from the inside, you and the people in your life are stuck living with what's left over of you and your potential.

More than anything else, the main point was driven home with the parable of a man who was forgiven of his debt of 10,000 talents but then showed wrath toward a man who owed him only 100 pence.  This act of power and anger was the exact opposite of the mercy and grace that had been given to him.  JUST LIKE JESUS.  Jesus has given us forgiveness....of everything .... EVERY thing, even the things nobody knows about and you aren't willing to share because they are from the depths of your mind that you don't want exposed to anyone.  If Jesus has shown you that kind of forgiveness, how can you not let forgiveness freely flow to the people around you?

So when we pray "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" do we really mean it?  Do we really want God to treat us the way we treat people who have wronged us?  Do we really want the same treatment that we offer others?
We are human, we are flawed, we are broken....we will hurt each other.  We will do/say some things purposefully and with a spiteful spirit.  We will also hurt unintentionally.  Sometimes it's ourselves that we need to forgive.  But, whatever or whoever it is that is holding you back from your destiny, your potential, because it has turned into a situation of bitterness and unforgiveness ~ Let it go!  Be freed from it and move into what you have been called to be!

Imagine what it would be like to breathe freely and deeply again when you let go of what's been choking you!  I hope you got something out of this because it touched me so much I had to share.