Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Word for my Fellow Believers

Social media has become quite the courtroom hasn't it? With so many things changing in our culture, society, and government, it seems everyone has something to say about something. From Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner, Josh Duggar's confession of molesting his siblings (which outraged me the most), something about the confederate flag (not sure what the deal was there), and now a big decision sweeping the nation to legalize gay marriage statewide. We are all standing before a judge, declaring who's innocent, who's guilty, who deserves what, and who doesn't deserve rights at all. We are slamming our fists in anger and going head to head with others who think differently. We have made our own judicial court with our own set of rules and guidelines and our own standards of whom we should and shouldn't show love to and who deserves to be punished.

I have seen this from many people, but a lot from my brothers and sisters who claim Christ. Those are who I'm pleading with today.

This is not a blog to talk about all of those things. My heart is heavy for many things, but mostly, I am finding people almost recreating Christianity, salvation, and their view of conviction to satisfy a very changing culture, but also to maintain good status in the church. The older I get and the more years I walk with Christ, I am seeing my faith differently. I am clinging to His grace all the more and realizing my defenses and anger have no place in evangelizing and being a reflection of Christ. Are there times to become angry? Yes. Jesus was rightfully angry when He stepped into the temple and saw it was being misused by a bunch of thieves. So angry He started flipping tables. I've been that angry too. I've let anger consume me in past years. To a point where I was constantly defensive, abrasive, rude, and short with others. By the grace of God, He broke me from that and made me realize I was standing in my own way to being a light for Him. There are things in my life that I've experienced that I'll still always have questions about, but I now know, I don't have to have the answers and I don't have to carry grudges.

I have read a lot of people's debates the last few months. I have cringed at responses and reactions from those who are in the church. I have stayed out of most and prayed when I wanted to interject. God knows I need to be silent at times. My husband does too, and is good at reminding me to reel in the frustration. He's God's greatest gift to me. I do believe there are times when we need to stand up for what we believe and in no way do I think we need to hunker down under a rock in the face of adversity when Christianity is quickly becoming the minority. I think we all need to remind ourselves of what it is we believe and how that effects our lives and should effect every facet of our lives.

What do you believe about God? His character? Your salvation? What does grace mean to you? Conviction, brokenness, and repentance? Why are you standing up for and revolting against something in anger if the Lord has no reign and rule in your life? If He has covered us in grace and love, shouldn't we be covering others with the same? I am more nervous than ever that our believers in our churches are shortchanging their beliefs and salvation as nothing more than a mere bandaid. We walk into society seeing what's going on, being backed into corners, or backing others into corners with no real grasp of what we're saying or doing. Have we allowed the transforming grace to grip us enough to walk in conviction to our own sins daily? Are we repenting? Are we being the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and hurting world? Or are we wasting breath and years keeping our defenses so high and our walls so strong up around us, we have completely darkened any light that was once in us.

It's time we turn the finger around. Christianity is a call to continually self reflect. It's not something we label ourselves as because we sit in a church pew once a week. It's a calling to deny oneself and trust completely in the work of Christ on the cross. It's hanging up legalism and rebellion. It's not the robber who hung on a cross and demanded Christ to save him; it is a picture of the thief who hung on His other side, asking for forgiveness and in realizing his own wretched state, cried out for Christ to take him to Paradise. Are we the angry thief, blaming others for all there is wrong with us and the world or are we the other; the one who knows so desperately his need for saving grace.

In no way do I think this is watering down or should water down what is clearly stated in scripture. There are things in the Bible that are very black and white and I will stand upon the scriptures as God's very real words to me until the day I meet Him face to face. But no where in scripture does it say condemn in anger, point your finger in arrogance, or make those around you who believe differently feel as if they're inadequate in your presence. God created us all and the ugliness around us, towards us, and from us is dividing us. As a human race and as a body of believers. Instead of consuming ourselves with what we think about gay marriage or how we feel about the Duggars being taken off TLC, maybe we need a shift in our thoughts. We need to pray that God redeems our hearts for people in a big way. We need our eyes opened to our own struggles, shortcomings, and failures in remembrance that we are no better than anyone and should be all the more grateful that our Jesus paid the penalty for our sorry selves. So something I'm asking myself and want to ask of you:

When was the last time you did something for someone else, without any reason to, expecting nothing in return, simply to show the love of Christ?

Who was the last hurting person you prayed for?

When did you reach out to someone in need and go out of your way to help meet a need?

When did you last speak a kind word to a stranger?

These are all ways to tangibly show the love of Christ. In conversation with a friend today, she had read something about all of these debates, that I plan to read. The whole basis of the author's article was "is this a hill worth dying on?" It has stuck with me all day. What do I want to be known for when I'm gone? What do I want my children and grandchildren to remember about me when they're missing me? What legacy do I want carried on in my relationship to Christ? I don't want to be remembered for the hateful things I said, the lash outs that I was apart of, the explosvie anger that consumed me, or how many debates I "won" on Facebook. I want people to know that I loved Jesus to my core and tried to carry out that love in my day to day life in parenting, hairdressing, being a wife, church member, and friend. If I had to choose my hill to die on...let it be one where I'm serving others, ministering with my family, and enjoying the special relationships God has given me. A hill where all are loved despite race, religion, or sexual orientation. We have to start seeing people as just that, people. People that, believe it or not, were created by God. People that deserve respect and kindness at all times.

Legalistic one, put down your stone.
Rebellious one, come to repentance.
Calloused one, return to the joy of your salvation.
Wavering one, commit to love Jesus wholeheartedly.
Angry one, cast your anxieties on Him.

Let's love in action and stop hating in words. Together, we can get back to the heart of the gospel and the message that Christ's desire is for all to know Him.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Today we close on our very first home. I couldn't have imagined the emotions that would come about. I knew it would be somewhat sentimental, but my heart is on the verge of bursting from emotions and memories we've made in this home over the past 5 1/2 years. We are so very excited to be moving to a new home with more space, but I will definitely be leaving a piece of my heart within these walls. I remember when Adam and I first started house hunting. We were newlyweds living in our small townhouse (that we loved and I still miss it). We were so excited and ignorant at the same time about the process of buying a house, but we decided to contact a realtor. I remember walking into this house and thinking how much I loved it. I loved the open concept, the laminate flooring, and the oversized deck. I walked into each bedroom and imagined where a crib would fit and how our future children would grow and play. I wanted a home where we could have our family and friends over often. After two failed contracts on other houses, we found this home, and decided it was for us.

It was so fun picking out paint colors and deciding just how we would have our very limited assortment of furniture. When I found out I was pregnant with Callie, I was chomping at the bit to start planning her nursery. Owls, owls, owls!! As her room came together and my belly grew larger, I would sit in the dark, rocking in her nursery, anticipating her arrival. Singing to her, praying over her, and imagining her lying in my arms instead of nestled in my womb. I still remember the paint color, "Cinderella's Ball Gown". Goodness, how fitting for our four year old princess now. That sweet nursery, has turned into a toddler playground. That little squirmy baby that slept so peacefully in our first purchased crib is now on the verge of starting preschool. Where a diaper stacker hung, there is a backpack in it's place. I remember opening her closet and staring at how small the pink clothes were that hung. Now it's bursting with long dresses, coats, suitcases, and board games. The little one who kept us up all hours of the night our first few weeks together, now brushes her own teeth, goes potty solo, and jumps into her own bed. I still sing and pray, but she sings to me sometimes too. Sweet memories, I'm hanging on as tightly as I can.

The same for my second pregnancy, our bedroom, or when I would hang a new family picture. Each added touch was something that represented us. We've entertained, hosted small groups, had birthday parties, derby parties, Christmas get togethers, summer cookouts, and even had a baptism done in our bathtub. We've said goodbye to a puppy when he was picked up by the new owner and we've watched our other one turn more white over the years. We've had our share of leaks, squeaky floors, hot and cold days when our heater and AC have gone out, and times that I've really wanted to scream from feeling so cramped. Adam and I started this ongoing list, "In our next house....". The blanks have been filled in by a lot over the years; "we'll have more closet space," "I have to have a bigger kitchen," "we will have two sinks in the bathroom," "we need a garage." There have been a lot of complaints and things we would change, but I would argue they were so few and far between. We know the blessing this home has been to us. The too shallow of a sink where I gave my babies their first baths was perfect. The smallest room in the house became the perfect size for a second nursery. Our always cluttered, never swept basement, houses our girls clothes, toys, and our things from years of living life. We have never had a spotless house. You could walk in on any given day unannounced and see that it's been a house very much lived in. Many nights, dishes were left in the kitchen sink and strung out on the counters. Laundry piles have been bursting from closets while we stepped around them to get out the door. Dust has collected and dog hair has been lying in corners before I pulled out the swifter. I can proudly say, we've neglected some housework over the years to make sure we're living our life with our babies.

As we turn over our keys today to new owners, I can only hope and pray, they build as many fond memories as we have. That they have a home full of love and cherish each passing year together. Boxing up each room is very bittersweet, mainly because it takes me back to that year, that moment, when I decided to put that item, picture, or piece of furniture where it is. We are looking forward to the many years we'll have together as a family of five in our new home. A home where we'll bring our third daughter into our family. A home where we'll be able to host a community group with our church. A home where we will watch our girls grow from babies to school age children. A home that will host many slumber parties and girls' nights. A home where Adam can play pool and ping pong with his buddies. A home where, above all, we can show love, kindness, hospitality, and the love of Christ. I will always be thankful for the years we've been growing in this home together. The walls that have seen us laugh uncontrollably and cry out of deep sorrow. The bathroom floors that have held up the splash bath parties and the hot shower waters that beat on a sore back after long days of work. The neglected yard that has been overshadowed by long grass more often than not, but that many children have run on, giggling and kicking balls. The worn deck that has held up to many burgers, dogs, and barbecued chicken on the grill. Our cabinets and pantry have been filled with food, formula, and everything in between.

These walls have taken a beating, this home has been lived in and loved, and I can only hope it will miss the life we have given it. We will surely miss the life it helped give us.

Monday, April 13, 2015

You Look Tired

I couldn't count how many times I've been told "You look tired" or "You don't look like you're feeling well" or "Having a rough day today?" since being a momma. It's usually after a chaotic morning trying to get lunches packed and my girls to the sitter before my first appointment. Meanwhile, I've forgotten to pack my lunch AGAIN, and certainly didn't have time to put my makeup on, which my 3 year old will point out when loading into the van. "Mommy, why don't you have your lipstick on?" She loves lipstick. Seeing her eyes light up when she's choosing a color for me to put on her is a favorite thing of mine. It's usually dark pink with sparkles. And her love for lip color has certainly rubbed off on me, although most of the time, it's just plain 'ol cherry chapstick for this girl. I can remember before my babies came (barely) still rushing out the door to get to work on time. Why was I rushing? What in the heck was I doing? I must've been watching some compelling episode of Dawson's Creek before I took an hour long shower and only had to pack lunch for myself. Man, if I had only known the leisure of that!
Most of the time, I respond to those "tired" comments with, "Oh, I don't have any makeup on" or "It was just a crazy morning" or sometimes no response at all, just a nod. Knowing I do look tired, I am exhausted, and every morning is unpredictable and usually a circus act getting out the door. Now expecting our third baby, some of the comments have gone to "Wow", and "What are you going to do with 3??" or "You think you're tired now!" Again, I respond with a shoulder shrug or "We'll make it work." I mean, we are not the only people in the world to have 3 kids and we will be fine. But you better believe, it's totally unsettling knowing we'll be outnumbered. My husband and I have been talking about getting another van. Who drives two vans?? Love my van, probably too much, but we can't have two vans. More talk about my oldest being enrolled in preschool this year, while my toddler and newborn will be shipped to my sister's, selling our house, finding/buying a new house before November, saving for my time off, my maternity leave falling at my busiest time of year, etc leaves my head spinning and me thinking we are crazy. I'm even more crazy for going back to work after this baby.
We went to Gatlinburg this week with my in laws and it was a nice getaway, definitely better than expected. This was the first time traveling a long distance with Callie since she's been potty trained and first for Maci period. We had a fun week of arcades, shopping, the aquarium, and rides. Other than one evening of nausea, nothing catastrophic on the pregnancy symptoms either. But there were some things we had to work around. Our cabin was 3 1/2 stories with two flights of wooden stairs. Too wide for a baby gate, which we didn't bring anyway, and my Maci couldn't stay off of them. Her little legs are banged up pretty good from crawling all over them, despite our attempts to keep her off. That in and of itself was a feat. Also, we had to work our schedules around nap time, while everyone else was able to gallivant around town as they wished. Callie slept in our bed, because she was too scared to sleep alone, so even though it was a king size bed, we had feet or her booty in our backs for three nights. Packing for two adults, a toddler, and 3 year old....well, we might as well have moved in. Maci was in a stroller a lot, so she would get grumpy quickly and it was a fight to keep her contained most of the time. Callie was run ragged after all the activities and chose to talk mostly in her most high pitch whiney voice, while only listening to half of what we were telling her. After getting home Thursday, being able to relax a little, and letting our contained children run around in circles, we met our in laws for lunch Sunday for my husband's late birthday meal.
We came straight from church. There was a 30 minute wait so I stayed in the van with Maci screaming hysterically to get out. We walked in to find everyone had their seat. I wrestled Maci into the highchair while Callie clung to me and pulled on my sweater. Maci began to scream for milk for about 15 minutes while Callie ran around the table, trying to sit anywhere but in her seat. I was trying to pour another milk into the kids cup, when it slipped, knocked over, and poured all into my lap. I was literally ringing milk out of my skirt and wiping the table and floor with napkins the rest of the meal. Chocolate milk mind you. We somehow made it home to nap and I laid in bed thinking nothing. Feeling nothing but a massive headache and wanting nothing more than to fall asleep. I rested my hand on my lower belly, somehow communicating with this growing baby inside me, "Hope you're ready for all of this."
The thing is, I don't need or want sympathy. While I appreciate the concern and concerned comments, I don't need the "Poor Felicia." Yes I am tired. I work long hours, have two small children, and am fighting nausea with my third pregnancy in-between hilighting clients. We are very involved in our church and love it, but it's another thing we're committing our time to. So we have crazy week days, followed by busy weekends and I couldn't think of anything else we'd rather be doing. Yes, you'll probably hear me complain sometimes about there not being enough hours in the day or enough Tylenol in my purse. And believe me when I say, getting ready in the mornings makes me want to bang my head in the wall most days. I may look glazed over, out of it, and even sick. I may even look like I'm not happy at times. But please know, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Sometimes when I call Adam in the middle of our crazy days apart, I'll ask him how he's doing and he usually follows up with "Living the dream." I smile slightly and chuckle a little, but it's a great reminder that we are doing just that. We have two beautiful daughters the Lord has given us. Two great jobs. A place to call home and a pillow to lay our sleepy heads on after our long days. A fabulous church and wonderful friends to call on when in need of some time away. The best family around, who help us with our children weekly. While I discipline, yell more than needed, and rub my temples often, I am grasping for time to slow down. I am soaking up the snuggles, stealing kisses when I can, and praying for my babies daily. I wanted nothing more than to be a mother when I was younger and the Lord has given me that gift tenfold. Three children will be tough, but I am blessed to have godly women and families around me who are raising children too. And if you're at a restaurant and see me fighting with my children or dragging one out the door or cleaning up another mess, just say a prayer for me that I appreciate even those moments. And if a comment does find it's way to our lips, do me a favor and make it a positive one. "You're doing a great job." or "Your children love you more than anything." Or even just a pat on the back. This momma is tired, but my heart is full, and my joy is complete in my Jesus.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lead Us Back in 2015

Well it's been about 16 1/2 months since my last blog, which is the about the age of Maci. Reading my last blog about waiting for her arrival stirred up all kinds of emotions. But we are doing great as a family of 4! Maci is a fabulous little rascal who has all the spunk, attitude, and sweetness that you would expect from a sour patch kid. If she goes in for a kiss, better be ready for a punch or a bite...well that may just be with her older sister. In a nutshell, the Pryors are thriving as a foursome!

What brings me visiting my blog today is a lot really. A lot turning in my head and heart and sometimes I just need to unload. Which is what these things are for right? Feel free to X out this screen at anytime because I am not a woman of wise words; after reading this, you probably won't feel any differently than when you decided to read this initially, but thanks in advance for doing so! So the countdown is on to another new year...2015 is 3 days away! Am I the only one who thinks the years are flying by these days? I know I sound super duper old and mom like when I say something like that, but seriously? Could time just hold the rewind button for a minute before I'm prom dress shopping and watching my husband give my daughters away.....sheesh! Breathe Felicia- they are 3 and 16 months...still dragging stuffed animals around and climbing in my lap for snuggles and songs. Ok...I'm better.

Last New Year's Day, Adam and I sat down at the table and made a list of goals we wanted to reach for 2014. He made a list, I made a list, then we made a list together. It really was a great time to sit down and reflect on what's important together. Adam always says he wants us working towards something together, which I'm learning is a huge tool in strengthening our marriage on the daily. So anywho I listed a few things on my posterboard (these are by memory)...lose 30 pounds, participate in a bible study, exercise a couple times a week, etc. The big ones from our together list was find a new church home, put a firm "getting out of debt" plan into action, plan X amount of date nights, etc. I think some of his were similar with the exception of reading more books...why anyone finds that a leisure activity, I will never understand. But the man loves books. So in three days, we will sit down, pull out our lists and evaluate what's been accomplished, what hasn't, what we did and didn't do together. I know that list will breed some disappointment, but overall, it's just something to keep us focused on what's important and an encouragement to look forward to another year, another redo, another clean slate, another chance.

In a quick recap, 2014 was one that was filled with it's definite shares of growing pains. Right out the gate of 2014, we had to make an incredibly difficult and gut wrenching decision to leave our church abruptly. A church we helped plant. A church we poured blood, sweat, and tears into. A church we thought we'd be at longterm with our family. Without going into any detail, I will say that will always be one of the hardest decisions Adam and I have ever had to make. And that's how we started our new year. With people angry at us, pointing the finger at us, and wondering why we'd left so quickly. We had to face rumors of all kinds, especially with me working in a salon, that ironically sat right next to said church. Everything about it was painful and broke our hearts into a million pieces. It's amazing how you feel the overwhelming pain of something so heavily, you are sure you're going to drown beneath the weight of it all. But we did not drown and we did not wallow in our agony. The Lord quickly plugged us into another church and kept us moving forward, dragging our beaten hearts, reputations, and sorry selves alongside us.

We struggled as a family to stay afloat emotionally, but we found sweet comfort in the arms of our Jesus. We've watched and continue to watch people in our families fight, struggle, and stand firm. We had another bump in the road when we got our house ready to put on the market and made the decision to hold off the day before the pictures were going to be posted from our realtor. A few tears shed over that one, but after a glass of wine and a long conversation with my sweet husband, we knew it was the best decision at the time. We've had some friendships fall by the wayside and some days we shook our fists at the sky. But I know with all of my heart, with all of my soul, that God blesses through the growing pains, that He delivers His people who stay faithful, and He supplies for our needs. He sustained us with strength and pushed us out of bed each Sunday morning to get our kids and our family to church.

This past August we became members of Sojourn Community Church and honestly, was one of the best parts of our 2014. God knew exactly what He was doing and exactly where He was taking us. We were welcomed into a group of believers who allowed us to come and be encouraged, as guarded as we were. We were hearing God's Word as it should have been preached and were being reminded of God's promises to never leave us and to finish the work He started in us. The beautiful community we have with our fellow Sojourners is something to behold. My 3 year old is learning, thriving, and growing in the Lord and being encouraged by amazing leaders. We cannot put into words what this place and these people mean to us. We are home after wandering another year, we are finally home.

Our jobs have been great, I've never been busier and Adam had another promotion. Our babies are healthy. We have a home over us and food in our bellies (mine is still squishier than I'd like it to be). We have many things to be thankful for and in light of another year, another goal setting meeting, I am determined to keep Christ as the center of it all. Because I have to wonder...what if I didn't have a good job or a job at all? What if one of my children were ill? What if we were barely putting food in our house? Would I still be thankful then? Would I still give the Lord control or would I start to take back, live like I want, and throw my hands up in the air in despair? Although we feel like we are in a good place now, I do not want to live in the comfort of the familiar, the painless, or the ordinary. I want to give of myself, our finances when we're able to do so wisely, and sacrifice. I want my daughters to grow up knowing what it means to do something kind for their neighbor. I want to love people to the Lord because we are in no shape to produce any kind of salvation. There are many songs I love at Sojourn, but I will end with this one because it makes me burst in to tears nearly everytime I hear it. I pray we're all lead back to life in Christ. Free of rules, free of judgements, free of apathy, free of guilt, free of calloused and angry hearts. Cheers to 2015!

"Lead Us Back"

Falling down upon our knees
Sharing now in common shame
We have sought security
Not the cross that bears Your name
Fences guard our hearts and homes
Comfort sings a siren tune
We're a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You

Lord we fall upon our knees
We have shunned the weak and poor
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords
Prayed for those we'd like to know
Favor sings a siren tune
We've become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You

You have caused the blind to see
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds
Eager, ready to condemn
Now we plead before Your throne
Power sings a siren tune
We've been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

Here's the link to hear it on you tube, it's beautiful, go listen!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And baby makes 4!

I have really got to get better at this blogging thing! My last post was like a year and a half ago! Anywho, I'm glad I have a place to release some thoughts, especially when there's lots of thoughts to be released. Today I am 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant with our second baby girl, Maci Pearl. My cervix has been completely stubborn this time, so an induction was scheduled for Thursday, two days from now on my due date. An entirely different experience than my first pregnancy/delivery altogether.

So while I wait to try to be induced on Thursday, I have lots to ponder. Lots. And lots to be thankful for. I have a beautiful, intelligent, thriving 2 year old who is the light of our lives. She makes life worth living and the bad days seem ok. Callie has given us so much joy and shown us how to be silly and loving. She is toddler perfection in our eyes. When Adam and I found out we were expecting another girl, we were over the moon. I am extremely close with my sisters and I'm so excited for Callie to share the unshakeable bond that sisters do with Maci...among the hair pulling, name calling, and throat punching that's bound to happen growing up. But an unshakeable bond nonetheless. Here's an updated pic of my gorgeous girl:

This was one of my favorites from her 2 year photo shoot. She's a beauty <3 p="">

Thinking of having two kids is overwhelming to me at this point. We have such a fabulous routine established for Callie. She tells us whens she's hungry. Naps for atleast 2 hours a day and sleeps 12 hours at night, IN HER OWN BED. She has never slept in our bed and never will. Same with Maci. Word of advice for those of you with babies who ever want to sleep again...don't put your newborn in bed with you. Recipe for disaster and years of restless nights of sleep. End soapbox.
As I was saying, we've got this down. Yes she has the occasional meltdown in public. We have to spank her butt and put her in timeout when it calls for it. But overall, Callie is a fantastic child and has the best personality. Still working on the potty training thing but we won't open that can of worms in this blog. We feel like we have a good grip on what to do when she's screaming, gets a boo boo, or flares up with a fever. We make sure to take her places and do things with her so she's not glued to watching Bubble Guppies all day (even though she'd be in favor of that). She has a balanced diet without us being organic/vegan/paleo obsessed and the dr always says how healthy and perfect she is. She could eat more green veggies for sure, but I'm blaming that on her father. She inherited his close mindedness towards anything vegetable that isn't a potato. So she gets vitamins to help with what she's missing from those. And while respecting the decisions of my fellow granola parents to give their child/ren only things that grow from the ground, use cloth diapering, and wear beaded necklaces, please don't assume we all will parent like you or will want to (def have to end that one there or this blog will become entirely too long). Like I said, we feel pretty good about where we are in the parenting stage.

What will happen when we have a toddler AND a newborn?? I often think of the hardest days coming my way. The sleepless nights, the nursing attempt (another day, another blog), the possible acid reflux Maci might have that Callie did that kept her spitting up for months on end that smelled like fire. I think of Maci screaming in my arms while Callie is drawing on the walls or running into the street while I'm home alone with them. (Callie hasn't done either btw, just a very extreme example of said fear). I think "how are we going to do this? how??" And then I remember, we're not the first and we certainly won't be the last family of 4. Things will be undoubtedly hard at first. Yes, no sleeping for the first few months. Days where we all sit around and cry and I forget to eat because I've got a baby on my boob and a toddler peeing in the floor. Probably days I forget to feed my attention starved and literally starving chihuahua from all the chaos. Days where I want to throw my arms in the air and give up. 
But that's what parenting, especially a newborn, is right?
But what is different this time, that calms all my fears and leaves me longing for Maci to get here quickly are the sweet moments and memories waiting to be unfolded. Getting to see Callie as a big sister. She already kisses my belly everyday and says we can't wait to see you. She's gonna be such a rockstar big sister. She carries her babies everywhere, paying close attention to rocking them, feeding them their bottles and even puts them in Maci's swing when she needs her hands free. Watching her with other newborns already captures my heart, so I can't imagine the feeling of seeing my girls interacting together. It's a blessing I am aching to see and watch through the years. I am excited to see us transition from a family of 3 to 4 and all the things that come along with that transition. I'm looking forward to seeing how Adam handles all these girls and what a mushball he will become being a daddy of two daughters. I am mostly looking forward to all of the love that will fill our home with Maci as part of our family. I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love Callie, but like the cheesy line from Sister Wives says, love is meant to be multiplied, not divided. (I should also insert here that is the only thing I take away from that show this is beneficial. Why a man would want more than one wife is beyond me.) 

I can't wait to meet Maci. I can't wait for Callie to meet Maci. I can't wait to bring her home and let the chaos begin. The beautiful, never ending, chaos. The crying, the laughing, the frustration, the unexplainable love. We have a lot to learn as parents and are doing the best we can now. We'll have a lot to learn as parents of two 27 months apart. It'll be a test, but a challenge we're welcoming with open arms. Being a mother is the best job in the world and although this pregnancy has been difficult, it's something miraculous I'm thankful to have experienced a second time. 

So now, we wait.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Courageous: Am I?

Today Adam was off work which was strange since he never has a day off during the week, but I loved it. With this random day off, we tossed around a few ideas on how we could spend this lovely Tuesday. Courageous came out last weekend, and since we missed seeing it with our church, and heard nothing but fantastic reviews about it, we thought it'd be worth seeing. And since we had decided on the 1:05 p.m. matinee, we had to load up Callie and take her with us. She did great napping in her car seat while the movie played. Thank God we have a baby who knocks out when the lights dim. I think the people who saw us walk into the theater with our baby were relieved she slept as well.
After all of the ranting and raving about this movie, I kind of already drew my own conclusions as to what happened and what it would be about. I already figured out the big tragedy from the previews so was prepared to cry. And boy did I. I was just hoping the acting would be better than the previous Christian films made by the same people and it was. I was really surprised by the movie all good it was, how convicting it was, and how it made me think about things I really didn't want to. I guess God is good at putting something in your path to knock you down when you think your riding along without a care in the world.
I have a wonderful, blessed life. I am married to my best friend and love of my life. I have friends and family that support me no matter what. We now have a 4 month old daughter who has brought out this entirely different kind of love and joy in our hearts. We are blessed to have great jobs that we love and to  have a home. We love our church, and even more recently, our new Sunday School class. We are trying to get more involved here and there in ministry and outreach. From the look of it all, it would seem everything is lined up for us. And we are happy, very happy. Being comfortable and happy with our lives can lead to a contentment that can be poisonous if we're not careful. Poisonous in a way where there's no relationship at all with our Lord. He's been so good to us, so why do I find it so hard to be who I know I should be for my God? I pray continuously for discipline, motivation, blah, blah, blah. I still go to bed without reading, without praying, and without spending anytime with my Father.
As I prayed over Callie tonight, I was overwhelmed with how much love I have for her. Watching the movie today was a big reminder of how short life is and how precious the moments are that we spend with our children. Even if she is just a baby still, it's so important for us to make time with her a priority and it is. She is my everything and the outpouring of love that I have for my daughter is indescribable. I cry when she cries and her laugh makes any bad day bright. I could stare at those blue eyes all day and blow raspberries on her cheeks until I run out of breath. She's our angel sent to us from our Lord and when I approach Him in prayer praising Him for her, I can hardly contain my emotions. And tonight when I was praying, He opened my eyes to something. The unimaginable, unexplainable, out of this world love that I have for Callie, my Lord has for me. And I have been neglectful of His love for too long.
The movie was a great charge for fathers, but as a mother, I took the same charge to heart. I don't want to  be just a good enough mom. I want to be a God fearing mom. I want to be the mom who makes it to all of her games or dances or whatever she wants to be involved in. I want to be right there cheering her on, encouraging her in every way. I don't want to be too lazy or tired to take her shopping, or to talk about boys, or to pray with her when she's hurt. I want her to know that she has a mommy and daddy that love her and that love the Lord. She is everything to us. Our Lord should take priority over her. How can that not revolutionize my day-to-days with Christ?
In conclusion, if you haven't seen Courageous, go see it. See it with your family. And as I was instructed to do, bring kleenexes because the napkins from the concession stand just aren't the same.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Callie Jane: The Roller Coaster to Her Arrival

Wow...I almost forgot I had a blog! LOTS has changed since my last blog in December, when we didn't even know what our little baby was. Now we are the proud parents to our sweet baby girl, Callie Jane. She is 10 weeks old and growing so fast. She is perfect in every way and I know that I am totally biased, but she's the most beautiful thing. Much to our surprise, she came out with a head full of curly, red of my most favorite things about her =) She was a whopper at 8 lbs. 7 oz. and 21 inches long! Our doctor tells us to be on "roll patrol" when we clean her...I love her fat thighs and double chin! 
Callie's arrival did not come without pain, endurance, and a somewhat traumatizing labor. When people ask me how the labor and delivery was, I almost want to sugarcoat it, especially for my friends who are expecting their own bundles of joy. And Callie is the biggest joy and I will do it again and she was totally worth it. However, the journey to get our little one here was one that I will never forget.
My due date was May 25th and I worked up until she was born. I actually was doing a haircut the Friday before she was born and had a few contractions but was able to push through them to finish up my client (and it still looked really good!). I started having contractions Thursday night, May 19th, while walking the mall with  our friends Matt and Ashley (she was also pregnant at the time but has since given birth to her sweet girl, Annslee.) Being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect with the contractions and with my zero pain tolerance, I was terrified of them. My first few contractions hurt, but were tolerable. Friday morning my mom and I walked around my neighborhood for an hour, with me having to stop every 15 minutes or so with contractions. I went to work, did a few appointments, and Adam and I met my mom and step dad at Cattleman's for dinner. The entire dinner, I was having contractions 10 minutes apart..they were much more intense than the night before and I remember banging my steak knife on the table a few times and the waitress being totally freaked out. We left and they kept coming, to where they were about 8 minutes apart. Adam called the doctor and they told us to come in. Something I will never forget about the whole process was when they would check me...HORRIBLE! It didn't help that this nurse was about half my size, blonde hair, and very attractive, with her, what felt like, entire arm inside of me. So all the while I'm screaming at her in pain, I'm also thinking I wish I had an ugly, fat nurse. Anywho, turned out I was only 1 cm and they sent us home. Being sent home is an awful feeling..we went from an elated feeling of our baby possibly being born to an overwhelming disappointment. They offered me a sleeping aid and I declined. Never decline. I don't know what I was thinking.
Anyway, I was up all night with contractions. Saturday contractions kept coming, starting out at 20 minutes apart, and eventually that evening they were down to 7-8 minutes apart. Same song and dance..we called the doctor, they told us to come in, loaded up the car, and Adam wheeled me into triage for the second night. Being checked still was the WORST thing ever and by this point I had adapted a few words that became my companions until she arrived. Shit and sorry. I would scream "Shit!" followed by "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" I'm surprised I didn't adapt more words than that. Still had the cute, annoying nurse, who was not sensitive at all and acted annoyed that it hurt me so bad. I was only 1-2cm and they sent me home and I cried and cried and cried some more. By this evening, we hadn't slept in 2 nights. It was impossible to find a position to ease the pain of the contractions. People described them to me like intense menstrual cramps..I guess they were like that at that point. But definitely could not sleep. I sat up against the headboard because lying down was out of the question. I would sleep between contractions which were about 10 minutes apart by 10:00 Sunday morning. At 11 we headed to my mom's because she had a jetted tub and I thought it might help to have a hot bath. Sunday was the worst day of my life.
The contractions were unlike anything I had ever felt. No one can prepare a person for what I went through on Sunday. Still had the very intense cramping, but then back labor started. Up until this time, I had no idea what back labor was or that it even existed. It literally felt like I had a ring of squeezing, stabbing, burning from my lower belly, all through my lower back. I couldn't lay back or lean forward. I would drape myself on Adam, my mom, and Victoria (my younger sister) and scream. I screamed and cried for 9 hours. 9 hours of pure hell. The contractions were 6 minutes apart for 9 solid hours. I didn't want to go back until my water broke because I refused to be sent home again. But we had to go or I was certain I was going to die. So called the doctor, loaded up, and headed to the hospital. This time was the worst. I screamed all the way there. Adam wheeled me into triage, while I had my face buried in a wet washcloth. The nurses were nice, and heavy. And they took excellent care of me. I was 4 cm and FINALLY they admitted me. Praise God!
The doctor on call that night was Fiddle--something or another..I called her Dr. Fiddlestick. She came into the triage room to assure me they were keeping me, then asked, "You ready for that epidural?" I could have french kissed that woman on the spot. It was like there was a light shining around her..some kind of angel person. I think that was the first time I had smiled in 4 days. After the epidural, I was feeling just fine, despite my unbelievable exhaustion. She broke my water and got the ball rolling. In no time it seemed I was almost ready to push..and then a another small detail arose. Baby was "sunny side up", which led to an hour and a half of pushing. Seriously...I need a nap reliving all of this. Even though the first time I saw her is something I will never forget and she was beautiful, I think we can all agree that newborns being pushed through a small hole, have some appearances about them that c section babies miss. And since she was face up, she had bruising on her forehead and eyes. After that, everything seemed like I was in a dream. I wasn't the mom who screamed in joy when I saw her. I cried and kissed her and  pretty sure after that I entered the twilight zone. I remember at one point Adam bringing her over and I couldn't hold her because my body simply would not allow me. I wasn't able to really hold her until a couple of hours later. I remember looking into her eyes and thinking nothing of the pain. Her little face was all I wanted to stare at. Her first tiny grasp on my finger melted me to pieces. I was out of my mind in love with her.
Callie is everything we've ever wanted and God overdid Himself by sending her to us. She's growing and learning everyday. She smiles all the time and I love to hear those sweet coos. She looks like her daddy with my nose. Her hair naturally falls into a faux hawk. She has rolls on her legs, arms, and face. She has the most beautiful blue eyes with curled up, light lashes. She is the epitome of perfection and she is showered with love with every passing day. As cliche as it is, we cannot image our lives without her and really don't know what we did before we had her. She's everything to us.

Here are some pics of our big girl:

            Adam with Callie in our Mother/Baby room

Just a couple weeks old here

One of our first meetings

One of her newborn pics we had made at 3 weeks old

She loves swimming...

Callie and Mommy

Our precious family

Daddy's sleeping buddy

Throwing up her rawkfist!

Loooves this pillow