Ruby Jane’s leaves

we don’t need to know someone to love them. we don’t need to love someone to mourn for them &…we don’t need to birth a child to feel a longing to hold them & see them well when they’ve gone to Heaven too soon for our hearts to understand.

my heart aches for Ruby Jane & her family tonight.

i stumbled across their precious blog while trying to find the tutorial i wanted on make it and love it. i love that i stumbled on such a gem instead.

Ruby Jane.

you can read their story {here}.

i cry for my Heaven Baby still some days. you know that already… & i didn’t even get the chance to see or know my baby. imagine seeing & knowing sweet Ruby Jane for nearly a year then having to say good-bye. some things in this world just remind me to be thankful & to be mindful of our blessings.

some stories change our lives…change our hearts. thank you, Ani for the story of {her leaves}. i will never look at leaves the same again…

Ruby Jane, when i see them, i will honor you & remember to pray for your sweet parents & sister. God is gracious & compassionate & He will pour out His loving-kindness & blessings on them. i know it.

and someday, Ruby Jane, we will all be together again…you with them & us with our angel. until then…

Lord, please help me to remember sweet Ruby Jane when even the thought of complaining crosses my mind. thank you, Lord for my blessings…my babies. thank you for their health, Lord & thank you for giving us Your compassion in our hearts that we can be moved by others’ strength & courage in such a way that it can change our own lives forever…making us better people…You allow our hearts to break in order mold & shape them…

a word from Ani…

I want to be busy and stressed out, and tired and have spit up in my hair.
I see mothers everyday that look so upset and unhappy.
Do you know how lucky you are to have spit up in your hair? Do you know how lucky you are to have TWO crying babies in your cart? Do you know how lucky you are that you get to buy diapers? Do you know how lucky you are to have circles under your eyes from being up all night with your baby, and not from crying all night from missing your baby? Do you know how lucky you are that you get to nurse your baby? It takes everything in me not to walk up to mother’s and just make sure they know!

thank you, Ani for your honesty & the reality check. thank you, thank you, thank you. i don’t even have to go into how badly i’ve taken these joys for granted…

please check out the Ruby Jane Foundation {here}.

{image source}

you can also connect with this incredible family on facebook…{here}

sharing similar struggles? read this…

i came across this post this morning. it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite blog sites. it just goes to show – we are never alone in our struggles. there’s always someone out there on the same page as you, regardless what the situation…loss, frustration, joy, fear, success, embarrassment…the list goes on. we’re all human & i’m simply a woman trying to live in truth. i’m never perfect & i’m not ashamed or too proud to pretend otherwise.

if it appears i’m on a soap box, i may be, but i feel that God is trying to transform me – to set my priorities & thoughts straight. maybe you’re on the verge of a new you too. thank you, Jesus that you love me enough to constantly point me in the right direction…

find the post here…{sisterhood…get real}

Emily P. Freeman says in her book, Grace for the Good Girl,

“When I am wearing a mask, not only can others not see me, but I can’t see them. I see everything through a thin veil of perception…. What would it look like if I allowed Jesus Himself to determine my comfort zone? What if, instead of walking into a room with a wall around me, I was able to walk into a room and move toward others in freedom? Before I am able to do that, I have to be convinced that I am safe. And that is exactly what Jesus came to do.”

{image courtesy of pinterest}

“let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” james 1:4

His girl.

i’ll tell you right now – i want nothing more in life than to be “God’s girl.” i live & long for His favor & love. i screw up a lot. i get down on myself even more…but at the end of the day when i lay my head on my pillow, i give Him today’s failures & fears trusting that His mercies are new each morning & a blank canvas awaits…

for too long i’ve worried about what others think of me. for too long i’ve cared about what they have to say. for too long i’ve placed my worth in the hands of some pretty artificial people. “why do you care?” my husband will ask. “why does it matter what they think or say about you?” the truth is, i don’t know. i don’t have an answer. i don’t know why i care & i sure don’t know why it matters. maybe it’s the flaw of the female.

i was never insecure until i moved home from graduating bible college & i often wonder where the disconnect occurred. i have an idea of the why but not the when…

i’m reminded often of one of my favorite pastors, richard crisco, when i think of the toxic relationships i still chase to this day. “show me your friends & i’ll show you your future,” he said very often & with complete certainty. you know what? he is right. at this rate my future will be a shriveled, timid mess unless i step up & get my head straight.

i am His girl. Jesus is my best friend. i need to let all of those opinions shrivel.

there are some people that will go out of their way to prove to you, themselves & others that you don’t matter…that you’re static. are you someone’s “secret friend” too? you know what i’m talking about. why is it that those people tend to be the most alluring? it’s the devil. i believe it. b/c not only are you tied up in constantly trying to win approval, thus constantly being distracted from God & His agenda for your actions, thoughts, life, but the rejection you feel drags you further into a pit of lies you tell yourself about who you are. again, i say to myself & you – it does not matter what the world thinks or says you are – who does God say you are?

who am i, Lord?

you are Mine.

you are beautiful.

all the rest is static.

charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. ~proverbs 31:30

HE does it once again…

again today, without fail, God is speaking to my heart in the “daily blessing”

maybe it’s what you need to hear today too…

Don’t Understand? Trust God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

You may be facing a dead end right now—financial, emotional, relational—but if you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don’t see a way, he will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day.” (NIV)

One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You’ll see God’s purpose behind the path he specifically chose for you. In the meantime, do what Proverbs 3 tells us to do: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Be patient. God knows what He’s doing. God knows what is best for you. He can see the end result. You can’t. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays — all the things that make you ask “why” — one day it will all be clear in the light of God’s love. But for now, we’re learning to trust God.

i sing this in a song to ava & isla every night. it’s my heart’s desire for them. i hope they write this advice on their hearts & put it into practice every day of their long, beautiful lives…

never a coincidence…

so had a few bubbles bursted today.

“daily blessing” held this title, “be content whatever the circumstances” based off of philippians 4:11…

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

yep. never a coincidence with me & the Big Guy…

we slept in yesterday morning, missing church. both of the girls had a rough night, thus mommy & daddy had little sleep as well, so we all stayed in bed as long as possible. when i asked my sister-in-law later what we missed, she said it was a good sermon from philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

man, a favorite for this frazzled, over-anxious, worry-wort mama. i was sorry to have missed it. even sorrier after leaving my doc appt this morning. it was honestly the first thing i thought about getting in my car to drive away. wish i heard that sermon… had ava not been in the car too, i probably would have cried. when i cry though, she asks, “what’s wrong, mom?” & gets this horribly worried look on her face & i don’t want to instill the worry-wort spirit in her already…

well, long story very short – the past couple of years have been really icky physically for me. things have been progressively getting worse, often random. i’ve gained two unbelievably gorgeous, loving, sweet baby angels out of the ickiness, so it’s been more than worth it. i finally decided to get things checked out. haywire eyes…check. joint pain…check. rashes…check. headaches…check. first cavity in like 15 years…check. fatigue…i mean what mom isn’t tired anyway, right? a few unmentionables in there as well. let’s just say – it ain’t pretty some days folks.

honestly, i was expecting the doc just to think i was nutso & send me home with a “you’re perfectly fine. get some rest.”

instead i got a “i definitely think you have a disease….an autoimmune disease” & a “you cannot get pregnant again.”

those were not the right words to say in front of my husband. i even said to the guy, “that is the worst thing you could have said in front of my husband.” i could see the proverbial nails going into the coffin.

it’s probably a good thing i’m writing this 11 hours later, b/c this morning, i was two tears from a wreck. i want more kids. just the other day, ava pulled out the little boy outfit i bought when i found out i was pregnant with her. i bought it along with the little lace dress that hangs on her bedroom wall. it reads, “my daddy is my hero.” it made me a little teary to see it, b/c i still wonder sometimes if we’ll have any more & what will happen to that little outfit if we don’t ever have a little guy to fill it out. she pulled it out again tonight…

basically, today was rough. started out with the rheumatologist…16 vials of blood work…yep, 16…my arms are very sore tonight…x-rays…dentist.

yuck, yuck, yuck.

i was also supposed to see the lactation consultant today to talk about re-lactating. she actually had me pretty pumped up (no pun intended) that it was gonna work, but now…no breastfeeding for me. the meds aren’t breastfeeding-friendly. yet another twist of the knife.

guess it could be worse. i may just be stubborn. well, i know i’m stubborn, but i’m not giving up the baby thing that easily.

i’ll find out more in two weeks. until then, gotta get that stinkin’ cavity filled & give it all to the Lord. oh & read philippians 4 a few hundred times…

thinking God stuff…

i’ve been thinking about this subject for quite some time. actually, months really…

several months ago, when adele became a huge hit, i was listening to her song “rolling in the deep,” & found myself thinking, “what if she used those pipes for God?” “man, if she used that voice to sing praise & worship, wouldn’t that be an amazing sound?” i still feel that way. her voice is the kind of voice that can cut right to your core. can you imagine the possibilities?

i personally believe that God gives us our gifts & talents. he gives us our strengths & purposes. can you imagine the potential you would have if you would plug yourself into the Holy Spirit?

i think in pictures & parables. so, i picture a radio, for example, operating on batteries vs. being plugged into an outlet. yes, the batteries provide power. yes, they get the job done & often just as well as if it were plugged in, but batteries are unpredictable. they are a self-contained source of their own power. yet, the plug going into the wall is reliable. (yes, i know you cynical souls out there are already mentally listing & muttering the possible failure of the plug theory, but that’s the exception to the rule, so just relax…haha) for the most part, when you tap into the external power source, you can expect better results.

that’s the way i feel about tapping into God’s power in sustaining your gifts & talents…your everything actually. i am only a good mother on my own batteries, but when i pray & submit my self & my will & spirit to Jesus, i am a great mom. same with wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, etc…

in our own strength, we burn out; we produce good, sometimes great results, but that’s nothing compared to what we can do through Christ, who strengthens us…

i watched a live video of coldplay performing on the today show this morning & again was reminded of these thoughts. they are fantastic. they’re gifted, creative geniuses, given those gifts by the ultimate Creative Genius. imagine if they too used their music for praising the One who gave them breath. it would be awesome.

the last example i have comes from a quote i posted not too long ago. here it is…

Source: None via Kristi on Pinterest

a dear friend of mine asked me a very interesting question afterwards. she said she loved the quote & wanted to know if i had known anything about the woman who said it. hmm. never thought about that one. so, i looked her up. turns out she has an unfortunate story.

basically, she’s famous for her dedication to children suffering with HIV/AIDS & writings, particularly for the “five stages of grief” {denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance}, which have been adopted as common knowledge & even preached from our pulpits as undeniable truths regarding the makeup of the human psyche.

if interested, read her eulogy here. it gave me chills. i’m convinced, seriously ppl, that my spirit is connected intensely to my nervous system…whenever something affects me on a spiritual level, i get chills ALL OVER. no lie. sometimes they’re good chills…sometimes, they’re not so good. these were the not-so-good kind b/c i realized how sad it is when compassionate, talented, giving ppl are still oblivious to who God is & what He has for them. it makes me sad.

this interview with ms. kubler-ross added to my saddness. she highlights born-again christians as those that hurt her & her cause in her community. sorry to sound cliche, but what would Jesus have done? certainly not shot holes through her windows…

i just can’t imagine living such a compassionate, giving life & not knowing or crediting those emotions to my Father in Heaven. ms. kubler-ross was moved with such compassion watching ppl suffer & die that she devoted her everything to her cause. did she ever realize that she was merely mirroring the love that stirred God to have compassion for us…so much so that He gave the life of His one, true Son to save us from, not just earthly suffering, but eternal suffering?

again, imagine such an insightful, compassionate person living & writing for our Lord… unfortunately, while she was here, she missed the mark…

In the final years of her life, she looked forward to her own quick “transition” {Death “is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow…”} and tried to deal with the frustration of helping thousands of people to accept their own death, and yet being unable to direct her own. Never fearing death, she wanted only to follow what she believed, “Life doesn’t end when you die. It starts.”

Once saying of her impending death, “I am like a plane that has left the gate and not taken off. I would rather go back to the gate or fly away.”

do i regret quoting a woman who clearly did not attribute her thoughts & passions to Jesus? no, i don’t. she opened my eyes to this whole point even further & what she said about “beautiful people” is true. her thoughts & writings regarding the sick & needy, much like the songs that adele sings & the instrumental madness that make coldplay tracks so impressive, all find their roots in Jesus. it’s that we don’t acknowledge Him that causes everything to be watered-down disillusions.

whatever you do…whatever you say…wherever you are…whomever you’re associating with…glorify the One who made you. tap into the ultimate, lasting source.
(colossians 3:17,23 & 1 corinthians 10:31)

to quote psalm 150:6…

“let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

are you breathing?

do me a favor, when you belt that first line, “there’s a fire starting in my heart…” think of this scripture found in Jeremiah 20…

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

let the fire in our hearts & bones burn for the One who made us.

the time is now

i’m not getting any younger.
my kids are not growing any slower.
the space between the here & hereafter isn’t getting any further away.
i’m not being morbid or melancholy.
sometimes reality smacks you in the face & you realize the time is now.

the time to love my husband & enjoy our youth together while we have it is now.

stop yelling at him for where he leaves his dirty socks.
praise him in private & in public.
tell him at least once a day that he rocks as a father/husband.
smile at him. laugh with him.
hug him ’til he has to pull away to go do something dumb in the garage.
pray with & for him. he needs it as much as you do.
love him.

the time to enjoy & give my all to my children is now.

stop rushing.
bend down, look into their eyes & tell them you love them…you adore them…they are special…they are wonderful…praise them ALWAYS.
get silly, wacky even. who cares? you’re building their memories more than your own.
how do you want them to remember you?
“mom had it all together, all the time.” OR “mom was the best. she laughed & hugged & kissed me ALL THE TIME.”
i know which one i’d choose. the dishes can wait…read them a story.

the time to grow in the Lord, live completely Kingdom-minded is now.

i have 3 titles. that’s it.
i have only 3 things to do exceedingly well in my lifetime…
be a faithful, respectful, loyal, loving wife to my husband…
be a loving, nurturing, protective mother & role model to my children…
be a genuine daughter of the Most High God.

now is the time to get to it.

i don’t want to live as “a liar”

from my “daily blessing” e-mail today…

i need not add a thing…

are you harboring unforgiveness in your life?

Love Your Enemies

When I was younger I was confused by the statement I would hear in church, “Love your Enemies.” I distinctively remember thinking, “Who are my enemies, and why am I supposed to love them?” I will never forget the day that this command proved to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. That would be the day I learned what an enemy was. I remember thinking there is no possible way I can love him; he caused way too much pain and heartache in my life. This was a man whose desire was to bring me down, use me, abuse me, put me in danger, confuse me and pull me far away from TRUTH and LOVE and bring me into a life full of EVIL and LIES. Surely God had no expectations for me to love this person?

Take a moment to think about who your enemies are. There are times where we feel so hurt by someone that we feel completely defeated with the idea of loving them. We feel as though the pain is greater than the love that we can give them. We may even think it is impossible to forgive and love someone who did such awful things to us.

Well, time to flush out the lies; nothing is impossible with God. We have God’s love as a perfect example of how we are supposed to love our enemies. Our love is not perfect love like God’s love for us, but the more we grow in our relationship with God, the easier it is to gain God-like qualities.

You might doubt that loving your enemy is something God really wants us or expects us to do. 1 John 4:19-21 says, “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hated his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” God doesn’t want us destroyed by the cancer of hatred.

I can confidently say that, with the Lord’s help, I have learned how to love and pray for the man who still attempts to destroy me. I can even more confidently say that my God will never let that happen. It wasn’t until I started loving my enemy by praying for him that I realized he has no power over me. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This reminds us there is nothing greater than God’s love. And He will empower us to love even those who hurt us.

a mother’s love letter…

dear isla rae,

let me tell you a story.

once upon a time, there was a mommy and a daddy. they had broken hearts. a baby the mommy had inside her belly was taken to heaven, and it made them very sad. the mommy cried and cried. the daddy held her tightly and told her everything would be okay. that was late august of 2010.

months passed and skies were gray for the mommy. in october, for the mommy’s birthday, God gave her a miracle. on her birthday, her 29th birthday, the mommy found out that God had given her and the daddy another baby. this healed their broken hearts.

the mommy was very careful and watched over this new baby for a long time. it took 41 weeks for this beautiful baby to grow inside of her belly. she ate lots of healthy foods. she especially loved blueberries, which were very good for the baby too.

on wednesday, july 6th, 2011, at 11:12am, the mommy gave birth to her little miracle. the miracle’s name is isla rae.

she was perfect and healthy, just like her beautiful sister, ava lee. her name means “bright and shining one,” and it couldn’t be more fitting, because her sweet eyes sparkle like sunshine.

the mommy and daddy took isla rae home. she made their lives more complete.

the mommy and daddy still love their “heaven baby” and will hold him/her someday when they go to heaven, but they are so very, very thankful that God turned something sad into something beautiful. He took the mommy and daddy’s hurt away and gave them sweet Isla to have and love for all the days of their lives.

we love you forever, isla rae. we thank God for you, sweet baby.

i journal for my babies.
one day, i won’t be here, but i can still share with them a bedtime story…
try it. i promise, you won’t regret it.

you are my sunshine, my little sunshine.
you make me happy when skies are gray.
i hope you know dear how much i love you.
you’re my sweet, little isla rae…