Oh Monday…

If Monday had a face, it would be mine this evening.  Monday has been very Monday today, y’all!  We had temper tantrums.  We had markers all over the kitchen chairs.  We had spill after spill after spill.  We had moody girls and feisty toddlers.  We had notices about bills we forgot to pay (oops!), a mountain of laundry yet to be washed, and an hour (yes, an actual entire hour) long battle over eating green beans.  The dog had to be chased down the street, medicine time morphed into Mommy wearing applesauce, and potty training resulted in a puddle and a midday bath.  One kid got eaten alive by fire ants, naptime was a whopping 20 minutes long, and Mommy couldn’t wait for Daddy to come home and offer a few minutes of reprieve- except Daddy won’t be home for two more months.

Yes, Monday has been less than pleasurable.  BUT, every day contains a gift.  Some days we have to look a little harder for the gifts, but they’re always there because we serve a great big God full of love and mercy and grace.  He’s always there, so there’s always something to be thankful for.  I can look at this Monday through the lens of negativity, or I can switch perspective and look at all of the good in this day, because there was just as much good as there was bad.

Such as… I woke up in time to start my day with coffee and the Word.  My girls spent a lot of time today playing, using their imaginations, and actually getting along.  We played in the bimg_6268ackyard, and I schooled my kids on how to rock the slip-and-slide.  I didn’t wear nice clothes or makeup or do my hair- and no one cared.  My oldest baked some amazing banana bread, and we enjoyed good Facetime conversation with Daddy.  I had time today to read a great book, and my little bit was all about snuggling before bed and helped me read “Love You Forever.”  And as I type this, my children are all in bed, my puppy is curled up at my feet, and the Olympics are on tv… Not a bad ending to a Monday.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
-I Thessalonians 5:18

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
-James 1:17

Thursday’s Thanks…

It’s Thursday- that means it’s time to take a minute or two and thank God for all of the blessings- big, small, or in-between -that He’s given us this week.  Here’s my short list…

  • One-on-one time with my big girl (even if it was just to Walmart)
  • Finding just what I needed at an unbelievable price at Goodwill 🙂
  • The quick wit of my six-year-old
  • The willingness (and even eagerness) of my baby girl to take her daily meds without a fight
  • My grandma introducing me to a new artist (that, by the way, does not at all sound like a grandma’s kind of music!)
  • Generous neighbors
  • Breakfast at IHOP- love some crepes!
  • Living room movie picnics with my girls
  • Being in sync with my best bud even though we’re miles upon miles apart
  • Giggly sisters excited to play with each other (for a few minutes, at least!)

What’s on your list this week?

Thursday’s Thanks…

  • celebrating my favorite 11-year old
  • The voices of my two littles singing, “We believe in God the Father, we believe in Jesus Christ…”
  • Merritt’s hot dogs
  • Laughter in a hospital room
  • Surprises from long-distance friends
  • Doctors who make you feel like you matter
  • Lunch with my parents
  • Purging
  • Mocha shakes with my love
  • Conversations with friends who are fighting the same battles

Don’t forget to count your blessings!


Y’all, I have officially been a mom for eleven years.

How is that even possible?!

But here we are, when it seems like I was just changing her diapers and learning to be a mom for the first time, and we are suddenly in our preteen years.  No more changing diapers, but instead rapidly changing emotions- and still learning to be a mom.

That’s the thing with your firstborn- you’re constantly still learning to be a mom for the first time.  Every day is unchartered waters, a leap into the unknown.  When she was born, I had never had a baby before.  When she turned two, I had never had a toddler before.  Last year was my first year as the mom of a double-digit-er, and now I’m a mom of an eleven year old for the first time.  It’s a steady stream of adventure.

It’s also a steady stream of change that I often don’t see coming.  One day she’s frilly dresses and hairbows, and the next is Converse high-tops and bandanas on her head.  She’s playing with her dolls one night, and when we wake up it’s all about texting her friends and listening to music.  Playdates have turned into “hanging out,” and I dare not buy her clothes anymore as she has her own definitive style that I know nothing about.  Mom and Dad were once pretty cool to be around, but now we get the “look” and eye rolls.

No, my baby girl isn’t much of a baby.  She’s independent and strong-willed and feisty, and certainly has an opinion all of her own.  It’s a balancing act of letting her grow and develop her own person, yet still filtering out a lot of the junk out there in the world and expecting things like manners and kind words and respect.  It’s spurring her on in the right direction and praying with and for her, yet loosening the reigns just enough to let her put what she’s been taught to the test.  It’s still training a child in the way she should go, yet encouraging her to take ownership of her relationship with Christ.

This parenting thing isn’t easy.  There are days I cry, days she cries, and days we cry together.  We lose our tempers more than we should, talk a little louder than we should, and let words slip out that we don’t really mean.  I’m not always right and she’s not always right and we are learning slowly that it’s okay (and even good) to admit when we’re wrong.  In eleven years, I’ve learned that I mess up- every day.  I’ve learned that being a mom takes a lot of humility, a lot of patience, and a lot of grace.  It takes a lot of Jesus.

I’ve learned that our days are a lot smoother when we spend more time in the Word.  I’ve learned that nothing stops an argument faster than praying- even if it means praying out loud over her yelling in the heat of the moment (if you haven’t tried it, you should- totally worth the shock value).  I’ve learned that sometimes all that yuck that comes out is just a cry for help, or attention, or even just a hug.  I’ve learned that no matter how big and brave she gets, sometimes she just needs her mommy.  And I’ve learned that no matter how many times I mess up, there’s always grace to cover.

I’m a little afraid of what’s to come.  I know we’re inching closer and closer to the day that she’ll really spread her wings and soar, and I won’t be able to shield her from the ugliness of the world.  She’ll have her heart hurt and she’ll slip along the way, and she’ll have to make those tough decisions that cause you to lose sleep.  Eventually she’ll decide who her friends are and where she wants to go and how she’s going to live.  She’ll have to choose courage when chaos abounds.  It will become her choice to be kind or brave or wise… or not.  And she will have to face the consequences of those choices.

And what can I do?  How can I ensure that she’ll choose correctly, that she’ll allow God to direct her steps, that she’ll stay on the path He has for her?  I can’t.  But, I can continue to show her how to pray, how to turn to God’s word daily, how to apologize, how to be kind, how to love… and I can pray, every day, for her present and her future.  If nothing else, eleven years of mommyhood has taught me the power of prayer!

Happy eleventh birthday to my firstborn “Rae” of sunshine… How blessed I am to know love like this.  You are the one that taught me about love at first sight.  You inspire me to be strong and brave and sure of what I believe, because you are strong and brave and sure of what you believe.  I admire your willingness to stand your ground, to forge your own path, and to not be easily shaken.  You challenge me to be a better mom- and a better child of God.  I love you to the moon…


She is joy 

Harper is the picture of what joy should look like.  An entire day of being poked and prodded and drug from one appointment to another, and she literally bounced down the hospital halls, greeting everyone she saw with smiles and her sing-song voice.  She sat patiently as they put probes all over her head, laid quietly as they ran the EEG, and allowed them to remove it all and clean her head without a whimper. The results of her testing were good.  Basically her medication is doing the job and her EEG did not show any seizure activity.  There was a discrepancy in her test between the sides of her brain, indicating that one side is not as strong.  This is due to the areas of cysts and dead brain tissue that she has, and could be the cause of the seizures… But once again, we can’t say what that will mean for the future.  It could become more of an issue down the road in terms of her learning and development, which we’ve always been warned of, but only time will tell as she grows and develops.  For now she seems to be doing just fine! We did discuss the side effects of her medication with the neurologist.  Harper has mood swings, a loss of appetite, and she does not sleep well at all.  She’s very restless and has a difficult time staying asleep, and moves constantly when sleeping.  We are trying a prescription vitamin for a month to see if that helps, and if not we’ll reevaluate with the doctors. Now we do six months of this routine, and then back to Duke for another EEG and consult with the neurologist- which will also be around the same time as our next MRI and neurosurgeon appointment.  Next week is a follow up with our pediatrician, then developmental testing at the hospital clinic here in town the following week… And then, hopefully, an uneventful spring! As I start to feel weary of this journey, fearful of the unknowns, and, well, just plain whiny, I think of my girl… Of her fight for life, her encouragement to others, her courage and strength in these scary situations, and her bubbly, giggly joy that overflows… And I know that God has blessed me with a constant reminder of His goodness in all circumstances.



My baby girl is two. TWO! That means our baby years are behind us and we are fully into toddlerhood. That right there is enough to bring on the waterworks, especially knowing that this is our last “baby”!

But this day brings with it great emotions for even more reasons. While we celebrate two  amazing years with our miracle baby, the memories of that day and the days that followed are not all grand. It was a day of fear and uncertainty, a day of tears and heartbreak as we faced an unknown future. It was a time of accepting that all of our “plans” had been made in vain, and that life is far more precious than we realized. It was learning firsthand that God is still good even when things seem terribly wrong. It was relinquishing control and embracing His plans in place of my own desires.IMG_7672

As a mommy, it is hard to admit that this day two years ago was not one of the best days of my life, and that even though we have been blessed and have come so far, I struggle with my thoughts and emotions on this day. As I remember the loneliness of being separated from the baby I carried for nine months and the fight she faced in the weeks that followed, I hurt. It’s a pain that few can understand. But there is healing that comes with truth, and once I admit the struggle, I am free to count the blessings once again.

And this has been another year of blessings. Dancing (oh, the dancing!) and laughter and words and love… Excitement over milestones reached, joy in accepting each day as a gift. We have a girl who loves life, who makes us smile every hour, who is a constant reminder to embrace this moment. She’s happy and mischievous and bouncy and wild.  She keeps us on our toes and shows us Who is in control. She is His, and has proven that He creates us each uniquely for a purpose.

So as we celebrate this miraculous gift of life today, I am choosing to focus not on all the painful memories of that day, but instead on one amazing moment… The moment I heard her very first cry. It was the moment I saw that she was already proving doctors wrong, the first moment she showed us her strength and fire. It was loud and clear, a warrior cry, and it was then I realized that she was a fighter with a purpose. For me, that first cry was a promise from the giver of life… And that’s what I choose to remember today!

“From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand…”
(-In Christ Alone)