Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ok Mom, This is for you! SURELY you will be able to see it now??? Love you!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Genesis of our Exodus

First off, we have always wanted to move out of state. Ryan and I have dreamed of doing it for ages- but it was always a question of timing. Fast forward 8 years and 3 kids later- and we are actually doing it! But why?

We honestly were pretty comfortable. We had reached a great point in our lives- our marriage was solid- we had two hilarious kids- we were thriving as Worship Pastors at our church, and yet we felt a transition was coming.

At the end of 2010, we started seeing the numbers 11:11 everywhere. Ryan and I would text each other whenever we saw it, and after several weeks of it, we finally asked the Lord. Ryan heard one night very clearly that we needed to pack. We had tried to sell our house, and it just never came together. So, we started going full force again on fixing, cleaning, and PACKING our house for sell. I still kept dreaming of bigger homes to grow my family in, better neighborhoods, schools, etc, but never dreamed of moving out of state. At the end of 2010, a friend of mine shared a verse with me that the Lord spoke to her regarding 2011:

 For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your tfoot like a vegetable garden.11 But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven,12 a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. Deuteronomy 11:10-12

It hit me hard after reading this- and I knew the Lord was preparing us for a transition, but I didn't know what. Both Ryan and I began to feel it, and there were several more scriptures we began to lean on during  the next year. It actually wasn't until I sat down for coffee with a friend, that I found out that the number 11 often symbolizes transition. I was blown away. 

Fast forward to June of 2011, Ryan and I were up late into the night painting the trim in our house. We listened to this message by Jenn Johnson where she tells of her prophetic journey with the Holy Spirit. She kept saying- What have I got to lose? Both Ryan and I felt the Holy Spirit strongly after the message was over. I remember telling Ryan, I have no idea why, but after hearing that message; it makes me want to move to Redding. Ryan even said, I will laugh if we didn't sell our house the first time around all because we were meant to move to Redding. We sort of dismissed the thought and kept working on our house. 

At the beginning of July, I saw on Facebook that a friend was selling a pair of buddy passes for $100. I immediately jumped on it and called Ryan. We both knew we wanted to go to Redding- even if it was just for a couple of days. By the time I got back to my friend, she had sold them. I was absolutely devastated. I cried and was flat out angry about it. So many things had been difficult for us over the past year and half, and I wanted just one thing to go well, and it was gone from me. All that day, I kept hearing the Lord say- do you trust me? I kept saying No, not yet. But I finally settled down to a place of letting go that by the time I heard him ask me again, I was finally able to say yes. I knew that His plans for us were good and not evil- plans to prosper us and not harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). 

By the end of the day, I got a phone call from a friend. She arranged with her sister to get us two buddy passes for $40. It was an absolute kiss from Heaven and it was the first step I took in our faith/ trust journey with the Lord. 

So after a long journey of re-routing planes, etc we flew and drove all night to Redding and were welcomed at 4am at a wonderful Bed and Rest called The Almond House. We spent a full two days having connections with people that were completely set up by the Lord. We found ourselves telling every person that we really didn't know where God was leading us next (something we hadn't talked about previously), but I knew the Lord was opening up our hearts to dream again. After having a conversation over coffee with a friend of ours, we both knew: It was time to move.  

Now during our marriage, we have both head and felt things from the Lord- but its been very rare that we have heard things at the same time. The last morning we were in Redding, Ryan and I had breakfast together and I stumbled all over the place with my words. I so badly wanted to tell Ryan that I felt it was time to move to Redding, but I was terrified that he wasn't hearing the same thing. He finally stopped me mid sentence and said- Basically, I think we need to move to Redding. From this moment on, we have continued to hear things at the same time and move forward together. 

We came home- having no time frame on our move. All we knew was we were supposed to move and the only word we had to go on Was "Pack". So, we stepped into full gear continuing to fix, paint, and get our house ready to sell. I'll try to make this part fast, but basically, the Lord provided for us to fix up our house (foundation, plumbing, and bathroom remodel, along with countless other side projects). We soon transitioned out of being the Worship Pastors- which was an easy process and came at the perfect time. We needed to sell our car at some point to make room for baby number 3 along with the LONG road trips we would have ahead of us. A friend posted that he was looking for a car that was very similar to ours, and a week later- we sold it to him. Only problem was that we only had one car. Again, miraculously we were able to borrow a car from a friend who was on vacation. The night before she came back, we bought a car for WAY under the price that it was worth and drove it home! By the time February hit, we both felt like it was time to put our house on the market. We still had a lot of small things to do- but we felt it was in a good place to show. The first person who looked at our house, put in an offer- and after just a week being on the market, we accepted his offer. My parents also offered to let us move in with them as we were aiming to move by the end of July and housing looking like it was going to cost us a fortune. We accepted their gracious offer- and have been so blessed by being able to spend some quality time with them. 

So, we had everything taken care of except having our baby and Ryan finding a job. Both of us again felt like the Lord told us to rest. So, Ryan worked on his portfolio, but really wasn't looking for a job aggressively. Two years ago, Ryan had applied for a job working for Bethel, and went through several interviews, but didn't actually get the job. Fast forward to now, and the Ryan was praying one night, and the Lord spoke to him to email the guy that he had interviewed with to see if any positions were available. So, he emails the next morning and gets a response pretty quickly. Turns out that they were CREATING a positions that suited Ryan perfectly. They hadn't even put in the bid yet for the position, and it would be available sometime in the next several months. After three interviews, Ryan was hired just 2 days after Ethan was born! Not only that, they wanted us to be there by July 1st. Talk about accelerating! 

So one visit, and you decide to move to Redding?? Actually- it goes back much farther than that. When we were first married, we were given a cassette tape of a teaching called "The Power of the Testimony" by Bill Johnson. It changed our lives, and since then we have listened, read, and pretty much immersed ourselves in stuff that comes out of Bethel. Our first visit to Redding was four years ago, and I remember sitting outside of their prayer house and crying. I told Ryan that I knew we were going to end up living in Redding some day and I didn't full understand it. I felt at home there. 

Everything has literally come together- I've given you mostly the reader's digest version here, but each thing that I have just listed was a step of faith and trust with the Lord. We have not had to strive for a single thing in the last 9 months. We have only met grace and peace with each step. It has been an incredible journey for us. We are excited to be stepping into a new City and a new culture. We are going from a big city and small church to a small city and big church! We don't know what the next season holds, but we know that we are going to hear that whisper from the Lord telling us what is next and that's what we will continue to follow. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heaven is for Real

Two days after I miscarried our sweet David, I was in the backyard at my Mom's house when her neighbor approached her. My parents are still the old fashioned sort who don't like the idea of having a big wooden fence to secure privacy and keep the neighbors from gossiping. Now part of this is due to the fact that their backyard sloped down fairly dramatically and even if they put in a big fence, it would be impossibly for the neighbors to "not see". They still have their chained link fence, and its rather nice especially when your neighbors are so friendly. So anyway, he walked over and did the old fashioned "lean on the fence". He inquired on how I was doing, and not really ready to spill details out, I told him I was doing well and grateful to not be in any pain. He then proceeded to tell me about this book that his wife bought 10 copies of. I'm not one to jump onto people's suggestions- especially when it comes to grief. I am usually skeptical and a little rigged. But as he began to share a bit about the book, I knew I needed to read it.

Several days later, I had two more people tell me that I should read it. I was thoroughly convinced that I had to do it. Well my Mom ended up buying the book for herself because she felt compelled to read it. Fast forward to almost 3 weeks later, and she hands it over to me. By this time I wasn't really all that interested. I was caught up into getting my house ready for sell, and was honestly afraid the book my disappoint me. I was wrong.

This past week ended up being quite the emotional roller coaster for me. I spent nearly the whole week in a roller coaster of emotions- feeling I was ready to embrace life, and then feeling like the sorrow would never end. The twenty-eighth of March was the my original due date of the first baby I lost (Isaac). It had nearly been a month now that I had lost David, and I was just a wreck most of the time. On Friday, I received a box in the mail from this incredibly lady that has never met me. She has an amazing ministry called: Hopeful Hearts. She makes memory boxes for Mom's who have miscarried children.

I knew the moment that the box arrived that it was going to be a yet another step toward healing. I completely lost it when I opened it, and I allowed myself to shut down and grieve. I knew I needed it. I felt derailed though, and I had no motivation. The wind was knocked out of me. Reality was slowly settling in that my baby had died. I felt such a connection to him, and yet such a disconnection.

Later on that evening, I was having some health issues, and instead of helping my husband pack, I ended up laying in our bed and picked up the book my Mom gave me- not knowing what would happen. Heaven is for real is a true story about a young four year old that goes to Heaven. Now, I have read several books like this, but this one was different. There is such a blatant honesty that his father graciously gives about his struggle with God. There's no sugar coating, and this man is a Pastor! It rocked my world. But then I came to the part where his sons tells his Mom- "I have two sisters". His Mom tells him "no, you only have one sister". He responds with, "No, I have two sisters. I met her in heaven. She died in your tummy". By the time I made it to the end of the page, I was sobbing uncontrollably. Something came pouring out of the depth of me, and I felt like I had been handed a gift. As a Christian, you want to believe that the children that you have "lost" are now in Heaven with Jesus, but the Bible isn't clear on that subject. Here's this 4 year old boy sharing how he met his sister- never knowing that his Mom ever miscarried. It blew me away and gave me so much hope.

Heaven is for real.

I don't know why we think that there is still a veil between us and Jesus. The veil has been torn in two. Nothing can separate us from Him. This book not only gave me hope, but a hunger for Heaven.

So, here's what I'd like to do. I'd like to give away a few copies of this book for no other reason than bringing that same hope and hunger into your life. This is not a way for me to promote my blog- in fact I hardly write on this thing. Its simply this: I have been incredibly moved, and I'd like to see you moved too.

So, share this with your friends especially those who have experienced a loss like mine. If you think it would help, you can also share my story "Love Never Fails" with them as well. I'm not sure how many of these I'm going to give away, but be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you shared it- email, facebook, blog, twitter do any of it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Your Love Never Fails

It's only been a week and a half, but already it feels like months ago. I've learned a lot and experienced a lot in the last 2 weeks.

On March 25th, we went into to see our Midwife for a normal check up. I was just over 16 weeks pregnant. She couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. I have been through this before. Both Ryan and I were able to stay calm. We left the birth center in a state of shock, but we both still felt peace. There was a possibility that my placenta had grown in front and was blocking their ability to hear baby's heartbeat. That gave us hope and something to lean on.

Last time when we experienced this, I found myself in a tug-of-war. Do I stand in faith and pray for God to resurrect my baby or do I embrace that he is no longer living and let go? It was torture- and I rode the fence the entire time. I was determined to follow my peace this time, and not be so concerned about what I "should" do.

That night, I decided to go to a friend's house to help her out with something. On my way over, this song came on in my car: One Thing Remains. I broke down. I had to pull over because I was crying so hard. I am a worship leader and have lead this song countless times. It was like hearing it for the first time. It expressed so beautifully what I knew to be true within my heart.

Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me

And then I heard the words:
In death, in life, I am confident and covered by the power of Your great love. My debt is paid, there's nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love.

I felt completely stripped down, but I knew that this truth was seeded deeply in my heart. It was a choice, it wasn't a determination, it was a reality that I lived by.

After that moment, I had so much peace. It didn't matter what I was facing, I knew at the core of my being that Jesus loves me, and loves my baby.

I led worship that Sunday at our church. I decided to go ahead and play that same song again. Something happened and shifted. We sang it in the middle of our set, and suddenly there was this response that came from the audience like never before. We've played this song tons of times, but it was as if everyone was behind me cheering me on saying: YES! It went deeper within my spirit and again I felt the peace of God.

Monday, March 28th, we had a sonogram. It was confirmed that our sweet baby was no longer living and was about the size of a 14 week old. I was nearly 17 weeks now. Immediately Ryan and I switched into "how is this happening to us again" mode. There were no answers, and we may never have any. We talked through what was "next" for us. I knew that I did not want a DNC this time. When I had one before, I felt completely robbed. I was pregnant one day, and the next I wasn't. It gave me a taste of what women must go through when they choose to have an abortion. It felt like someone stole my baby from me. I shut down for an entire year- and hardly remember anything from that year. I knew I did not want that to happen again. I wanted to birth this baby. My Midwife prayed with us, and we gave my body permission to "let go".

Your Love never fails, Never gives up, Never runs out on me.

When Ryan and I got in the car after the sonogram, we both started to process a bit and sort through our emotions. After we both had had a good cry, Ryan said, I think we need to take some time to worship. What a defining moment that was for both of us. It centered us both back into what we knew to be true- He loves us, and we love Him. This is what she sang:

I came home and cried with my parents. I was grieved and couldn't believe that we were here again, but the peace was still there. I was concerned mostly for my four year old and how she would take it. God went before us, and she understood it beautifully and is still processing through it all. She still tells people that "Mommy's baby died in her tummy", and I'm glad. I'm glad she is not afraid.

Almost immediately, my body started going through the process of letting go. I started to lose my mucus plug and started having some contractions off and on. By the next day, I had some pretty intense contractions that I had to focus through. I had no idea I would experience a type of labor. Every time I went to the bathroom, I blessed my body to "let go". Words are powerful. With each time, it seemed that I would progress more. I still had no idea how long it would last for. I couldn't sleep at night because I was too uncomfortable. I was in a lot of pain and had a lot of pressure.

In death, in life, I am confident and covered by the power of your great love.

By the time I made it Wednesday morning, I was exhausted and feeling terrible. I had so much pressure and felt terribly uncomfortable. I had an epidural with both my children for other reasons, so I really didn't know what to look for or expect because I had never fully gone through a labor and "felt" what it was like. I was nauseous the whole day and hardly ate anything.

By the time dinner rolled around, I went the bathroom and something "burst" out of me. Immediately I called my midwife. She thought that maybe I had just miscarried, but I didn't see anything of substance that came out. I realized later that that was my water breaking. She prayed for me over the phone and asked the Lord to release the baby the next time I went to the bathroom. I felt such a strong urge to go to the bathroom that I got back on the toilet right at the end of her prayer. I had never experienced the "urge to push" before, and I bore down like crazy not knowing that I was going to push my baby out. It was a sudden rush, and I nearly caught the baby with my hands. It was such a shock- I don't know what I expected but I never thought I'd see an actual baby. I will never forget what he looked like. He was a perfectly formed child. It was overwhelming. I called Ryan on my phone immediately. He came in and called our Midwife immediately. The baby was out, still attached to the umbilical chord which was still attached to the placenta. At this point, I didn't have any more contractions. I started pushing with all my might, and we couldn't get the placenta to come out. We needed to be sure that the placenta hadn't come out, so we had to get our baby out of the toilet to be sure that there wasn't part of a placenta in there too. It was hard for both of us to see our baby this close up, but I am so grateful that we did.

It was March 30th-exactly 40 months after I had my DNC.


I started to hemorrhage. I knew one of the signs of something going wrong was dizziness. It happened fast. I was dizzy, then felt hot, and then I felt I was going to pass out. My Midwife had Ryan call Emergency right away. Hats off to the EMT's in North Richland Hills. I think they made it to my house in 60 seconds. At this point, my parents had no idea what was going on. We were in a back bathroom- THANKFULLY at their house. They had the EMT's burst through their front door, and they immediately got our kids out of the house into the backyard. I can't imagine what must have gone through their minds. I'm just so grateful that my kids didn't have to experience the trauma of the situation.

I have never had to concentrate so hard in my life. I wanted so badly to "give in" and just pass out. I was too afraid. Too afraid of the unknown and what would happen. All I could do was talk constantly and think about my children and my husband and ask God to keep me. Just as they stood me up, the placenta came out. They took me to the hospital and I was shaking horribly due to the rush of fluids they were putting in my body. I hate that feeling. You have no control over your body- and you're just convulsing. I was in such a flurry of emotions. It all happened so fast. Hadn't I just found out 2 days before that my child was no longer living?

Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.

I still felt so much peace. I tend to panic in intense situations and freak out. I never felt like I was out of control, I just had this peace with me. The EMT's had brought our baby with us. I'll never forget when the Doctor came in and asked us if we knew the sex of the baby. At this point, we didn't. She then announced that it was a boy. This was yet another gift to me. We never found out what we had last time- although I knew within my heart that that baby was boy. But now we knew for sure that this one was a boy as well. Yet anther piece of closure given to us.

Losing a child no matter how "early" or how "late" is never an easy thing. I learned a lot from our previous loss. I knew I didn't want to isolate myself from the world again. I couldn't spend a year in depression. I need to be present. I have invited the comments and the interactions and the retelling of this beautiful story. Thus the reason for me writing this on a blog. I'm not in a hurry to heal. I'm not in a hurry to put this behind me. I'm not in a hurry to have another child either. I want to heal completely and embrace every bit of heartache and anguish and walk through it until I reach that banqueting table.

"I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate me from the love of God".

Born on March 30th, 2011
This is the story of your sweet life
You will always be my "beloved"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Buttons Design

Well, this is the 2nd blog I have started, and I find myself having starting yet another one! In November of 2010, I did a "social" experiment on facebook by hosting an online drawing offering a 20% discount with my business Baby Buttons Design. I had no idea that it was going to take off so quickly and so fast. Since then, I have added another designer, another blog, and soon a website. Let's just say if I hadn't added this extra designer, I wouldn't be able to keep up with orders!! I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of God and I am just loving running my own small business. I hope to keep employing stay at home Moms and Grandma's. All that being said, most of my attention these days is spent on my hilarious children and this growing business. So, if you want to keep up with my latest happenin's, you can pop over to the Baby Buttons Design blog. I'll be the main writer, but our other designers will also be popping in from time to time as well. It won't ALL be about crochet and business and events. We're going to talk about normal life as well. =)

Thanks for following me on this journey I'm on! =)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daily Bread Living Giveaways!!

There's a new blog out there that is giving away awesome prizes all day!! Check it out: http://dailybreadliving.com/2011/01/giveaway-2-fbs-books/

This is a Mommy blog that shares how to raise a healthy family on a budget- lots of fun recipes!! Join in the fun and maybe you'll win something!! I sure hope I do!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm 27 going on 70

I love books. I always have. When I was younger, my Mom would ground me from reading sometimes- and it was a horribly punishment for me!

Ever since I've had children, my ability to enjoy a book or even think about picking one up has become less frequent. Its sad to me, but its a pleasure I have to forgo sometimes.

Recently though, I have taken a 2 break from my thriving crochet business, and thus opened up the time for enjoying a good book! My gem of a husband bought me 2 this year for Christmas! I completely devoured a 400 page book in 2 days! Thus bringing me to this realization:

I am 27 going on 70

I recently finished Jan Karon's book Called: In The Company of Others. I was first introduced to her fantastic novels 3 years ago during an extremely difficult time of my life. (See Surprised by Joy: The birth story of Baby number 2) Her easy going humor mixed with the sweetness and sometimes grievousness of life helped me see some beauty in life. Needless to say, I was more than ecstatic about receiving her latest addition for Christmas!

After reading the first few chapters, I felt a part of me coming to life again- the writer! I literally stopped and put the book down and said What is it with these books?? Every time I read them it beckons to my heart and makes me learn from the simple things again. I suddenly want to read poetry, write letters to distant relatives, and get out my old records! These books are about Elderly people who have a old-fashioned approach to life. And that's when it hit me:

I am 27 going on 70!!!

The idea of reading some one's journal from a hundred years ago is enough to get my heart racing, my blood pumping, and my feet on the move to get it into my hands!! I love old books, old records, old clothes, History, all of those things! I've often been told I have an old soul, and I now I completely agree.

Thank you, Jan Karon for drawing out my love for old things and writing about them so beautifully! Your book felt like an old friend that I want to revisit over and over again.