A little boys prayer


Four years ago a little boy was learning about prayer. He was learning that the Bible tells us to write down our request and wait for God to answer our prayers.  

I read Habakkuk 2:2-3 to him,

“And then GOD answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.”

He wrote in my journal. He wrote down his hearts desires that evening. And we prayed over them. And we believed God for them.  

Four years later, he has a dad. Not just any dad, but a broken and hurt relationship was mended and our little family was reconciled. He has a brother. Not just any brother, but a sweet miracle that doctors said was impossible. We have a home, where memories are made and love is felt.  

And we are believing for number 4. Gods not done answering this little boys prayers.  

Never give up on a prayer that you prayed. He will answer you. It may not look like you had imagined. But He will give you the very best.  

xoxo

Jonathan


Spring break is over for most people. And while some people may have taken their kids to some amazing vacation getaway or perhaps a staycation which both sound lovely, Caleb went to stay with his grandparents in San Angelo. If you’ve never heard of San Angelo, I’ll let your imagination run wild. I love this town but others beg to differ.  

Anyways, with having a newborn and still trying to figure out our lives A.B. (after-baby) as much as I wanted to hang out with Caleb I knew we’d be no fun. Plus it’s hard to say no to my parents.  

My parents are missionaries and travel to Mexico what seems like every other week to work at a local church and orphanage. They’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. Growing up it was hard for me to understand their dedication. As an adult it frustrated me when things would be pushed to the back burner for missions. As kids of course we had to go with them to work. But once we grew up and had the option, we definitely opted out. Missions was not my calling. After all, I enjoyed my air conditioning and running water toilets. As shallow as that may sound.

My parents always encouraged us to go with them during their larger outreaches throughout the year but I never found the time or to be honest, I just never wanted to. But this spring break, Caleb went with them for 3 days to Mexico. And let me just add that they go to a border town in Mexico. And border towns are not exactly safe right now so naturally I had my reservations.  

When Caleb came back, I loved hearing his stories of what they did while at the orphanage. How he helped my dad with construction and cleaning. How they did arts & crafts with the kids and helped prepare the meals for everyone. But when he began to tell me about the stories of the children he met, my heart broke.  

Caleb began to tell me of a 5 year old boy that he met named Jonathan. Jonathan and his 4 brothers and sisters were abandoned by their parents. For quite some time they were left in their home to take care of themselves. Jonathan being the oldest had to feed and change his siblings. Then one evening the broiler caught fire and Jonathan had to gather all of his brothers and sisters and take them out of the house to safety. When people from the orphanage arrived, the children were filthy and had soiled diapers as they had ran out of their diaper supply, they were eating spoiled food because they had been left alone for so long the food began to rot.  

I couldn’t believe what Caleb was telling me. I tried to convince him that the 5 year old must have been the youngest child. That there was no way he was changing diapers and carrying his 1 year old brother/sister out of the burning home. I called my mom and she confirmed his story. When I hung up the phone with my mom, I cried. My heart breaks for Jonathan, his brothers and sisters. My heart breaks for all of the children in this world that have been abandoned, abused, broken hearted, left to fend for themselves.  

I held onto my babies for just a little bit longer this evening. Grateful that God has trusted us with their lives. But I also thanked God because He is a good, good father. There are so many children out there in this world with similar stories, abandoned by their parents. My prayer is that they would one day realize that God has never left them, never abandoned them, He loves them & cares for them. They are precious in His sight. They are righteous, sons and daughters of the Most High.  

I encourage you to say a prayer tonight for orphanages all over the world tonight. Say a prayer not only for the children that are there but also for the workers and volunteers of the orphanages. Say a prayer for the children that are at home by themselves because their parents have neglected them. And hug your babies a little longer tonight. 
xoxo

A life changing month


It’s 3am and baby is sleeping. I should be asleep as we are driving back home in about 2 hours. But all I want to do is just stare at this precious gift.

It’s been one whole month since our life has changed.  Xander is a week old here but I’ll update the picture when it’s not 3am.  

I obviously love Caleb. He was my firstborn. I sit back and still can’t believe how big he is. How grown up he is. He is such an amazing kid. So well behaved, good manners, great attitude, smart, soft hearted…I mean we couldn’t have been more blessed with him. But then came Xander. I didn’t think my heart could love like this again. But God makes a way.  

As I stare at this sweet boy, I cry with tears of joy and gratitude. I cannot thank God enough for bringing him to us. Of all people God could have chosen, He chose us.  

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

From every, “No you can’t get pregnant” to “agenesis of the corpus callosum” nonsense God’s hand was over this child. Bit by bit God created him, perfectly and wonderfully made.  

Every time I hold this child, I am reminded of Gods goodness, of His faithfulness, of His love. He is such a good, good father. We are so underserving of such a miracle.  

What an incredible month it has been. I cannot wait to see what else God has in store for my two sweet boys.  

Happy one month sweet Xander!
xoxo

Breastfeeding 1. Mama 0. 


If you’ve been following along my blog or if you know me, you know that I’m an avid control freak. Nothing new to some folks.  

With that being said, there were a lot of things that I had planned out with this pregnancy and birth of our new little. For example, I needed to know what day we were going to deliver so I asked the doctor to schedule it asap. I also knew that I was going to breast feed. When I had Caleb, our first born, over 11 years ago, I was young and had no patience to learn.  

But this time around I told myself, you are much older and wiser. You will have patience and you will remain calm so the baby can feed. After all, this is the very best for the baby.  

Within the first hour of our new one’s life, he was latching on and I was so thankful that all was looking good! Over the next couple of days in the hospital we went through endless cluster feedings, tons of lanolin cream, hot and cold presses and zero sleep. Our hospital was great and had a lactation nurse around the clock to come in and help whenever we needed her.  

Then on our third night of the hospital stay, the nurses came in and said, our sweet baby was down 10% of his weight and I needed to start pumping or supplementing formula.  

I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why I was having so much trouble. Why wasn’t my milk coming in already. And why on earth do I have these huge jugs if they are good for nothing! 

I began reading everything I could on how to produce more milk, different techniques, just about everything you could think of I was doing. I was reaching out to friends, on the phone with the lactation nurse for hours. But with each passing day, my breast were literally falling off.  

My nipples began cracking, bleeding, scabs were forming and to be honest they just looked absolutely disgusting. My husband even said they were on life support! I thought there is no way this can be healthy. We had our pediatrician appointment and she encouraged me to continue. They would heal over time she said, you just have to press on she said. So we did.  

I can’t explain to you how much I began dreading feeding time. It was just so painful and I was so worried that he was going to be drinking blood. Regardless of what they say and how it’s not harmless, it still grossed me out. I was always worried that he wasn’t getting enough milk. And with him feeding for 30 minutes on each side, plus I was pumping and giving him what I pumped. Each feeding session was well over an hour and half. My breast were never getting time to breath much less heal.  

I had my follow up appointment with my OB and I had her look at my breast. Her exact response was, “oh God. Yea that’s not ok.” That is just a little hint on how bad they looked. She told me that I needed a break. I needed to incorporate formula and give my breast time to heal. She informed me that they were just one step away from being infected. And that this wasn’t ok for me or for baby.  

I can’t tell you how upset I was. I wanted nothing more but to be super mom and breast feed my baby. I was so worried that if I took a break then I would stop producing and it wasn’t exactly like the milk supply was coming in at an abundance. I went home and cried with my husband. I just felt like a failure.  

My husband reminded me that the most important things are that baby gets fed and I get healthy. And that our first born was a formula fed baby and he is just as healthy as can be. The OB prescribed me a medicated cream and within the next couple of days I began to see a huge difference.  

I am now exclusively pumping and baby is getting formula once or twice a day with breast milk for the remainder of his feedings.   

I write this to encourage those mamas out there that feel like a failure because they can’t breast feed or perhaps they feel judged that they are formula feeding their babies. You must listen to your own body and do what’s best for not just your baby but for yourself too. At the end of the day, you are no good to anyone including your baby if you are unhealthy. Take care of yourself and those tatas! 😬👍🏽🐮

xoxo

Lots of unknowns

I have a huge confession to make. And please, no judgement. But I am…….a CONTROL FREAK!!! Whew, there I said it. First step to recovery is admitting your faults correct? 
Every time I am in the passenger seat, with anyone driving, I am constantly pressing my make believe break. Drives my husband bananas! I am a horrible delegator. I would rather just do everything myself, even if it stresses me out and leaves me with zero sleep. It’s done, my way. I’m a planner. I need to know when we are doing it, how we are doing it, what’s it going to look like. There is absolutely nothing worse in my mind, then not knowing. Not knowing means, I’m not in control of it. And that to me, SUCKS!!

 
Well, here am I in the biggest season of the “Unknown” that I have ever been in, ever in life. And I am secretly pooping my pants. (Trying to keep it rated G but my mind is saying every rated R word). When my husband and I heard the news about our sweet baby, there were so many different emotions to process. Men & women obviously process differently so I can only speak for myself but once I got over the initial shock, I began to thank God for this child. Being told that you couldn’t have any more and getting pregnant was the best miracle ever! Then being told, well you have a 75% chance you’ll miscarry before the second trimester and being now 33 weeks pregnant is another miracle! So yes, there are so many things that I am grateful for! 

 
But let me let you in on a little bit of transparency here: I am scared poopless! (Once again, keeping it G rated) Not only are my children going to be 11 years apart, and we are basically starting completely over! Heck, when registering for the baby so many things have changed! A formula Keurig for goodness sake? Sheesh! Not to mention, my 11 year old is discovering girls and soon going through that stage of life. So on one hand we’ll be talking about the birds & bees to one kid while trying to potty train another! Ugh. 

 
But now, we are treading even more foreign waters. Are the doctors correct? Will Xander have a disability? What will that look like? What will that demand of us as parents? How will that change our lives? Can he go to daycare? Will I need to stay home and quit my job? Will he be able to crawl, sit up?

 
For someone who is a recovering control freak like me, these questions keep me up at night. In fact, they give me a little, or lot of anxiety. I need answers! And I need them now!! I need to plan! I need to know what to do to prepare!

 
It doesn’t work that way, does it? I hope my fellow control freaks weren’t planning on reading this blog to find answers on how to let go and fully trust God. Because I don’t have anything for you. NOPE. No answers. I have nothing.

 
I wish I could tell you it was easy to let go and let God. But it’s not. I have to remind myself about a million times a day that “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). And that He cares and provides for the birds, am I not more valuable to him than the birds? (Matthew 6:26). I know that whatever God has in store for me and my family, God has perfectly woven it all together from the very beginning to the very end. That He is not surprised by the doctor’s reports or my feelings. And that even before I was here on this earth, He fully equipped me to be a mother to Caleb and Xander (and maybe another one in the future).

 
If you are walking through something, control freak or not, I hope that this encourages you just a tiny bit. We are in this together.

xoxo

 

 

One down, a lifetime to go!


365 days ago, I said yes to my best friend. I still find it strange sometimes that we are married. Our journey started in the fall of 2001. Not many people you know have had a 14 year engagement right? Well us either haha. But although our road hasn’t been as easy one, in fact pretty darn difficult if I must be honest. I wouldn’t change one minute of it. 

I absolutely love the man that Courtney is today. I love all of his annoying habits. For instance, the fact that he doesn’t dry his hands after rinsing them or the fact that he can live all day, very happily actually without stressing whether or not the bed is made. I love all of his great qualities too. The ones that most people don’t see in him. The ones that even he doesn’t realize that he carries. 

I envisioned a blog of “Do’s & Don’t Do’s” in the first year of marriage but who am I kidding, we have no clue what we are doing. We have no idea if we are doing anything right or if we have it all wrong. Not too mention this first year of marriage for us hasn’t exactly been honeymoon bliss. For instance, the first 2 months in fact I had bronchitits and he slept on the couch because my snoring was horrendous.  He also had a job for the majority of the year that demanded him to work 100+ hours a week so we rarely saw each other. 

However, we have managed to learn a couple of things along the way.  First, we learned to not compare our marriage to our friends marriages. Every marriage is different. And what may work for our friends, doesn’t work for us.  We’ve also used the word “intentional” quite often this year.  It’s so easy to get so busy with the duties of life, work, children that you forget that your spouse needs attention.  Although we would love to have more time with each other, we strive to be intentional with the time that we do have for one another. 

Also, we’ve learned that every day that we wake up to each other, we make a decision to love one another and to make this thing work. We choose each other every single day.  And I’m looking forward to a lifetime with him! 

Happy Anniversary babe! xoxo

Photo credits: Meshali Mitchell 

Cherish


The other day Caleb and I were in Target and this little girl, couldn’t have been older than 3 got away from her mother and started running and scream, playing. Her mother started chasing after her, telling her to stop and not yell. Caleb and I just stopped and watch this go on. Then Caleb turned to me and said, mom are you ready for that? In a “I’m not sure if I’m ready for that” voice. 

I smiled big and said, I can’t wait.

Let’s be honest mamas, how many times have our kids thrown a tantrum in public and you thought to yourself, oh Lord this child is going to make me go crazy? Or how about, I will leave you here and let someone else take you? Ok maybe that was just me. LOL

God has a funny way of showing you the beauty in all things and in all seasons. It wasn’t until I heard the words, “he may have trouble reaching his milestone” did a tantrum look so beautiful.

The truth is, we don’t know what our future looks like. The doctors could be right. But God could also prove them wrong. But whatever the future holds, I have learned that every single moment with my children, is beautiful. The good, the bad, the ugly, the tantrums, all of it. 

Enjoy your children today. Cherish those moments, all of them.

“But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.” Psalms 71:14

Hampton Party of 4

For TEN years, Caleb has been an only child.  He has played alone, tried to use his imagination as much as possible, sat in many “girl” talks and honestly, has had all the attention on him, all the time.

But for several years now he has been dreaming of a brother or sister.  And when Courtney and I started talking marriage, the planning and praying began.

After just 6 months of trying, while battling PCOS (I’ll talk about that a little more later) we are pregnant!!

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We are so stinking excited and even more so, thankful to God for the little growing miracle!  Stay tuned for more preggo updates!  ❤

Unmerited Favor

Last night during our First Wednesday service, Bishop Tony Miller was speaking on the difference between Mercy & Grace. A lot of Christians confuse the two and think they are one in the same. But on the contrary they are completely different.

Mercy. Bishop Miller compared Gods mercy to a judicial court. When you have committed a crime, you go to the court asking for mercy. Why? Because you know that you are guilty but you want the judge, court to have mercy on you & your punishment. However, God is so good, that He tells us that we are not guilty even before we have committed the crime! Lamentations 3:3 says that He gives us new mercies every morning. God knew that before we would even wake up and make it to the bathroom we weren’t going to get everything just right. So God had goodness & mercy waiting for you every single morning.  I don’t know about you but that is good news!!

Grace. Mercy says I’m not going to get what I deserve. Grace says I’m going to give you far more than you ever deserve. Grace is unmerited, undeserving, unworthy favor. Grace is when you get a job not because you deserve it, or have the qualifications for it but simply because God says so. Grace is when you get that house not because you qualified for it or had the down payment for it but because God said it was yours! His Grace was and is sufficient enough!

As Bishop Miller was talking about the two, I received this picture from our lovely photographer, Meshali Mitchell.

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This picture is worth a million bucks. And means the world to me. She couldn’t have sent it to me at a more perfect time. What a sweet, sweet reminder of Gods Mercy & Grace.

Mercy, because if you only knew half of what Courtney and I have been through. Hell & back I tell you. In fact, till this day we are still having to pay for some of those actions that we made some years ago. Many actions that we are not proud of. But they were our decisions. So thank God for His mercy that He has over our lives!

Grace, because we found love again in each other. We were joined together as a family. And then to see our son so happy on this special day. We don’t deserve him! We aren’t the best parents, and half the time we don’t know what we are doing! We did nothing to deserve such a wonderful, remarkable, smart, loving, caring little boy. But He chose us as his parents. And that is unmerited favor.

Thank you for the sweet reminder Meshali. May you always, always be highly favored with Gods goodness!

Happy Heaven Birthday Lala!

Lala

Today marks 365 days that you left us here on earth and went to be with our Heavenly Father.

My Lala was someone that I loved so much. She was so special to me. And until the moment that she took her last breathe, I never imagined life without her. I may have been a grown woman but I honestly thought she would live forever.  And until that very day, I have never experienced pain the way I did that very day.  She was the first person that I have lost that was so close to me.  Sometimes I still don’t understand it.

However, there is going to come a day when we leave this life and enter into eternity.  And that day shall be a much better day.

“To me the only important thing about living is Christ, and dying would be profit for me…to leave this life and be with Christ, which is much better.” Philippians 1:21,23

Jesus called Heaven, paradise. Paradise is a place of extreme beauty, delight or happiness.  Not to mention, we will be in pure perfection in His presence. There is no sadness, no sickness, no cancer, no suffering, no disease, no addictions, no depression, no anxiety, no heartache, no aging, just pure perfection.

This past year was a year of sorrow because we physically lost someone who was so dear to us. But we can rejoice in knowing that she is more alive today than she was here on earth.  What a bitter but sweet moment to lose someone that you love so much but to rejoice knowing that they are completely healed and made whole.  I find peace in knowing that one day I will get to see her sweet face again and feel her soft touch.

But until then, I will always carry you in my heart and will love you forever.

Happy Heaven Birthday Lala!

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