Thursday, April 26, 2012

6 Month Stats for the Rest of the Us

Photos courtesy of Megan Hein Photography
I posted Blake's amazing 6 month stats here.

But lately I have been thinking about how the rest of us have changed in the past 6 here's a rundown of what I've observed so far.

1. Leah has had more playdates at our house in the past 6 months than in her previous 6 years. 

2. Autum can take her diaper off all by herself with her pants still on.

3. Autum has developed some great arm muscles from working on her food-throwing skills at dinner, thanks to her big brother!

4. I have changed from a multi-sport endurance athlete to a sprinter.  Sprinting as in how many times I can get around the block running before the baby monitor sitting on the mailbox begins to light up and squall at naptime.

5. I am very protective of  naptime.  Don't even think of calling, stopping by, or planning an event between the times of 1-2:30 pm each day....that is MY QUIET TIME.

6. I can get ready for church in 15 minutes...pretty ponytail and all.

7. No one wears matching socks any longer.

8. The days I work out of the house are my 'rest' days.

9. I unload the dishwasher at least 2 times a day.

10.  Family outings mainly consist of bulk purchases at the grocery store.

11. Jerad has taken up exercising more consistently and I think he is beginning to understand why its my only 'outlet' and de-stressor.

12. I measure large sums of money in terms of how many orphans could be saved, how many meals could be served to the poor, how many homes could be rebuilt from disaster...

13. I have majorly downsized our possessions.  Clothes, toys, shoes, etc.

14.  We are recycling now and have a large garden planted.

15.  I have become very educated on just how important nutrition is to my children's health.  So I try to buy organic, fresh, local produce.  We now drink farm-fresh milk.  We eat mostly natural sugars.

16.  Date night consists of Frosty's from Wendy's after the children are in bed with us both asleep in bed by 10 pm.

17.  Stroller rides end when the snacks run out or when we reach a playground or park area.  Not when I've reached my exercise goal for that day.

18.  I find myself much more aware of the 'least of these.'  In whatever setting that may be...I want to feel approachable no matter what situation I'm in and to be a servant in every way.  I'm all the sudden very conscious of how I may be perceived in situations and constantly ask myself: "If someone was in need and saw me 'here'...could/would they feel like they could ask me for help?"  This is a new sensitivity for me.

19.  We are learning to live uncomfortably.

20.  Making more money is no longer a concern of mine.  Giving until it hurts is being practiced more regularly.

21.  I'm getting good at doing my Bible readings while going to the bathroom with the door locked ...while all 3 kids are outside pounding on the door wanting in.

22.  I am a multi-tasking fool.

23.  We do laundry everyday.

24.  I can make any type of meal, any time of day, with a tortilla.

25.  I have a new appreciation for single mom's with multiple children.

26.  We have forgotten and missed meetings/events we would never have missed before.

27.  Cleaning the bathroom consists of scraping the toothpaste off the sink while brushing my teeth before bed.

28.  Leah has become my 'go-to' girl.

29.  We have discussed buying stock in Huggies and Pampers.

30.  I can disguise any type of meat with 'sauce' so my kids will eat it.

31. I never leave the house without a cooler of snacks for entertainment.

32.  We do everything in 2's.

33. I want to do everything I can to encourage others to adopt.  Which includes probably driving people crazy with my enthusiasm and excitement in conversation...

34.  I am still wrestling with the frustrating response of fellow believer's of: "I need to pray about it"  "Think about it"  "Not for me" when asked about adopting or helping with an adoption...especially when it's commanded specifically in Scripture.

35.  Incredibly frustrated with my own lack of faith in year's past, with doubt in God's power and provision, unbelief in prayer and moving mountains.  But super-excited about living this way from here on out.

36.  I feel this incredible freedom in knowing I will never be pregnant again! (not for me)

37.  Still trying to figure out what my role and calling in advocating for orphaned children is and will be...

38.  Learning to let things go more.

39.  Learning to be okay with not being at every event, helping with every activity, taking store-bought cookies to parties.

40.  Realizing that my walk with Christ isn't dependent on going to church every Sunday and volunteering more, etc. which I am not able to do right now...but is completely faith and grace-based.  So I am working to not feel guilty about not doing these things right now.

41.  Rarely turn on the TV with 3 little actors in our house...all the entertainment we need.  Plus by the time I get sat down to turn on the TV...I'm asleep!

42.  Realizing how 'rich' we really are.  And that we do NOT 'need' anything more.

43.  We are in our pajamas until noon most days...its a requirement now.  The baby's sleepers have become part of their daily clothing regimen.

44.  Autum has been so crucial in helping Blake's progress.  She is his number 1 fan in motivating him to do what he is doing.  I tell people we have our own built-in trainer.

45.  I'm beginning to truly love Blake like our own.

46.  Learning to teach my kid's more (especially Blake)...

47.   Don't know what I would do without Leah around to help me during the day.  She has become so independent (in good and bad ways) :)

48.  I'm learning the importance of listening to my body more.  If I'm tired, I rest.  If I'm worn down, I sit.

49.  Worrying less....surprisingly.  I now allow finger painting at the dinner table.

50.  Have WAY more courage than before.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughts from 12 years ago

It seems the reality of exiting my 20's has been closing in on me lately.

I have caught myself reflecting on how I envisioned my life to be just a mere 12 years ago...
I hoped to be a practicing professional with at least a Master's Degree.
Possibly married.
NO children...yet.
Comfortable living.

Life would be good.

Then someone poops their pants and SNAP! back to reality. 

I decided to choose God's life for me.
Humility, anyone?
Less glamor.
Less glitz. 
No comfort...ha!

I chose a life where I drive a minivan and get a cheap thrill from 2 college guys honking at me from their sporty car while waiting on a drink at Sonic...or at least I thought, until I turned the other way and saw a car full of cute blondes parked behind me.  

Or the natural high I got from a lady asking me if I had my children while in high school because I looked too young to have 3 kiddos...God bless her, I think.  Wasn't really sure how to respond to that one at first..!

Or the realization that I am now being asked to go back to college campuses and speak about my life experiences...In my mind, I only graduated a year or so ago...

So then I direct my thoughts to my future...hoping for something exciting to come.

Maybe I'll go back and get my Master's Degree...or even my Ph.D...
Maybe we'll travel somewhere exotic someday...and not bring home a baby this time.

Then someone drags a half-full roll of toilet paper that is unwinding from the holder on the wall still attached in the bathroom into the living room...and SNAP! back to reality.

I ran a 5K race this past weekend and obviously haven't had time to train appropriately, but still had this vision in my head of placing in the top 10 like in my younger days...well, SNAP! back to reality at mile 2...obviously started out too fast.  My prayers went from "Lord, thank you for my ability to be out enjoying your creation" at the 1/2 mile "Lord, grant your angels permission to pick me up and carry me across that finish line" at mile 2.  I finished the race all in one piece and suddenly realized that I was the oldest in my age group now....whoa!  So that is my new crutch for future disappointing race performances..ha!

But, for some reason I can't seem to be 'okay' with doing God's will for me and my husband and kids.  I still desire that "glamorous" life I have created in my mind as being better, more fun, more exciting...

I keep feeling like I'm wandering aimlessly waiting for God's will to be laid upon my heart next, but I'm starting to think it's just me feeling like I have no direction or way.  Simply because I'm searching for something that isn't there right now...I am living and doing God's will for my life day in and day out at this time.  That is His will for me.

Again, no glam or glitz.
Just humble living.

I'm beginning to think its tougher living humbly and being 'okay' with living there, than living with lots in a glamorous life.  At least it is for me.

So as I enter my 30's, I am working to let go of all my dreams and hopes for myself, as those have not played out to anything as of yet...

But continue to live life here. now.
In humility.

But will not put down the random bystander asking me if I'm the babysitter of my crazy crew of kids, and if their mommy was working today...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

6 Months Since "Metcha" Day

Lately I have had so many people ask me how Blake is getting along...

I was looking back at pictures today and realized that tomorrow will mark 6 months since his Metcha Day!

We held our crazy little wild man for the first time that day.  I can remember the anticipation and excitement like it was yesterday.  It's very similar to awaiting the arrival of your firstborn. 

Looking back at Blake's progress since then, just truly amazes me. 
Here's his checklist...
First photo-listing of B-Man at orphanage.
1.Now knows to cry with pain.
2. Can laugh out loud (VERY Pee-Wee Herman-like)
3. Gives hugs and pats your back while squeezing you (still working on kisses with less tongue!) :)
4. Waves goodbye and hello.
5. Points his finger to depict what he wants.
6. Now knows how to play with his toys and with his sisters.
7. He can sit up and hold his head up completely.
8. He can crawl atop anything!
9. He can crawl on all 4's.
10. He can walk. (nearly run)
Photo listing at Reece's Rainbow that won our hearts over!
11. He can push and pull heavy toys.
12. He can sit through a stroller ride.
13. He can swing, go down a slide, and climb through a tunnel all by himself.
14. He can eat rocks.
15. He will sit in grass or dirt now without crying.  In fact he loves to eat dirt as well.
16. He can hold his own against his bigger, little sister.
17.  He can really pester his big sister.
18.  He can clear out every drawer in the house in less than 10 minutes.
19.  He prefers Jerad and I over anyone else and can pick us out of a crowd.
20.  He can pull an all-nighter if he is overstimulated close to bedtime.
Ukrainian photo listing at orphanage at age 1
21.  He can drink out of a sippy cup now.
22. He can blow on a whistle now.
23. He can sit in my lap and listen to 1-2 books now.
24.  He loves bath time now.
25.  He loves swimming.
26.  He claps when excited.
27. He can open the back door and escape into the backyard unnoticed.
28. He can mimic anything.
29.  He almost has all the actions to "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" song
30.  He can slap his tummy when you ask him where his tummy is.
31.  He can sign "more" and "please"...but only when he wants too.
32.  He can fold in half and hide anywhere.
33. He will stay outside and play longer than 30 minutes now.
34. He will let you know if there is food on his tray he does not like.
35. He can throw a ball back and forth with you.
36. He is just learning to hit a ball off of a T.

Last photo listing on Ukrainian adoption website before we met him.
But probably most noticeable of all is...
...he is loved and can feel it. (I can't wait to add to this list over this next year)
Metcha Day 10.19.2011
First time being held by his daddy.
I can just see his fear and uncertainty in his eyes here.  He has no visitors in his 2 year's of life leading up to this day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birthday Planning 364 1/2 days ago

My oldest child is all about socializing.  She is energized from being around people.  She also loves being the center of attention.  She loves giving and receiving gifts.  She loves sweets.  She loves to party!

She will look at the school calendar list and see who's birthdays are on which days in her class and count down until someone 'might' be bringing treats to class to celebrate...yes, it's that bad.  On Mom's Day a couple of weeks ago, she was SO excited because a classmate of hers had a birthday the same that meant there would be 2 parties!  One for the mom's, one for the birthday.  Whoa!  System overload for this girl...

So you can only imagine the excitement this time of year as her birthday is only a month away.  She has been planning this birthday party since the day after her party last year!!  No joke!  We had a flip-flop party last year, because this girl has a thing for shoes too, and the NEXT day...she was planning a Tangled party for this year.  Since then, we've discussed a cheerleading party, princess party, Snow White party, gymnastics party, swim party, park party, slumber party, lake party, and so on...

Because it's only a month away, and I need to plan something for this little party girl...I gave in and we started making decisions about how this party will go down this year.  So we set a date, next on the list, invitations.

That was this morning's project.
Here's what we decided to do...because I apparently have lost my mind these days!


(I've realized you learn a lot about a person by how they approach fingerpainting...)

Each of these personal masterpieces will be divided up into invitations that will be arriving in mailboxes soon (that is if you are family).  So be looking for one of these priceless invites requesting your presence at Leah's favorite day of the year!  Now onto more planning for the party...
Leah's nice and neat painting.  Just getting her fingertips first.
And here's Autum...she dug her hands in and got messy right away..then decided later this wasn't so fun and IMMEDIATELY wanted it off of her.
Here's a few of the finished projects.
Here's Autum's first beautiful project.
Blake had to give his a taste first...then dug in...and got everything within 3 feet of him covered in paint.`But did enjoy it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here Comes the Bride...err, so she thinks!

This weekend was C.R.A.Z.Y.

Only way to state it.

My oldest daughter has been counting down to this weekend for nearly a year. 

This was the day all little girl's dream of while growing up.  They imagine the dress they will wear.  The colors they will use.  The man they will walk down the aisle with. How the flowers will look.

This weekend she was the bride, flower girl.  This was serious business for her.

I walked into the kitchen Friday morning to find Leah sitting atop one of our bar stools smack dab in front of both baby's high chairs.  She had her play microphone pressed against her mouth and in the most serious of tones said, "Babies!  I need you to be on your best behavior this weekend.  Tomorrow is a really big day for me and I need to be able to focus!"  Upon which Blake flung one of his waffle crumbs at her and kept on munching away, mindlessly.  You see how well this pep talk/warning sunk in for him. 

Friday night we had the dress rehearsal for her to practice her walk and to know where to stand.  She had it down in no time, she'd been practicing for months...Jerad and I did our best to muffle the baby's squeals and frustration with having to sit still.  At this point, I decided we were genius in scheduling a babysitter for the actual wedding.

Saturday we woke up early and headed to the salon to get Leah's hair 'prettied' up for her big day.  Before we left, I kept having to remind her that this isn't HER wedding.  She and the groom have a fun relationship and because he lives across the street, she spends most days at the window watching him...they are buds!  So I had to make sure she understood he was marrying another woman, and get her 'blessing' for this to occur.  Ha!  Didn't want any meltdowns at the altar...

She spent the day with the bridesmaids getting her picture's taken, getting her lip gloss on, waiting...waiting...waiting.  She had an all white dress on which made me nervous.  We almost made it through without a stain...just a little granola bar on the bottom, but nothing we couldn't get out without a little stain remover.  That's a miracle in my book!

When it was her turn to walk, she performed like a princess.  She daintily dropped the petals on the floor and walked onto the stage to await the bride's arrival.  I was so proud of her and thought she looked so pretty.  And then thought she suddenly looked so grown up...whew!  *tear*

The ceremony was fun and exciting for the couple.  And so was the new couple's departure from the church because before I could catch her..Leah threw the whole bottle of bubbles at the groom, not realizing she was supposed to blow the bubbles out.  I don't think it hurt him too bad!  Made a good laugh for everyone else...

We were planning to travel the 20 miles to the reception but our plans were changed thanks to tornado sirens.  We spent the evening in our basement as tornado after tornado popped up around us.  It was an unnerving evening to say the least.  I believe the closest one was about 5 miles west of us...NO THANK YOU! My husband spent the night out repairing power line poles and returning electricity to patrons, so I spent the night on edge trying to decide at which point we should return to the basement for cover and praying that he stayed safe.  On top of trying to decide what "necessities" we would need if we were to lose our home.  As disappointed as I was for not getting a night out and only getting to play dress up for 30 minutes, and as upset as Leah was for not getting to dance with the groom, I am SO GLAD we chose to stay home with the baby's. 

So despite the evening not ending as hoped, the day was beautiful and perfect for one little redhead.  
Thank you Brock and Sierra for making my little girl's dreams come true...for this weekend, anyway! 


Monday, April 9, 2012

"Jesus is a Rose!"

...This was just one of the exclamations that I heard Leah share with the world this past weekend.

On one other occasion, I heard her say that in Sunday School she learned "Jesus lived in a rock before going to Heaven!"

And then...
At the Easter egg hunt in our community, after waiting in line to hug the Easter bunny, she runs up gives the bunny a hug, then turns around and yells to me "Mom, that's not the Easter bunny!  That's Larry!!!" (who happens to be our neighbor and the City Commissioner) I nearly dove on her before she ruined the excitement for the smaller children anxiously waiting in line to give the Easter bunny a hug. 
This was all the closer he was getting to "Larry."
Still not sure how she could tell it was him :)
Ohhh, you just never know with her!

Other than that, we hid eggs and found them. 
     Or if you are Autum, you found an egg, shook it to listen for jelly beans inside, chucked it if there weren't any, or if there were, sit down and take a break to eat the goodies inside.   Then get up and look for more...

     Blake just loved having all the colored 'balls' to throw in the yard.  Find an egg... throw it.  Find an egg...throw it.  The plastic ones make the best sound when they hit the cement or the porch.  Sometimes jellybeans would spill out and Autum would trot over as fast as her chubby little legs would carry her to scoop up the sugary sweets he left behind.
On her way to another jellybean...with a mouthful already!
"Cleaning up Blake's jellybean mess!"

We attempted church again.  Large crowds, nursery, and Blake haven't been a good mix the past few months home, but we wanted to try again.  We got all dressed up, snapped a few pics, and headed out. 

We had a late night of crying and anxiety...again, but we did get the chance to celebrate that "Jesus is a rose" with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!
Waiting for mommy to finish getting ready so we can go to church.
Wanting to play outside before church...and thinking Autum has eaten too many jellybeans by the look of her shirt!


Friday, April 6, 2012

A Survival Guide for My Home

Just in case you ever come to visit or stay at our house, I want to inform you of a few survival tips.  These are key to your success, and to us ever having friends want to come stay again!  Don't say I didn't warn you...

1. If you go to the bathroom, plan on visitors.  Or helpers I guess you could say...
---Make sure to put the toilet paper up high by either removing the whole roll from the wall and putting it on the top shelf or hold it the entire time you do your business...check each of the baby's mouths for any stowaway toilet paper scraps they may have picked up while you weren't looking or were focused on doing other things.
---Scan the bathroom before you plan to exit and make sure all the kids are out...there will likely be one in the clothes hamper closet, one in the tub, and one under the sink or in the bottom drawer of the vanity.

2.  Don't leave your clothes, make-up, or delicate's bag open or within reach. 
---Panties make great necklaces and hats, especially the fancy ones.  Hats and necklaces we only put on when strangers ring our doorbell selling things. 
---All bras and lingerie are considered swimsuits to 5-year don't be surprised to find my child wearing one of your bras or fancy lingerie, sitting on a bench seat stacked on top of our living room recliner, with a whistle in her mouth, pretending to "guard" all the kid's swimming below. 
---Bags make great hiding places for candy that no one else should find hidden, old milk cups, sticky half-eaten suckers, dirty diapers dug out of the diaper pail...
---Tampons make fun toys to carry around, they so closely resemble candy wrappers that the kids are sure to fight over them!

3.  Don't have my children help you with anything you don't want the world to know about.
---Don't start a fitness/nutrition program that requires you to take before and after photos in your swimsuit and ask my oldest to snap the pics...she's likely to tell everyone at a family wedding shower, during sharing time, that sometimes she has to take pictures of her mommy in a little bra and panties...
---Don't hide gifts that you don't want anyone to find until the occasion, they will be dug out and carried into living room for all to see...

4.  You better lock the door while showering because nearly all 3 kids have figured out how to bang on the bathroom door hard enough to bust it open...and if that's not the case, the oldest will walk right in, not even notice you are showering, use the stool, and walk right out leaving the door open for all other's to enter
---At that point you will have a fully clothed 1 and 2 -year old in the shower/bath at your feet within seconds--one will turn the hot and cold button back and forth while the other will dump all the soap and shampoo down the drain after removing all the lids.

5. Don't plan to eat all of your own food or to have any conversation over dinner.
---One kid will need another fork before you sit down...and you might as well grab 2 more forks while you are at it because the baby's tend to get jealous easily.  After the fork situation is settled, you can probably sit for a minute before the baby's begin their food charades.  One child will put her fruit on her head and rubs it in...then the other will take his mashed potatoes and smear it in his hair...laughing will follow, which leads to more...a sippy cup will go flying between high chairs, IF the lid stays on, it will get thrown back...if the lid comes off and the drink spills out the splashing will begin.  Someone will have to get a rag and clean up the mess and end the food might get to sit some more before the screaming ensues.  One child will be tired of sitting, want more food, refuse to eat his/her vegetables and throws a fit, or is mad because he/she can't get the drink that just spilled all over the table back, or has pooped, or simply wants to make everyone else go crazy. 
---The kids will finish up eating so you can finally sit down and enjoy your cold meal.  But just as soon as you sit down, you have one child at your feet begging and the other climbing up on the table via the chair beside you.  While tending to the child under your feet, the other will be up on the table picking at the food on your plate, or spilling your drink, or throwing the napkins and silverware on the floor and laughing at the cool sound it makes.  The older child will be in the living room asking how much longer til bedtime, if she can have a playdate next Tuesday, telling you she wants a snack and is still hungry (after not eating dinner), and wants to go outside. 

6. Never plan to get a good night's sleep here, or plan to sleep in.  That is, if anything later than 7 am is sleeping in...because it is here.
---Your head will hit the pillow about 10, probably a good 2 hours later someone will be up crying for no logical reason.  If you are lucky, the other 2 will stay asleep...their time is coming later in the night.  Several hours later, the oldest will be up asking if she can have more water in her cup...or telling you there is a spider on her window wanting to bite her because it said so...or has forgotten where the bathroom is (right next to her bedroom).  Get her back to sleep, and one of the baby's is up for her nightly escapade...usually about 3-4 am.  Get her soothed back down, the other baby moved to the 'extra' crib in the laundry room, made especially for nights' like this one, so maybe someone will sleep a few hours straight.
---The screaming 1 and 2-year old alarm clocks will begin to go off about 6:30 am...but no one who can help can usually move until 7 least.

More tips to come...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

60 Years of Marriage

My grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  Yes, 60 years. 
They were known as the "Handsy Twins" in school because they always held hands wherever they went.  They are 2 of the hardest working people I know.  And 2 of the most caring people I know.  Could be part of the secret to their success in marriage for so many years. And it helps that my grandma makes the best homemade ice cream and chocolate cake.  And her mashed potatoes are to die for!  And my cousins would all argue her ham loaves are right up there at the top!

We spent the afternoon celebrating their marriage and the relationship God created between them. 

And also their children, grandchildren, and now (thanks to Jerad and I--the rest of the crew has a lot of catching up to do) great-grandchildren...
If you can't tell, my aunt, mom, and uncle all get their photo-shooting obsession from my grandma.  She's always taking pictures...with her 35 mm camera.

It was to be a quiet, restful celebration, enjoying great food and conversation...
And Easter Egg hunts during the prayer before the meal...

This pictures just makes me laugh out loud. Ha! I love his expression.
It was too be full of surprises...
]And Leah blurting out "WHO IS THE TV FOR,  MOM??" before it was opened...

Quality family pictures to capture the joyous memories...they speak for themselves!

It was to be focused on Grandma and Grandpa and their lives..
Not Leah's latest loose tooth and discussion about how to yank it out during dinner..

And a great gift from the grandkids--a limestone rock with their last name etched into it and a John Deere tractor pictured below the name, that was to be placed in their front yard.

...not their grave site, as some got confused as to why we bought them a headstone already.

Ohhh, the memories.  The memories that make family, family.  And crazy. crazy.  And chaotic.  chaotic.

But love. love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Life of Comfort?

I remember as a young child my dad always asking me, "why do you always have to learn things the hard way?"

Most of the time, my answer was "I don't know!"

And my dad would walk away mumbling something about "being as stubborn as my mother...or something to the like."

But for some reason that has been a reoccurring theme in my life.  I always do things the hardest way possible.  But as I have gotten older, and I'd like to say "wiser," I am able to see the strengths gained from these experiences. 

Let me catch you up...

Family bike ride on the sandy roads we lived on..keep in mind our home was located in an area known as the sand hills...aka boondocks!  I couldn't pedal my way through the sand and kept falling off my bike, so I proceeded to walk my bike the entire 4-mile section instead of doing what my parent's suggested and get back on and try again once the sand thinned out.  Heck no! I was going to show them!  I would walk my bike slow and make everyone else suffer along with me.  It was just about as bad as listening to my sister's squeaky pedal creak with every turn.  Keep in mind this wasn't last year...

Or getting Mono between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, losing a lot of weight, getting out of shape, not able to work, and being weak going into my 2nd year of pitching for our softball team.  I had to work twice as hard working out and working to make money to catch up with everyone else and to pay the bills.

Or tearing my ACL my sophomore year of college in the last softball game before Regional's and was unable to help our team out in advancing to Nationals.  And spent the summer rehabilitating, instead of working and making money to pay for the next year's college tuition.  And having to rethink my future college plans.

Or applying to Physician's Assistant school, awaiting an interview, and finding out we were expecting our first baby....and being terribly sick!  Withdrew application and focused on finishing my Bachelor's degree without puking as I walked across the stage to get my diploma!  And dealt with emotional issues related to this unexpected gift that I felt at the time was 'ruining' my future. 

Or putting my heart and soul into opening a fitness studio in our local town to provide health services for the community only to shut it down a year later because God was calling us to something bigger.

Or wanting a sibling for Leah at age 3, only to experience 2 1/2 year's of not getting pregnant.  But then receiving 2 baby's in a year and a half's time.

Or wanting to be able to just sit down a minute and rest.  Or go to the bathroom alone.  Or eat a meal uninterrupted.  Or not lose my patience by the end of each day.

 But being calmed by the Holy Spirit's still small voice reminding me that I haven't been called to a life of comfort.  Why haven't I figured that out yet with the pattern my life has followed so far?  No, I am to called to do His work.  And a lot of the time it is messy.  Hard.  Because it is a sinful world we live in. 

This just reminds me that this isn't my home.  I'm not where I belong.  It shouldn't be comfortable, or else something would be wrong.  I'm here to work.  To move.  To act.  To trust.  To believe.  To persevere. 

Toughening up and being courageous!  I have a lot to learn from this little rock star!

Blake put on the gloves to let out some aggression with big sister!

And as Casting Crown's put it: "We are called to be courageous. We were made to lead the way.  We could be the generation that finally breaks the chain.  We were made to be courageous."