When You Don’t Listen

It’s hard to share stories when they are about failure and pain. It’s easy to share when they are victories and stories of hope. But the hard ones need to be shared too. 

God has always been present through the course of our lives. I can look at all sorts of examples where God helped us. And where we trusted Him to give us wisdom in different situations. And now I am living an example of where we ignored God’s prompting and we are suffering the consequences. There’s no right choice and we’re not being punished. We’re just facing the reality of a bad decision that was completely avoidable had we listened. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about the puppy. He’s adorable. And sweet. And funny. And a puppy. 

We have come to the regretful decision that we are not the best home for him – or any dog really.  I almost feel ashamed writing that. We made a decision and a commitment. And it feels like a failure to not be able to live up to that. But I am willing to look like a failure to protect the sanity of my family. However loved an animal is, people come first. And for us, that means no dog. 

Thankfully, the breeder is awesome and is going to rehome him for us. And he’s still so young, I don’t imagine they’ll have any trouble. He is an excellent dog, we are the ones with the problem. 

I didn’t write this post just to share our failure from a human, pet loving standpoint. This post is about trusting God. 

While we were deciding together whether the dog was a good fit, we prayed for wisdom. And God gave it. But we were so excited and he was just so cute, we twisted the circumstances to make them look like it fit what God answered. And now we have a mess to clean up. Instead of being disappointed myself about a month ago (when the boys had no idea we were considering a dog), we are having to face our own disappointments and manage the grief of two very heartbroken boys. The easy answer is to keep the dog. But we are faced with the reality that keeping him would be worse for our family than not. 

And it’s my fault. Well, our fault, but I’m the one writing. 

God gave us the answer we asked him to give. And we ignored it because we thought we knew better or could handle it anyway. Big C is likely going to remember this forever. And that breaks our heart. But we will use this opportunity to teach the boys how to handle grief and sorrow, how to enjoy good memories and they will see that even when it’s sad, mom and dad choose them over an animal. 

We would love your prayers for healing for the boys. We’ll all be ok, but it’ll be sad here for awhile. I just wish the consequences for my actions didn’t mean sorrow for my kids. Trust God. He is faithful. He is still faithful even when we ignore him. 

Trust in the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. 


Slowing Down


Life happens so quickly. Days turn into months which turn into years. The fact that it is already January of 2016 is mind boggling to me. But it’s always that way. As the kids get older, time only seems to move faster.

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is slowing down. This time of year always seems to be hectic, life with littles always seems to be hectic, life seems to be hectic. I don’t want to ‘busy’ ourselves right through life.

So, I’m going to focus on slowing down. I’m not sure what that means really. I think it can mean something different for everyone and every family. But here’s some things I would like to do:

  • Be intentional about activities. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we could schedule every second of every day with some activity. A Jennie Allen study (Stuck) I did awhile ago talked about praying over your activities and seeking wisdom on which you should do. I want to be that intentional. Because life gets too full and often times they are all good things. But that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to participate in all of them
  • Be intentional about each day. Life moves so quickly and when I look back, I see a list of things I didn’t do. As a mom – and a mom who plans on homeschooling – the list of things I haven’t done with the boys is right up front. I am learning not to compare myself to others and I am truly not worried about what the boys do or do not know. However, I haven’t been intentional and there are lots of things I am committing to actually make happen this year. If I build habits and a routine, we will all grow to count on them. Things like reading aloud, listening to the Bible, memorizing scripture, and serving others are all things I’d like to work in.
  • Enjoy the moments I can. Every moment with littles is not perfect and happy. Some days are down right terrible. But when I focus on all the things that are going wrong, it makes things even worse. I learned when I was teaching middle school that my attitude drastically affected my students’. If I could rally on even the toughest days, it always turned around. I am trying to take deep breaths and focus on the positive moments at home. And of course, today is a perfect day to practice what I preach.
  • Rest. Ha! With 3 kids?! But yes. I need to be intentional about my time and that includes rest. For some reason, I always feel guilty about rest. I feel like there is always something I could be doing. But you know what? I can’t be the best me or have a positive outlook or be efficient if I’m not well rested. I am working on finding rest in each day.

2016 is Here!

It’s 2016. Somehow, I never got around to writing down goals last year and I really want to put some things down on virtual paper this year. I know that writing it down can play a huge role in helping me accomplish things, so here goes.

1. I want to be more intentional about spending time reading the Bible. The more time I spend reading about what God has done, the less I think about myself, the more I think about serving others and the better shape my heart is in. Another part to this goal is creating a habit and love of the Bible in the boys. So far, I haven’t done anything overly intentional with them. We read a children’s Bible occasionally, but nothing much. Here’s what I’d like to focus on this year:

A. Listen to a portion of the Bible every morning. I’m going to grab one of our favorite children’s Bibles on Audible and play it over a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen in the mornings. Talk about starting the day off right for all of us!

B. Continue my prayer journal. I read and completed Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope prayer devotional last year and it was awesome! Since then, I’ve been following the same format, but writing in a little cashier’s notebook and I love it.

C. Read the Bible more. We ordered a copy of the Bibliotheca project and I am SO excited to get it. It’ll be awhile and I don’t want waiting for it to be an excuse not to read now, but seriously, I can’t wait for it to arrive!!


2. Focus on giving and others. I fall into the trap of wanting more stuff all too often. And I hate the clutter and the attitude that comes with it. This year I want to focus on giving even when I don’t want. Especially when I don’t want to. I need an intentional reminder to stop thinking about myself and to look for ways that I can serve others.

3. Complete our Emergency Fund. Money seems to have a mind of it’s own. Or maybe, take control of our minds a little too easily. Working for Ramsey Solutions has definitely not made us immune to struggling to keep our budget in order. Completing our EF seems to continually get put on the back burner. So this year I’d like to change that. I’m going to put a real goal to it. I’d like to be done with our EF by July! 6 months of buckling down and getting gazelle intense will be so worth it.

4. Make healthy choices around food and exercise. I know what needs to be done, I just need to do it. My goal is to make decisions intentionally. And I’m excited to have my foot back. I have a little more time to be careful, but I am mostly free to do whatever I’d like. Now to figure out what exactly that is!

Settling In

Even with all of the craziness that has been going on, we are really starting to settle in.

Tennessee is really growing on us. We will always miss AZ and there will probably be things that are always going to be ‘better in AZ,’ but it’s finally good here too. We’ve made some friends, joined a small group at church, gotten to know our way around and now bought a home!

The place we rented was in a great location and it was in the perfect place to get to know the area. And it was a huge blessing, but we were ready for something that was ours.

We’ve been in our house for a little over a month now and it’s perfect! We still have to really make it our own, but that’s ok. Knowing that we are actually living on a budget and have a plan for our money makes this time around so much more fun! I still have to wait to do things like paint and get a real dining room set, but there is actually a budget category for it and not just a “I hope we can do that someday.”

These are just the pictures from the Realtor, so it’s not our furniture, but you get the idea!

An Emotional Miscarriage

Part of the craziness of the past summer included 2 miscarriages for me. Before the 1st, I knew a few friends had had one, but I didn’t get it. I probably even said, “It’s because something was terribly wrong. It’s a good thing.” Or some version of that dreadful line. I didn’t know what to say. And I definitely had no way to relate. Our two boys’ pregnancies were smooth sailing. But now I get it. At least a little bit. Having a miscarriage is one of the most emotional things that I’ve gone through.

Unfortunately, it’s a special club that only those who have experienced it can understand. And then for some reason we never talk about it.

I had a missed miscarriage. That means I found out by ultrasound that our baby did not have a heartbeat and that I would be miscarrying sometime in the coming weeks. That day was full of mixed emotions. Disbelief. Hope that they were wrong (I’ve read lots of stories where that has happened). Guilt that something I had done caused it. Fear about what would happen. Heartbreak that we had lost our baby. Over the next few days life went on as normal in many ways. I still had to be mom, D still had to go to work and yet lingering over me was the threat of a miscarriage at any moment. I had the ultrasound on a Monday and I had the miscarriage that Friday. Those days passed like a haze. I know I was delusional because I went to the zoo one of those days. Thank goodness nothing happened then!

A dear friend was my ‘on call’ buddy. I knew I needed someone to be here, but Damien couldn’t just wait indefinitely for something to happen. My girlfriend had had a miscarriage and she was so kind to be with me. God orchestrated that day perfectly. My friend was here when I needed her, D was able to come right home, the boys were able to take their naps right in the middle of everything and the miscarriage was resolved by bedtime. I don’t understand why miscarriages happen (well, scientifically I do). But I do know that God is there. Even in the hurt and the heartbreak and the disappointment. He is there and He is good. I can’t explain that, but I can tell you beyond any doubt that I have experienced it.

Throughout the whole process, one of the biggest blessings was that I had announced the pregnancy before the ultrasound. And so then I told everyone that our baby did not have a heartbeat. The support and prayers and messages from friends who had experienced miscarriage too was overwhelming. I know that those prayers helped carry me through. I was stunned by how many of my friends knew exactly what it was like to lose a baby. Why don’t we talk about it more? Why don’t we support each other? Why do we not announce pregnancies before the end of the 1st trimester? Every baby matters. Every single one. Ask any mother who has lost one.

If you have had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. Your baby(ies) are loved and you are loved. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, I am so glad for you! Find a friend who has and give them a hug. Pray for them. Get them some small token to remember the little ones they have lost. And don’t try to say anything to make it better.

And announce your pregnancies. Every baby matters. Just because they are lost before 12 weeks does not make them any less in God’s eyes. And definitely not in their mother’s eyes. Get the support that your heart will need.

And with that……

I just found out that I am pregnant!

I would love prayers for a healthy pregnancy and for peace.

They are Sleeping!

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I’ve shared our various sleep issues over the past few years and I have a victory to report!

Both boys go to bed easily (on most days)!

Every time we would slack off on our routine, then they push the boundaries. If we keep at it, they are great and they know exactly what to expect!

Here are some details:

  • We bring the boys upstairs, change into jammies, go potty, brush teeth and go into their room.
  • We read one story (sometimes more) or D plays guitar
  • We tuck the boys in, pray with them and spray the Bad Guy spray.
  • If they call us, we go check on them, but tell them it’s bedtime and we won’t be coming in again. (Man, they used to abuse this. “I’m still hungry” “I have to go potty” “I want another story” and the best one “Pray with me again”)

The best part is that Big C is not scared anymore. The hardest part of transitioning from sitting next to him to being able to walk out of the room is we knew he was genuinely terrified. I am so happy that we were finally able to find a combo that worked! Little C is a sleeping ninja (other than waking up at 5am!), but he has never struggled to fall asleep.

Here’s a rundown of our bedtime transition:

  1. From the time I can remember, Big C needed us to rub his back, sit near him, or sit right by his door for him to fall asleep.
  2. When we moved to TN, we couldn’t even sit on the other side of the room – we had to be near him.
    1. We tried moving slowly every few nights. We tried a book that talked about Mom leaving. They didn’t work.
  3. We introduced Bad Guy Spray and were finally able to leave the room.
  4. He called us back constantly so we implemented the “We’ll be back in 3 minutes since you are 3 years old.” routine. It worked like magic!
    1. At the beginning, I was VERY intentional about holding to that 3 minutes. Even if I thought he would fall asleep anyway, I checked on him. I knew that I needed to build up the trust that if I said I’d check on him, I would. For naps, he’d often be asleep between 6 and 9 minutes. Bedtime took longer but, not too much.
    2. Because he was so good at nap, we were able to change what we said at night. “We’ll check on you in a little bit.” “I have to go do xyz, I’ll be back.” He started to go longer periods without freaking out so we went with it.
  5. It’s been probably 6 months of transition from checking every 3 minutes to being able to kiss him goodnight and walk out.

6 months seems like a long time, but we had 3 years of bad habits to correct. And the 6 months really went quite smoothly, not to mention SO much easier than before. I don’t regret our choices at all. We probably could have made him tough it out, but it would have broken my heart. And honestly, 3 years is just not that long. 3 years of spending extra time comforting, holding, or hugging our little boy. At times it was frustrating. Infuriating. Exhausting. But I know that he is not scared and that he now knows how to go to sleep on his own.

Trusting God

It’s been too long since I posted. And SO much has happened.

But I want to start with Trusting God.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and sometimes I feel like I’m in this rut of doing the same things over and over. Like I’m not growing or changing or becoming more like Christ. I mostly just felt stuck in my safe, comfortable little Christian bubble. And moving to the Bible belt to work at a Christian company magnified that beyond compare.

But how could I grow? My deepest wish is to show compassion and grace and love like Jesus did. But what does that look like? Where do I start if I just feel blah inside?

This summer, God has taught me to trust Him more than I ever have before.

Trust Him with two broken feet right before my first ever Half Marathon.

Trust Him to show me a new passion in exercise.

Trust Him with feeling like we belong in TN.

Trust Him with finding a house.

Trust Him with growing our family.

Trust Him to bring me friends that I can really connect with.

Trust Him to give me comfort in my darkest times.

Trust Him.

If you had asked, I would have told you I did trust God. I would have been sure of it. But over the past 15 months we have had more challenges thrown at us than ever before. And over and over and over again God showed up. Not always how we wanted, but He has been there.

My favorite thing to do is drive somewhere alone. I turn off the radio and I just talk to God. As if He was actually sitting in the seat next to me. Often times, I’m crying. But that time has been so healing for me. I know that this is exactly the journey he has for us. Each thing that happens open the doors for new things. It doesn’t make the pain of two miscarriages disappear, but it provides hope. I hope and I trust and I know that God has a plan for my life. It’s not the plan I have for my life, it’s better.

Trust Him.

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Ever since we moved, I’ve been running a ton. I really enjoy it and I had officially signed up for my first half marathon. The Country Music Half in Nashville! I felt strong and wasn’t even worried about being able to finish. I was hoping to just enjoy the race, push myself, and maybe get a great time.

Around October or November my left foot started hurting after runs. The pain would subside but I started to notice it after days with just a lot of walking. I had recently switched shoes and resolved some pain in my right foot so I figured this was similar. At first. I think I’ve known for awhile, but wouldn’t admit it.

My foot is broken.

I had done a 10 and 12 mile run where my right foot swelled and was painful along with the ‘normal’ left foot pain. After the 12 miles, I could barely walk for two days. I knew, and Damien insisted, that I needed to go see a doctor.

So I did. And they told me exactly what I knew I’d hear. The reoccurring pain in my left foot was actually a stress fracture. And a big enough one that it showed up on the x-ray. My right foot was having a stress reaction – the precursor to a stress fracture.

I have to wear a boot for two more weeks (3 total) and then evaluate from there. It’s a break on my 5th metatarsal right where the tendon attaches. If it doesn’t heal, I’d need surgery to remove the piece of bone and reattach the tendon to the remaining bone. I really, really DON”T want surgery!

So I’m doing my best to rest my foot and get it to heal.

And obviously, I won’t be running at all, much less a half marathon.

I’m super disappointed, but it’s a good lesson to learn. Pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore pain that continues for months!


Essential Oils for the Win

I’ve been interested in essential oils for almost a year now. I have friends who use them and the researcher in me has read just about anything I could find about them.

Several months ago, I knew I wanted to start using them, but I was not sure exactly which ones I should start with. We had lavender, tea tree, and peppermint that we used to mix into our deodorant but we had not used them for any sicknesses or anything. Over the course of the last year we have been incredibly healthy (yay!) but that meant no real chance to start. And even if we did get sick, how would I try out oils I had not bought yet?

Well, this week we have had quite the round of sickness. Little C had a fever and developed a cough and he’s too young for any sort of cough medicine. Thankfully, I have a new friend who sells essential oils so I messaged her to see if she had a respiratory blend (called Breathe). She was awesome enough to deliver it to our sickly household and she also brought me small samples of Basil and Rosemary to try for his cough.

The next day the doctor told me that Little C also had an ear infection on top of the cough. I grabbed some garlic oil (not essential oil) drops from them and they also recommended using the Basil/Rosemary blend behind his ear.

Last for the Little One, he ended up with diarrhea and vomiting from some unknown bug. Another friend brought me a sample of a digestive blend (called Digest Zen) to try out on his belly.

To top things off, Big C started complaining about his ear and even had a hard time napping because of the pain. We did give him a dose of Advil because he woke up mid nap and I wan’t sure what oil to use right then. When he woke up, I used the same Basil/Rosemary blend on his ear and also put in the Gaia Kids Ear Drops.

And don’t you know? All of our issues are gone! Each one resolved within a day or two!! Obviously, I hate that the boys got sick, but I had been needing a chance like this to dive right in and I am totally blown away. I was interested, but definitely still a skeptic at heart. Not any more!

Here’s what we did:
*All oils were diluted with a carrier oil, especially since they were used on the kiddos.
1. Peppermint on the feet (covered by socks) every 30ish minutes to bring down the fever.
2. Next Day: Breathe on the feet for the cough and the Basil/Rosemary blend on the chest and around the back of the ears. (Make sure essential oils do not get in the ear canal.) Also the Gaia Kids garlic ear drops.
3. Repeat Day 2 routine. We reapplied the oils 3-4 times over these two days.
4. After Little C threw up at night and then had water diarrhea in the morning, I used Digest Zen on his belly and feet that afternoon. His next poop was partially solid and by the next morning it was no longer diarrhea at all. This was the most dramatic improvement in the shortest time and fewest applications!
5. We also used the immune builder/germ fighter called On Guard on the boys’ feet and my wrists while they’ve been sick.
6. For Big C’s ear we used the Rosemary/Basil blend and then we also used the On Guard blend around his ear. He stopped complaining of any pain during the first day.

Other than 2 doses of Advil for Big C because I don’t believe I have an oil that deals directly with pain, no traditional medicines were used. Little C had fever, cough (croup sounding), diarrhea, vomiting and an ear infection. We did not use a single traditional medicine and his symptoms went away faster than I would have expected from the traditional medicines. I am so excited not to have to pump his perfect little body full of drugs!