Monday, April 04, 2016

Walking in Love

Life's been busy. This weekend I attended two baby showers, one of which was for a woman who attended the parenting class that I voluntarily teach at the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center (GPCC). She is due in six weeks and is SO excited about being a mom!

It was about three months ago when I met her. She and her boyfriend attended the eight week class faithfully and they were so engaged in the class as they always asked questions and soaked up the information I threw at the attendees. About the fourth week of class, the mom-to-be (I'll call her Ashley) stayed after class and told me a little of her story. I always love when I hear peoples' stories and I was blessed to hear part of hers. You see, Ashley is in college and is a junior. She never thought she'd be able to get pregnant due to health issues she's had. So, she was surprised when she got pregnant, but she was also scared. This baby was unplanned. Her boyfriend (I'll call him Jay) was pressuring her to get an abortion. He too was a student in college and not "ready" to be a dad. So, Ashley went to a clinic in Greensboro that administers abortions. She told me that she got a pregnancy test there that confirmed her pregnancy and got the information about an abortion, but she didn't feel peace about it. 
As God would have it, she called and visited the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. She met with a trained, Christian counselor who spoke with her about her pregnancy and offered HOPE. Ashley left the Center feeling uplifted and encouraged. She now saw this baby as the miracle it is. She spoke with Jay and they decided to keep the baby she was carrying!! It was a few weeks later when I met them both in class. When I met them, I had no idea of their history; their excitement at becoming parents was all I saw.
What a blessing and honor it was to attend the co-ed shower they had yesterday. Mom-to-be was glowing. Dad-to-be was sporting a shirt with his daughter's name on it (I love it!!!). God is so amazing and is working every day at the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. I can't help but wonder who this baby will be and what she will do. Will she be a great physician, a teacher, a mom herself or perhaps an author who inspires other with the words she writes? Maybe all of those?!

I share this story with you so you'll catch a glimpse as to what the GPCC is doing. I am participating in their upcoming Walk for Life, where we are raising money and awareness for an organization that is standing in the gap between LIFE and death. Between HOPE and discouragement. Between JOY and guilt. GPCC offers free classes, free ultrasounds and STD testing, counseling and material resources for men and women facing an unplanned pregnancy. They are even unveiling a mobile unit that will be traveling in Greensboro and the Triad area to help those who don't have transportation to the Center!

I hope you'll be touched by what I've shared and will consider supporting my fundraising efforts here. My goal is to raise $3000 and I'm halfway there thanks to generous supporters! ALL of the proceeds will go directly to the Center where people like Ashley and Jay will be impacted and babies will be saved. Will you consider an investment in the people of Greensboro? How about in the next generation??

ANY prayer and/or financial support is welcomed. Thanks for making a difference in our community and world!

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. 
As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." 
- 2 John 1:6

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy!

My Sweet Isaac,

Today you turned two. You love to say "two" in these ways: "two Papas, two Nanas, two cars" (referencing the two cars currently in the garage) and anytime you count two of anything. Speaking of which, you are an excellent counter. These days you can count to 27! Your counting goes like this: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, (you always skip 8), 9, 10, 11, 12, (you usually skip 13, but sometimes you say it too), 14, five-teen, 16, 17, (ain't nobody got time for 18 and 19), 20 (which you always say with excitement!) and 27!" Sometimes you throw in "30" and when you do you follow it with "yucky" because I think you associate it with the word "dirty" (since they rhyme) and we both know mommy says "dirty diaper, yucky!" What a smart boy you are.

When we tried to teach you how old you are today. You remembered the two, but not the "years." Instead you tell us you are "two minutes" old. Keeping it fresh, buddy, that's awesome. I hope you always keep life fresh.

You are SO smart and we hear it from your doctor, teachers at church, your family and people we meet in the store. Your doctor tells us your vocabulary is that of a 2.5 to 3-year-old child. It's no wonder when you frequently (and easily) use words like: helicopter, alligator, rectangle, pentagon and elephant. You learn things at an incredible speed and it's such a joy to watch you. Just today you said this to mommy as I was holding Hannah: "Upstairs Hannah. Lay in bed." You clearly wanted mommy all to yourself and wanted me to put your sister in her room.

You are always quick with a smile and LOVE to interact with people when we are out. You often will wave, smile and say "hello" (it sounds like hewo). Sometimes when the interaction is over you will even say "bye-bye", throw in a "later alligator (waiter ah-gator)" and blow a kiss for good measure. Maybe you are going to be a future politician (mommy hopes not, but I will be the first to contribute to your campaign if you do). ;)

Isaac, you bring your daddy and I such happiness. We enjoy watching you learn, interact with your sister (you're starting to do that more these days), explore your surroundings and become more independent (although that last item can be a bit more debatable during moments you are pitching yourself onto the floor and writhing because we tell you "no").

I pray that you will continue to love playing outside and exploring the world God has made for you. Any chance you get, you ask to be out there (you are truly your daddy's boy in that regard). Things you regularly look for when you are outside: mushrooms (yes you can say that too), flowers, airplanes, trucks, drain holes (that's one your Papa Duncan taught you), birds and mailboxes. You love to check the mail. You also regularly remind us (even when you are not outside) to not go in the street ("no, no in street"). Let's hope you remember that fact!

As I watch you grow, I am so thankful to God for your presence in my life. I am grateful that He has let your dad and me take care of you and it's my prayer that you will grow to discover God in your own life. He has such amazing plans for you, Isaac; they are even bigger than mommy can dream (and that's saying a whole lot!). His Word says that God's plans are to prosper you, give you hope and a future.

I will continue to hold your hand for as long as you'll let me. I promise to kiss all your boo-boos and listen to your dreams. I will pray with you and walk with you as you explore your world. It's these moments that mommy treasures. Keep on reaching out to others, ask as many questions as you can and dive all-in to your world. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Happy second birthday, son. May it be filled with all the big trucks, planes, cars, rocks, buses and trains that you can imagine!

I love you,

Friday, June 05, 2015

From Three to Four: A Reflection

The last entry I made on my blog was a love letter to our second child who will be arriving within the next 24 hours. The child will turn our family of three into one of four.

I've gotten pretty used to this family of three. We are in a state that is familiar. Sleep patterns, for example are familiar. I actually get sleep right now and I'm rather spoiled by how much. When we put Isaac to bed, Mike and I get some quality time together that consists of 2-3 hours depending on how late we stay up. When Mike gets up to go to work, Isaac will usually keep sleeping and I get another hour to myself to do with whatever I'd like (confession: usually this means I go back to sleep!).

Isaac had a night just last week that reminded me of the early days of his life. He'd wake, cry for me (and no, he wanted nothing to do with Mike who tried to help, but was rejected by a mommy-clinging, 19-month old boy), sleep for 10 minutes and wake again. The pattern repeated for hours and my weariness began overtake me. I couldn't help but wonder if it was God's way of reminding me what was in store in just a short time.

But besides sleep, I've grown comfortable in this role of a mom to a precious boy who (at this point in life) has eyes only for me when it comes to many moments in life. I'm enjoying this season of having time with my husband when we want it. We've both grown comfortable in our roles as parents to the point that they are natural. We've been able to shift our focus again to us.

So, as I look ahead to tomorrow, I have to tell myself to breathe deep. This is what we planned (RIGHT!?). We wanted this and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mama to another precious life that God has deemed me worthy of pouring myself into.

Before I was pregnant, I heard moms confess a fear of their hearts not being big enough to properly welcome another child. How could they love it as much as their first? How could they split their attention among more than one and be fair to both? How could they still give their husbands the attention he deserves? Until I was pregnant I didn't get their fears. Now I do. I've had the same fears and questions. The answer I've heard from those who have crossed over from a family of three to four is: "your fears are valid, but your heart just gets bigger."

So, here I am. I feel as big as a house and wonder how anything in my body will expand. Physically, I feel like my heart is already crammed halfway up my neck. Yet I know something magical will happen with the birth of our second child: my heart will get bigger.

It will probably be the moment the nurses lay that little person on my chest, but who knows? Maybe it will be when I see Mike hold our second child for the first time. Or maybe, just maybe, it won't happen until Isaac, Mike and I are all snuggled around the baby as a family. Either way, this mama is looking forward to expanding more tomorrow. As I trade baby weight for the weight of being a family of four I will embrace it. This is part of how we women are made. Our hearts keep expanding and giving and our Creator keeps applauding and singing over us as He watches us grow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Your First Love Letter

My Precious Child,

What joy I have had this Christmas season as I have had the honor of carrying you within me. Your dad and I are looking forward to your birth and I wonder how much you will change the dynamics of our family of three. Your brother is too young to understand the complexities of your existence, but I am sure you feel him jumping all over you and hear his giggles which will soon be over you. 

I catch myself marveling even more about the love of our God as I feel you moving and twirling within me. And maybe it's the season and knowing the gift that God gave of sending His son to earth, but my pregnancy with you has been such a treasure. One of my favorite songs this time of year is called "A Strange Way to Save the World" and it speaks of how God used ordinary people to bring extraordinary into the world.

So with this in mind, I pray that you are ordinary beyond measure, but bring about the extraordinary. I pray you are brave and stand for those who can't be brave themselves. I hope you find Jesus at an early age and spend your life chasing Him. I hope your dreams and plans are always evolving as you learn more about the world around you. I pray that you have an amazing friendship with your brother and he is your best friend that compares to no other. I am even praying for your future spouse, that he or she will love Jesus too and that you will sharpen each other spiritually and grow as a couple as your relationship grows in Christ. 

On a more selfish level, I also pray you sleep as well (and as much) as your brother, enjoy car rides, travel well and "get" breast-feeding easily. These things will make my job as your mommy a little easier. 

You have so much to discover and I look forward to helping you learn. May 30th seems far away, but it is already approaching quickly. Your dad and I are looking forward to peeking into your world on Friday as we go to your 19-week ultrasound. I pray for you daily and am so blessed already to be your mama.

God has so much planned for you, sweet child, and I look forward to watching it all unfold.

I love you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Letter on Your First Birthday

My Precious Son,

A year ago today you changed the lives of your dad and me so much more than we could have imagined. You came into the world with a strong yell as if to say hello and then you rested on me with a calmness to match your greeting. Within the first few minutes you lifted your head off my chest and looked up. This was your new world and you had to see it. And you haven't stopped looking since that moment.

Your sense of wonder and adventure are beautiful. I've enjoyed seeing you learn, explore and negotiate this place. Right now some of your favorite things are animals, waving at people (you wave at everyone you see), crawling after cats and balls, opening and closing doors (this one seems to never get old), growling like a bear and making "cheesy smiles" by crinkling up your nose when you grin.

At night, when it's the two of us, I am reminded more each day of what a gift you are. As you lie in my arms and nurse, I often wonder at the nature of God and find myself thanking Him over and over for you. For in you, I've glimpsed another side of heaven. The selfless side, the side that sees the bigger picture, the side that sent His own sweet son into a world of chaos and beauty. And when I see that side, as you lie snuggled into me and stroke your hair as I touch your cheek, I can't help but feel an overwhelming awe. What a beautiful plan God has! I know this because you are the most unimaginable person I've ever met. And yet, here you are and you are entrusted to me. I am so lucky to be your mama!

I've poured prayers over you even before you were born. And when you came those prayers only hastened and deepened. I pray for your future: that you will discover the Christ that I know whose love, hope and forgiveness is deeper than any crevice on this earth and wider than the distance between east and west; that you will grow to be a strong man whose heart is tender and leadership is strong; that you will fight for the oppressed and never turn a blind eye to those in need; that you will find a woman to marry who lives and loves God like you do; that you will keep your sense of wonder and awe as you explore and travel; that your humor will continue through dark times of your life and your smile will touch the lives of those around you.

And I pray for the now because that's what we have in this moment. I pray thoughts of thankfulness and joy. You are such a blessing and my heart can hardly contain itself when I think of you. This job of being your mom is tough. I never thought I could function on some of these hours you make us keep and some of those diapers you create are new world wonders. But I wouldn't trade it.

Thanks for being you. Happy first birthday, sweet boy. You keep doing your thing. Grow strong, be brave, love with all your being. I'll keep watching, guiding and growing right along beside you. Most rides aren't worth doing alone and I'm honored to be in your sidecar.