Follow me:
    img_4587

    Sometimes, you just have to show up.

    Sometimes, you just have to show up. Have you ever felt like God was about to do something, but you had no idea what it was? I’ve felt that way for months, and it’s been driving me crazy. I’ve had this restless sense in my spirit and just could not figure out what it meant. I’ve been a part of an amazing group of ladies for the past six months, and we meet weekly to study Scripture together (and laugh. And talk. And laugh.). I’ve talked about it with them, they’ve prayed for me about it, and it wasn’t until just over the past two weeks that I have started to gain some clarity.

    I work at a church. An awesome church that I adore being a part of, and I have a great job as a communications director. Seriously, I am blessed beyond reason with this job. Being around ministry every day is so great, and having my work go toward supporting the Kingdom is so fulfilling. Even so, I had this feeling of “I’m supposed to be doing something more” that I didn’t understand and couldn’t shake. I knew it wasn’t discontent with my job… so what was it?? Now I know.

    Our women’s ministry at church needed new leadership, and I have been feeling drawn toward women’s ministry. I love blogging, interacting with you ladies and being involved with the women at my church, and I feel so strongly about empowering women, so I knew it would be something I enjoyed. So myself and two other sweet friends, Karie and Elizabeth, took on this ministry and got to work. We prayed, we planned and we prayed some more as we dug in and sought God’s will for the women at our church. Yesterday was our launch event, and God was all over it.

    You can spend lots of time planning for something, but sometimes, things don’t come together. Then there are the other times, where lots of time and effort come together with God’s favor and everything goes smoothly, but more than that–it goes better than you could have ever hoped it would go. That was yesterday.

    Our goal was for true multigenerational community, and we got it in droves. Women, of all ages and stages, worshiping and fellowshipping together, and it was awesome. When I got up on stage to address these precious women, it clicked for me: this is what I want to do. Authentic community for women is sorely needed- there’s so much fake out there for us, but what we need, and what God wants for us, is to be real with one another. Being a facilitator of that was just beyond wonderful.

    img_4588

    Our guest speaker was Jess Connolly, and she was perfect. Debbie Hopper of Seacoast Women’s Ministry was planning to be there, as well, but her flight back from Africa was changed, so she was present with us in video form—Debbie is Jess’ mom, which is a hilarious story, because I had zero idea of that when I first talked to Debbie to seek some of her boundless wisdom about women’s ministry. Jess delivered a heartfelt word that resonated so deeply with our women. Then, we had fun and bonded by being creative and learning new things together. One woman after another came up to us, thanking us for the day, and we just kept telling them that we were just doing what God led us to do, and that it was His hand on the day that made it what it was. We showed up, listened to His prompting and He did the rest.

    There’s a verse in Acts that I was reading this week that hit home for me:

    “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.” – Acts 20:7-12

    Paul was doing what he felt led to do, and he kept preaching into the wee hours because he intended to leave the next day. Well, God intended to do a little more than old Paul had planned. Poor Eutychus couldn’t keep his eyes open and passed out, then fell to his death—not exactly what you expect during a Bible study! But God. Paul went down to the man, and through God’s power in him, raised the young man back to life. It wasn’t any power of Paul’s that performed this miracle, but because Paul showed up and was obedient to the call, God did more than he could have ever imagined through him. Sometimes, you just have to show up.

    That’s what I want for us, ladies. I want for us to show up for one another and do God’s will- to grow in community, to grow together and to serve together, because if we’re faithful to that call God is going to move big time through us. Let’s be ready and willing to move into whatever God is calling us to do because he that promised is faithful. Every single time.

    img_4595

    Elizabeth, Jess, Me and Karie

    School, solid food and a shaggy dog.

    Both boys are officially back to school. THANK YOU, LORD. They were getting major cabin fever and really needed to get back into some sort of structured schedule with lots of friend interaction time. They’re so much happier when they are in school, which makes us happy that they’re happy. Knox went back about two weeks before Brody, and he was absolutely thrilled. We are doing kindergarten again for him, but this time, he’s in a mainstream class, which is amazing. He already knows his teacher (who is probably the most precious woman in the universe) from last year, because his class and her class went to recess and related arts together. She genuinely loves Knox, and we feel incredibly secure knowing she is the one looking after him all day.

    IMG_5871

    Brody is in four year-old preschool at our church, and I cannot believe this is his last year of preschool. How did that happen already?? He loves school and does really well, and I love that he’s just upstairs while I’m at work. I pick him up and take him home on my lunch break, so that’s really nice to still get to have some Brody-time during my work day. He is the silliest kid, and his one-liners are hysterical. His sassy mouth gets him into trouble frequently, but you can’t stay mad at him because he’ll have you laughing minutes later.

    IMG_6259

    And Ford. Sweet Ford. He’s seven months old. I know, it’s ridiculous. I swear, with this third baby, time moves at warp speed. He’s eating solid food, now, and his favorite thing is a chunk of banana in his little mesh feeder. He makes a disastrous mess, but he’s happy as a clam covered in mushy banana sludge. He is so social and loves to be with people. He doesn’t have stranger anxiety at all, but I’m definitely  his favorite person. We laugh at him because if he’s being held by anyone other than me and catches sight of me, he will let you know of his disdain. And once he gets back in my arms, he’ll stare down whoever just had him with this look of “see? This is my mom. This is what I wanted.” I love him to pieces.

    IMG_6200

    IMG_6322

    Those wiggly legs :)

    Then there’s Carly. Oh, Carly. She has made so much progress over the past week, it’s been great. She now understands her potty bell on the front door and rang it twice last night to let us know she needed to go out. She was inside for about four hours yesterday without an accident (I hesitate to even type that, for fear I’ll jinx myself). Right now our main struggle with her is the fact that she’s huge and doesn’t realize it. She loves to jump on the boys, and those poor kids get scratched up like crazy. She caught Brody right in the face yesterday. He loves her so much, so he’s over it quickly, but we’re working on her manners! She’s going to be massive, so she needs to learn to control herself before then!

    IMG_6384

    My sister got a Corgi named Thor, who is one day older than Carly, and he’s come over several times to play. Poor Thor. Carly loves nothing more than to stand over top of him like a bridge and drive him nuts. The kids love him, though. Especially Ford. Also, Thor is becoming Insta-famous. He’s cooler than all of us, for sure.

    IMG_6184

    That’s what’s up with us right now. Thrilling, I know, but I’m scared my blog is going to shrivel up if I don’t type on it at least once a month. Bye.

    IMG_5383

    Learning to say “yes”

    One day, I will learn not to take all three of my kids to Target alone. Maybe.

    It was a Friday morning, that fateful day. I needed a few things, and I had a hankering to peruse the home aisles of my local Target. You know, to relax and imagine a world where children don’t actually destroy everything nice I own. It started off fine. Knox and Brody were in the front of the monstrous family buggy, and Ford was in the Ergo carrier. We made it all the way to the back corner of the store, as you do, before the crying began. Ford was done shopping at Target. Like, furiously done. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but wearing an angry baby is UNACCEPTABLE and is in no way, shape or form an allowable alternative to holding said baby. So, I took him out of the carrier, which now dangled around my waist and held him. Still, no dice. His angry “I hate Target” cry quickly turned into a “feed me, woman” cry. So, we pushed our cart as quickly as possible to the front of the store, where I pushed everything and everyone into the family restroom, ignoring the “no merchandise in the restroom” sign. Sorry, Target.

    I quickly nursed Ford while Knox and Brody tried to free themselves from the buggy and destroy the bathroom. I mangled to wrangle them one-handed back into their seats with only minor threatening, which I considered a success. Once Ford was finished, I foolishly thought “that was easy enough, now let’s shop some more.” FATAL ERROR, JESSICA. FATAL ERROR.

    Once again, we managed to get back to the same corner of the store (school supplies, no less), when Ford promptly lost his cool. All the way lost. Of course, by this point, the section is crawling with quiet families, happily shopping for pencils and dry erase markers. All of which, by the way, are pointedly glaring at me. So, I took Ford out of the carrier again, and tried to jiggle him around. Jiggling really pisses off babies that are tired, FYI. We are nearing nap time, but I just needed to get a new notebook for Bible study. Just one, tiny notebook. “Jesus wants me to have this notebook,” I think. I need it. It’s for holy purposes. Certainly I can just grab one really quickly. Nope. The sight of notebooks is enraging to Ford. I reach out to grab one. I am throwing it in my cart when I see “wide ruled” emblazoned on the cover. WHY DO THEY EVEN MAKE WIDE-RULED NOTEBOOKS???? College-ruled or bust. I frantically start scanning the mountains of notebooks for something with thin-lines. Ford’s screaming is reaching a fever pitch. The eyes of Target people are boring into the back of my head, and I start sweating. Notebook Gate 2016 is becoming a real thing. For the love of all of the things, WHERE IS THE COLLEGE-RULED SECTION?!!! Frantic, I just pushed the cart out of the section, my wailing baby serenading us all the way. As we move to the front of the store, Ford gets quiet. I look down and see the totally red face of a baby that has let loose into silent cry. You know the one. They are so pissed that their cry has lost it’s sound, which only means that in approximately .467 seconds, the loudest cry possible will emerge out of their mouth.

    S.O.S.

    I knew what needed to happen. This baby needed to nurse IMMEDIATELY. I was still halfway to the checkout section. There was no way I could make it back to the family bathroom in time. I looked around and saw it: the empty furniture aisle. I shoved the cart down the aisle just as Ford started to hysterically scream. All I could think about at that moment was that crazy video where the man at Target starts berating the women for breastfeeding her baby without a cover, and I could not be the newest viral breastfeeding story: “Mom beats man senseless when he tells her to cover up, story at 11.” Because of course, I had left my cover somewhere, so I did what I had to do:

    I went into the shelf.

    IMG_5378

    There, between a barstool and a side table, I scootched all the way back, shielding myself with a cart of children (who at this point were beating each other, gladiator-style, with boxes of Legos) and nursed the baby. Peace (except for the gladiator children). I was hot and sweating and praying no crazy breastfeeding-haters would stumble upon our shelf spot. Once it looked like Ford was asleep, I got up and practically ran to the checkout. Well. All the running woke the baby, who once again realized that he was in Target.

    You can guess what happened next.

    Every checkout lane had a line. BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY DID. So I had no choice but to wait. Sandwiched between a blonde lady, about my age (with no children because she was probably smart and got a babysitter), and a lady around the age of my mom, I stood holding a baby that was irate and screaming at the top of his voice. By the way, that’s really loud. My two biggest are asking for Kit Kats and Push Pops and all of the processed foods, and at this point I am like “GET WHATEVER YOU WANT, HEALTH IS STUPID” and pathetically trying to load the conveyor belt with one hand. The blonde woman keeps looking at me, and finally, she can’t help herself…

    “Would you like some help?”

    I opened my mouth immediately to offer a sweet “no thanks, I am fine,” but instead what came tumbling out was “yes. Yes I would.” So she and the woman behind me jumped into action, unloading my cart and then, taking it a step further, talking sweetly to my angry baby, who promptly stopped crying and smiled at all of the grandma-like attention he was getting from the woman behind us.

    It hit me then as I stood there with happy kids piling candy onto the belt- why don’t we say “yes” to help when we need it? I always feel like I have to fake control and make people believe that I have it all together. Let me tell you something right now: I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER. And sometimes, I need some help. I need a nice blonde lady to unload my cart and someone else’s grandma to sweet-talk my baby because I can’t do everything perfectly, all the time.  I don’t know about you, but faking it for someone else’s sake doesn’t actually make anything happen for me aside from filling me with anxiety and making me a little sweaty. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with other people: motherhood (and being a woman, in general) is messy, and it’s hard. God designed us to live in community- to build each other up and pour into one another. Sometimes we are the ones pouring out, and sometimes we’re the ones getting filled up. It’s an ebb and flow, and it is okay to accept the filling. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. I am thankful today for two women in Target that showed me kindness and taught me that it’s okay to say “yes.”

    “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” -1 Peter 3:8

    P.S. I got  home and realized: I forgot the notebook.

    IMG_3658

    Oh, hey.

    So life with three kids. You guys keep asking me to talk about that, so I figured, why not dust off the old blog and get to typing?

    IMG_3658

    Well. Let me just start off by saying that FORD IS AMAZING. I feel like he is the baby that my soul didn’t even know it needed so much until he was here.  I am so enamored with him, it’s probably not natural. The child can do no wrong. Maybe that’s because his big brothers are hellbent on doing nothing BUT wrong nowadays?? Who knows!

    Trevor and I have both said that hardest thing about having three kids is dealing with the older two- same as it was before Ford was here! Knox and Brody are wild men. Their energy levels are astounding, and their appetites are insatiable. We never have any food in our house because they are like tiny black holes in my pantry. I say “get out of the refrigerator!” 47 times a day AT MINIMUM. Knox ate two boxes of yogurt tubes this week. How the child didn’t have explosive diarrhea, I’ll never know. Maybe the entire bunch of bananas he consumed in three days evened that out? Brody’s tag line is “I need something out of the pantry.” I feel like his theme music should be the song from the McDonald’s commercials. “Mom. I need some Donald’s french fries.” Don’t we all, Brody? Don’t we all? Thankfully, since his tonsillectomy, he sleeps so much better and no longer snores! Hallelujah!

    Don’t they just look like trouble? They dressed themselves. Bless.

    IMG_3867

    Sweet Ford is five months old, and he really is just that: sweet. He’s happy, always smiling and talking and loves people. He needs to be held and talked to all the time, and we are more than happy to do it. He is such a joyful little thing. He co-sleeps with me and sometimes wakes us once or twice to nurse then goes immediately back to sleep. He has slept through the night for the past month or two, which, let me just say: I never knew how glorious babies can be if you actually sleep. This is new territory for me. I’d seriously have five more babies if they were all like Ford. He’s a mama’s boy for sure, but I think all nursing babies probably are. Speaking of, he’s a chunk and weighs about 18 pounds and wears size 9 or 12 months. Big boy! Trevor started talking about Ford’s future bedroom, and I started to have heart palpitations. This baby is staying in our room forever. The end (Not really, but at least for now, that’s my stance).

    IMG_4747 IMG_4654

    Oh, and we did a dumb, dumb thing:

    IMG_4701

    Meet Carly. Our Labradoodle daughter. At least we called her that for the first day we had her until she started peeing all over the house. Now she’s back to being our dog. She is as cute as a button, but man alive, her bladder must be dime-sized because she pees CONSTANTLY. Literally, every 20 minutes this dog pops a squat and makes me insane. We’ve rolled up all of our rugs, so thank goodness for hardwood (laminate) floors!! Our children exhaust her. I have to move her to the bathroom for a nap a few times a day or this happens:

    IMG_4639 IMG_4746

    She just goes to sleep anywhere. She’s not dumb, though. When she’s had enough she goes under the couch where they can’t reach her and passes out.! Aside from the rampant urine situation, she is a great little puppy. We’ve had her for less than a week, but she has never shown any sort of nervousness or anxiety- she walked right in like she had lived here forever. The breeder had EIGHT children (yes, God bless them), so these puppies were very well acquainted with children. AND LOOK:

    IMG_4740
    IMG_4509

    IMG_4580

    Every boy loves her. I think she’s going to be a great dog when she grows up. Hopefully she will be potty trained soon- she’s really too little to be crate trained at only seven weeks old, at least for more than about an hour at a time, so we will stick to taking her out every 30 minutes until she has some more bladder control!

    So I think that’s enough for now. I’ll come back soon and talk about my kids and dog more. I know you’re on the edge of your seat. Smooches.

     

    Knox, Brody and Ford 3 months

    Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

    I compare my kids to each other all the time. I don’t compare them to one another in a judgmental fashion, holding one’s strength up to another’s weakness, rather in a nostalgic kind of way, just remembering. I remember big round eyes in each little boy- the eyes that gave everyone the false impression that the baby looked like me. I always tell them “just wait,” and those Trevor features will start taking over their little faces. It amazes me that they all look different, but they all look like their dad. If I hadn’t carried them all, I’d be certain Trevor just spit them each out himself.

    Knox and Ford look the most alike, of the three. So much so, in fact, that sometimes Ford’s expression or pose will conjure up an nearly photographic memory of Knox in the same position or making the same face. I often have to scroll through hundreds of pictures to locate just the one Ford make me think of- a moment in time with Knox that I can barely remember.

    Knox, Brody and Ford 3 months

    It’s such a shame that these baby years fade from my memory so quickly. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation or the stress, I’m not sure which. I do know that I can’t seem to hold onto those squishy, sweet-smelling baby faces in my mind. I remember bits and pieces of Knox as a baby- certain moments stand out more than others. Our time in the NICU is emblazoned in my head, the beeps and the wires and the desperate prayers. I remember worrying over him endlessly, even before I was pregnant with him, as bizarre as that sounds, all the way to now. He’s always the one my worries fall heaviest upon. I barely remember Brody as an infant, at all. I KNOW that one is due to lack of sleep and postpartum depression, both of which made my mind and memories hazy and tired. I do remember him crying. All the time. And his precious soft curls, long gone, but easily recounted. I used to tell his baby self that it was lucky he was so cute, because he certainly wasn’t easy!

    I purpose to remember these days with Ford. I soak them up and live on them. A fuel for my long days of mothering and working and for my worn-out spirit. Even when I’m too tired to do anything else, I hold onto him, smelling his sweet head, willing myself not to forget a single thing. The way his right ear points a little more than his left. The way his lips move, remembering feeding time even when he’s asleep. The way his weight feels against me as I sway back and forth, calming him into rest. The way he settles the second I pick him up. These sweet days where they love their mommy most of all- I know they’ll be gone before I can blink.

    IMG_3542

    These three boys and their father are my greatest treasure here on earth. I thank God for each and every day with them, even if I say some curse words under my breath when they make me crazy. The praise always rises above the pain- every time. I just hope I remember exactly how much I love them today. Even though I’ll love them more tomorrow.