This is our's crazy, it's hectic, but most of all it's fun!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Generosity. I look each day at my person and I am so consumed with generosity, but it has only been that way for a short time. In fact, only about two weeks.

It is no secret that my family has a sweet story. A testimony if you will. It will always be something we talk about as long as we are breathing air into our lungs. It may be in the quiet still of the night when our children have long gone to sleep or when we are in our 70s on a fishing trip with our grandchildren still marveling at God's goodness.

His goodness. Oh his goodness.

We had family pictures done recently and I was blown away at Jessyca's talent. She so beautifully captured my family. My gifts. My evidence of God's generosity in my life.

I used to think that because God miraculously healed Ryan he was faithful. That he so loved me and my family, and we were faithful to him that he was faithful to us. It wasn't until I heard about God's generosity that my entire way of thinking was altered.

You see, I know that hard times are ahead of me and Ryan. It may be another illness or even death. It may be overwhelming sorrow and despair for one, or both, of us. It may be tomorrow and it may be 50 years from now, but either way, because of what happened long ago in the garden, it is going to happen again. When it does, I want to be faithful again. To know that His goodness comes so strongly, so fully, that it will be all consuming. See God didn't promise to heal Ryan. He just didn't. If that was the way he worked, He would be healing people left and right. People who love Him deeply and serve Him well. People who so deserve more time here on earth. We must be the faithful ones. We must be the ones to call on Him. To hand it over to Him. To be willing to relinquish whatever it is we are holding on to in order to give Him the glory no matter what happens.

Two years ago, God was generous. He answered big, bold prayers and oh how I am so thankful for it. I look at the pictures, so beautifully depicting who are, and I see a gift. A gift to me. A gift to God's kingdom.

And then I see two more. One boy and one girl who haven't fully grasped the magnitude of how big God is. How good God is. How wonderful, exciting, moving, and freeing life with God is.

To say all that, though, it must also be stated that I am human. That I can so easily say, "Yes God has blessed me and been good to me and I'm okay with whatever stands in my way!"

No, it doesn't work that way for me all the time. Sometimes I am paralyzed. I am sitting waiting for the bad to happen. When I see the pain, the sickness, the destruction swirling all around me and I just find myself waiting for the fall. For my little world I work so hard to craft and keep going to crumble. It causes anxiety, fear, and me wavering back and forth between what I believe and what I know to be the truth. I am overcome with a paralyzing feeling of why. I am clouded by whispers from the enemy telling me this is life. That these feelings are valid.

But I am so wrong.

Yes, my world will crumble at some point, but the only one who is going to fix it will be Jesus. He will be the one I call on day and night, every second, every minute, every hour to rescue me. It will be me calling out for his grace, love, and mercy. I will be able to handle it because I know the richness of God's promise in eternity.

Life is so sweet friends. So sweet. I pray that each of our eyes and hearts are opened to seeing God's preciousness and love towards us in the big and the little. That we sing His praises and give Him the glory each time an opportunity arises.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:16-17

Saturday, July 9, 2016


"And whose baby is this?"


I bypassed the grueling 9 months of growing a baby. I didn't experience that beautiful pregnancy glow or the ever expanding belly bump. I didn't have the time to fully prepare for a little life to be in my hands, nor was I completely confident in speaking about it. I was becoming a mom again, but it was in a way that I had never expected. 

The title "foster mom" makes me cringe and puff up with joy all at the same time. It is a role I never thought I'd be in and it's a role that has completely made me question my ability to parent. 

Our home was officially opened on a Wednesday afternoon. While waiting for our official number, we had already received a call about a baby. I wanted him. It felt right and it was now just a matter of time. Which would come first-the number or his placement somewhere else. 

It was the latter. 

I was upset. I knew that was the baby for us, so I struggled a little knowing he had gone somewhere else. 

Thursday came. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Crickets. And I begin to wonder if we'd ever get a call. All I've heard since starting this entire journey is the need. The need is so great. There are so many children who need a home. You'll probably get placed immediately. You will have a child so quickly and I wasn't. I was feeling a little confused, but also knew that God had something in store for us. And he was whispering just wait. 

Monday came and I had stopped obsessively checking my phone for a missed call. I had relaxed a little and wasn't so consumed with when we would get a baby. And then my phone rang. It was the call about a little baby girl. My heart knew this was our baby and my yes was a big yes. Ryan's yes was as big as mine. 

We were doing this. 

I was told to wait until 3 to call back if I hadn't heard anything. By 2:55, with no word, my anxiety was high. I prayed and asked God to calm my heart and mind. To know that he was faithful and that I knew he was taking care of us. Not a minute later, a number popped up on my phone from the county she was coming from. Thanking God, I answered that call and plans were made for her arrival. 

I can't exactly describe the feelings I had when I laid eyes on her. Heartbreak, joy, excitement, devastation. The list goes on. I saw her and those big beautiful round eyes and instantly I felt like momma. I had wondered how I would feel. Would I truly feel like a mom to these children or would I simply be a caretaker. Would I love them? Would I be what they needed? Would God show me their needs?

God has been so faithful to us. He has opened doors in a way that make me say, God did that. 

Our sweet baby girl changed us. We learned how to parent three children.  We learned of the frustration of the foster care system. We received lessons on grace. We watched our kids love someone with so much passion. She reminded us that we have so much love inside of us and that is unbelievably easy to give. 

Our time was precious with her. It was also short. 18 days. 18 days to love and to grow. 

I was blindsided by the call that she was leaving us that day. Ryan was out of town, the kids were with Nana, and in the time frame given, there was no real way for them to make it home for a goodbye. It was solely on me. God did it that way for a reason. It was one of the hardest things of my life preparing for that goodbye. Sitting there playing with her knowing at any minute I would hear a knock at the door was almost paralyzing. But also, God prompted and pushed. He told me to not hold back. To love her fiercely until the end and I did. Strapping her in the car seat, telling her goodbye, and giving her that one last kiss caused a physical pain I didn't expect. Walking back into the house empty handed literally took my breath away. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. There nothing but sobs coming from me. And I was alone.

Lord, thank you for letting me be alone in that moment. I needed Him. I needed His arms wrapped around me. I needed His peace. I needed His comfort. And He delivered. 

While there was a big hole missing in my heart that weekend and unexpected tears at any given time I accepted the fact that I was mourning. I was filled with so much grief that at times I wasn't sure I could open my heart up again. Did I want to do it again? Did I want to put my family through that again? Was it worth it?

But, we began to pray. We asked God to fix our hearts. To pick up the shattered pieces and put it back together. I didn't want my heart to be perfectly sewn back together. I needed those jagged marks as a reminder of that heartbreak that comes along with fostering. 

I picture my heart like an old quilt. All the little sections. All the little pieces of scrap fabric that never seem worthy of something good. But the creator knows. They know the final outcome. When it's all sewn and perfectly put together, the end result is amazing. It's cohesive. It flows. It's beautiful. It's long-lasting. Yes, this is my heart. And after each goodbye, when God starts picking up those pieces and sewing it back together, he adds one extra section. This one just happens to be magenta. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Back around Christmas time I was deep into a TV show. My DVR was filling up and I was finding myself eager to see what happened next in the storyline. Then something happened on the show and it just happened to be a Thursday night when I didn't get the chance to watch it. The next day I received a text asking if I had caught it the night before. I asked no, why and she explained to me what had went down and I begin to see the posts on Facebook. In that moment, I decided to not watch the show any longer and have stuck with that even though my DVR still records it. It was a personal choice. A choice that, for me, aligns closely with what I am ultimately trying to achieve. I want to put good in, so that good comes out.

We started a new show a couple weeks ago and I was really into it. Some things were sketchy and had me raising my eyebrows, but I overlooked it because the storyline was good. Because I enjoyed the characters. But then, last night, as we were watching something happened. It goes against everything I believe in and at the moment I said to Ryan, I don't think I can watch this show any more. And I won't. It doesn't align with what I believe.

Rewind to Monday. In a conversation, I was asked if I had read 50 Shades of Grey. I have. All three. I've even read two others series quite similar to that and I sit here now wondering why. I've watched the first movie of the 50 Shades series and, by admission, have struggled with wanting to see the second movie when it's released. I won't, simply because it doesn't align with what I am trying to achieve, but I have the desire to. Can I put out the disclaimer now? This is about me and my relationship with God. Although, through conversations, I know that it's not just me.

In Romans 5:5-8 it says, "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Cannot please God.


I want to live a life that pleases God because the desire is so deeply rooted in me. Yes, there was a time when it wasn't. When I didn't care. When I was living MY life, by MY rules, by MY clock. God was the one who had given me life, but I wasn't living it for him and his glory.

But what a good, loving, and forgiving father we have. I was a broken vessel, and to this day I still am, but my future is more bright, more clear when I let God take the driver's seat. When I don't let the world, and its promises, get in the way of that.

I don't want my flesh to be impulsive. I don't want to give in and fill my mind and soul with things that aren't pleasing.

Remember WWJD? I wish that "campaign" would make a comeback. Bracelets and all. I need that. I need that reminder of what would Jesus do?

Would he sit around filling his mind with garbage? Or would he be filling his mind with the things that can benefit me, my family, and those around me. It has been a personal choice to rid my life of the "junk." When I have my music on shuffle and I'm in the middle of a run and my "old college jams" come on I smile with pleasure because that was a fun time in my life, but it was also so sad. Have y'all listened to the lyrics. All I think is my precious babies hearing that stuff and heavens no. Just no. We were recently at an event and we happend to be around a lot of teenage kids. (I'm 30 and they are now considered kids and not my peers anymore. That's a hard realization.) My heart hurt. I must have had a judgey look on my face, but I didn't mean to because it was not me passing judgement. It was me 100% reflecting on my past. That was me. I was the girl right in the middle of it, helping my friends build the Beeramid. Seeing how tall we could get it with all the drinks we had consumed. I was the girl living life UP in college. That is absolutely not who I am today, and for that I can only thank God. Thank God for his grace, for his mercy, and for loving me when I was so unlovable.

I know that my junk and your junk looks completely different. I struggle daily trying to find the balance of what things in my life are "okay" by all definitions. I struggle with the fact that I love live music. That I love to dance. That I can do each of those things without a single drink of alcohol, but where is live music and dancing held? In a bar. So do I go and enjoy the band or miss out on something that I love? It's a true struggle to live in this time when the world around us tells us that these things, this  "junk", is okay. But is it? I pray, I ask myself WWJD, and I ultimately do what I feel is most pleasing to God because in the bigger picture I want to be like Jesus.

Please tell me some of you are this way too? That it's not just me?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three year old cool-Claire


I think when it's your baby the numbers on a candle sting a little more. It's not until later that seeing the videos of her blowing out those candles that the pain is more evident


No longer a "baby" by any accounts. If I want a true glimpse of the baby in her, we have to pretend she's a baby. Complete with rocking, feeding, and burping. And yes, I try that often. 

She is independent, opinionated, and fierce when it comes to love. She knows her likes and dislikes and isn't afraid to tell you.

She is incredibly cool and looks to entertain and make you laugh. 

She oh so subtly gives me a glimpse of who I am. The stubborn, quick tempered know it all. Together, we are working on that. 

She is the girly-girl that isn't afraid of dirt and mud. We are in a competition for who can eat the most sweets in a day. She loves music, dancing, and singing.

Princess attire is her thing, followed closely by coloring and stamping. 

While turning 3 is hard for me to believe, it also fills me with so much joy. She is the sweetest little gift that God has given our family. Though I sometimes look at her in those hard moments and my eyebrows shoot up in I don't know what it is...fear? Ha! I know that God has her perfectly poised to do something great. I look forward to three with her. May she continue to be her perfect mixture of salty and sweet! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A lesson on joy

Today, Ryan had his first experience teaching a 2-3 year old class at church.

By technicality, I should say we had our first experience. "We" because this is the first time we actually did it at church.

I actually get to teach 2-3 year olds 3 days a week at a Mother's Day Out.

These are my people. They are cool. They are sassy. They are moody. They are hilarious. They are innocent. They make me love what I do. They make me question what I do.

Overall though? I love what I do.

I didn't hesitate to sign up at church to teach this age group when the sign up sheet came by. I don't think Ryan expected me to sign him up, but he is a good husband and very go with the flow.
Read: He likes to make momma happy.

It was a fun experience even though I think Ryan's head was spinning after hanging with 10 of them. I would have fallen out of my seat but I was safely strapped in when Ryan said I did a really good job this morning.

Again, I just love that age group! But if we are being honest, I was a little sad.

I love Sunday mornings. I love being filled with the word and learning a new lesson each morning. I was so eager to ask my parents what they learned in church once we were leaving.

I asked. They answered: Joy.

I was a little jealous because I  wanted to hear about joy. I wanted to be filled with something that I seek daily, but no. Not today.

Then, it hit me. I quickly remembered that while I didn't get a lesson on joy today, I hope that my kids did.

That they saw me as a fresh face, eager to teach them about Jesus. That God had placed it in my heart to serve in my church by building a foundation to little people.

I want to be filled with joy in everything I do. I want others to see joy in me and know that it comes from the Lord.

The days at home with my own two children I need to be reminded that happiness is fleeting. On the days I am teaching a dozen 3 years the same song and going over the ABCs for the 15th time that I need to find the joy in it. On those couple days a month that it's my turn to teach the littles the word that joy radiates from me.

While my notebook today was filled with only 6 words, I feel like I left with so much more.

And that? Well, that's a win for me.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

O Holy Night

I'm noticing as the years tick by the small things are becoming big. The big are becoming small.

Christmas was always magical for me as a kid growing up. I remember rushing downstairs on Christmas morning filled with so much excitement. This, of course, was after I checked my bedroom window each year just wondering if a pony with a big red ribbon around its neck was awaiting me. I don't think I've ever really admitted to that until just now either. But I did it. Even on the years I didn't ask for a pony, I still looked out that window for a present...just in case it was too big to be inside.

We believed in Santa. For us, it added to the magic of Christmas. He wasn't an idol that we worshipped, but rather an added measure of fun during the season. He always left us amazing presents and filled our stockings with lots of goodies. Santa always had cookies and milk and the reindeer an apple or carrots. Santa always left with a full belly and the reindeer left perfect teeth marks in the apple. I clearly remember the sheer delight I felt on those mornings. Santa delivered us gifts far beyond our discovery of him and I love that even into my teenage years we still got gifts from him, but our level of appreciation were directed to the right people. My parents so graciously made my Christmases incredible. There was no hatred, no feelings of disappointment, no scarring for life when I found out the truth about the man in the red suit. I think maybe because Santa was just an added bonus and again, Christmas wasn't revolving around him.

Now, as a parent, I have taken on a new role during the Christmas season. I am the one creating the magic and wonder. At times, I feel like I am so horrible at it. For example, our Elf on a Shelf Chip didn't make an appearance this year. He is still perfectly placed on a shelf in my closet. I skidded by this year because my kids are still so young. I could have easily brought him out and had him do lots of fun things to entertain them, but I chose not to. Why? Honestly there is no rhyme or reason. I simply put it off and put it off and here we are less than a week from Christmas with no Chip shenanigans. Am I sad about that? Sure. But there is always next year. Am I okay with it? Absolutely.

We have decorated three trees, put up Christmas lights on the house, wrapped presents, bought for kids who would otherwise go without, saw Santa with no tears, dropped money into the bell ringer's buckets, and still have gingerbread houses to build. All while making it fun and magical and trying as best we can to share to our kids why we are celebrating Christmas. This season is one of my favorites. To see the pure joy in my kids make everything worth it.

I want to give, give, give to my children, to my parents, to my family, and friends this year. Fill them not so much with presents this year, but with love.  With quality time.

This morning in church we sang the Christmas songs and I had tears falling during O Holy Night..

The thrill of hope, The weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;

O night divine! O night, O night divine!

I am so fortunate to have my family and Ryan's family. They love our kids so much and want to spend so much time with them. Last night my parents showed up to take the kids home with them because "we haven't seen them since yesterday."

Ryan and I are very opposite in our childhoods. He grew up with his grandparents very, very involved. At almost any moment he could show up at their house within minutes. I, on the other hand, would have to travel anywhere from 4 to 6 hours round trip to visit mine. He was so very close to his and as I get older I realize how much I missed out on that precious relationship. I've had dreams lately about my maternal grandmother. They are brief, but each one is about the same. I am craving knowing her. Wanting to know more about her and more about her life. I am sad that I didn't know her better, but I think Heaven will be a beautiful place to know her and love her. Not to mention, my mother is the closest I will get to knowing her and I hold the relationship with my momma so close. My mom's mom passed away Christmas day in 2004 and the older I am getting the more and more I see how hard it must be to be without loved ones, especially parents. Especially on a day that holds so many memories. But as we heard this morning and I truly believe it, God is with us. He is always, always with us. He loves us and understand each burden we are carrying around. The sadness, the regret, the longing in our heart, He understands all of it. He doesn't want us to be focused on that, but handing those burdens to Him so that our hearts can be opened up even more for his goodness. I am so grateful that my parents, Ryan's parents, and one great-grandparent are here to love on my children. To love on me. I know these days are hard, but I know that they won't last. That while I am feeling a small void in my heart, I know that these people I am missing, and possibly you, are sitting with Jesus right now.

I am just grateful. I come back to the word each time I see my kids with their grandparents. How sometimes Ryan and I joke whether or not we will be able to claim them on our taxes this year because they spend so much time with our parents. Just grateful for their relationships with them. That their early childhood memories will be filled with fun, laughs, and love that they received from them.

The birth of Jesus means more to me with each passing day. It's during Christmas time that I feel an overwhelming sense of His love and His gifts. I am so, so thankful.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Love is.

It was on the way to church of all places.

It may as well have been on the way to marriage counseling.

There was lots of bickering, eye rolls, huffs and puffs, and even a turn around in the Harps parking lot because there was no way I was taking the mad one in the front seat and the crying, grumpy, I can't believe you're not letting me wear only a sweater vest to church tonight little boy in the back. Nope. Not tonight.

In that moment you would have wondered how this family of four even functioned. It was not pretty, but we sorta, kinda had to air it all out tonight because you know what verse we were looking at during small groups?

Go on, guess.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Sweet!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Wait a minute.

I just pulled into the church parking lot not in the mood to even be around my husband. I secretly was hoping we would divide up into guys and girls instead of couples, but alas we did not, and here we were.

As soon as I heard the word "first" I knew. I knew we were going to dive deep into that verse and I knew that I was going to have to take a hard look at myself.

Love is patient.

Sarah is patient. Sarah is patient from the hours of about 8am - 12pm. Then nap time happens and I'm all JUST.GO.TO.SLEEP.ALREADY. Come 2/3 o'clock my patience meter is filled back up and I'm ready for a couple more hours of playing referee, maid, chef, etc. whatever it is I am needing to do. At 5:30 when Ryan walks in the door I honestly feel like my patience meter is done. But why? Shouldn't I be full of patience all day. Joyful. Doing everything without grumbling or arguing. (Philippians 2:14) But I'm not. I fail so miserably. Each and every day.

Love is kind.

Sarah is kind. But not all the time. I am least kind to the people that see me the most and do the most for me. My husband, my family, those closest to me. I actually see myself not being kind and it's like I can't stop. Then, 2.5 seconds after I've finished I sit back in disgust at myself, but I have too much pride to admit how ugly I just was.

Ahem... it is not proud. Moving on...

It is not easily angered.

I mean...I'm a married woman. I am committed to someone for life. Someone that is so different from me. Who knows my buttons. I should know by now that in the midst of even our best arguments the angry feelings don't last. We look back minutes (sometimes hours) and realize that the argument didn't matter. That nothing but mean words, regrets, and frustrations are the only thing that come out of that.  I am so thankful we got to a point in our marriage where we realized disagreements for us were healthy, but we still had to respect one another. . . and that a smile and an I love you sooo much, want to French kiss me right now? usually gets me out of  a lot.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Always hopes. I thank God for the gift of my marriage. For my family. For my friends. I know that they are always there for me. They pray for me. They wrap me up in love when I desperately need it and they look to the future with me, rather than dwelling on the past.

I am always tickled at God's way. We walked into church tonight frustrated with one another. Just over "it". "It" involved a lot of little stuff that built up and finally exploded. This is normal right? Someone say right. We walked out of small groups in a better place. Reminded of how we should love and I think we both said unspoken, personal promises to do better.

I love that God forgives me. I have to ask for it each and every day because I make mistakes. I make really bad choices. I'm trying so hard to be like Jesus. It seems like such a big task and it is. I've learned I do better when it doesn't seem so big and overwhelming. That when I read the word, learn more and more about Jesus, that I'm better able to model that in my every day life. That if I take the little moments and really see all the good, all God's blessings, that I typically do better. I feel better.  It's when I listen and truly seek Him it's easier. I want to love like He loves. I want to plug my name in the "it" constantly. I am constantly working so hard just to fall flat on my face. I am constantly seeking Him, eager to listen, eager to say Yes. Today, I thank God for the moments when I realize I am a human. That there is nothing perfect about me or the choices I make.

I love that I have a sweet, loving, forgiving man that calls me his wife. Someone that understands I am full of faults and less than pleasant words. Someone that is just as flawed as me, but just as forgiving. Did I mention forgiving? We needed small groups tonight in a really big way. As a reminder. A reminder of how to love because of His love for us. Now, let's hear how God was there for you today. I know He showed up!

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