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

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!

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Timehop is a precious little thing isn't it? Throwing you back in time to young, engaged faces without a care in the world or how about squishy little babies that have your hearts aching for another baby. Oh is that just me?
Today this little jewel popped up.
Now while you may see me and Ryan during the Christmas of  2014 I see panic, fear, restlessness, sadness, and an overall person on the right that looks nothing like me.
In December of 2014 I was struggling. I was having panic attacks often. I was dealing with anxiety which was something that was completely foreign to me. I was withdrawn and moody. I was putting on a happy face in public, but walking around like a zombie at home and sitting up late into the night fearful. I was carrying around a heavy weight. I was bogged down by fear. I was 100% convinced something was wrong with me. My mind had completely consumed me and I was headed into a horrible place quicker and quicker. Looking back I was depressed. I was in such a horrible place. Seeing that Christmas tree behind us, I remember clear as day laying on the living room floor with nothing but the Christmas lights bouncing around crying trying to catch my breath. Trying so hard to convince myself I was okay. That nothing was wrong.
What's wild about this is nothing was wrong. But everything in the world was wrong.
I had forgotten, briefly, where I came from. Who loved me. Where I could get reassurance if I cared enough to ask for it. In a place where seeking Him wasn't something I was doing. I saw doctors and they addressed the issues, which I am so thankful for. They reminded me of the hardship I had faced earlier in the year and my body was responding to it. Looking back now, I wish I had asked for God's help more. I wish I had given more of my burdens to Him rather than sinking deeper and deeper into a place that I pray I never go again. Behind those eyes I see what many don't. An empty vessel.
Fast forward one year and I posted this photo:

My kitchen table. A table that was filled with four other women for lunch today all eager to grow closer to one another and closer to the Lord.
The first service we attended at our church I was asked if I was part of an if:table and if I would want to go to an if:gathering that was happening in our community soon. In my mind I was saying absolutely not, but my mouth was saying sure. It was out of my comfort zone, but I went. I know God works so wonderfully in my life and I love when I can see it. That night at the if:gathering I knew in my heart I was heading in the right direction. Where I wanted to be. Where I had asked God specifically to work in my life. He answered that prayer when I joined my if:table.
Oh my group...a group of ladies who have very similar struggles, but at the same time very different. A group who won't blink an eye when I bare my soul. A group who laughs with me at the randomness that is my life. A group that I've only been with for a very short time, but a group that I am so looking forward to doing more with.
Looking back over the year and seeing the pain in that first picture hurts. It hurts my heart knowing that for a couple months I wasn't myself and I had cheated my family out of a lot of sweet time. At the same time, I am thankful. I am thankful to God that while it wasn't pretty it was something that helped me grow. Once it was all said and done and I was in a better place mentally, I was able to function. I was able to clearly see where work needed to be done and it was in my spiritual life. I am no longer than empty, sinking vessel from a year ago. I am no longer that half-empty vessel that was no longer sinking, but barely staying afloat. I am now a vessel filled with hope. Filled with God's love and ready to share that love. God loves me. He loved me through that very ugly time in my life when I wasn't making him a priority. Even when months before He had blessed me so richly by healing Ryan I had somewhat turned my back on Him. I didn't deserve His love, but yet He still welcomed me back into His arms. He did it for me and He can do it for you. I am so looking forward to continuing on in the next year with my if:table. I encourage you to be apart of one. Your life will be so richly blessed!
...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Women's Retreat

If you're like me, when you hear the word "retreat" you envision blindfolds, planks, and a collective "you can trust me."

I think it was the second time we visited our new church when the retreat was mentioned. In my mind, I immediately filed that in the maybe department. 

However, it was mentioned week after week and I grew more and more accepting of the "challenge". A challenge because it was beyond my comfort zone.

They seriously wanted me to go spend the night, talk about my faith, and sing some songs around a campfire. The more I thought about it the more my anxieties began to set in. The what ifs. What if I don't measure up? What if it's uncomfortable? What if they talk about something that is so above me? What if, what if, what if. 

Then, I remembered. God so perfectly placed me right here at this time that I needed to trust Him. I needed to trust that He knew what I needed even when I wasn't sure myself. 

What if He was beginning to answer my prayers little by little? What if He was now ready to show me what in my heart I was ready for?  What if I just let myself walk alongside Him?

We arrived yesterday evening to the women's retreat. With little expectation, but the buzz of excitement. 

We crafted, we prayed, we sang, we ate, we laughed, we cried, and we listened to Vickie Henderson pour into us about discovering the glory of God. 

It was such a treat. 

After our first session last night, we enjoyed a bonfire while singing songs. The first song up was 10,000 Reasons. 

The very song that has basically became my confirmation song. The very song that lulled me to sleep while Ryan and I were separated by 4 doors each night in the hospital. The very song that some days brings nothing but smiles, while other days it's heavy with tears. The very song that is mine. 

And as I sat there in tears, enjoying my song, barely whispering the words I just knew that God was giving the desires of my heart. 

And I continue to watch these little gifts from above continue to open. 

Some of the greatest memories of my youth is the big slumber parties we use to have. So many girls crammed into one room with nothing but our stories to share and our laughs. The older we get, the quicker those experiences begin to fade. You get a couple more shots at it here and there- a milestone birthday, a bachelorette party, and typically wedding rehearsal night. It's just not enough especially when you are constantly growing. Changing. Maturing. We laughed so hard and shared with each other so much. Dave Ramsey, parenting, home schooling, past relationship, our marriages, you name it, it was probably talked about. The beautiful part was it was safe. Free of judgment. We are all women carrying different burdens. We are sinful in nature, but each of us are working so hard to glorify God in everything we do. Failing so miserablably, but continually asking Him to guide our steps and show us His way. We caught ourselves asking how we can do better as parents. It was light hearted to the down right heavy. But it was necessary. It was necessary for growth. Growth in ourselves, in our faith, and in our relationships. 

Ultimately, those are my biggest takeaways from the retreat. These friendships that God so graciously blessed me with continues to show me the person I want to be. I feel blessed to have stepped outside of my comfort zone. I love the fire that is burning hot inside of me. I love seeing God in the little things and going beyond my expectations in the big. I pray that I continue to walk in faith with Him and that these sweet sisters of mine walk it with me. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fitted sheets

My mother is the reigning queen bee when it comes to folding fitted sheets. Seriously. She taught me the ways of the world and not to toot my own horn or anything, but I can certainly get the job done. 

Except for that one day. 

My mom stopped by to visit and I was in the midst of folding sheets. I went along with the task at hand and in the back of my head and I noticed I wasn't doing the job very well. It was sloppy. It wasn't neat like I was typically capable of, but instead big and fluffy, and I knew I could do better. I chalked it up to "distractions". I was chatting with my mom and just going through motions. I stacked it in my pile of sheets and went on with the conversation. 

Not two minutes later, my mom picked it up and asked, "you're not going to leave that like that are you?" and she perfectly folded that sheet like she always does. I was thankful. She knew I could do it and when I clearly dropped the ball in that moment she reached out to help me. To remind me of what she had taught me and to remind myself that I am capable. 

When she left I went to my room and did the most responsible thing I could think of. I drug out sheets that weren't folded under some false pressure I had placed on myself to justify that I was able. 

My mom's is on the left and mine is on the right. That purple set is nowhere near perfect like my momma's. Yet, I know I still have so much time to perfect it like hers. And, when mine is perfect like that one sitting on the left, Claire will hopefully be working on the one on the right.

It was a pressure I had placed on myself. No one else did. My mom knew I could fold better than I had. (And looking back now I wish I had a picture of it in all it's glory because it wasn't pretty.)

I feel that way as a Christian. Want to know something? I was a late(r) in life Christian. Is that even a thing? I feel like I just labeled myself, but I digress.  I was baptized in 2010. It's something I am so proud of, but it's also so intimidating for me. I'm a newbie by all accounts. Another label I've slapped on myself. I grew up knowing, believing, but it was never something that I was ready to commit to until my last year in college and by God's perfect timing when I began dating Ryan. I remember clear as day Ryan and I having the "we're getting serious" conversation that all married couples eventfully have and he specifically said, we will be going to church together. I had already been visiting a church with a friend, who was invited by her coworker. This just happened to be the same church Ryan attended. I remember the first time I actually sat with him. Insert big puffy hearts. 

I was ready. 

I was ready to leave the life I had known before and move closer to God. I was baptized in front of 3 people. It was very personal and something I treasure deep in my heart. 

I mention all the this because I feel like I was being perfectly prepped for a time when my faith was it. I mean, IT. It was all I had to rely on for a solid 10 days. 

My relationship with God is personal. It's between me and Him. He knows every single flaw and He knows every single strength. At the same time, I feel so inadequate. Like the newbie. Like I don't measure up sometimes to my peers. 

Alright, who out there is going to give me the sister me too. Meeee, too. Anyone?

You know what's been nothing but a blessing in my life? My church and the relationships that are forming. I joined an If:table and oh my goodness what a positive it is. I don't feel like the newbie, but rather a woman, mom, daughter, wife, friend who is navigating through this world trying to do His work. It's empowering walking away knowing I am just like others in so many ways. The pressure isn't there to be perfect, but to be real. To be comfortable. 

And again, I'm ready. 

I am ready to step out in faith, armed with more knowledge and His spirit and to see where He will take me next. This time I have others doing it with me. Reminding me that those fitted sheets can be folded tighter and that I can love others deeper. 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Receiving an F

If ever there was a day that God was trying to see how I was applying my skillz in patience, today was that day. 

I received an F. 

I failed. I forgot. I froze. I flipped. I fainted. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but I'm positive that would have been less embarrassing than how my children behaved out at lunch. 

Wyatt and Claire are really good out in public. I can typically give the look and they quit. Or, if times get really tough, I can break out the spanking threat and they straighten right up. 

Today, I pulled that card and had to actually use it. I was beyond aggravated.  "I am so over this" actually came out of my mouth today. Much, much later in the day, but still. 

After the bathroom shenanigans we returned to our seats and I immediately realized things weren't going to get better. They were hungry, compounded with sadness and what I think was embarrassment too, and the result was just going to be even more disasterous. We got our order to go and I left Ryan to wait until it finished. I took them to the car and something divine happened. 

I carefully chose my words. I wasn't angry and (yelling) giving demands. I was calm, but stern. This is when I secretly wished Ryan had witnessed my spectacular parenting because y'all I was so impressed with myself. I wanted to be Christ like. To make my words a reflection of love. To let those two little faces see me as someone who loved them in this moment, but also how disappointed in their behavior I was when they know how to act. How fits, incomprehensible slurs, screaming, and back talking are not the way we do stuff. Not the way we communicate. Like I said, I handled this situation so well. 

We made it back to Ryan's work and ate lunch and then went home. 

They were in bed in a second and both asleep before I shut their doors. The tension I was holding onto in my neck faded slowly. 

I sat there folding clothes going back over the lunch time fiasco still in disbelief. I felt like a failure. Even though my reaction game was strong, my parenting game felt weak. Then I remembered they're human. I'm human. We have good days and we have bad days. There are days when I am begging Jesus to be with me more and days when I am all thank you Jesus we are crushing this day! Today, I was begging. I was putting away those clothes and just prayed. Prayed hard that my day would improve. That I could be kind, gentle, and patient. That I would not react so quickly at the episode...Because there would be more. Oh was there more. 

I'll just go on to say that we survived the afternoon. When Ryan walked through the door Ryan he said we need to hurry and eat so we could get them to church. See, he too understood they needed to learn about obedience. I kid, I kid.  They needed some kid, playground, and other adult time. And some Bible lessons. I kid again. Kinda. 

We all needed that short break tonight and looking back with them asleep now, I realize the next time I see their little faces and bright expectant eyes that I have another shot. I have another chance to shower them with love, grace, gentleness, and kindness. I remember that am a completely broken, fit throwing, mess of a person at times, but God loves me. He forgives me. He gives me the chance to do better. To try harder. To seek Jesus more and more. And it just happens that tomorrow that is number one on my list. 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saying yes

Is this a wife/mom thing or did I somehow draw the short straw? Surely it's the latter. 

I'm that person in our house. You know, the one who knows where everything is. Nevermind that I haven't seen a specific toy in 3 days or I didn't even see where Ryan left his wallet the night before, somehow I know. 

And you best believe if I don't know where said item is off the top of my head I might as well go ahead and throw on the search and rescue jacket because I will be the one to go looking for it. (And 9 times out of 10 be the one to find it.)

This is where I throw out a confession: I actually enjoy knowing where everything is. 

I can't exactly say why. Maybe it's because I like to be right. No that can't be it. Maybe it's because I feel like it's home. My home. My special little place that houses a family of 4, one dog, one cat, and a fish named Wyatt that somehow survives another day. It feels like home and I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. 

There is another place that is home. My parent's house. No matter what time of day, that door is always open. We will be coming home from somewhere and the kids will ask to go to Mimi and Pawpaw's and so we agree to stop by and visit. Ryan still asks me if I'm going to call before we head that way and I still give him the side eye. I don't have to call to let my parents know we're coming. I still consider that (another) home. I should note that occasionally I do stop by unannounced without kids in tow and my parents give me the side eye. 

It's home. The most comforting, relaxing, and safest of places in the whole world to me. 

But then there's one more. This one is new. This one is quickly becoming that comforting, relaxing, and safe place. The place that I notice myself itching for as each day that passes. The one that I see myself in others. The one that my kids shriek about when I pass the road to it. 

This home is River Park. 

I write this blog to record. It's our family's blog. It all began when I was engaged and preparing to start living my life as a wife. Hence the name Nearly Newlyweds. It quickly became a place to record all our exciting times: our life as an engaged couple, as a married couple, as new parents, and as parents of two. There are funny stories and sad stories. Stories of hope and fear and stories of fresh beginnings. My main goal is to be able to look back on these entries and see where we came from and how we were molded into the people we are today. 

This is just another one of those entries. 

We began attenting River Park 6 weeks ago and I was blown away. 

I think the moment God makes us uncomfortable we should prepare for something big. 

This was something big for us. For me. Getting out of our comfort zone and leaving something that we had grown to know, but weren't really growing beyond that. It was a stuck feeling, but only a barrier we had placed on ourselves. Stepping through those doors changed something in me. 

A fire was lit and I was hungry. I wanted more. And more. And more. And each day we get to go back I am so thankful that we listened that morning. That we said yes to God. That we got uncomfortable for just a moment because the reward has been so great! 

I'm reading a book right now and it says, "Soon saying yes to God will no longer be a discipline of your heart, but rather the delight of your life."

Is that not the best? 

We placed membership at River Park and it's quickly becoming home. And that is an incredible feeling. I see myself in others. I see young moms, just like me, who struggle to quiet kids for what seems like an enternity. I see wives, just like me, who struggle with being it "all". I've shared more with these people in the last few weeks then I would have ever thought possible. And it's freeing. It's inspiring. It's everything I have been needing, but didn't know I needed. It's another home. 

Today, we learned about the church's history. Today, they celebrated 6 years. Six. It still seems so young and new, but the history is so deep. I picked up on that. Knowing they started in a barn with 32 people and have established themselves in this beautiful church is something worth admiring and it's something I am proud to be apart of. The faithfulness that this group held on to. The dream they all shared. I got emotional listening this morning. I giggled with everyone else when "our babies" were mentioned. The "babies" that you need to watch for because without a doubt you will be dodging them at any given moment. And this is what I love! I love seeing my kids so excited about church. Building those friendships so young and being around other parents in the same season as me. 

This morning after hearing it I immediately wrote it down- "We want to reflect the Christ that we serve."

I pray that when others see me they see Jesus. That my light is shining bright. 

I'm confident in saying I'm not the person I was months ago. I have a completely different sense of who I am and who I want to be. From here on out I want to continue to say yes to God. I want to get uncomfortable. I want to be bold. I am so excited about our future at "the Park". See there, I've even picked up on some of their lingo. Ha! 
Claire should get some credit in contributing to this post. "God made meeee!" in her sweetest little mouse voice. 

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lordmy heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:1-4  
Blessed are those who dwell in your hothey are ever praising you

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Baptist Famous

Yesterday, I watched our Baptist Health commercial. (And no, we are not really Baptist Famous, I just enjoy fun titles...yet my husband still thinks he's royalty. Ahem.)

You know, the one that will quite possibly been seen by me during my Thursday night viewing of The Blacklist. Yah, that one.

Excuse me, I need to let that sink in for a moment.

I guess I never expected to share Ryan's story beyond friends of friends, by word of mouth, or throughout Facebook land. But here we are getting ready to see the commercial go live tomorrow.

There are actually two 30 second commercials. One shows numerous Baptist Health patients, each with their own amazing story. The second one is Ryan and it briefly explains what happened to him last July. Then, there is an almost 6 minute interview online that shares his entire story told by me and Ryan. The commercial is amazing. It so perfectly captures who Ryan is: a loving and dedicated husband and dad, as well as a lover of the outdoors.

The interview though? Even better than the commercial. I was not expecting to be that emotional over it. They so perfectly pieced together his story. It flowed seamlessly and I wasn't at all the blubbery mess of a wife that I expected to be portrayed as. I feel like people get a taste of who we are, what we believe, and that prayers carried us to where we are today.

I still sit back in amazement that this is part of our story. It is something that truly shaped me as the person that I am today. I live differently. I love differently. I pray differently.

By differently, I mean better.

Before Ryan got sick and nearly left this earth for good, I thought of myself as an average person in terms of my faith. I prayed daily and had what I thought was a good relationship with God.

I was so, so wrong. I don't want to be average.

At the mere mention of Ryan's ordeal, two things immediately flash into my mind. One, the power of prayer. Two, how loving and faithful my God is.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around the number of people who were praying for Ryan. I scrolled back through old Facebook messages today from July and August of 2014. I wish I could share them with you. People who didn't even know me or Ryan sending messages to me because God spoke to them and they listened. They reached out, encouraged me, and over and over again told me they were praying for Ryan, my kids, and me. I remember sweet friends crying out for prayers for me when I was the last one who felt worthy of prayers. I have never prayed so hard in my life as I did during those days.

As a simple reminder, even during the darkest of days, He is our light. He is everything good in this world and He loves us. I never once doubted His love for me or for Ryan who was so lifeless, but still hanging on.  I knew he would be faithful. I knew His will would be done. I always said, I would see Ryan walk out of those doors of Baptist or he would welcome me into heaven. God is good. I don't ever look back and wonder why we went through what we did. I've had people tell me they still wonder why Ryan is still here and why God sometimes chooses to keep others here but call someone else home. I don't know the answer to that. It's not my job to seek out that answer either. My job is to sing his praises and give all the glory to him. And I do. My goodness do I.

I am excited to share this last little bit of his story with you. In a different way. I guess, for the first time really, a little bit from Ryan's view. We have two completely different takeaways from him getting sick. I watched it happen. I watched it all unfold and I watched people circle around me and pray for him. I shed tears with so many people who just wanted to love on me. Who just wanted to grieve with me. Who were just as scared as I was, but who all believed the good Lord could heal his body. I pray that everyone has the foundation. That support. That you have someone who will cry with you, but most importantly pray with you and for you. I cannot stress enough how far prayer can take you. It literally  will carry you through the toughest of time and my goodness through the best of times.  I promise you, you need that in your life.

Ryan woke up thankful. Just thankful. That one word holds so much for our family. I'm not even sure it's possible for us to really grasp just how much, but just know it's a lot. So here's to sharing the last little bit of our story in a different way. We are putting a fun, final touch on it and those that prayed so faithfully for him, I feel like this is just as much your story as it is ours.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Page 64 vs 72

Page number 64. 

That's the page I'm sitting on. Not wanting to move forward, but certainly not wanting to move back. 

I've even married for 5.5 years this month. I've had good, bad, ugly, scary, joyful, and exciting moments during those years. 

I understand the peaks and valleys of a marriage. I understand that when it's good it's good and when it bad, it can be bad. 

Luckily, I've been blessed with more good than bad. But, that doesn't mean that the bad wasn't hard. That the bad wasn't something I'm constantly working on. 

You see, Ryan and I went to watch a movie yesterday. I knew little about it other than its title, who made it, and that it was about prayer. 

I sat in that theatre with tears trickling down my face because I was getting punched in the stomach. It was hitting home and making me uncomfortable. And sad. And desperate. And a hundred more emotions that had me wanting to weep. That had me wishing I had a pause button so I could look at Ryan and spill all the things on my heart. But I didn't have that pause button. 

Instead, I was given a free Sunday afternoon with my other half. A Sunday when our typical go to of Netflix, phones, and other gadgets which allowed us to truly check out were hindered. Gasp- our internet wasn't working. After fiddling with it and calling customer service it was determined we would have to wait until Monday for our beloved entertainment. (And as I type that I realize I need to update my book list.) I suggested we go see War Room so we got ready and headed out. It was on the drive over that we had time alone. Time to talk. Something that was long overdue. 

I think it's easy to get caught up in day to day life. I have expectations of Ryan and he has his own for me. It's not until we begin to take things for granted that  we start to see the negativity creeping in. 

My marriage is so precious to me. I would fight tooth and nail to keep it alive. Watching that movie struck a chord in me and I'm certain I wasn't alone. I sometimes look at myself and I often realize I'm not who I want to be. I'm a constant work in progress. Constantly trying to figure out how to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, sister, etc.
but sometimes I fall short. And, that's ok. Each day I get to make the choice to do something and lately I haven't been feeling like I'm putting forth the effort that I should. Do you know who suffers from that? My family. That was a wake up call that I needed. I want to do more and be more. 

Yesterday, I feel like Ryan shuffled over to page 64. (Or that I jumped over to page 72 where he was bookmarked.) We let go of negativity that had been clouding our day to day interactions. Our eyes were opened again that we are a united front. It is me and him against the world. Not me and him against each other. Today, I felt peace. I felt like things were back to where they needed to be. And you know, this isn't the first time this has happened. I'm thinking it won't be the last.  I've found my marriage is cyclical. Where the good far outweighs the "bad", but when that "bad" does slowly creep in it doesn't get too far. We make sure of that. Sometimes it takes a little longer than either of us care to admit, but the fact is we are a team. A team that God is certainly fighting for. And that? That's a good feeling. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just call me Suzie

I spend a lot of time at home. 

The end. 


I spend a lot of time at home. I work "part-part-time". (I just made that up and I think it's going to stick.) Really. 18 hours a week I put in away from my house trying to teach 2.5-3 year olds to say yes and no ma'am versus hey and to teach them cool things that they can share with their parents. My job is fun and it's rewarding. Plus, those kids are hilarious. 

But, back to being at home. A lot. 

Mondays and Wednesday are our days at home. I try and find us stuff to do to get out of the house but the reality is I can't keep us entertained for 8 hours each day. Nope can't even come close. 

I'm fairly certain Ryan thinks I do nothing. Like, nothing all day. He seriously envisions me sitting around all day, texting, Facebooking, watching Pretty Little Liars, or just nothing. That's so far from the truth. I do stuff all day long, there's just never any real proof of it. 

I do at least one load of laundry a day. (And here I am wishing Wyatt was still laundry obsessed. Homeboy kept me out of trouble.) I wash dishes but you can't tell 10 minutes after they're done. Want to know why? Snacks. Oh the snacks. I swear we go through so many snack bowls and cups. I mean I appreciate the fact that they put them in the sink when they're finished, but one day can't we just use the same snack bowl all day? So yah... The dishes never look done. And since we are being honest, sometimes the dishes don't get touched and you know why? It's because I have a 2.5 year old that is a complete and total path of destruction. Markers and coloring time? Sure. We do it every day. But the moment I am not hovering she's up from the table with markers in tow just looking. If she's not doing that she is certainly in the office climbing up the chair trying to get the Hungry, Hungry, Hippos game down which, of course, is a choking hazard and why I then have to go supervise  that. Never mind I haven't even put away all the markers and coloring books that now Wyatt thinks would be fun to color. But then, Wyatt hears us clanking around and decides it's  Candyland that he'd rather play and before I can get it down Claire's decided she is done and wants to pull out the shopping cart. And the toy stroller. And the beanie babies and take them to Walmart. All while I am trying to graciously let Wyatt win the game because today I don't feel like giving the "well you won't always win in life" speech again for the 213th time. Then, I hear Claire crying in the living room because all those couch cushions they got off and pretended were muddy puddles have now gotten in her way and she is ticked off because her and her baby cannot properly get to the store like they intended. Wyatt is right on cue running in demanding "the bear" be on tv when in fact, he is. 

It is now about 8:34 AM. 

This is how our day goes most days. And I love the chaos, but I also cringe because deep down I don't feel like I do anything.

It's one of the sensitive subjects in my marriage. And that's okay. 

I want to be Suzie Homemaker. I really do. I want a spotless house, but happy kids. I want to be the girl who says sorry about the mess, but there isn't a single thing out of place. I want to be the girl who has supper on the table at 5:30 sharp, but I also want to enjoy the few outside hours we get just the 4 of us. I want to be the girl who doesn't feel like I have a million other things to be doing when I choose to read The Three Little Pigs just one more time. 

It's a hard job being a part time stay at home mom. I rarely feel like I'm doing my job well, even though I clock in and bust my behind until I clock out when two little people are snoring. That's just try mom job. There's still my wife job. My job is hard. For me, it's hard. It's hard, but it's rewarding. Nothing... No dishes, not sticky floors, not cluttered tables or living areas will ever make me regret the moments I get to spend with my kiddos. They're only little for a little while and that's what I'm going to let them be...little. Am I alone? Good gracious other mommas please say no.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Making a little (big) decision today

This morning, me and the ole husband found ourselves in a situation. One I don't think we ever would have pictured for ourselves, but one that needed serious addressing. As we were getting dressed thoughts were swirling in my head. How do I mention this? How do I say it without sounding offensive? How do I say it without fear of judgement? Finally, I mustered up the courage to say, "well, are we trying out a different church today?" We had talked about this before, but we never acted on it. I think it was just always something sitting there on the shelf staring at us each week. Today, for a solid 20 minutes we both (probably me more) wrestled with where we would be parking our car this morning. 

Driving through Dardanelle, we still weren't sure. That's a very awkward feeling knowing you're going to church but still not certain where ... Especially when you have a home church. Then, I looked over and saw a church member and I told Ryan, "follow that black car. That's the church we are going to." I'm certain he thought I was crazy picking out a car and just hoping they went to church. But, I knew. I knew where we were headed. As we got closer and closer to the (new to us) church anxiety set it. I was nervous. I asked Ryan if he was nervous and he said yes. In that instance, I felt what so many people must feel when they are "new" to it. It was scary. Even though I am lover of Christ and comfortable with worship and sermons knowing I was walking into a church where I "didn't know anyone", how they preach, the order in which the did anything, so on and so forth it was almost paralyzing. Suddenly, my heart ached for those who want to belong, to feel welcomed, who want a home church where they can grow closer to God but are so afraid. Afraid of what others may think. What others may say. What others may think of them and whether their faith is strong. Silly things to most people within a church already, but my gosh feeling like the outsider today was tough. 

We walked up and immediately felt at ease. We didn't feel like outsiders, but people who belonged.

To spare details, we walked out of those doors with our cups filled. Actually, overflowing. We chatted the entire way to lunch and through it about church, the sermon, the people, nearly every little detail we talked about it. It was incredible. And, it's had me thinking all day about what just happened. How one little decision to follow a car and turn left instead of going straight could have our days looking a little different. I pray that we are lead where God wants us. I pray that we are quiet and listen. What I do know is today was an incredible day in so many ways and I'm yearning for more. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

That time we did a commercial

A couple weeks ago we welcomed a lot of people into our home. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't near as awkward as I assumed it was going to be. 

I was told the circus was coming to town. By circus, I thought 6-7 people. 


This was a tiny handful of them. 

Ryan and two friends were filming first at the lake. Y'all, the weather could not have been more perfect. It was cool, overcast, and a perfect setting for a "duck hunt".

Once they wrapped that up they headed to our house to get an idea of where the interview would take place inside our home. It was weird having more than a dozen people in the house going straight to work trying to get their game plan together. They were super nice though. After getting a feel for what would be taking place they said we would all be going to lunch together. Dardanelle doesn't have many places to eat. There is one Mexican restaurant that we use to frequent. So much so, it was the very last restaurant that we ate at the night that Ryan got sick. And, well, we hadn't returned. That was over a year ago. This, of course, is where the crew had decided beforehand to have lunch. It was comical, but we faced our fears!

It was entertaining because they were filming Ryan as we rode there. I think I sat in the back seat with permagrin because it was just comical to me that we were actually even doing this.
As soon as we arrived home from lunch that little "skeleton" crew quickly transformed to the full crew and there was 30 people buzzing around my house doing work. It was pretty cool to see how quickly they can get everything set up.

They moved stuff around to get the best "interview" shot. They also did makeup. My hair was actually on point that day thank goodness. It should be noted that I don't wear a lot of makeup ever. Eyebrow makeup scares the crap out of me, but I will compliment any and everyone's eyebrows that are worthy. (See: eyebrow envy) Well, girlfriend went to work on my eyebrows. And my face. And my eyes. And my lips. Oh my lips. I'm more of a pink, glossy type of girl. That's not what I walked away with. She said she was finished and handed me a mirror to check myself out because we had 2 minutes until we started. I gasped. It was an honest to goodness gasp, and I just told the girl I trusted her. Many times, I trust you. I sat down with Ryan and I could see the pure look of terror on his face. I was panicky and self conscious at this point because I didn't even have time to sneak to the bathroom and get a real look at myself. It wasn't until about 10 minutes into the interview that Ryan looked over and said that it wasn't bad. That he was used to it and that it looked fine...we.shall.see. But, then again, I trust her.
Yes, you best believe the first moment I got to sneak away and check myself out I did. And then I took a selfie.

Once they put the mics on us, did the little "action" thingy (you know what I'm talking about...they snap it and it's time to roll...yah, that.) I got nervous and wanted to cry. The interview was a lot harder than I expected it to be. It was emotional for sure, but I definitely expected that. Right off the bat she told me, "tell me about the night Ryan got sick." I immediately went into tears and she went straight to Ryan and said, "tell me about your kids." It is so hard putting into words how you feel to someone you don't know. Answering those questions was one of the most difficult things I've done. I guess because I wanted to portray the right emotions, but it was also the first time I was really talking about it and how I felt in front of Ryan. I almost lost my husband. My very best friend and the father to my two kids. You can't really put into words the hurt and pain that comes with knowing that when you tell someone you love them and they reply with a take care of our babies that that very well could have been the last time you will ever hear their voice. It was a tough couple of hours, but we made it through and I hope it comes out as well.
After the sitdown interview it was time for the fun part. The kiddos showed up, we checked makeup and Claire felt like fancy Nancy since she got her some lipgloss too. They were both little peaches and such good listeners! I was a proud momma!
Wyatt referred to the entire crew as "his people". He was in his element.
After we did some filming at the house, we all loaded up and headed to the Buffalo.
We were back to the skeleton crew and that's who we spent time with. We arrived in Gilbert, AR and ate dinner with them. Wyatt was enteraining.

After dinner we went to the cabins and prepared for the campfire scenes. They put in so much work, and I think they showed our family and our interests well.
We finished up close to 10 with the filming. It had been a long day and we still have stuff to do in the morning. We woke up early and did some more filming. Once we finished filming at the cabins we all went to the Buffalo.
We each followed each other and it was just a big caravan. It totally reminded me of Twister.
The Buffalo was perfect! We could not have gotten better weather either. The kids did so well in the canoe and we had so much fun just being on the water.
We wrapped up the filming and took a group photo. This was the skeleton crew I told you about.

They sent us some of the photos this weekend and they are beautiful! I look forward to sharing once the campaign starts. From the looks of it, I feel like they truly captured our family.

We got loaded up in the car and started the right home, when we both looked at each other and just knew we were exhausted. Ryan said, "Bunney, I could never make it in Hollywood." I died laughing because he was right. It was exhausting and we didn't really do that much. We are so happy that we got to share our story and look forward to October and sharing with others!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

4 year old cool

I've talked about 3 year old cool before, but that doesn't even touch 4 year old cool. 


Four is...four is like a little slice of pie on a cheat day. It's. That. Good. 

(Check back in approximately 365 days for 5 year old cool.)

Wyatt is becoming a full blown boy before my very eyes. Most days I catch myself doing the double take of this little person and how grown up he is. It's awesome. He now has a sense of who he is. His likes and dislikes. Shall we look at exhibit A?

Exhibit A: Here you will see a beanie, shades, athletic clothes, socks, and, against my better judgment, Crocs. Let's all just give a moment of silence for this. 
Okay, collected ourselves? Great. It's pure perfection in my eyes. Him deciding how he wants to dress. I mean I cannot argue with him saying the beanie is necessary because the sun is out. Never mind it is triple digits, the boy needs to rock it. And we rock it a lot. See exhibit B. 

Exhibit B: I fixed his hair in a faux hawk before we left the house. Out the door we went this week and on went the beanie. Kudos to Wyatt for nailing that look because I am fairly certain hipsters take hours to achieve it. My kid? All of 3 seconds. 

He thinks his daddy hung the moon. He came home from my parents with 4 tires in hand. They went everywhere with us and if you ask Wyatt what he is going to do when he gets bigger he will say sell tires or work at Beacon. It should also be noted he will also get to pour in the detergent like I do, go into the attic, and paint cabinets.
He thinks wrestling is a mandatory event. Body slamming a must. I catch him wanting to wrestle all. day. long. And if Ryan walked through the door and is not body slamming him on our bed there are tears. Lots of them. 

That's the beauty of four. They're still such babies. Some days are hard for him. Some days he just can't  communicate what is frustrating him and so the best fix for that is alone time with him. See exhibit C. 

Exhibit C: My attempt to diffuse the situation and remind Wyatt that I am actually cool and not the mean mom who always says no. 

I love the way he treats his sister. The way he is protective, loving, concerned, and a straight up turd to her. Their little relationship brings me to tears sometime. It's just the days that are really hard. I kid, I kid. Kind of. The don't completely realize it yet, but their love for one another runs so deep even at 4 and 2. They miss each other when they're separated  and don't even know it. 

Wyatt starts his last year at TLC in a couple of weeks. I'm so sad, but so excited. I am so lucky to get to stay home with them and then be down the hall a few days a week at school. I cannot wait to see the adventures that are ahead of us this next year! What I am certain of, is there are so many laughs that will be had. Let's face it...the apple didn't fall far in the funny department. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First second birthday

Ryan was traveling a lot. Leaving out on Monday only to return each Friday. It had become our norm for 4 weeks. This Monday, he stuck around to see me through a very nerve wrecking doctor's appointment. After scans and a good report from the radiologist I felt like I could breathe again. I went on a trail run that evening and was slow. So slow, in fact, I was the last one to finish and I didn't even care. I craved that alone time. That feeling of being free, marveling in the fact that things were okay within me, and the fact that I could move on from something that had me hung up for 10 days waiting for that appointment. 

Ryan set out the following morning for Oklahoma once again. To make things easier for Wyatt, who at the time was 3, Ryan would send videos each morning and evening. Telling us good morning and good evening each time. Telling him to be the man of the house and to take care of his girls. Looking back, I am so thankful for those videos and I think it was one of those little things I needed later on. 

The Friday before, Ryan was supposed to call me when he was in the driveway so I could record Wyatt and Claire when he walked through the door. They FLIPPED each time he came home since they had been missing him something fierce. Each time we forgot. And I grumbled like I always do, but vowed next week I would get it on video. 

This Friday, though, I got it. Ryan remembered to call me and let me start recording the kids and I am even more thankful for that video. I shared it while he was in the hospital and I may share it again soon. It shows how much life Ryan had in him just 8 hours before he became so sick. 

The kids get my phone and I often hear the video playing and it tugs at my heart. I remember sitting in the hospital replaying that video over and over just amazed at where we were. How Ryan was so full of life then, but in a blink of an eye he was so sick. I never asked God why we were going through this. I just trusted him. I trusted that there would be better days ahead. And you know what? There have been.

This week will be emotional for me because all I can think about is everything that led up to the moment and the time we were in the hospital. We got a little date night last night and all we did during dinner was talk about that hospital stay. 

Some things are burned into your memory for me it's following the ambulance, the waiting room, seeing the doctors for the first time, seeing Ryan awake for the last time over a painful 10 days, the fear in his eyes, the bathroom where I swore I wouldn't be able to catch my breath, the moment I exclaimed I couldn't raise those babies by myself, the feeling of being lost because my other half wasn't there to tell me it would all be okay, the feeling of helplessness waiting, the moment the Chaplain walked in and prayed with us, the moment I suddenly knew we had a fight ahead of us and the moment when the only thing I knew we needed was prayers.

People still to this day amaze me. Begging and pleading for God to heal Ryan. Getting down on their knees crying out for a miracle to happen. I am overcome with emotions thinking of all those people reaching out to me that morning. Word spread quickly about Ryan. By mid afternoon there were so many people and by that evening I don't think I could count the number of people there or who had dropped by. In retrospect, it's weird to look back and know that all those people were there to offer support for us. To think they would never see Ryan again. To hold our hands, to give us hugs, to bow our heads and pray together. I remember people telling me they would walk into the hospital, get a look from the front desk, and as soon as they heard "Ryan" they pointed toward the waiting room with a twinge of annoyance. Their words not mine. That waiting room was what I needed. My people. Our people. People who kept my mind occupied while what was happening with Ryan was completely out of my control. 

There is just so much to say, so much to share, so much to be thankful for. I still thank God for healing Ryan. Even when I see his gnarly little toes and the small limp he has walking across the room I marvel in the fact that he is here. His first second birthday is almost here. And what else would we do but celebrate! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

My fever is high

Here we are just cruising through life living with a 4 and 2.5 year old when life seems fulfilled. When I don't even see the phantom baby in our family pictures. When I have wiped my house clean of anything the resembles that a baby was once a thing in our house. No high chairs, no cribs, no pacis. Just two little, okay one, self sufficent kid and one who is on the brink of getting the potty training thing down. Then? Then we have actual kids and not babies. And that? That seems like we should have a party. 

However, my uterus thinks otherwise. It hit out nowhere really. Ok, to be honest it hit at TLC when a fresh baby boy was sitting in my arms reminding of how tiny they are. It hit again next to the onions in the grocery store when I held a month old baby girl. The simple reminder of how quickly they grow into toddlers and then kids and then teenagers. Yikes. I held that baby quickly realizing that we had decided to shut the baby factory down. To throw up the closed sign and never look back. It didn't take much, living with the other female in this house. Her name is Claire, but on those rare occasions we see Blaire. And Blaire ain't pretty. If you're fortunate enough to spend time with Blaire you pretty much understand our decision to let her be the baby in the family and to not pursue one more pregnancy. 

It's hard deciding when to be done having babies. When to forever turn off the oven and never look back. How do you moms decide? Do you still see the phantom baby that plagued me forever? Do you just have a set number that you've agreed on and that's it? No more, no less. Do you leave it up to fate? 

I can't even handle the videos of Wyatt and Claire as babies. Their little selves crawling and pulling up. Rocking them to sleep. Feeding them and burping them. Swaddling them. I've got baby fever and it's high. I need a baby. I think. I know a sweet baby girl coming in September and I cannot wait to hold her and tell her mom to go take a nap while I just marvel is the sweet deliciousness that is a newborn baby. 

Someone send help. Ryan's going to want to kick me out of the house if I start the baby chatter up or I keep crying telling him to watch just one more video of the kids when they were younger. 

But for real, y'all...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

When all is quiet

It's in those quiet moments, late in the night that get to me most. When the kids are tucked in and he's sound asleep next to one of them that I go tap him on the shoulder and ask if he wants to come to bed. It's the times when all I want to know is if he's safe. If he's okay. If he feels fine. It's when he's gone away for a night or two on a business trip and I end up at my parent's house because I have a need. A need I've semi-masked behind just enjoying an extra sets a hands to help with baths. It's both a need and a fear. A need of having him with me and a fear of being without him. 

I love him more than I realize. Even through the days that I can't stand him, I always want him near me. To know that he's okay. And I'm not that type of person. Not needy. (Ryan's reading this and calling BS). This wasn't an issue before he got sick. In fact, he was spending weeks away from home for work prior to the hospital stay and it was nothing. Harder for me? Yes. I was a single mom during the week and only occasionally did I end up at my parents. Mostly when I had reached the end of my rope with the kids and I needed the break. It worked for us and I knew it was temporary. 

Since then, I hate being by myself at night when Ryan's away. I become short tempered, stressed, and agitated quickly because wondering how he is doing sits in the back of my head constantly. I have no desire to fall asleep. I busy myself with reading, laundry, or Netflix. Actually, this is what I'm doing currently. Trying to be "okay" since I decided to wear my big girl panties and stay at home. With the kids. Without Ryan. And this is what's happened...I've ended up blogging about it. 

I still cry at a moments notice. I still hurt when I think of him and that he's still here. When people ask me, even as we inch toward the one year mark, how he's doing I think I still get awkward in saying he's doing great. It's because I don't want to get all blubbery. It happens and all it results in is my eyes burning from mascara and people probably wishing they hadn't mentioned it. 

Like I said, the one year mark is so close. Even talking to my mom today about it seems impossible. It still seems like a lifetime ago, but like yesterday. He still has a hard time believing it happened and I still occasionally have a hard time remembering that he is fine. And here. With me. Except when he isn't.

I'm trying to have a good relationship with July. Mentally, I have to get there. Right now? Right now I see it as a gloomy cloud hovering between June and August. It will come each year and each year I have to make the choice to be happy. To be thankful. To remember all the good that came out of July. To forget the ugly. To forget that summer night when things went from a dream to a nightmare. To rememeber the good. To remember God's love he so graciously covered us with. To remember that Bunney is here to make me laugh, make me smile, and make me want to punch him in the face at least twice a day. 
Here's to staying strong and confident when those babies and Ryan need me most. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jack n Back Half Marathon

Well we did it again. We paid money to run with strangers. I only say that because this is the first race that we didn't know anyone. It was a rare occurance! 

Special things happened during this race. I sported my first fanny pack and it's total convenience over fashion. I guess next I'll be needing to get a camelback.

Either way, it worked our beautifully carrying my Rehydrate!

The half was by far the toughest. It's 3.5 miles up a mountain, 3 miles down, turn around and go back the way you came. 

Honestly, I wasn't feeling it at all. That's possibly why Emma and I parted at mile 3 or so. That, and she was wearing her special rocket shoes today- read: her pretty new Brooks. 

I didn't mind though. It was a gorgeous day. I mean seriously the weather could not have been any more perfect-overcast, breezy, in the 60s. This is my ideal running weather. I just plugged along wondering all the time why I do this to myself. 

I prayed a lot during miles 4-5. I remember because it was an easy downhill run. And a lady came running out of the bushes while her friend waited. We all knew what she was doing. 

I prayed for those who immediately pop into my head. Those I remember asking for prayer requests, those I pray for daily, and prayers for myself. 

Then, about mile 6 I remembered a wonderful little thing called Pandora and turned that on. Nothing like some Tom Petty, Lil Jon, Eric Church, and Blink-182 to remind you that you actually do enjoy a little time just you, the outdoors, and some music. 

The course is beautiful. Up and down, up and down with a rolling creek running alongside you. Let me just say now that I love Arkansas. 

Headed up...
Headed down...

Ahhh, beautiful weather!!

And please note the time here:
The race started at 8 on the dot. Thanks for the words of encouragement Bunney!

Like I said, the course was challenging. There were a few flat stretches but for the most part just climbs. It's in the middle of nowhere too with few runners. 

I recommend it to anyone who wants a challenging 13.1 to check off. I think we will do it next year. Emma placed first in her age group! I placed last. There were 4 in mine and even less on Emma's. See, few runners. 

Nonetheless, we earned our bling and are now on the prowl for our next one. 

Sweet number 5, I'm coming for you!
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