Friday, February 20, 2015

A Rainbow is Coming

You guys. We have a rainbow coming. It is not here yet; it's still just a glimmer in the distance. But each week it is gradually coming closer, becoming clearer and more vibrant. With its presence comes hope. 

I am pregnant. 

We have known for several months and have been very guarded with sharing the news, although now it is impossible to hide. While we are so thrilled, we do not go into this pregnancy naive. We know things can go wrong, which makes the excitement seem overshadowed by concern. Yes, I am happy to be pregnant, but I can't seem to celebrate until I have a crying, wiggling baby in my arms. 

I have been hesitant how to announce this pregnancy for several reasons. First, my longing for Olivia is in no way affected by this baby. I would be devastated for people to think anything could replace our sweet girl. I would give anything to have her here, being the amazing big sister I know she would be. I suppose I have an irrational fear that once people know I'm pregnant, Olivia will be forgotten. And that is the worst possible thing in the world.
Secondly, since losing Olivia I have been honored to meet some wonderful mommies who share my pain. Who understand the devastating loss of a child. And who also know the bittersweet jealously of pregnancy announcements and "welcome baby" updates. While we would never want anyone to experience our pain, it is hard to scroll through Facebook seeing whole families, wondering why that couldn't be us as well. So, to you mommies, I love you. I think of you every day. And my heart continues to hurt with you. 

Like any pregnancy, you may have some questions. So here are the basics:
- The baby is due June 13th. That makes me 24 weeks tomorrow.
-We've had several ultrasounds which confirm it is a healthy baby boy.
-We aren't announcing a name until Little Man gets here, not that we have decided on anything though. 

We are over the moon in love with him. At every ultrasound he has been a squirmy, goofy dude who has crazy long fingers and toes like his daddy and big sister. My heart aches to meet him and introduce him to you. 

 Thank you for following along and loving our little family.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

One Year

One year.  Typing those words is strange. Because it doesn't feel like a year. It feels like an eternity. It feels like yesterday.

I was scared of today. Scared of what would await me. Scared of what I would feel. Anxiety and worry have been my companion leading up to today, filling my thoughts and words. But when I woke up, I was surprised they were gone. Missing. And replaced with peace and comfort.

Don't get me wrong. I've cried countless tears today, but I do that regularly. I missed Olivia deeply today, but that is nothing new. I hurt so strongly I can't put it into words, but that is my new normal. But instead of feeling what I expected to feel- hopelessness, anxiety, worry, fear- I feel love, peace, and longing.

Time and time again He continues to be present. In my darkest days and in my saddest thoughts He is there bringing hope and comfort. And time and time again I am surprised. I know He says He will be there, but I can never imagine how that will make it any better. But it does. Every time. Every stinking time.

God's peace and comfort are so good, I just wish I didn't know it so well.

His presence doesn't change my situation. We still don't have Olivia in our arms. But I don't grieve without hope. This isn't the end; this world is not our home. Olivia went ahead without me. I just wish she wouldn't have.

And now I want to say thank you, to you. You know who you are; there are so many of you. You continue to take time to remember and you let us know how much you love us and our sweet girl. Texts, calls, messages, cards, gifts, prayers, words- I can't express how much each one means to me. You are encouraging during times of sorrow. You show me God's love when I question everything. You remind me of the goodness and hope that exist. You wrap your arms around my sad little family and tell me you hurt with us. I will never be able to repay what your actions have given us. When we get to heaven, I can't wait to introduce Olivia to all the people who continue to walk with us through this journey. Because you guys, heaven is so very real; I've never been more sure of it. And I can't wait to see you there. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ever Changing Grief

The one year mark of losing Olivia has been lingering in the corner for months. Nodding at me. Shifting its weight. Clearing its throat. Letting me get comfortable with its presence but then making sure I always know it's there. Like an unwanted visitor. A dull ache deep down. 

For what seems like forever, time has been measured by February 5, 2014. That is when the clock started- day zero. How many hours since that day. Weeks. Months.

But lately I feel that my clock is counting down. How many months, weeks, days, hours until February 5, 2015. And I dread every ticking second. 

I don't want this day to get here. 
I don't want it to be a whole year since I held her. 
I don't want the distance of time to grow between us. 

I'm not sure what I expected 1 year to look like. More put together? More of a mess? To be truthful, some days are good. I can think of our sweet daughter and smile. Imagine her snuggling with Jesus and laughing at our silly dogs. But then I have days which I can barely get out of bed, cry on my way to work, and plead for answers. Those bad days seem to grow as this anniversary date is drawing near. 

Grief is funny like that. It is ever growing, ever changing. And it is always keeping me on my toes, whether I like it or not.

I'm scared of what time will look like on the other side of 1 year. Will people still know I miss her so much it literally hurts? That I would still give my last breath to hold her one more time? That any time a baby is mentioned my stomach clinches and I wish Olivia was here to brag about.

But I don't want to write about my pain without giving acknowledgement to the amazing amount of grace God has shown me. I want to scream at the top of my lungs how much I still hurt, but in the same breath I have to say how good God is. How I have never felt God's presence more than in the past year. How I yearn for others to know him like I do. And how I can't imagine how I could have survived this year without faith and hope in his promises. 

So I ask that you pray for me as these days continue to tick by. Please pray for comfort, peace and an overwhelming since of hope that can only come from above. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


It has been almost four months since I have posted a blog update. I'm not sure why I've kept silent for so long, but I feel the need to reconnect with you again. To let you know that I'm still chugging away at life, finding joy in the nook and crannies.

I guess over the past few months God has quieted my words and protected my heart. It is hard putting your grief and struggles out there for the world to see. I'm scared that I might not explain myself accurately and people may get the wrong impression of what I'm feeling/thinking/hoping.

Living life with grief is a funny thing. It is ugly. It is redeeming. It is raw. It is overwhelming. And it became too much to share. I couldn't, and still can't, distinguish where I end and my grief begins.

So, I guess this is just me saying hi. Hopefully, it won't be so long next time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wherever the River Runs: Review and Giveaway

It is an unusually cold and rainy September day, as I stand at the sink washing dishes. I turn the facet from cold to hot with a turn of the wrist, easily pouring warm water over my hands, sponge, and dirty pots. I look outside the window, seeing kids pedal their bikes past my fence sending my dogs into a barking hysteria.

I see a neighbor drive by, pull into their drive, and close their garage door before they even turn off their car. I wonder where they came from. I wonder if they had a difficult day. Then God nudges my heart.

Do I know my neighbor's needs? If I answer truthfully, no. I can't even tell you their names. I justify my disinterest by reminding myself we don't live here permanently. I brush off the desire convincing myself how awkward meeting strangers is. But a voice deep within speaks confidently. Nudges gently. Tells me to go.

God has told me to love. To open my heart, home, and life. Not under the conditions of convenience or recognition. Not so I can stamp another box in my passport as I visit dark countries. Not so I can check off my good-doer list.

But so that I can love. Like He loves me. So that I can share life, hope, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. 

I blame Kelly Minter. I blame her beautiful words, her witty humor, and her obedience to travel to the depths of the Amazon, and to then write a book about it. I can't un-read, what I have read. I can't un-know what God has revealed to me.

Wherever the River Runs is Kelly's story of how God lead her to the Amazon, to tribes of forgotten people, and opened her eye's to God's heart. It is a story of seeking. And finding.
"I wasn't sure in what ways my life would change, but my 'normal' life - my American one with the catalogs and dreams, the bills and closet full of clothes - could no longer remain the same... I'd soon realize I wouldn't have to reside in the Amazon to live amid a river of people whose burdens needed carrying. I needed only to look around me."
You guys, I can't recommend this book enough. Kelly is such a beautiful and amazing writer, and her heart is even better. Her words so capture this remote and forgotten land that you feel you are right beside her, swinging on a hammock, looking at the stars, and dreaming God size dreams.

And luckily, I have 1 book to giveaway courtesy of Family Christian (US only).

You can enter to win by:
*Commenting on this post, telling me how much you really want to win. 

*Share this giveaway on Facebook and/or retweet on Twitter.

*For additional entries you may follow Family Christian on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr. Leave a comment on this post for each link you follow. 

A random comment will be selected Wednesday, October 1 at 8:00pm. I will contact you via email.

You guys. Seriously. Get this book. Like, now.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Family Christian. I wasn't compensated in anyway, except for receiving Minter's book to review. All opinions are my own, of course. 

Giveaway closed.

The winner is: Dede
Congrats! Please contact me with your information. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lend Me Your Hope

Sometimes I don't know what to say. I don't know how to express what I thinking, feeling, and needing. I know you feel the same. What do you say to someone like me? What do you say to someone who has lost. Someone who has deep, unspeakable pain.

This anonymous author explains my needs so well.

Lend Me Your Hope

Lend me your hope for a while,
I seem to have mislaid mine.
Lost and hopeless feelings accompany me daily,
pain and confusion are my companions.
I know not where to turn.

Looking ahead to future times
does not bring forth images of renewed hope.

I see troubled times,
pain-filled days,
and more tragedy.
Lend me your hope for a while,
I seem to have mislaid mine.

Hold my hand and hug me;
listen to all my ramblings,
recovery seems so far distant.
The road to healing
seems like a long and lonely one.
Lend me your hope for a while,
I seem to have mislaid mine.

Stand by me,
offer me your presence,
your heart and your love.
Acknowledge my pain,
it is so real and ever present.
I am overwhelmed
with sad and conflicting thoughts.

Lend me your hope for a while.
A time will come when I will heal,
and I will share my renewal,
hope and love with others

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stitch Fix: My September Box

This week I received the best package at my doorstep- my September Stitch Fix. I cancelled my box for August, so I was starting to go through withdraws.  
(Ps. You can cancel, adjust, and move around your delivery dates, free of charge. No hassle friends. Amen.)

I polled the internet on what I should keep and it was really fun reading everyone's opinions. Luckily no one said, "Ugh. You look terrible in everything. Send it all back." Everyone was so sweet and encouraging, making me feel like I actually picked these things out on my own. Here are the final standings:
1. Knit Cardigan 
2. Polka Dot Dress 
3. Sheer Kimono 
4. Blue Tank
5. Jeans

I weighed each comment heavily and after a deep mental turmoil finally made my decision. The dangerous thing about this service is that it is so hard to send back items you actually like; but I forced myself to keep only the things I really really wanted. 

1. Skies are Blue Knit Cardigan $48
Guys, I really liked this cardigan. The color isn't as annoying as the picture shows and the thickness will be perfect for fall. However, I already have so many things like this so it just wasn't worth it. I could easily keep this and wear it weekly, but I'm trying to step outside my solid-color-wearing box. So, while this was a fan favorite, and rightly so, I didn't keep it. Send back.

2. Pixley Polka Dot Dress $68
Adorable. Comfy. Soft. Good quality. All the things I look for in a cute little dress. And if Arkansas was experiencing typical weather, I would probably keep this. But alas, the weekend this box arrived it was cold and rainy... and there was no way I could imagine wearing this little number, layers or not. I just can't justify spending $68 on a dress that I won't wear until next spring. Send back.

3. Papermoon Sheer Cardigan $38
Now this is what I'm talking about. This kimono has a fun, colorful pattern that can work for fall or spring. I have absolutely nothing like it and the price is just right. Everyone who chose this top wins. The prize is bragging rights. This was an easy decision for me. Keep.

4. Papermoon Cross-Back Tank $38
You guys didn't get to see the back detail, but I loved this tank. The length was perfect, I loved the color blocking style, and the price was good. But again, I couldn't justify buying such a summery top when the weather is getting cooler. Cardigan...layers...blah blah. I know. But it just wasn't worth it. Send back. 

5. Cut From the Kloth Sonja Straight Leg Jean $78
It has been so hard from me to find jeans over the past few months. My pre-pregnancy jeans are fitting again, but my body isn't the same shape as it use to be. Hence, I've hated shopping for pants. So when I saw this pair of jeans my stomach dropped. However I sucked it up, literally, and slipped these babies on. And I loved them. Like, seriously, I reeeeally liked them. But they were about a size too big, which was a nice surprise and a good problem to have. I tried to persuade myself to keep them but I could slide them off without unbuttoning them; not exactly reliable coverage. Sad day. I plan to adjust my pant sizes on my profile in hopes of receiving better fitting jeans next time. Send back.

And that's a wrap. I'm surprised how much I liked every item. While I didn't keep everything, I really wanted to and it just goes to show how great this service really is. The person who invented this is a genius...I want to be their best friend.

 Did you like the kimono? Don't you love trying on pants to realize they are a size too big? Is the weather strangely cold where you are too?

Please use my referral link if you want to get your own Stitch Fix. It will give me $25 to put toward my next box and you will get a fun and personalized box at your front door. And let me know what you get in your box too!