Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Let go and let God"

"Let go and let God." How many times have you heard this? I have heard this a thousand times, and I have probably said it just as many times.  At times this seems like the obvious answer. Other times it seems ridiculous, because surly we can fix whatever it is we are facing. I have heard this before and thought "Really? That's your advice?"
Standing on the outside looking in, it is the best advice. But I am beginning to believe there is a better way of communicating this with people. You have to leave your problems, heartaches, fears, worries, and frustrations at the Lord's feet and allow Him to take them. You cannot ask for them back if you want peace. But how often do we actually do that? I can say that for me, taking it to God isn't the difficult part. Its the leaving it there that seems to be hard for me.
Apparently I think that I have a better idea that He does with how to handle something or fix it. So, I walk back to Him, kindly smile and take back my issue. How stupid! Clearly I am not equipped to handle it on my own, clearly. He would not tell me to bring it to Him if He knew I had the sufficient knowledge and wisdom to go at it alone. No. He has asked me to trust Him.
Do I trust Him? Do I truly, with all of my being, trust God with my entire life? With my family? My kids? My husband? Everything?
Not always. My trust in Him seems to be a wave. Of course I trust Him for my salvation. That He loves me unconditionally. That He is the Almighty. The Messiah. But the smaller stuff...our finances, a job, my kids, my family, my relationships...I got that stuff covered.
He has it covered. With His blood He has covered it all! I have zero prerequisites proving that I am capable at any level for dealing with or fixing any issues in my life. Or anyone else's life for that matter. I am simply here for His glory. That is all. I am not a "fixer." I am not all knowing. I have no idea what I am doing more than half of the time in my life. But He knows. His plan will unfold if I will just get out of the way.
Psalm 37:5 "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." There it is. He will act. Just as He has before. When He was the only obvious answer. When my certainty in Him could not be shaken.
Lord, take me back there. Take me to the place where I am completely doused in You. Where You are all that matters. You are all I see. In everything that is happening, that I am going through, that I don't understand, make it plain to my heart that You are the only thing that needs to matter or make sense. Give me peace and comfort, wrap Your arms around me so that I am feeling only love and assurance. Keep me focused on You and Your will. Urge me to follow You and Your word. Thank you for always being present. Thank you for the peace you promise. Thank you for your faithfulness to me even when I am not faithful to you. Lord, please take all the stuff. All the things I cant fix. All the things that are uncertain. Help me to leave them with You and to just watch as You work. Use me in whatever way you see fit. Lord, I am nothing without You. So, consume me. Let Yourself be seen in me and nothing else. Amen.
Psalm 143:10 "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Babies Don't Keep

Size newborn clothes, bibs, cribs, onsies, bottles, pacifiers, baby food, burp cloths, and a million tiny socks. All signs you are in the "baby phase." I have been in the "baby phase" for 6 1/2 years now. A long time to do anything, actually. But in this stage of life it doesn't seem that long.
We started to trying to get pregnant earlier than planned. We had discussed starting our family around the age of 25. Well, we discovered I had endometriosis and didn't know how long, if ever, it would take to get pregnant. So we tried early. Well, the surgery I had must've been effective because I became pregnant 1 month after trying!
I had Leah in December of 2006. I was 22 years old and thought I had all of this "being a mom" stuff figured out. Of course, as soon as she entered the world, I quickly realized I had been quite mistaken. She was beautiful. I was in awe of her. Eric was in love. We had just begun our family. Leah was a fairly easy going baby. She had her bouts of crying, dare I say, screaming. We were blessed with sleep early on. And she could sleep ANYWHERE. Seriously. She would sleep anywhere we went, if she was tired, she would simply go to sleep. Awesome right?!
Leah Michelle
In December of 2008 I discovered I was pregnant yet again. I woke up after Eric had left for work and something I sat up and immediately thought "I am pregnant." For some random reason (we weren't trying to get pregnant) I had a pregnancy test on hand. Sure enough, the test was positive! And instead of taking 3 more tests like I did with Leah, I was satisfied with the one test result. This was a complete shock seeing I was on the pill. But of course, its not 100% coverage. We found out we were having a boy and Eric was elated! On to choosing a name we went. In September of 2009 I gave birth to Jackson. My 9lb. 6oz. bouncing baby boy.
Jackson Richard
I was now a mother of 2. I was terrified. The first couple weeks I was home alone with them, I cried. Everyday I cried. I had no idea what I was doing! I knew what to do with one, but two?! So, as we finally got into the swing of a routine, it got easier. We all adjusted. However, Jackson was not so pleasant at night like Leah was. He was a screamer. And once you got him to calm down, he would stay awake for hours. He, apparently, didn't get the memo about "sleeping when its dark outside."
So here we are, a family of 4. One girl. One boy. Any number of people's wish for their family. And at this point, that was our wish. We could manage very well with 2. It wasn't too hard to find a baby sitter. We could play man to man defense. I had an arm and hand for each child. We've got this. But of course, I have to say to Eric that I would like to try for one more. Just to see what happens. And of course, he says "sure!"
We didn't tell anyone we were trying. And I mean no one. Which is unusual for us. We are very open about this stuff. But, we didn't know what would happen or when, and we wanted it to be a big surprise, even for us. In November of 2010 we found out we were, in fact, pregnant again. We were shocked because it sort of snuck up on us. We hadn't been doing any ovulation tests, watching ovulation, pregnancy tests to see if I was yet, nothing. And one day, I had the feeling again. Took a test and it was positive! Of course we couldn't wait and told our family right away. We were still in shock but so excited. We decided not to find out the gender this time. We already had a boy and a girl and found out with them, so we wanted to find out at delivery. I loved that we didn't know the gender, it was very exciting! Although choosing names became more difficult than it had before. We had to choose 2! In August of 2011 I gave birth to an 8lb. 6oz. baby GIRL!!!! Names were up in there air a bit, but we landed on our original choice. Lucy.
Lucy Joyce
Now, we have 3 beautiful children. All of them healthy and vibrant. I no longer have a hand for them all, but we seem to manage just fine. Leah is going to be 7 at the end of this year. I cannot believe that! Time just flies too fast when your having babies.
And now we are entering uncharted territory. For us anyway. We are all done growing our family. No more babies in our house. And that makes me sad. Not because I want to have 12 kids. But because that phase of newness is over for us. The newborn smell. The quiet coos at night. The napping baby on your chest. All of the major "firsts" of sitting up, crawling, walking, first words, first tooth! It makes me scared too. My baby will be turning 2 next month. 2. We are in toddler hood and beyond now. Anything past 6 years old is terrifying to me. I don't know anything about 7 years old. 12 years old. 16 years old. Nonetheless, it is time to embrace the new stage we are in. Not just having babies. Not just growing our family. But raising them. What an honor. What a blessing. What scary roads ahead.
My three loves. My three babes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are you there summer?

Leah's last day of school was June 7. It was only a half day and she was so excited for "Fun Friday" that I don't think she realized it was her last day of Kindergarten. She had an amazing teacher with wonderful classmates. We knew she had grown this year but until I took this photo we didn't realize how much!
                     First day of Kindergarten.                                      Last day of Kindergarten.
What a change! Our beautiful girl is growing far too fast!
Leah brought home all of her school work and art work on her last day. It was so fun looking through all of her stuff. This is a page from Leah's Kindergarten journal. Almost made me cry! I love this girl! She is such a blessing, such a joy, such a gift.

So finally we are into the summer! Some seasons we have been having...April showers seemed to bring May showers also...and maybe snow and frost as well. But it is finally June and we are seeing the 80's on the thermostats! My kiddos have great imaginations, so playing inside can get fun and interesting. But we have been waiting. Impatiently. For continued sunshine and warmth. And it is finally here! So, we have been taking advantage of the outdoors!

We are so lucky to have friends with pools! The kids are much more confident this year. It only took Leah a few minutes to venture away from the ladder! And, of course, Jackson is the fearless boy he usually is. He just jumps right in! Lucy took a bit to warm up to the pool, but after about 15 minutes was splashing and giggling.
These girls melt my heart! Such a sweet moment between sisters. Leah is such a mommy to her sister, it's adorable!
To the beach we go! We stayed and played for over 3 hours and the kids never stopped! They had such a blast! We are very lucky to be only 5 minutes from the beach. Lucy loved to dig in the sand and splash her brother and sister :)
So we are off to soak up the summer sunshine with these babes! Since we only have a little bit of time before school begins again. And this time we will be sending Leah to 1st grade and Jackson to preschool...what will I do with only one child at home with me?!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This week I was thinking of my blog and how it has been months since I wrote anything. So today I logged in and let me just say, I composed a draft in January...4 months ago. Wow. Did you catch that though? I wrote a "draft" which means I never published it. So of course I had to read what I wrote and failed to publish, this is what it said;

"I'd like to start out by saying this last year has been quite a ride. Many ups and downs, many obstacles to face, and many hours praying and purely trusting the Lord with all of our needs. I can honestly say that I have never, in all of my 28 years, experienced God the way that I have this year.

We moved our family across the state for a better job opportunity. Eric lost his job unexpectedly. We went through 5 months of unemployment, which was very trying. After countless interviews and what seemed like millions of applications, he finally was offered a job and accepted. We moved into our own place after staying with family for 6 months. Unbelievably gracious of them! Things just seemed to be falling into place. We were lead to a different church, where I began coordinating worship services, which I love because I love all things music. We have been guided every step of the way through the Spirit. Every move/decision we have made has been brought before God and prayed on. It seems to be so much easier to allow Him to make your decision for you in the beginning rather than deciding on your own and having to circle back to God for the right answer.

God has provided for us at every turn. I am not exaggerating when I say this. He has blessed us by meeting every single need we have had. Of course, this shouldn't surprise me, as His word says He will meet our needs. Our bills are paid, we have food in our cupboards, we have heat and water and our family has not been hit too severely with illness. For these seemingly simple things I am extremely grateful."

Four months later, we are in the same house, a different job, and still in God's hands. We are still relying on Him to meet our needs (not necessarily our wants) and He is continuing to be faithful in that. Eric was offered a different job and began working there in February. He loves his job. Loves it. How many people do you know personally that can say that? I don't know many! I have never in our 8 1/2 years of marriage seen him so happy and satisfied by his work. That's a HUGE deal! He has also become a youth leader at church and began a discipleship program with our pastor. This husband of mine is hungry and seeking God daily!

Leah is about to finish her year of Kindergarten, which I cannot believe is happening. Jackson will be starting preschool next fall, which has snuck up on me completely. And my little Lucy Goose, she will be turning 2 years old in 3 short months. It seems to be that while we were in the midst of trial, struggle, and complete surrender, life still moved on. Our family still has grown and seen new steps. We have seen progress in our time of drought. Progress. How amazing.

And as for me. I am still coordinating music, just finished an awesome study on the life of David, and have to die to my flesh daily and remember that my timing and desires are not always right. I can wait impatiently and be miserable, or I can wait in complete surrender and live right now, with God has given me right now. Because right now, what I have, where I am, this is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be. God is still meeting our needs. He is proving Himself faithful time and time again. He has made Himself obviously present. What more could we want?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Truth About Men (and Women)

I am not one to discuss politics with people. I still believe that my opinion is just that, and I would rather not have heated discussions with friends and family. So, breathe easy because I am not going to talk about the election or any of that.

Today I want to talk about men and women. I guess I should make sure that you know that I am a believer in Christ and His holy word. Having said that, I am so disappointed and saddened at the view when I am looking at men and women these days. Society has so much influence on us, whether we think so or not. It has changed the view of what a man should be and look like. The same with women. I'll begin with men.

Men, do you know what your role is, as a man? God has designed men and called them to be leaders. To provide, protect, care for, and LEAD their families. If you do not have a family, you still have these qualities, even if they are buried deep down. How? Why? because God has embedded them into you. Society likes to mock men, call them stupid. Make them look like the lesser species. This is ridiculous. Men were made to be physically stronger. Look at their larger frames, their bigger, more callused hands, the roughness in their voices. We want to know why so many men are relying on women to handle business. Its because that is what we are grooming them into! Yes, women are strong and can handle their business, and I will get to that. But men, where has your pride gone? That pride that drove you to work hard every day to bring home even the smallest paycheck to feed your family? Where has the pride gone where you take great care of what you have so that it lasts a long time? Where has your pride gone to that allows your family to feel protected? There was a time, for example the great depression, when men had to go and ask for help. Those men beat themselves up about that. Why? Because their pride was bruised, because they were unable to provide for their families.  As a society these days we are telling men that we don't need them. they are disposable. absolutely not! God designed you to be stand tall before your family, to be an example to others, to your kids, that they might say "i want to be just like my dad!" or "I want to marry someone just like my father!" Men are made to lead, and we should encourage them to lead, and hold them accountable to that!

Women. Oh women. I am sorry if this is offensive in any way, but this is my blog and my opinion will be free to fly. What has happened to us? We were also designed in a special way, by God, to fill a role. First off, I am not a feminist, at all. And I do not believe we were made to be door mats. But seriously, we are made to be companions. We are strong, we can be independent and take care of ourselves. And we can climb the ladder of success in any career path we choose. Absolutely things we can do. But we can also hold tight to our God given design. We are natural nurturers. I realize there are extreme cases where this is not so, but most of us, we nurture. We care for people, animals, our belongings, everything! God did not create us to be equals in the roles we play. that is just the plain and simple truth. God gave women smaller frames, a curve in our arm that men do not have, softer voices, skin, appearance, everything! We are made to be "soft". Again, we are not made to be taken advantage of and walked all over. Do you have any idea the strength it takes to be soft? We have to control our tongues, our tone, step down sometimes to let a man lead where he should. It takes incredible strength to quiet our desire to take over and just be soft.

As women we have a power that men do not seem to posses. With one word we can bring a man to his knees. We can tear him down so much faster than anyone else possibly could. Why? because we are who they are looking to for approval. They lead, provide, protect, and we give one ounce of attitude in our tone, and our man, our big, strong, tougher than nails man, comes slouching down. We are called to be encouraging, lifting them up. Not telling them they are idiots and stupid and that we can do things better than they can. Maybe you can do something better, but is that what you have been called to? Not necessarily.

I find it incredibly discouraging that our society has been able to penetrate us this way. Every "family" show on television right now portrays the man as stupid. The wife will always say "oh ok" and the when the husband leaves the room they roll their eyes or scoff and give a demeaning remark. If your husband heard you say something like "you're an idiot!" how would he react? would he cower and walk away? Would he spew something equally hurtful to you? Regardless of what his reaction is, he is responding to your awful words of discouragement. And, I am sure, it stings when those words come from him. How can you feel good thinking your husband thinks you are stupid? If we are supposed to be "equals" why isn't that working out so well at home? If we are supposed to be equals, why does it only tear us down? Because we are not made the same, we are not "equal" in that sense.

Women, love, nurture, build up your man. Tell him you appreciate him. Tell him you are proud to be his wife. Tell him anything like this, and i guarantee he will walk a little taller.

Men, tell your wife you love her, that she is beautiful. That you are grateful for how she tends to your family. Provide for her, protect her, have pride in your family. You are supposed to be the one that steps up and takes care of business. Do it! Take back your pride! Lets step up and be the people we were designed to be, instead of trying to outdo everyone in our path. We were not created to be equal, we were created to be different. Complete opposites actually. We were made to compliment each other.

I am so blessed that my husband knows his role and is fighting everyday to be what God has called him to be. I am proud to say that my husband does lead our family, he provides for us so that I can be home with our children. He has a natural instinct to protect us, whatever the "attack" might be. He walks with his head high knowing that he can take pride in the way he leads his family.

Lets have it men! Let us see your leadership. And women, lets see your encouragement. Be the one lifting him up so he can reach that potential instead of being the one to tear him down and strip him of it all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Love

While working on the computer today I stumbled upon some pictures that totally took me back! First, I'd like to address my "working" on the computer. I was actually working on church/worship stuff, and not playing around like I usually do :)

Now, to give you some back story, I met my husband in college. We were best friends immediately. And when I say immediately, I mean that quite literally. We could talk about anything and could be completely honest with one another without any fear. While neither one of us were looking for a relationship, God had other plans.

We started dating and got engaged 6 months later. During our year long engagement, Eric went to Marine Corps boot camp. This would change both of our lives. He was gone for 3 months, the only way of communicating was through snail mail. It was very difficult to pick up and dial his phone number and then realize he wasn't there.

(we look like little kids hahaha)

Once he graduated boot camp, we go married, and 6 days later he was gone again. For about 2 months that time. This would be the beginning of not seeing each other. We were very young when we got married, I was 20 and Eric was 21, so add that to the mix of "things to overcome", we were still growing up. :) We finally moved in with each other 3 months after our wedding. Crazy. He was then in the field, always. Then he was in California for a month training for deployment. Then came that sad day. He had to leave. No other word than "awful" can describe that.

But let me just say that the military life is one of honor, for all involved. We made lifelong friends, and were a part of something great. But this post isn't about the military, its about my love.

We have moved 8 times, gone through a deployment, rented 4 homes, owned 2 homes, had 3 beautiful children, and will be married 8 years this December. I love this man with every ounce of my being. We have done so much life together in these 8 years, more than many people do in 15 years. It has been interesting to say the least, but we are so much stronger and closer for it.

I am so incredibly blessed to have him in my life. Just to know him seems a privilege. He is a strong, Christ centered man that leads our family as he has been called to. He provides for and loves his family. He makes me laugh every day. And I still get so excited to see him! Though there have been hard times and learning curves through our journey, we have stood firm together. We have held onto God and each other and intend to prove that marriage is sacred in this world that views marriage as disposable. What a love I have for this man. What an honor to be called his wife. What a privilege to have a family with him. What an experience it is to do life with him every single day.

I am in love you Eric Hines, always.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Yes. It's true. My husband and I have been out of high school for 10 years. He seems to be fine with that. I just have a hard time. Not so much with how long its been since graduation, but with my age numbers rising...

My high school reunion already passed. I guess I just didn't feel the need to go to hang out with people that want to act like we are still in high school. When you post things like "its time to get our drank on" and "lets get wasted class of 2002" I do not feel an ounce of desire to join the festivities.

No, I don't want to get wasted. No, I don't want to "get my drank on". No, I am not 18 anymore, I am 28 years old. I feel like acting somewhat close to my age is a little necessary.

My husband has a completely different approach to his reunion. He is just pumped to see everyone. Why is it so different? There are all these looming things, like who is married? Who has kids? What are people doing with their careers? And I know we all want to know what people look like these days...don't act like you are too good to think that stuff...

Yes, that's right everyone. Don't be jealous!
In high school I had a lot of acquaintances. I was only close with a handful of people. But I seemed to be on good terms with most people. I liked that I could say hi to whomever and it wasn't awkward. But its been so long since I have even spoken to some people, I feel like now, it would be a little weird.
Now the husband, again, completely different view. He wants to catch up and see EVERYONE. I just can't feel the same :) I am perfectly content sitting at home in my jammies reading about our reunion on Facebook. I am a home body, and I am completely OK with that!
I couldn't resist this photo. Hilarious!
Anyone that knows me, knows this is complete sarcasm, but its great!
So since I didn't go to my own reunion, I am going to my husbands. It seems like I keep in touch with more people that he graduated with than with people I did. Really weird. But hey, hopefully its a good time! Gotta go show off my earrings!