Monthly Archives: November 2014

God’s Handiwork

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I can sum this one up with one…



This picture was taken 5 years ago today. If you know our story, then you know that Kevin and I truly hated each other in that photo. The only reason I asked him to pose for it is so that our daughter would have at least one photo with both of her parents on the day she was born.

It’s nothing short of God’s handiwork, that Kevin is now my husband and today we celebrated that little blessing as she turned five years old.

So quickly she went from this….


To this.


Ever child’s birthday is special, but this day will always be unique for us because God used this little girl to change the direction our lives had been going. When I found myself pregnant, un-wed, & alone, I couldn’t possibly see how God was going to use those circumstances for good. And so I considered all my options. After all, Kevin was dating other women while I was carrying his child. It’s scary to think I might have chosen differently simply because I thought it wasn’t fair for me. I’m so thankful I listened to Godly guidance from others… because by God’s grace, He took the ugliest of circumstances and worked them not only for His glory…but also for our good!


This little girl, who was not planned, played her heart out today with a group of amazing kiddos at her Frozen party. As I watched the kids play and the parents visit, I couldn’t help but notice there were bonds and relationships established that would not exist today if not for Laynie. She’s a big part of God’s handiwork and what He’s doing through our lives.

So to my Laynie,

Happy 5th Birthday. I don’t know if you can ever understand how you’ve impacted my life. I want you to know, that even though I didn’t plan for your life, God did. He knew the sinful choices your father and I would make and yet He lovingly knit you together in my womb. Jesus saved my soul years ago, but you Laynie girl…you saved me from myself. Through you, God taught me (and your father) the meaning of selflessness. And one day, when you’re much much older, you’ll know our story. And I hope you’ll be proud. Not of how we messed up and hurt one another, but of how we humbly submitted and allowed God to redeem the mess we made of things. I hope you’ll see God’s handiwork every time you look in the mirror. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your life has a purpose, because God has great plans for you. Your father and I are so unworthy, and yet so incredibly thankful that we get to be a part of it.  

We love you more than words could ever say,



If you don’t know our story, we went from Jerry Springer to Life with a Happy Heart. But it didn’t happen over night because  we struggled to let go of our selfishness. Finally, we began to make intentional choices to see one another the way Jesus sees us. And that is when God had the freedom to move in big ways. I hope you’ll find time to watch.

I Turned 31 Today

I turned 31 today.

I had actually forgotten today was my birthday until my husband wished me a happy birthday. I think this is the norm once we get passed the “my life is over now that I’m 30” bit. Seriously, my birthday just don’t seem as important now. This is actually the first time I’ve forgotten. Maybe I’m finally getting over myself. Or maybe old age is settling in and I’m in denial. It’s probably both.

Laynie’s birthday is tomorrow, so with that (and Thanksgiving) I think my attention has been else where. I didn’t do anything for myself today. In fact, two sweet friends of mine from college had 2 free tickets to Disney on Ice and I gladly took Laynie for some mommy-daughter time.


She was excited that she was getting another early birthday present. In fact, before we went, her Aunt Traci gave her another Elsa dress….this one, for everyday wear of course! So with her new dress and shoes (I forgot to mention the shoes), we headed to a 2 hour ice skating, sing along extravaganza. And honestly, I’m not sure which one of us had more fun.


I did complain on the way out as I reluctantly purchased her a $12 snow cone in a fifty cent Elsa cup. Had it not been her birthday this weekend I would have gladly watched her cry all the way to the car…Blame Dave Ramsey, he taught me how to say no.


We left immediately to a play date that had already been on the calendar and we left immediately from there to go to church. And of course, I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home because we left our fridge empty as we left for Thanksgiving. I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t do anything for myself today.

But I think that’s the point as we get older. We don’t wait for one day of the year to do something for ourselves. We take care of those needs as they come. And my needs were more than met this morning right after my daughter woke up. With the sweetest, sleepiest face…and the most awful morning breath, my little Laynie sat in my lap and asked me, “Mommy, is tomorrow my birthday?” I smiled and said “Yes baby, it is.” And without another word spoken, a smile came across her face. She opened her mouth and with morning breath and all, she began to sing…”Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Saaaaaaaam. Happy birthday to you!”

We could’ve wrapped the whole day up with that moment right there. I’ve waited 31 years for the best birthday, and I got it. Because finally I realized, it’s not all about me.



Thanksgiving was… rough?


It’s funny how a few  small events can ruin your outlook on something. When friends messaged me yesterday asking how our Thanksgiving went, my initial response was “It was rough.” But when I look back, examining all aspects, was it really… rough?

Not at all! In fact, we had a great thanksgiving and there were so many things to be thankful for! There was lots of laughter among friends and family. There was a ton of food (my mother-in-law spoils us)! My only genuine complaint was that there were not enough rolls because I didn’t get a fourth one!

So why was my initial outlook so negative? Why was I finding it rough to give thanks??

Here’s what happened. The first night we stayed with my in-laws, Gideon was up twice during the night. The second time he was up, it took him an hour to go back to sleep. And of course, he was up at 5 am ready for solids (all of which he puked up just moments after finishing). So the second night we decided to get a hotel. Unfortunately, Gideon didn’t sleep any better, so again we were up for a good part of the night.

Now here’s a little not-so-fun fact about me: I. Need. Sleeeeep!!!  I mean lots of sleep. If I don’t get 8 hours, I’m pretty much the most horrible person you’ve ever met. (So if we cross paths in public, and I’m acting like a witch with a capital B, you can assume I didn’t get much sleep the night before.) But just that one aspect almost ruined my memories of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. How sad is that?!?

I once heard that for every complaint you have, find three things you are thankful for.. So here’s my thankful list to combat my two sleepless nights over thanksgiving:

  • I took a 3 hour nap on Thanksgiving Day
  • I didn’t have to cook for two days (many should be thankful for that!)
  • I didn’t have to hold Gideon as much because friends & family happily took turns
  • I ate more fudge than I care to publicly admit
  • I actually had adult conversations that lasted longer than 2 minutes
  • When G woke up, my husband got up to help me care for him
  • I slept in a bed that I didn’t have to make (thank you Country Suites Inn)
  • I  used as much hot water as my heart desired
  • I took a 2 mile walk
  • I didn’t have to do laundry when I got home because my SIL did ours before we left

When you reflect back on your Thanksgiving Day, I hope you can also say that it was great. If you can’t, search your heart for the reason why. If you’re like me, your reasons are probably just selfish. But don’t worry, once you list out 3 positives for each negative experience, chances are you’ll see the joy that was there all along. And hopefully you’ll feel thankful.

Just to be an over-achiever, I’ve listed some other reasons I’m thankful.

  • I serve a God who loves me so much that He sent his Son Jesus to die for me
  • I live in the richest nation that affords me many freedoms & opportunities
  • My husband is an amazing man who loves the Lord & leads our family spiritually
  • My daughter Laynie is joyful & has a heart that is bigger than Texas
  • My son Gideon is extremely healthy (given his terminal diagnosis)
  • Gideon doesn’t currently have a feeding tube or seizures or medications
  • I have the most amazing & supportive parents, sister, and in-laws….EVER!
  • My husband has a job that supports me staying home with our children
  • Our friends would move mountains to be there for us
  • Our church family…well, there just are no words for how wonderful they are
  • We have a roof over our heads & food in our pantry
  • We have enough money to pay our bills & our cars are paid for
  • There’s no lack of opportunity to serve and love the people God places in our lives
  • God’s given me breath in my lungs to praise Him for another day

For all these and more, I’m thankful.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4