Tag Archives: Family

Fall Frame of Mind

22 Sep

It’s official!  Fall is here!  According to the calendar it is the first day of Fall, and my heart is so happy.

A gorgeous Fall picture I snapped a few years back while living in KY.

Of course, I am ready for Fall to arrive as soon as September begins.  I want to break out the pumpkins, hang the Autumn wreaths, snuggle up with some cider and watch the leaves change and flit from the trees.  However, all good things take time, and Fall is certainly taking its sweet time appearing lately.

Fall temperatures should never reach into the 90’s and God forbid, triple digits, yet I’m afraid those days are not totally over.  Despite the drought this year, the recent rains have allowed trees and grass to green up once again, and there is hope for beautiful Fall foliage.  This time last year most trees had already turned brown and were losing dead leaves.  I’m ecstatic at the thought of driving down the highway and actually seeing the color-changing leaves in all their Autumn splendor.

There is just something about this time of year that speaks to my soul.  The air is crisp and cool, the scent of pumpkins and apples mixed with spices swirl in the air, and it’s time to break out hoodies and cozy blankets and snuggle up at football games.  Perhaps it is Autumn that pumps in my veins as an October baby, and fills my harvest heart with joy.  Fall causes me to slow down, reflect on life, and just breathe it all in.

I was reflecting on the beauty of Fall yesterday and all it causes me to think and feel, and I realized that my view on life seems to shift when Fall arrives.  Just as the trees, flowers, and animals begin to prepare for winter during the Fall by slowing growth, storing food, and shedding the old, I too find myself sifting through the chaos the year has stored up.

I find myself in a Fall frame of mind.  I rediscover the beauty within myself and the grace from above as they swirl together, changing the color of my soul.  I find refreshment and renewal.  I find the joy in life again. Continue reading

From Storms to Smooth Sailing

7 Aug

Hello sweets!  I know that it has been an extended absence on my end, and while I apologize for no new posts, I desperately need some grace.  I’m struggling to find my place, rhythm, and routine since Kasen’s joyous arrival into our lives, and this blog has been a casualty of that wandering war.  When I have found moments where I might put my “pen to paper,” I find myself utterly lacking in inspiration, leaving my blog stagnant but my draft box burgeoning.

Even in the midst of the struggle there are great rays of light and I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace the content life, but in this I am not my usual fast learning self.  I have found a friend!  Yay!  I will fill in those details later.  She has been a true blessing and I am enjoying the moments of growing together.  We walk early in the morning 4-5 x’s a week and it is not only good for my body, it is water for a parched soul, just getting to spend that hour communing.

But there is still longing; still fixing, healing, restoring that needs to happen.  There is the discontent that I am trying to stare down.

Facing the storms of life head on

As I was making my way through my incredibly long list of blogs I read, I stopped by the ever-gifted Leanne Penny at leannepenny.com and was once again blown away at her words and the way she always seems to reach right in to my heart and pour in hope and grace.  She was writing today about connection of the husband and wife variety; the very kind I have been missing so much.  She threw down a connecting gauntlet and idea sharing challenge.  Read about that here and contribute your own connecting tips and insights.

This was my response…. Continue reading

Hello World

5 Jun

Kasen Cross Tiger arrived Friday morning, June 1, at 9:27 am.  He is already an incredible blessing for our family and we are loving every minute with him.

Kasen Cross Tiger says hello

Kasen was delivered via C-Section and was 7 lbs. 4 oz and 19 1/2 inches.  He is incredible and on his way to being as big a charmer as his big brother Micah.  I adore watching my boys begin to interact and love each other.  Holding them both in my arms was an amazing feeling.  I look forward to playing with them both and watching them develop into the incredible souls God has created them to be.

I am recovering slowly from my C-Section and hope to be up and about without much pain soon.  So far it has been a better experience than my last C-Section recovery, apart from a couple bumps.  I am excited to take, edit, and share more pictures soon, but need to focus on our little family and my recovery right now (as my loving, doting husband reminds me!)

Hope you are all doing well.  Enjoy the few pics for now.

Big Brother enjoying the local splash pad

Getting to hold Kasen for the first time.

My sweet Kasen

Our little foursome

Micah is being such a good big brother. He loves giving gently kisses on Kasen’s forehead

 

Gracefully~~Heather

The Final Countdown

31 May

It really is the final countdown.  The last day.  Things will never be the same after tomorrow.  Any way I choose to see or say it, life changes tomorrow.

Kasen Cross Tiger will arrive via C-Section sometime between 9 & 10am Friday, June 1, 2012.  My heart is all aflutter as my arms eagerly await the new bundle of joy to love on.

Kasen Cross at 38 wks. He is sucking on his hand, and is all scrunched up.

Still, I know today will either fly by or creep along.  I will feel like I didn’t get everything done, and I’m pretty certain that not much rest will be had tonight.  So imagine my delight when I read my devotion earlier:

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:5-8

Even though my C-Section is scheduled, I believe it is the best option for my and Kasen’s safety, and I have full confidence in my doctor’s ability to deliver Kasen successfully, there is still anxiety clinging to my thoughts.  The what if’s and uncertainties are not easy to shake off.  How glad I am that when I am weak, He is strong.  I will need that strength not only tomorrow, but most surely in the days, weeks, and months ahead as I adjust to life as a mother of two darling boys.

So I will pour out my heart, I will pour out my soul, trusting in God’s grace and provision.  I will seek rest in Him instead of relying on my comfy fort of pillows that have been my bed fellows for the past 9 months.  I will rejoice in the great gift God has given when we hold our sweet new baby boy and know that God will continue to guide our journey, one step at a time.

Gracefully~~Heather

 

Good to Grow

16 May

This was my Mother’s Day present.  My pretty little purple teacup orchid.  I love orchids and it may be one of the few plants I can actually keep alive and help flourish.  My husband had gotten me another purple orchid plant about four years ago, and it was a glorious beauty. When we moved home to Oklahoma from Kentucky I left my plant in the care of my good friend, Heather, as a sign that our friendship would continue to flourish after we left.  It has.

It was a Just Add Ice Orchid, meaning I literally only had to add 3 pieces of ice, one time a week and keep it in indirect sunlight, and it grew and grew.  While this new one is not the same “brand”, I am hoping that adding 2ish pieces of ice a week to hydrate my little lovely will produce similar results.

As I sat gazing at my pretty present that was meant to celebrate me as a mother, I started thinking of how my plant was not the only tender thing that I was responsible for nourishing and growing with care.

I sat, almost 37 wks pregnant with my second son, looking at a portrait of our oldest son as it hung behind the orchid, and the enormous responsibility and gift of these little lives struck me with such intensity that I lost my breath for a moment.

Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know enough?  What if I make mistakes?  What about my flaws?  Can I give them what they need?  Is my love enough?

Am I enough?

My gaze didn’t have to travel far from the flower to linger upon the cross nearby.  And I had my answer.

No.  I am not enough.  But God is.

His love and grace, poured out through me is enough.

When I am weak, He will be there.  When I fail, His plans will succeed.  When I stumble, He will pick me up.

He will be the guide for my journey as a mother, and a light for my boys to seek and follow.

His love will be enough to nourish and grow them even when mine may fall short.

I can tenderly care for my plant by keeping it watered just right and providing the right amount of sunlight for growth.  If I neglect it or accidentally leave it in the shadows it may wither.

By trusting my boys to God’s tender care, I can trust that I will know the right amount of love they need for their souls to be nourished, and the perfect place of the Son in their lives for ultimate growth.

Why?

Because God is enough.

 

(This will be my only post for a little while as I finish preparing for the parsonage open house during our church’s 10 yr celebration, and Kasen’s very soon impending arrival.  Have a great week!)

Gracefully~~Heather

To C-Section or not to C-Section, Is that the Only Question?

4 May

Yesterday, I reached my 35th week of my pregnancy, and I was expected to have a decision ready for my doctor.  We were supposed to decide if we would schedule a repeat C-Section for Kasen’s birth, or if I will attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean) through a trial of labor.  Despite already knowing most of the information concerning either route, in the two weeks I had between appointments, I devoured all the resources available from my “What to Expect” book, the web, and friends and family.  As my appointment drew nearer I wavered back and forth.  I just didn’t feel settled.  No sense of peace could be found about a decision.

During my first OB appointment this was one of the topics we discussed, and my doctor’s answer at the time was that we had time to make a final decision, but he was willing to let me try a VBAC.  Since that first appointment, way back in October 2011, I have been pretty set on going the VBAC route for a number of reasons. Continue reading

Enough for Today

1 May

It’s May 1.  When I found out I was pregnant, Aaron and sat down and looked at all we would have going on near our due date.  It was a lot.  Our church’s 10-yr celebration weekend, including an open house, birthdays, our 7th anniversary, Mother’s Day, and our denomination’s annual conference, on top of all the daily work and tasks.  Not only were all these things on the horizon, there was a lot of preparation we had to do in order for these things to happen.  We decided that we needed to set a goal to have as much as possible prepared for Kasen’s arrival by the beginning of May, so that when the busyness really hit, we wouldn’t be in anxiety overdrive.

Guess what?

Didn’t happen.  Guess who is in anxiety overdrive?  This girl, and I know Aaron is just as overwhelmed by the church and also wanting to give his best at home. I know neither of us was planning on me being sick for much of the pregnancy, and it just has not helped.

I was up late last night for multiple reasons, like heartburn, uncomfortableness, and also I could not shut my mind down with all the things we still need to do to prepare for Kasen, get the house ready, and again, just stay on top on everyday tasks.

I’m still dealing with this sinus infection which has sidelined me for the past few days, and this morning was not looking bright.  The anxiety had not diminished overnight, so as I sat down to do my devotion, I simply prayed that God would give me a few moment’s peace.  He did that and more.  Ask and you shall receive, right?

Here are a few of the things God led me to either during my devotion or right after that have helped carry me through the day so far.  I turned on the satellite Christian station to let God sing over me, calm my soul, as I surfed the web of His grace.  It is truly enough for today.

 

From my devotion at Girlfriends in God by Sharon Jayne: “Her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18 NIV). Continue reading

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Family Style

14 Apr

Spring has sprung for a few weeks for sure.  The pollen count is up and the tissues are everywhere!  Must be time to clean.  Ugh.  Really, again?  It seems every magazine I have opened or passed by in the store recently is pointing out the annoying reminder to deep clean everything from our closets to our over-scheduled lives.  One thing I noticed is that most of the articles and tips are geared towards women or a woman, as in the singular, you clean by yourself lady.  Why not make it a family affair if you can?

1)      Assemble the Team– Whether husbands, wives, and/or kids, gather the team, give a pep talk, and assign tasks.  You DON’T have to do it all by yourself.  Remind your family that a clean and organized home is better for everyone.

2)      Keep Tasks Kid-Sized– It isn’t reasonable or realistic to expect a toddler to scrub all the windows, or even for your tween to terminate all the dust bunnies by their self.  Creating small zones and setting time limits is a great way to keep older kids on task without overwhelming them.  Include younger kids and help them feel useful by keeping their capabilities in mind and putting their likes and strengths to good use.  Have a speedy, non-stop preschooler?  Give them a rag spritzed with a safe cleaner, and then tell them you will time them to see how well and quickly they can clean the windowsills.  Have a kiddo that loves to organize?  Have them check the pantry and cabinets for past-date food items.

3)      Set Goals & Rewards– If stickers make your little one happy, keep some handy to pass out as each task is completed.  Entice your crew with the reward of a trip for ice-cream or some other sweet treat if they tackle their tasks.  Or, get a roll of tickets and assign a number to each task, say 2 tickets per clean window or 5 for a spotless bedroom.  Then decide if the tickets can be redeemed for cash, prizes, or rewards such as a later bedtime.  10 tickets?  Step right up and claim your $5 iTunes gift card!  8 tickets you say?  How about an extra 30 minutes before bed?!

4)      Treasure Hunt– Tell yourself and your kids (especially if they are young) that deep cleaning usually means uncovering lost treasures.  Make it fun and create a “Lost Treasure Chest” out of a box or even a laundry hamper and then place recovered loot in it as it is discovered.  At the end, gather together to count and divvy up the spoils, sharing a few laughs at just how many pairs of socks had been MIA.  You might just unearth a few gold doubloons as well! Continue reading

My So-Called Unorganized Life

10 Apr

Thursday I will be 8 months pregnant.  I’m not sure how, but nearing the end of my second pregnancy has snuck up on me.  I think I had my hospital bag packed, nursery done, and house clean by my 6th month last time.

I blame the toddler.

Having to capture all that cuteness just keeps me occupied!

So, here I am two months to go, and soooo much to do.  We are preparing for our church’s 10 yr anniversary on May 20th as well, which includes an open house here at the parsonage.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have time, but I can’t shake that anxious feeling that Kasen could decide to make his appearance in the world early.  Did you experience this anxiety of not being prepared?  I really didn’t quite so much with Micah, or maybe that is why I had everything done so early last time.

Here is my dirty little secret..at least the disorganized part: Continue reading

He Knows Your Name: Day 29: Lent Journey

26 Mar

9 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.   10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9: 9-13

Name

Seven days old in the icu tonight

Little baby boy, they don’t want to have to say goodbye

Your mother’s on the phone

Your father’s in the hall

Prayin’ “God,save this life”

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Four doors down there’s a man who just won’t wake up

He crashed so hard

And the doctor’s want to pull the plug

Your wife is by your side sayin’ “Not tonight”

Prayin’ God will just show up.

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Maybe you’re alone

In a corner of an empty house

Or maybe you’re the one

No one notices in the crowd

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

NAME LYRICS – FIREFLIGHT

A hospital is a place where we expect to encounter pain. It is a place of the sick and the dying, but it is also a place of healing and recovery.  Even in the midst of terrible pain, you can find hope. Continue reading