Friday, November 18, 2011

Abigail Dianne Sullivan

Remember this?

Well, it's a little late announcement, but SHE'S HERE! And my oh my, is she ever precious! She is beautiful and makes ridiculously adorable expressions. Guess I'll just let you see for yourself!

What a blessing from God! She is perfect in every way. By the way, I'm sure some of you will wonder what all the wires are. She had some blood sugar issues at birth and a possible respiratory infection, so she was in the NICU for 10 days. It was hard for her mom and dad, but all is well now. And let me take this moment to thank you for praying for this little pumpkin throughout the pregnancy months. She is beautiful and so very loved!

Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Because You Don't Get Strong Pieces From a Weak Whole

A friend of mine posted a link to a commentary over the Super Proverbs 31 Woman. You know, the girl most of us can't stand because she makes us look pathetic. That one.

But actually, the more I study "her," I realize that this may be a description of multiple women and simply the characteristics all combined that make up the "ideal" woman. Because really, is there any way that one single woman can really have ALL that? Probably not.

Anyway, that's beside the point. My real point is something else--something I noticed that I'd never connected before with this woman. Here's a snip from the site:

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." We get a picture of a woman who vigorously goes about her duties. She keeps herself healthy and strong by proper health practices — good diet, adequate rest and exercise. Many people depend on her.

Never before had I given much thought to what this truly means: that her arms are strong for her tasks. I think this commentary nails it; she can only be strong if she's healthy. Why have I not connected this before? I have a lot of tasks, but am I strong for them?

So many things are demanded of us women. Children are demanding. Our jobs are demanding. Our relationships are demanding. It seems that everything and everyone wants some small--albeit exhausting at times--piece of us. I don't know about you, but my pieces are pretty weak when my whole is not well cared for. For starters, I have a horrible habit of not eating all day. I get up in the morning and run on nothing but coffee. All day. You can imagine that I crash pretty quickly. So what do I do? Refill that bad boy with more caffeine, of course--what else? I'm left with minimal energy to invest in all the areas required of me. My kids don't get a very focused mom. I'm shaky and sometimes fidgety. (I probably look like I'm on some really good stuff!) I stay hungry, but I ignore it and then wonder why I have no energy. I know that I probably sound pretty insane right now, but this is truly where I land most days. I share all of this because I feel that God is on the brink of redeeming this in me--to slowly cultivate me into this highly sought after woman. Or at least into being a few steps closer to her anyway.

Because my family needs me and needs much of me, I am committing to push toward better health. I'm anxious to see how this plays a role in transforming even my heart!
Peace of Christ to you,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Preggo Surprise Party (that I forgot to post)

I can't believe I never posted these pictures, but a while back we threw a surprise "YAY! You're Expecting!" party for our dear friends, Gwen and John! Here's how the afternoon went:

Having no idea what is going on here:


Here's the look when she saw...









Daddy-to-be was surprised too!



We did a C-section on the cake!


Played a couple of fun prediction games:





My preggies and me:


Wait...did you notice that I said preggIES? Mmhmm. Tera on the left planned this entire party with me for a month and then waited til the end of the party to nonchalantly say: "You probably wouldn't be surprised if I told you I was pregnant, too." It took me a couple of seconds to realize what she had just told us! Yep! And how insane is it that her due date is the day before Gwen's?!

Happy preggo to my two best girl friends!


Looking forward to meeting these two sweet little bits, which by the way are a girl for Gwen and John and boy for Tera and Trav! :)

Peace of Christ to you,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Caleb!

Today is one of those days that I clearly told myself would not happen and, if indeed it did happen, it wouldn't be emotional for me.

Today is Caleb's first birthday.

It's a little hard to put into words, really, but the realization that it's been a year since this little guy came into our family and drastically changed so much of what I thought I knew...well, it makes me a wee bit emotional! It took me so long to fully connect, to engage with him, that it feels like a shock that he could seriously be one year old already. With my first two, it didn't hit me this way because I had connected with them from the moment they were born--and really, before that. I was expecting them, I was anticipating their addition to our family. The moment their scrunched up faces were placed on my chest, I was sold. I was taken.

I hate to admit it, but Caleb was different. To begin with, he wasn't placed on my chest. Ever. At least not in the same way. The only touch at all that he felt from me for the first twelve hours was a hurried, shallow peck on his miniature cheek. And I was terrified to do even that. I held such an ocean of guilt for not being able to keep him inside longer where maybe he would've been safer. And then I know that maybe he wouldn't have been. Either way, it felt nearly impossible to fully enjoy his arrival.

And then it just went downhill from there. But I believe God has healed me emotionally as well as physically, and today he is purely a delight. I look at him and can't believe I was ever doubtful of this! I've mentioned before that I'm normally one of these who is skeptical of some illnesses such as postpartum depression, etc. The past year has certainly changed my mind on this since it was brought directly to my front door. In fact, it was the house guest who didn't leave for months on end.

Now I get it. It's real. It's crippling and equally dangerous for every family member involved. I so deeply regret the strain it put on my husband, the confusion and tension I know it added to Keagan and Kate. But I know they are resilient and young, so they'll likely not carry those moments with them into the future. I pray that our future only becomes brighter as we continue rebuilding and strengthening our family. It's so good to be back, and my husband often looks at me and says the same: "It's so nice to have you back."

I know there are some great husbands out there, but no one will truly know just how remarkable mine is like I do because he took on so much more of a load than I can even share here. I was digging through my scrapping box the other day and I found the stapled together sign-in sheets of Caleb's NICU stay. I didn't count the entries of his name, but believe me--there are a LOT. He was there every moment he could be.

So today we have this toothy little grin-ball to dote over and say, "Happy Birthday" to. And my heart is happy in the mix. The tears are sown from seeds of joy--not just sadness--that he's growing up! There's such joy that we get to have his first birthday, that God kept him safe and brought him home to us!

So, Happy Birthday, Caleb! What a precious joy your presence is in our family! Now if we can just get you to stop sounding like a pterodactyl with your LOUD screeching, squawking, ear-piercing screams. Ahem...We love you anyway, of course!
Peace of Christ to you,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dancing with a Plastic Cup

A girl and a boy--my girl and my boy--run shoeless on rain-bent grass and squeal in the thundery wash. The plan was to nap, but who can resist this temptation to turn our faces toward the smokey sky and let the water wash our brows, our noses, and cheeks? Not us, not in the middle of summer when even our bodies plead for this drink.

No toys are needed out here--just a couple of plastic cups to catch the treasure. And today it is treasure, like finding gold. I sit and I wonder if life can really be this simple...if we can really be this delighted in something as simple as rain.

Today we can and we are.

The cups are filled to the brim and so is my heart. Because I see how He meant us to feel when He sends such a joy straight down from His hands. It's simple--no technology is required to feel this gratefulness. The television can't recreate the rain's sound, the smell, the rush of cool on our faces. A social networking program can express that it's raining, but we can't experience it until we peek our toes out from under the porch and wash them in the spilling from eaves.

A reason I love days like these is that I feel more akin to our sisters, brothers from centuries ago when rain blessed their days more than a piece of technology, or a program on the television, or a case on the news. Livelihood flowed from those drops; it meant they would eat, they would drink, they would live. We only "enjoy" it in moderation, but the dependence on it is not ours to grasp.

Of course, I'm thankful for our gadgets and devices and industrialization and how I can twist a knob to draw steaming water that eases my sore muscles. But I do love these simple days where I wonder if I can begin to comprehend the joy and appreciate the dance God's people did when He sent from His hand such a blessing as this--the blessing that was life itself.

Yes, my heart is filled to the brim as I watch my little joys with bare toes as they dance with plastic cups, collecting His gift of fresh, simple, life.

Peace of Christ to you,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

I pluck the gold-tinted can of sweet potatoes from the shelf labeled "$.94" and I think of that paper on the counter with the little boy holding a sweet potato...

I shuffle through aisles, weave through baskets, and reach my hand to take what will be mine, mine and my children's and my husband's for the week. Just for the week. The numbers are $99.89 and relief consumes since I've conquered my budget for the week. Just for the week. Waiting to pay behind me are impatient, annoyed faces. We wait, though we feel we shouldn't. I think of the boy. How long does he wait? The fans feet above me bathe myself in a chill. Do I dare begrudge them when others so far away have no chance to be uncomfortably cold?

I had left it on the counter for a day; the pull toward his smile, his black, glistening eyes nearly magnetic. The numbers were $38 for this food and for tools to tend it and for supplies to grow it.

Hours went by and budgets were planned, and those shiny black eyes slipped silently into the trash can. And my heart is broken at my lack of faith, my selfish "I wish I had" 's. And I know I will forget this and yet again be one who complains of too much air or a meal I'm not in the mood for--but I pray that God keeps my heart soft, that when precious faces who need things that I haul away come to mind or mailbox, I will see my own chocolate brown-eyed boy on that page and say yes.
Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, June 13, 2011

This Is How It Should Be

I sit with only the gentle in and outs of their breathing down the hall. They rest and I work.

This is how it should be.

I feel like I was away for so long, missing these tiny wonders of deep, slumber breathing; the dipping of toes in fresh, blue waters; ice cream sandwiched noses; glass jarred fireflies; princess story times; towers tumbling on the rug; snuggles under fluff.

This is how it should be.

The dog's tongue covers chin to forehead on the baby and he squeals. The oldest makes gibberish noises in the baby's face since only he can squeeze out those giggles. The rocking chair sighs with each peak and fall as the rain spills from the eaves and sprinkles my face. My God is near, in the sudden flooding of cool, in the smothering of heat on the smoking, burnt ground. He reminds me that He always has been near and that I have needed Him all along--that I need Him still now. I call the names of the blessings He's dressed me with, starting with those three joy-makers and all their dimples. I have been recaptured by love itself, and this is how it should be.

Peace of Christ to you,

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Hoppin' Bobbin

My amazingly talented husband made something for me that I want to share: my very own Landing Page! Click the link and see what you think! At the top you'll find links to my Etsy shop, but it doesn't seem to automatically show ALL the bags I've made right there. So, scroll down below the pictures that pop up and click on MY ETSY. It'll take you to see everything I have posted right now. Sewing has been so calming to me recently, and I can't seem to stop. So, if you are looking for a new purse or tote bag, see what I've got. I also will custom make one if you'd prefer.

Thanks for hopping over to my new page! It's called The Hoppin' Bobbin. My husband designed the page with a photo he took of the thread loaded on my sewing machine! He's pretty handy to have around!

Peace of Christ to you,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More bags on Etsy:

I posted a couple more bags on Etsy and wanted to share the links to them:

Thanks for checking them out! Message me if you're interested!
Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Etsy is Open

I opened an Etsy shop and will be adding lots of different items very soon. I custom make items from messenger bags, tote bags, baby blankets, curtains, shower curtains, pillows, etc.

Here is my first posted item:

Check it out and let me know if I can custom make something for YOU!

Peace of Christ to you,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Rear Ends

I'm definitely not doing a great job with blogging so far this year! I've been doing the usual--taking care of three great kids, shouting at soccer games, beaming with pride when Keagan nails both hits in t-ball, grading papers, cycling through know--the usual.

One fun thing I just did that I wanted to share is that I made my first home made skirt! I'm also going to make a little one for Kate to be my twinkie. She's already excited about it!

I also had a car wreck last Saturday. Not my fault, thankfully. I was rear ended. Again. What exactly is the deal with me being rear ended in the month of April?! Last time this happened to me it was April of 2005. And if you know me, I'm paranoid enough as it is in a car. Didn't exactly need any help there. But anyway...our car was totaled. I had that thing for 10 years, and it was such a good car. I got it for high school graduation.

Anyway, here's a pic of the skirt I made. Other than that, I don't know much else!

Side note: I had been planning on taking pics of my rear ended car, and I've instead uploaded a pic of just my rear end! LOL!

Peace of Christ to you,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He is Able

Today I feel that He is near. And this is refreshing, because I honestly went through a time frame where I did not.

With my friend being pregnant, it's been sort of a pseudo pregnancy for me, which is FUN. No, really, it is kind of funny! We have synchronized nausea bouts, and I've been ridiculously tired along with her. (Don't worry--I'm really not pregnant.)

Last night while she was going to the emergency room with bleeding--and I didn't hear my phone, so I didn't know--I was having a peculiar dream about my daughter. To back up: When I was a few weeks pregnant with Kate, I experienced what the doctor called a "threatened miscarriage" and called this very friend to come over and watch Keagan while we went to the ER. Obviously, Kate turned out perfect and is my spunky three year old now. Well, I was dreaming that something happened to her and she was all of a sudden mentally retarded. I don't know what caused it, but the doctors were telling me that she would be this way forever and there was nothing that could be done. I wouldn't believe them, and I kept praying against this in my dream. It does get a bit muddy toward the end, but I remember that she turned out fine.

Just like when I was pregnant with her.

The dream was so thick, so real and hanging over me when I woke up this morning. In just a few minutes, I heard my phone and checked it, finding my friend's message from 3 am. I know this may sound insane, but I feel like me praying in my dream was me praying for my friend when she needed it but couldn't reach me. And the message of hope that I'm so aware of today is that He took care of my Kate when I wasn't sure if He would.

I've always known that He could; I just didn't know if He would.

My friend was released this morning with the same diagnosis: "threatened miscarriage" that I received with Kate. I truly know how her mind is still reeling, how her heart stopped in those moments. I know the flood of relief she certainly felt when she saw the tiny fluttering heart on the ultrasound monitor. And I know the desperation in the pleas to our Father.

That God has allowed me to experience so much of this pregnancy with her so far is amazing. (And it's only fitting that "Our God is an Awesome God" is playing via Pandora on my television right now.) I love seeing evidences of God, especially in ways that are not easily explained away. Like I said, I may sound crazy, but I feel like I have a new understanding of when scripture talks about the Spirit interceding for us when we cannot.

He is able. Will you pray with me that He will bring protection, health, rest, peace, assurance, wholeness?
Peace of Christ to you,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shouting From The Rooftops!

Since it's been a while since I last wrote, I'll come back with a BANG!

I can't believe I can finally say, no SHOUT, this:
My best girl friend, Gwen, is going to be a mommy!!!!!!

Just when I began to wonder if God really does hear certain prayers and if He honestly cares or not, He answered the biggest one I've had for years! With this, hope has been renewed and my faith strengthened. Especially in the past few months, my prayers for this have been deeper, longer, more passionate, and honestly, sometimes...painful. I cannot even fathom the ride from her perspective. If it's this joyous on my end, then WOW.

And God even had some fun with me on this one, too. One morning I woke up feeling very nauseous. If you've had morning sickness, it's unmistakable! That is just what I felt, and I thought: "Well, I'm not pregnant, so who is?!" After a few hours, it went away and I was perfectly fine. Almost instantly after that, I heard a knock on my front door, with my dear friend, Gwen, looking through the glass. I don't know how, but nothing crossed my mind as odd yet. A few minutes later, my husband came home for lunch. Gwen sat on the couch, chatting with me and texting someone. Pretty soon, in walked her husband, John. And the genius that I am STILL did not anticipate what was coming!

After a while, I was showing her some washing soda in the hallway, and she very calmly said, "Oh and I wanted to ask if we were still good on that shower thing?" My eye brows narrowed, to which she clarified, "Baby shower." "For YOU?" I gasped. Her nod was the most amazing thing I had seen, think! I didn't realize how hard I was hugging her until she croaked, "I can't breathe!" Meanwhile, John was sharing the incredible news with my husband in the living room.

And since then, I've been on cloud nine...probably higher! What a long awaited answer to prayer. My heart just keeps swelling with praise and adoration of God because He really is there, and He really does answer...and not a moment too soon or too late.

What stream in the desert for my sweet friend.

I know that God is good no matter what, even when our desires are not fulfilled. But the hope and the joy that this incredible gift is just cannot be contained. I know that it was not my prayer alone, but many others' as well. It is so encouraging to have a prayer answered, especially one that was accompanied by so many tears.

Please pray for health for Gwen and this remarkable life.
Peace of Christ to you,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Big Girls and Tax Deductions

Oh, what have I been up to? Let's see...potty training Kate (which finally worked beautifully!), battling recurring stomach bugs in our home, starting Caleb on solids, and since I'm in the "one kid in diapers" stage again, I'm getting to do cloth again with him!

I think they're so cute on him!



And here's a shot of our first time feeding him solids:



And I must say after looking at these last two photos that he's living up to that bib! We're getting a good tax return this year all because he joined our family last year! :)

I'm so proud of Kate and her potty training success! She doesn't even wear pull ups to bed--just big girl panties all the time! She got to go in the big kids' church on Sunday since she's a "big girl" now! I sure was worried about that sassy little girl, but she's shocked me with her fast accomplishment!
Peace of Christ to you,

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Promise of Warmth

Yesterday early in the blue black hues of the winter morning, I looked out to white powdered evergreens and dead arms of gray branches. The cold found me even under the fleece where I hid. As the minutes crept by, I noticed a gradual creeping of another kind--but this creeping brought with it peeks of promise. In the fading seconds of those minutes, my eyes delighted in the fading also of the prick of cold, for ever so slowly the blank white began to bleed yellow.

The promise of warmth.



Peace of Christ to you,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Where I've Been (in pictures)

I know it's been a while since I popped in here, so I thought I'd say hello! Here's what I've been up to:

Learning to quilt--

Learning to make bags--

Making pillows--

Making curtains--
Making baby gifts--

And of course hanging out with these guys--

Caleb's getting big (a whopping 13 pounds now!) and looking more and more like his big brother. So much so, that when I post pics of him on my FB page, people aren't sure if it's him or his big brother from years ago. Crazy! Here's an example:

Keagan also turned 5! I'll post his birthday pics on a separate post because there are a lot of them.
Peace of Christ to you,