Thursday, November 29, 2012

Where Are You Christmas?

I've always loved Faith Hill... and Christmas.

But when I heard Faith's song "Where Are You Christmas?" for the first time (watching The Grinch) I thought to myself, what a depressing song during the Christmas season. It didn't make any sense to me why anyone would write a song like that and associate it with Christmas.

And then this year hit, and I have a whole new perspective on that song and mostly how the holidays can be so hard for some people. When I was reading the lyrics to the song I thought, this, THIS is how I'm feeling right now.

My family has been talking a lot about how we're all in this slump, or fog, or whatever seems to fit. Between losing Grandma, missing her terribly especially with this being our first holiday season without her, and now with Dad's recent cancer diagnosis, getting in the "Christmas spirit" is just taking some extra work this year. I'm having a hard time feeling that "magic in the air" feeling that I usually feel this time of year. 

 Even our 3 year old Elliana has randomly made comments like "Christmas is going to be really hard this year without GG."

Forgive me. The last thing I want to be is Debbie Downer or the Grinch. I have children and I'm determined to make this Christmas special for them. I know life has to go on and it will. This year I will find joy in the bright smiles of my kids, in their warm embraces, in the arms of my husband and the company of my many loved ones that are still here sharing life and their love with me.

I know as well as anyone what Christmas is all about, about celebrating Christ coming as a baby and coming to be God with us. So that is what's getting me through when I'm crying or down. God came to be with us then and he's with us today. He's with us and he knows how we're hurting and for me, that's how Christmas has a whole new meaning this year. In the midst of my pain, I will come and adore him because he came to die so that some day, we will be with him in glory and never have to feel pain again. Oh come oh come Emmanuel!

I leave you with the lyrics to "Where Are You Christmas?"
Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our God Is Greater

Again, I apologize because this will be old news to anyone that follows my sisters on social media. This is a big deal though, and I couldn't not put my own thoughts into words on my own blog.

I wish I had a chance to blog when my feelings were more raw and true, but we've had one of the craziest weeks and this is the first time I've had a chance to sit down and blog.

Our family got bad news on Monday. I mean heartbreaking, world shattering news (our world anyway).

Remember, 2012 has not been kind to my family or to many of the loved ones around me. There have been deaths, miscarriages, fires, divorces, I could go on and on. Of course the most earth shattering and heart breaking event to effect my family was the loss of my Grandma Nancy after being diagnosed with cancer only 30 days prior.

We hoped and prayed the worst of heartaches were over. We were wrong.

Monday, after months of postponed and rescheduled appointments and biopsies, we finally got news about my dad's health. News we didn't want to hear and certainly didn't expect. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I can't even tell you how surreal it is to say that my dad has cancer.


It's one of those words that you always shake your head to and apologize to whoever it is you may be talking to going through the journey. You just never think it will effect you so closely. Not one of your loved ones, not one of your parents.


You would think we would have learned that lesson from losing Grandma this past summer. Unfortunately, that word has come back to put us on our knees once again.

I made plans to catch up with an old childhood friend for Tuesday morning long before I remembered that we would get the results to Dad's biopsy on Monday. Tuesday morning I got a message from this friend saying "I just heard the news. I'm so sorry. Do you still want to meet today?" I assured this friend that I did still want to meet with her. Especially since she knows me, she knows my dad, and she is a woman of strong faith and she believes strongly in the power of prayer. This is a friend that called me to pray with me the day she heard of our first miscarriage. She prayed one of the most amazing prayers and I instantly felt better after praying with her.

For whatever reason, this friend and I have grown somewhat apart over the past few years. Not for any good reason other than life has gotten crazy with both of us raising our little ones. But we ran into each other on Halloween night and made plans to reconnect over lunch, and soon.

I believe that God had us schedule this lunch/playdate for the day after the news for a reason. She shared with me that her mom had gotten a tumor a little over a year ago and how hard that time was for her as she waited for test results and then as she waited to hear treatment options and eventually helping her mom during surgery and recovery from surgery. She shared with me that she understands all of the emotions that come with news like this. But then she said something that really stuck with me.

She said "Don't give the word cancer too much power. Don't let it scare you. Our God is greater than that word." I took these words to heart and I believe they are so true.

I've spent the last several days processing this info and going back and forth from being okay to not okay. I go from telling myself, this is fine, Dad will be fine. He will fight this with God's help and he will be just fine. But then, honestly, I do have my moments of crying, of telling God that I can't go through it again. That I can't lose Dad the way we lost Grandma.

There is a silver lining in all of this. The good news, we caught the cancer early. We don't know exactly what the plans of treatment are for Dad yet, but we know we'll be fighting right alongside him. He has a large number of family and friends that love him and are praying for him to be fully healed from this. In the end, God is the great physician and he is greater than ANYTHING! All we can do is lean on his word and his faithfulness, pray, pray, PRAY and believe he will carry us through this, one way or another.

I love you Dad!
 
P.S. Thanks once again to my incredibly talented sister Jenn for designing another beautiful Christmas design for me. My blog was in need of a new look and I LOVE this design! If you're interedted in putting some holiday cheer on your blog, check out Munchkin Land Designs.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Journey Of Faith

I hate the waiting game. I hate wondering if news is going to be good or bad. I mostly hate being inside my head, going back and forth convincing myself that the news is either good or bad based on how I'm feeling at the time.

It's moments like this that I know my faith always has room to grow. I believe that God IS sovereign, and in the end, he deserves praise and glory no matter what journey he decides to take us on, whether we're going through a valley or standing on top of the highest mountain.


I'm always awed by the fact that Job was able to say "“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21) after he had lost everything. I long to have that kind of faith

I'm sure by now you're thinking, what the heck does any of this have to do with Christine? Well, I'll just come out with it. Almost 3 weeks ago I got a positive pregnancy test! Yes, Caleb and I were trying, but I was not on clomid (fertility drugs) like I had been when we were trying to get pregnant before. We had only been trying for 3-4 months and I had an appointment at the end of October to ask my Dr. if I should get back on clomid. Due to the fact that this happened so fast and without drugs, I was shocked, and overjoyed! When I sit back and think about how far we've come from the day I was diagnosed with PCOS almost 10 years ago, I am in awe of how God has moved in our lives to have a family.

I'll never forget what my father-in-law said to me that night when we told him and my mother-in-law about the pregnancy. He put his arm around me and said "Welcome to another journey of faith." At the time, I thought that was an odd response to a pregnancy announcement, but in the following days and weeks I came to understand exactly what he was saying.

Getting pregnant and raising kids is a constant journey of faith. From the moment you see those first two lines telling you that you're carrying life inside of you, you have to trust and lean on God. Trust that he'll carry you and your baby through the first days, weeks, and months of pregnancy. Trust that he will give you a healthy baby and delivery. Trust that that baby will grow to be a healthy child. Trust that he will protect that child from the evils and dangers of this world.

I've lost 2 babies before (I'm thankful that if it had to happen, it happened really early in my pregnancy). Because of this, the first days, weeks and trimester are SO hard for me. It's a constant battle in my mind convincing myself that everything is or is not okay. I dry myself (and my closest friends and family) CRAZY! I feel like God has taught me a very valuable lesson this time around, and I have a whole new peace.

Have you seen Courageous? If you haven't, it's a very moving movie, you should check it out. I kind of stole one of the themes from that movie when I was thinking about the what ifs with this pregnancy.

I have to be thankful for every day that there is life. Every day that my family is together and healthy. I'm thankful that I have 2 healthy kids and that today, I have a baby growing inside of me. :) I have to believe in faith that God knows what's best for me, for Caleb, for my children and all of my loved ones.

Up to this point, we've gotten great news! We had an ultrasound yesterday and we got to see one beautiful, beating heart! We are so excited and thankful! I am a little over 6 weeks pregnant and am due July 9th. We hope and pray that God will carry this baby full term and that we'll welcome another little brother or sister to the family for Elliana and Ethan this summer.

Since we got such a great report from the Dr. and ultrasound yesterday, my Dr. doesn't need to see me again for another 4-5 weeks. I'm not used to this. I know I've been spoiled with my past pregnancies, but I'm used to having ultrasounds every 2 weeks throughout the first trimester. Caleb says this is going to be good for me, to not have that constant reassurance that everything is okay, to just pray and trust that God is taking care of our baby. I hate to admit it, but I know he's right.
I don't know what the future holds, but I trust God and his sovereignty. I have peace knowing that he's on this journey of faith with us. I'm thankful that he's given us another life to trust to him. Praise God!

I just want to add, that I have very dear friends and family that are on their own journey of infertility. They don't know yet how their story ends. Caleb and I have committed to pray for them daily. If you think of it, please pray for them. Women struggling with infertility has always been near to my heart.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dorothy and Elmo, Halloween 2012

Yesterday was a fun and exhausting day!

I'm finding that the more holidays I celebrate with little ones, the more I find myself completely wiped out at the end of the day. When you see the joy on your kid's faces, it makes every penny spent and minute planning worth it!

This year the weather was beautiful and unusually warm. Typically a Halloween in Colorado means snow and bundling the kids up so much that their costumes are covered up by coats and hats. Due to the nice weather, we got some fun outdoor shots.

Ethan's costume was a no brainer this year. Over recent weeks he has become obsessed with Elmo. I mean OBSESSED! He requests to watch ONLY Elmo movies, anytime he finds an Elmo book he'll bring it to me or Caleb and plop down on our laps to read it to him, and he can spot the smallest Elmo face on anything-even in a large, crowded store. When he spots Elmo, his face instantly lights up and he points exclaiming "Elmo!" So, naturally, Ethan HAD to be Elmo this year.

Once his costume came in the mail, he carried it around all week hugging it like a stuffed animal. When he was upset he would find his Elmo costume and snuggle it. Too funny.

It's really hard to get a good photo of your 19 month old son in constant motion. This was the best photo of Ethan I got only because Caleb was holding him. Ha!


Then there was Elliana's costume. I kind of laughed to myself when I realized that Elmo's pet fish is named Dorothy. Ellie was not Dorothy the fish. She was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Ellie has only seen the movie once or twice so I was surprised when she got attached to the idea of being Dorothy. I even tried to make other suggestions, but once she heard the idea of being Dorothy, she did not want to be anything else. I think she was most excited for me to braid her hair, something I don't do often. :)


I wanted so badly to get a good sibling shot of Ellie and Ethan next to each other, but no such luck. Again, Ethan's need to never stop moving didn't help.

This was the best one I got of my 2 kiddos:


After getting dressed up in the afternoon, we packed up the kids and headed to the Fall Festival at a nearby large church. This is the church that Caleb's school is attached to. We'd never been to the festival before and we heard it was quite the party for little ones.

We asked Jon and Jenn to join us with their 4 littles and I'm SO glad they did! We got some great cousin shots outside before heading in.

Here's the 4 oldest cousins. Aren't they adorable?!? We have Devyn as a 50's girl, Ellie as Dorothy, Hudson as a cowboy and Reagan as Tinkerbell. Ethan and Ashlynn weren't in the mood to take pictures.


Once we got inside the festival, we were amazed at how large and crowded it was! I swear, the church must have rented out every bounce castle and inflatable slide within 30 miles! There was SO much for the 4 older cousins to do that it was hard to decide where to start.

Unfortunately, these 2 little ones were just a bit too young to enjoy much of the activities. :( At least they had each other. :)

 

After spending an overwhelming hour at the festival, we went back to our house to host dinner for my parents, Caleb's parents, and Jeremy and Courtney. Jon and Jenn went home to have dinner and Trick or Treat with their neighbors, kind of a tradition. At our house we enjoyed 2 different kids of hot soup, rolls, and apple dumplings for dessert. Yum yum!

Of course Jeremy and Courtney were instructed to bring their dog Willow to play Toto to complete Ellie's costume. Ever since they got Willow, I've been saying she would make the perfect Toto and I finally had the chance to prove it. ;)


During dinner we got a few Trick or Treaters. We've never been home on Halloween before (we've always been with Jon and Jenn at their house) and it was really fun to see how many Trick or Treaters we got. We didn't expect very many since we're always saying we live in an old neighborhood and don't see very many kids around. To our surprise, we had quite a few.


After dinner we quickly took the kids in the wagon to Trick or Treat at just a few homes. We had a great time but it got pretty late quickly and after about 10 homes went back home to put the kids to bed.

I swear, the holidays just become more and more fun every year with our two sweet babes to keep us smiling and seeing life through their eyes.

I hope you had a fun and safe Halloween too!






About Me

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I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

Husband, Caleb
Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our 1st Miracle

Our 1st Miracle
Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

Our 2nd Miracle

Our 2nd Miracle
Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

Our 3rd Miracle

Our 3rd Miracle
Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.

Sisters

Sisters
We fight one day and then the next day we're fine. We're always loud and crazy when we get together. We're very passionate. We've been through it all together, lots of ups and downs. We're eachother's biggest supporters.

Followers

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