A letter to the baby we lost, while we are expecting again…

A letter to the baby we lost…

We are just a few weeks out from meeting your baby sister. And while it can feel at times that we are replacing you – we want you to know that you will never be replaced. Once your sister arrives, we will be in a new world of change and adjustment. Things will be busy and chaotic at times, but that does not mean you will be forgotten.

As we get ready to welcome her, we are being as intentional as we can about remembering you. This time last year, you were in my belly. I was talking to you, singing to you and telling your sisters all about you. On November 8th, we found out we had lost you. And the three months that followed were excruciating. It was hard enough losing you. To add to the emotional pain, there was physical pain, confusion, complications and more.

Although your memory may be filled with heartache and pain, we are committed to sharing your story to those it may help. Because at the end of the day, we realized that you went from perfection to perfection. You never had an ounce of pain and will never know any type of heartache. And while we will always miss you here, we have hope in knowing that you are with our Jesus and we will meet you one day.

When your sisters can understand, they will get to hear all about you. They’ll know your story, and we will celebrate you and look forward to meeting you. We will share with them the joy that we have in our hearts for you.

The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. Romans 8:18

Just like labor pains always end up being worth it, the pain of losing you will be worth it as well. Every tear, every complication, every sleepless night wishing we still had you – it was all worth it. YOU were worth it. You mattered from the day we saw that positive pregnancy test, and you will always matter to us.

We are 36 weeks pregnant with your sister. We may seem distracted planning for her arrival. While we are so excited to meet her, please know that she’s not a replacement, but another addition to our family. You’ll forever live in our hearts.

I’ll never run away from the pain of missing you – but rather embrace it. While this life on earth can be hard and we’ll never know why we lost you – we don’t have to know. We know you’re with Jesus, and that’s what we chose to focus on. We remind ourselves that the first time you opened your eyes – you saw Jesus. What comfort that brings us!

Read more: Pregnancy After Miscarriage

You have given us all a new outlook on true joy. We have learned to be joyful in the midst of grief and for that we are so grateful. What I want you to know most is that we miss you. We are grateful for the 12 weeks we had you, and cannot wait to see you dancing with Jesus one day. Your sisters will all dance right along with you.

Thank you for being a part of our story.

xoxo,

Dream BIG Dreams

About a year and a half ago, my husband came home from work and had this disappointed look on his face as he was looking down at our youngest daughter. He said, “When did that happen?” I looked down and realized she was sitting up. She had been doing this for about a week and I really thought he knew that. But he didn’t. He had just worked four night shifts in a row and had no idea what was happening at home. We communicated as best as we could, but he was sleeping when I was awake and it made communication very difficult.  I watched my husband’s heart break in that moment as he realized he missed yet another milestone in our daughter’s life. A baby sitting up may seem like such a small thing. But it made me go from being so grateful for his financially safe and stable job, to wishing we could figure something else out so we could have him home more. I wanted him to be included in these moments, not just tell him about them.

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It brings me to tears to think about that moment, because his heart was so broken. He was working these long hours for us, losing sleep for us, and missing moments for us. While I appreciated him for his perseverance in taking care of us, I knew something had to change. I didn’t want this for our family. He was working long hours that switched back and forth from day shift to night shift. He was doing all of this to support us, so that I could stay home and be happy with our girls. I just wasn’t ok with him being unhappy so that we could be happy. That’s when we started looking for something else.

We were able to find him a job that he could do from home. It would be a major change for our family. But through prayer and wise counsel, we decided to take the leap. We are thankful for the people that were put in our path to open those doors for us. We couldn’t have done it without the community we are in.

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This job change happened 5 months ago, and we are still in the transition period. It has been challenging, stressful and tiring at times. But by far, the most rewarding decision we have ever made. My husband has gotten so much closer to our girls, because now he has the time to spend with them. I feel so much less overwhelmed because he is there. He may be out in the office working the majority of the day, but he is there. My girls know he’s there. My three year will often ask if she can “go show Daddy” something she made. We try not to interrupt too much, but what a joy it is to tell her, “Yes, he’s in the office. Let’s go show him.” We don’t have to catch each other up on what the kids are doing because he is now doing life alongside us.

We found out we were pregnant the day after my husband put his two weeks notice in. While that added some stress to the situation, we knew that God was leading us down this path and we knew He would take care of us. After two completely healthy and normal pregnancies, the unthinkable happened, and we had a miscarriage (you can read more about that here). It was the hardest thing we have ever been through, and he was there for all of it. Every appointment, every complication that followed, my husband was right there. His job change couldn’t have happened at a better time. We didn’t have to worry about calling in or trying to get off work, then being penalized for it. He was there without question. And I can’t imagine going through that without him.

While he is in the building phase of his business, I am working more than I normally would. I am more than happy to do it, because it is a means to better end. The goal is more family time. We want to have more experiences together. We want less stuff so we can make room for the things that matter. Instead of getting a new car, we got rid of one. Instead of getting a bigger house, we are downsizing. That picture I had growing up, the one about the big house and white picket fence… I have no desire for that anymore. I just want my family. Big house or small house. We want time together. We want experiences. We want to serve together and make kingdom differences in the lives of others. We want to give of ourselves and our time freely. Our biggest goal this year is to be financially free. Completely out of debt. We are working hard to get rid of all of it. We started working on this when we got married, and I cannot wait to finally be done. I can’t wait to see the doors that will open once we are debt free.

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We are planning to sell our home and travel in an RV for at least a year. Now before you write me off as crazy because I have two toddlers, hear me out 🙂 This is something my husband and I have always talked about but never thought it could be a reality. As we are working on getting both of our businesses to be completely mobile, it’s becoming a reality! Once our businesses are able to sustain us completely online, we are getting ourselves on the road!

I want to hear about your dreams. What would you do if you weren’t held down by debt? What are your dreams that seem so far out of reach? What if you decided to go for it? What would that look like?

Love + Donuts,

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Being a Stay at Home Mom while Pursuing Your Dreams

It’s ok to be a stay at home mom and pursue your dreams!

Can we have an honest moment? I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I literally take care of my kids 24/7. No working outside of the home. Playdates a couple days a week, max. When I had my first child, I assumed that meant everything else was on hold. I’ll raise babies, then pursue my passions when they’re older. At that time I had only been a nurse for about two years and wasn’t ready to give that up completely. I found an amazing sitter for my daughter and worked one day a week until I had my second child, then worked two-three times a month after that. Initially I felt bad about that choice, but slowly realized I wasn’t making a mistake. I also had a photography business on the side, but didn’t fully dive in until about a year into my motherhood journey. There were always so many dreams and passions inside of me, I just didn’t know how to merge them with my biggest dream, which was being a mom.

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I’m only three and a half years into this motherhood thing, but God has been showing me some things that I never thought were possible. I’m realizing that when I leave my kids with someone I trust to go do something I want to do – it makes me better. I love being a nurse. Leaving my daughter once a week to go pursue something I love did not make me a bad mom, but a better mom. 

When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted to stay home with my kids if at all possible. My husband is a big supporter of that and works hard to make sure that can happen. But when these dreams came up in me I had a hard time understanding what to do with them. I loved photography and am now falling more in love with blogging each and every post, but is that ok? Will my kids be disappointed that Mom may be gone a little more than I was before?

We’ve made some major adjustments in our family. My husband went from working swing shift (12 hour shifts including days and nights) to working from home. That’s another post for another day, but the story of how we got here is definitely something I want to share. Having that kind of flexibility has opened so many doors for our family.

Here’s what happens when I spend time doing something I love:

  • I am refreshed
  • I am more kind
  • I am more patient
  • I am more understanding
  • I am more thankful
  • I feel accomplished
  • I am the best version of myself

I cannot even being to tell you the amount of joy I get from raising these two little girls. I love being able to stay home with them, love on them, clean up after and with them, take care of them. I genuinely do love fostering their gifts and holding their hands through the trying times. What I’ve realized is that along with being a mom, I have other dreams and passions I didn’t even know existed. Figuring out how to merge all of these things together has been difficult, but one thing rings true: I am a better mom when I do something for myself. And it is not selfish, by any means. Our children deserve the best version of ourselves we can give them, and if that means you start a blog, a business or another endeavor – go for it. I’m thankful we live in a world where we can pursue our passions and still stay home with our babies. Thank you, internet. I do my best to make the most of nap time and wake up before my kids so I can be present with them throughout the day. Spoiler alert – I am far from perfect at that. I’m currently nursing my youngest back to sleep so I can finish this post. You just do what you gotta do!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Meg Meeker said, “The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life is for her to see her mother doing the same.” I want my children to see me living a life that is full and focused on running this race for Christ at my highest potential. As I get a clearer perspective on this, I feel more and more at peace with the decisions I’m making for my family.


 “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 (VOICE)


If you are in the same boat, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What are my hopes and dreams?
  • Are they in line with what God wants and what the Word teaches?
  • How will pursuing them make my family better?
  • How will they make me better?
  • What will it teach my children?

To sum it up – taking time away from my kids makes me a better mom. And friends, that is ok. Let go of the guilt, let go of the pressure. You are doing a great job, and you are making eternal differences in the lives of your littles. Keep pursuing your goals, dreams and passions. There are so many ways to merge them into Motherhood. You were created this way for a reason, dreams are put in our heart for a reason. Motherhood is not a hindrance, but an open door to see what else God has for us.

To the Mom Who is Scared

As a mom of a one year old and three year old, fear has never been stronger. We need to talk about it. The enemy is attacking my heart and scaring me to raise these babies in a world like this. In a world full of so much tragedy, and so much pain.

Someone told me when I was pregnant with my first, “I don’t know why anyone would bring a child into the world we live in.” They didn’t know I was pregnant at the time, but I truly felt taken aback that someone would even think that fear would stop them from starting a family.

Now I am scared every day. The “what if’s” happen every time I leave my kids with someone else, every time we are out in a crowd somewhere, and every time I put them to bed. Fear is trying to take over my parenting.

All I can do is pray. I pray for peace. I pray for wisdom. I pray for protection. I pray for for the strength to tell fear that it is not welcome here. I will not live in fear. I will not be robbed of the joys that motherhood brings. I do not know what my children will go through in this life, but I know that if I live in fear, I will miss out on so much.

As a mom of two toddlers, I make a choice daily to focus on raising them well. Raising them kind. And raising them to know Jesus and His extraordinary love for us. There are things in this world I can’t control, but I am in control of how I raise my children and how I can love them well. I choose to focus on that. Let’s encourage each other to not live in fear. It can be tough raising babies, toddlers, teenagers. It can be scary. Let’s do our best to raise them well, raise them kind, and to tell fear it is not welcome here.


“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34


This calling of motherhood is not an easy one. But we need to remember that as we are doing dishes, picking up clothes, wiping noses and making sure everyone is fed, we are doing kingdom work. We are fulfilling the call placed on our lives to take care of our family. And what an honor. What a joy it is to be a parent. What a joy it is to have clothes to fold! And noses to wipe! Mamas, we are called to this. We can’t let fear take over our motherhood.

I will still worry, because I’m a mom and that’s what we do. But I will not let it take over my motherhood. I will do my best to focus on what I can control, rather than the things I can’t. We can’t control what is happening in our world, but we can love our families well. Let’s start there.

 

 

Don’t Wish Moments Away…

Don’t wish moments away… but what about the hard moments? I really want to wish those away. I want to skip through those and get to the good ones. The reality is that there will be hard moments throughout our motherhood journey. There most definitely, without a doubt, be hard moments. I’m only 3.5 years into this thing and the hard moments are much more present than I would prefer. I find myself thinking: “This will be easier when she’s 4, or 5, or 12.” What I’ve realized is that each age is going to be challenging. Each age will have wonderful moments and hard moments. The beauty is that those moments are just that – moments. Moments that will pass. Moments that will probably get harder before it gets better.

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I have to stop wishing these moments away. What an opportunity we are given when these hard moments come. An opportunity to lean on God and seek his face when we feel like we have nothing left. It’s such an honor to raise these little people, but it can also be a daunting task at times. I have cried out to God so many times because of these moments. He reminds me that this will pass. He surrounds me with the peace that passes all understanding. And turns out I can never understand it. How does He do that? He just wraps us up and this overwhelming peace just takes over.

Instead of wishing those moments away, I’m trying to see them as opportunities. Opportunities to hear from the Lord. To feel His presence even when things are hard. He’s teaching me that these hard moments are an opportunity to get closer to Him. I’m learning more about myself (especially my weaknesses), and in the midst of disciplining toddlers and trying to stay sane – I’m learning how to be a better person. How to be more patient and understanding. While I definitely do not enjoy this hard part of parenting, I can see what God’s doing there.  We’re disciplining our children, while God is giving us chances to grow. Now trust me, I fail at this daily. More like hourly. But when I can do it well, I can look back and thank God for giving me that opportunity to teach my children, as well as grow as a Mom.

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I’ve learned that it’s ok to not like the hard moments. That phrase, “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast” is most definitely true. But I have had some really long days, some really hard moments. And during those times I am not enjoying it. That’s ok. I remind myself often that it’s ok to not enjoy the moments that are frustrating and confusing. I remind myself that these children are just longing to be heard and understood. They want us to hear them so badly. Am I? Am I really listening to their heart? Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp talks deeply about this. The root of the problem is in their heart. So many times when I want to react to a behavior, I try to stop myself to figure out what’s really going on. Number one, are they hungry? Number two, are they tired? If we rule these out then we can really start searching.

In those hard moments when I really don’t want to search their heart, I’ve realized that’s when I’m missing it. I’m missing an opportunity to learn more about my child and their heart. My oldest is three and she able to let me know what’s going on. I may have to translate it for someone else, but I totally get her. I try to take that opportunity to hear her, really hear her and figure out what the root of the problem is. Because their behaviors are just that – moment by moment changing emotions that take over and come out through their behavior. But what about what’s underneath that behavior? Sinful nature, yes. But what else? I’m diving deep into this, and I pray that you will come along with me. Share what you’re learning about this things called motherhood. Let me know how we can better search our child’s heart instead of just the surface of their behavior.

Thank you so much for being here and hearing my heart. Comment below and let me know your thoughts on this topic. We Mama’s have to help each other out!

photography by Love + Covenant

How Motherhood is Sanctifying Me

I knew my marriage would sanctify me, but motherhood? That was a curve ball. I didn’t realize motherhood would bring out sides of me I never knew were there. It has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done – and I once ate an entire pizza in one sitting. But seriously, it made me really check myself.

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Here are some ways it’s sanctified me so far:

1. It’s made me more patient

Lord, has it. Patience was my thing, I really thought I had it down. Then the toddler years hit. I think most of us think we would handle things much better than we actually do. I try to give myself grace, but sometimes I find myself thinking – “Who are you? Why are you so impatient?” Grace, grace and more grace please. I’ve learned so much about God’s grace in these times. I’ve asked my kids to forgive me many times. If I’m teaching them to do that – I need to do the same.

2. I am more understanding

So much more understanding. You know when you’re checking out at the grocery store and your toddler sees all the goodness right at eye level tempting them? And they aren’t quite to the point yet where they understand that if Mommy says no the world will not end? And then the college student behind you gives you the stank eye? I was that person. I was the one thinking: “Get it together lady.” Well, now I get it. Now when that happens to someone else I give the look of: “It’s ok mama, it happens to all of us.” It’s made me realize that we are all doing our best at this thing called motherhood. Let’s build each other up, let’s lighten each other’s loads.

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3. It’s made me seek after God more than ever

Because what else can we do? There have been times when I have sought after the Lord more than others. But nothing has brought me to my knees more than being a mom. I desire to do this job well. To raise these little people to be disciples for the Lord. I can only do that if I am being a good example for them. What I teach them – I try my best to do myself. I am so thankful for a Father that welcomes us with open arms, even when we are on the hot mess express.

4. It’s made me respect my husband more

I can usually handle a lot on my plate. Or I thought I could. But in the times where I have felt helpless with my girls, or when we are going through a really challenging time – my husband has stepped up. It has brought out a side of him I didn’t know was there. He takes the reigns and picks up the pieces. He wipes my tears and tells me we are going to be alright. There are a lot of reasons I respect him, but this one tops them all.

5. Because I know they are watching me, I think twice

I used to teach a 3rd-5th grade Sunday School class. I would go home after class and think about the lesson. I would ask myself, “Am I doing that in my own life?” The lessons were basic Biblical principles, but it really makes you think when you are teaching someone else. It’s the same with my girls. We preach kindness, patience and love. Am I exemplifying those things? Am I practicing what I preach?

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6. It’s challenged me to simply be better

In all areas of my life. In my marriage – I desire for my marriage to be a good example for our girls. To know what it means to respect each other and put each other first. It’s challenged me in my friendships. I have become less judgmental and more supportive. It’s made me a better person all around. Here’s to you, motherhood!

 

Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear how is motherhood sanctifying you. Drop a comment below! 

Tackling Your Goals: 2018

It’s that time of year again. We are ready for a fresh start. Another chance to tackle our goals. I found myself writing down my goals for this year and thinking, “are these really going to happen?” I felt hopeful, but unsure.

The only person that can complete my goals is me. Captain obvious wanted to send a quick reminder. We are in control of this. We may be knee deep in laundry, diapers, and legos. But we are still in control of tackling our goals. And it is possible!

Every year I pray that God will send me a word. Just one word that I need to focus on for 2018. I kept coming back to the word “Simplify.” That’s what my goals will center around this year. Simplifying my home, my schedule, and my life. As moms, I feel as if we live in this overwhelmed state. The “I can’t catch up because I don’t even know where to start” mentality. I’ve made a few changes in our routine and gotten rid of SO MUCH STUFF in the past few months. Why are we holding onto all this stuff? I kid you not – at least 20 trash bags have gone out of my house and into the homes of others that were in need. And guess what – I don’t miss it. I don’t regret it. Emily Ley, author of A Simplified Life recommends that you only hold onto the best, the favorite and the necessary. That made my decluttering process so much easier. To learn more about simplifying, I highly recommend reading A Simplified Life. Game changer for sure.

Another goal we have for this year is to spend more quality time together. My husband started working from home a few months ago. It has been wonderful having him around more, but not without its challenges. We had to really buckle down on our schedules to give each other work hours as well as some quality time together. We deemed Friday night as family night. I don’t cook (can I get an amen?) and we either order take out or go treat ourselves somewhere. Whatever we do – we stay off our phones and devote our time to each other. And before you start romanticizing that idea, remember that we have two toddlers. It’s quality, yet chaotic time together. But we make the most of it.

We also decided on twice a month date nights. Unfortunately, my parents and my husband’s parents live out of state. Between paying a babysitter and what we spend on the date – we decided to limit it to two a month. Another way my husband and I try to spend time together is in the car. Once the girls are buckled in and (hopefully) happy, it’s a great chance for us to catch up.

What are your goals for 2018? Comment  below so we can encourage each other to make and complete our goals this year!! Can’t wait to hear from you.