Friday, June 27, 2014

Final Post

This will be my last post. Thank you for reading and most importantly sharing in my journey over the past two years. I pray I've been a blessing to you.

For His Glory,


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Life After Death: Finding Treasure in Your Trials

In August it’ll be two years since it happened. You often hear birth stories but rarely hear about the pregnancies that never lead to births.

I was 29 years old when we lost our second child. I thought I knew what I was doing with my life, felt like I had the "bull by the horns." Everything was planned out, right down to our dogs' names (we had no dogs, by the way - still don't). But these words changed everything...

"It looks like you're going to have a miscarriage." 

I only remember bits and pieces of what the doctor said after that. I couldn't believe what was happening. I suddenly felt very empty. Embarrassed. Ashamed. My mind struggled to make sense of it all. Why was this happening? How could God let this happen to me? 

I'll never forget our nurse, Beth. She was definitely our angel that night in the ER. As she prepared me to be discharged, she looked me in the eye and offered sincere sympathy for our loss. A mother of two, I could feel her hurting with me. The Christ-like compassion that flowed from her every word and gesture was exactly what my soul needed in that moment.

I don't remember the ride to pick up Nya, our daughter. She was asleep on the couch when we got to my in-laws' house. I remember kneeling beside her, trying to control my sobbing as I kissed her and held her close. For the first time I realized that her life was a miracle, and I was so grateful to hold her in my arms as she slept peacefully.

The days that followed were dark. I had chosen to forego the procedure and allow my body to carry out the miscarriage on its own. I didn't know when it would happen. The wait was painful. Even though the life inside me had already passed on, it felt like I was waiting for someone to die. 

Then early that Tuesday morning I was awakened by pains in my belly. I knew it was time. My body was ready to let go of the past. Somewhere in my heart, I was ready to allow God to begin healing me spiritually and emotionally.

After the miscarriage, I wrote these words in my journal:

These past six days have been some of the most trying since I've started walking with You. And yet, through it all, You have sustained me, kept me...Lord, I am humbled by Your greatness and I thank you for everything - the trials and the blessings that came about
 because of the trials. Thank you, Lord. Show me how You want me to use this trying experience to bring You glory, Lord. I know that everything has a purpose, Lord, and that Your purposes are always good.

I am here to encourage you today. Whenever you face a trial, don't allow it to make you bitter. Instead turn to God's Word. There you will find hope, truth, discernment, comfort, wisdom...anything you need. Going through a miscarriage was one of the greatest trials of my life. I felt like someone had pulled the rug out from underneath me, and I hit the ground...hard. At the time I didn’t understand why God would allow that into my life. Looking back, I realize that He was humbling me. He showed me that I need Him more than anyone or anything.

God can take our brokenness and transform it into something beautiful...if we will let Him. This transformation often doesn’t happen overnight, but rather through a continuous relationship with Him.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" 
~ Jeremiah 29:11

On September 17, 2013 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Ava Nancy!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 Steps to Super Soft, Healthy Hair

I'm a foodie at heart, so the best way I could think to describe the process is like this...
It's like a coconut oil sandwich stuffed with a protein conditioner and a moisturizing deep conditioner.

Yes, I'm serious!! 

I've done this twice. The first time I bet it all on science and hoped for the best. But after getting the same awesome results a second time, I just had to share!! My entire method is a bit time-consuming so
 I've broken it down into five easy steps for achieving uber soft, moisturized, healthy hair:

Step 1: Start with a coconut oil pre-poo under a plastic cap for 1-2 hours (or under the dryer for 15-30 minutes).

Step 2: After shampooing, apply ApHogee Keratin 2-Minute Reconstructor (this is a light protein conditioner).

Step 3: Top the ApHogee conditioner with a deep (moisturizing) conditioner. Cover with a plastic cap for 1-2 hours (or sit under the dryer for 30 minutes).

Step 4: Detangle with a wide-toothed comb then rinse thoroughly. 
Step 5: Apply coconut oil liberally to each section prior to applying your leave-in conditioner.
I'm a huge fan of low-maintenance or "protective" styling. After step 5, I'll apply my finishing products then set my hair in chunky twists. I'll leave the twists in until the following week or I'll take them out and rock a twist-out for a few days. By allowing my hair to air dry in twists, I'm helping lock in the moisture from the products. You'll probably achieve the best results with this method by setting your hair in the protective style of your choice.
I usually pull my twists into a high, messy bun.
I could go into the science behind this method, but I don't want to bore you. Bottom line, this coconut oil sandwich thing works GREAT! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pulling My Hair Out

[This post was written a few days ago.]

I've wanted to pull my hair out several times this week. Seriously.

I've been missing my quiet time this week. I like to rise early before Puuddy (our oldest daughter) so I can spend some time with Jesus. I've learned that this time is vital - it sets the tone for my entire day. So when she started waking up before 8am this week, I was irked. Like, seriously on the edge of freaking out. And to make it worse, she hasn't been napping either. Awesome. The result? One absolutely fried and stressed out mama. (If you're a mom then you're probably sitting there nodding, thinking oh yeah, I've been there before....) 


Now this has nothing to do with my daughter's sleeping habits and everything to do with the fact that the enemy is a thief...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10

I'd been gaining some good ground in my walk with Christ during my quiet time. Not to mention the fruit of peace and joy that that time was bearing in my household. And this makes the enemy mad. No - furious

"Enemy?" you ask. "What enemy?"

If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ then you have an enemy and he is Satan, or the devil. He wants to rob you of the very life that Jesus offers.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

Oh yes, he's real. I'm seeing that more clearly now. The more I try to deepen my walk with Jesus, the more hell breaks loose. 

And so there's this constant need for me to go back, to return to the feet of Jesus, repenting of my selfish, sinful ways and seeking the cleansing and healing that only Jesus can give. Otherwise I make myself vulnerable to the enemy's attacks. But it's so easy for me to slip; to ignore the gentle nudging of Jesus to turn to Him. Honestly it's easier for me to whine and complain, allowing the enemy to gain a stronghold and steal my joy. But to experience the abundant life that Jesus offers, we have to fight for it - daily. Sometimes several times a day. But it's worth fighting for. Oh, is it worth it!

Back to this morning...

As Puuddy made her way to the top of the stairs before 7:30am, I felt my heart sink at the thought of missing my quiet time yet again. Any joy or hope for the day quickly evaporated, and I was about to give way to the bitterness and anger that so conveniently presented themselves to me. 

And then I saw it. The pattern. Morning on top of morning of missed quiet time that resulted in stressful, teary-eyed and lifeless days. By their fruit you will recognize them...(Matthew 7:16a). This isn't the life that Jesus promises us. 

"What is the fruit of what you're experiencing? What is its effect? If it continues, what will the results of that be? What will be lost?...Is something being stolen? That's not from God...Look at the fruit - it will give you a good idea of the tree it came from."
 ~ John Eldredge, Walking with God

The thief was having a field day and I was almost blind to his schemes. Before I realized it was an attack, I'd lost my will to pray. I was becoming weary and spiritually exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was pray. And that's exactly what the enemy wanted, by the way. But once I recognized the pattern and saw the attack for what it was, somehow it became easier to endure and, most importantly, pray. As I prayed, I could feel the life of Christ returning to my body. Relief. Healing. Peace. The more I spoke God's promises over myself and worshipped Him, the better I felt. I couldn't just hope that my mood would improve and joy would return. I had to make an effort. I had to claim it.

"If you walk with God, you will find yourself called up to the real thing. Intense battle. Authentic joy. 
The battle will find you. 
But you have to be intentional about the joy." 
~ John Eldredge, Walking with God

I have to learn to be intentional about my joy. My life literally depends on it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year - Don't Miss the Moments

I'm struggling to write this post because I know you're expecting me to say, "Happy New Year!" or "I'm so excited for 2014!"...but really, I haven't been all that excited about the new year. Not because I'm not looking forward to what God has in store for this year, but because I don't believe a new calendar year is the only time for new beginnings. Every morning we are given the gift of a new beginning, a clean slate, a fresh start. 

That's why I've never been a fan of new year's resolutions. I don't believe you have to wait for a new year to make changes in your life; you can begin making changes any time, even right now. After all, tomorrow isn't promised to us. All we have is today. I'm sure you've heard that before, but have you ever let it really sink in? I used to live for the future, for the life that I thought I wanted to live, until I realized that in living that way I was missing my life now - giggling and acting silly with my daughters, cuddling with my husband...all the beautiful, sweet moments that I'll forever cherish in my memory. I decided that instead of cashing in my present for a future that I may never see, I would choose to live today

Puuddy loves to wrestle Daddy!
Sure, it's important to set goals and have a vision for your life. But I beg you, don't miss today. Don't miss the moments. This life we're living is a precious gift. Don't waste it.

Every morning we are given the gift of a new beginning, a clean slate, a fresh start. 

Good morning!

Me & the Hubster on NYE. We rang in the New Year
via streaming video! That was a first!
Not even 4 months old and she's already teething!!!

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