The Bible According to Devyn

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 7 Comments A+ a-

Everyone should have children if for no other reason than they get to tell some hilarious stories. Like the one I'm going to share here.

I have a favorite spot to have my quiet times. It involves pillows and sitting by the fireplace. Add a cup of my hazel nut coffee and its my happy place. Without fail, the children will wake up, rubbing sleep from their eyes, and stumble into the living room to find me in my spot.

Tonight Devyn came into the living room with the pink Precious Moments bible from my childhood. I'd gifted her with it and you'd think I'd handed her the moon.

So as I sat on the couch nursing Reagan, I watched as Devyn settled herself in my quiet time spot. "I'm going to read the bible," she announced and laid the bible open on her lap.

Soon she was babbling away, "reading" to herself and Hudson who had decided to sit next to her. I then decided to start listening more closely to what she was saying.

She turned a page. "This page says you will die, Hudson." There was a pause. "You will die and I am the truth."

Devyn turned another page.

"This page says Jesus had a birthday party." Another pause. And then she continued. "Party, party, party!"

The sound of another page turning.

"And this page says parents must spank your children."

Oh yeah, the tears were streaming as I shook with quiet laughter. Moments like those make this life so much fun!


Meet Gracie

Monday, September 28, 2009 7 Comments A+ a-

Meet Gracie.

She's a Bernese-Mountain-Border-Collie mix.

She is Jon's early Christmas gift.

Yes, she's going to be big.

Yes, I can't believe we're doing this either.

Yes, we are certifiably crazy.

But she is so very cute!

She might come home this next weekend.

Let the true chaos begin.


Forced to Play Along

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

So Courtney is forcing Christine and I to do this award/meme and I’m being threatened to be disowned if I don’t play along. (Not really, but you should know that I am being forced to participate.)

Instead of going into the award, I’m just going to go ahead and list seven things you may or may not know about me. Here goes nothing.

  1. I am sort of sad about how this third pregnancy seems to have permanently altered my body. It’s not so much the extra ten pounds that refuse to leave, I could live with that, but the fact that my hips are forever and always changed. They weren’t this wide after having Devyn or Hudson, but now I can’t even pull my former pants over my new dang hips!

  2. I submitted the first two chapters of a novel I wrote to a literary agent. It was one of the most nerve-racking things I’ve ever done. I did hear back from her and was given some great feedback. I basically need a new storyline, one not so closely resembling my real life. Any ideas?

  3. I don’t think I get my children breakfast fast enough in the mornings. Its not unusual to walk into the kitchen to see a chair next to the counter and a trail of cookie/chip crumbs leading to two little kids chomping away on an unhealthy snack before breakfast.

  4. Did I mention that we forgot Devyn’s coat for school yesterday? Chalk another one up for Mom of The Year.

  5. As much as I bemoan my new, post-partum body, I am so ready to do it again. In fact, this is the current topic that’s hotly debated in our house, whether or not to go for number four. Because I come from a family of four, I have always wanted four children. However, Jon is pretty much done. But seriously, who is going to regret another child? (I love you, Babe!)

  6. Mom never served us asparagus while growing up and so I find it strange that it is one of my favorite vegetables now. Especially coated in butter and garlic salt, and then grilled on the barbeque. Hmmm… actually, I’m sure those added ingredients have completely countered any nutritional value whatsoever.

  7. I’m currently sitting at the computer, while Devyn and Hudson have gone off to BSF (an intense bible study) with my mom, Nana, and Reagan is sleeping on my chest. Her pacifier is sitting half-way in her mouth and halfway out. Her legs are curled under her body so her little bum is sticking out. Have I mentioned that this is one of my favorite pastimes of all time, and I could sit here all day, just watching my youngest sleep?!

Ok, there you have it. An additional seven things that you are glad (or not) to know about me. Happy now, Court?


The Ugly Side

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 4 Comments A+ a-

My Devyn Paige,

I love our bedtime chats. I love staring at the smattering of freckles across your nose and cheeks. I love the green of your eyes, and the way the amber flecks light up when you're happy or excited. But most of all, I love the insight into who you are as a person. I love the glimpses of your heart and soul, and in those moments, my love for you consumes me. You are so beautiful, Devyn Paige, from the inside out.

But last night you asked a question during our bedtime chat and my heart fell; it actually broke a little.

We'd been talking about our neighbors, about making cookies and delivering them to each neighbor's house. "Mama," you asked. "Why doesn't his mommy live with him and his daddy?" And just like that, I knew my answer was going to take away some of the innocence your daddy and I have tried so hard to protect.

I explained as best I could, Paige. Giving you an honest answer, using words that you'd understand, trying to simplify a very complex topic, all the while wishing I didn't have to tackle this issue with you yet. I could see the wheels in your head turning, trying to process why mommies and daddies would stop loving each other. There were no dancing flecks of amber as your eyes grew sad and thoughtful. At one point, tears shimmered in your eyes, but they refused to fall, as you asked, "But why, Mama?" And that, Love, is something I don't have an answer for.

We were nearing the end of our chat, but I could see you needed some reassurance. As I tucked you in, I knelt beside your bed and traced my fingers along your cheek. I wondered at how you've grown, remembering when I could cup your head in the palm of my hand. I leaned in and whispered into your ear. "Your daddy and I love each other very much. We are committed to each other and our family, Devyn Paige. We made promises to stay together and we will." I leaned back and smiled into your face. Such a sense of relief in your eyes and you smiled back.

I kissed you good-night, turned off your light, and made it to the hall before tears pricked my own eyes. This life is not easy, its very hard. There are many ugly sides to it and your daddy and I have done our best to shelter you and your brother and sister from as much of it as possible. But tonight, Miss Paige, a little of your innocence was lost.

And it broke my heart.


Miscellaneous, Etc.

Friday, September 18, 2009 6 Comments A+ a-

[Edited to add that I really appreciate the sweet comments, and please know that I do cut myself a lot of slack. =) Really. I'm just poking fun at myself because I know that with Devyn being the first in school, there HAS to be a learning curve. Right?!

And secondly, it turns out I hadn't left my breast pump behind after all! Which would be wonderful news, except that I'd already made Jon drive all the way back to retrieve it for me, only to discover it behind the driver's seat in the van. See... I am tired!]

Three Reasons I’m Not Winning Mother-of-the-Year:
  • Miss Andrea had to pull me aside last week when I dropped Devyn off for school. “I just wanted to remind you that if you pack Devyn’s lunch, could you include a drink with it?” I just stared at her dumb-founded. She continued, “We’ve been giving her water, but maybe you could give her money for milk, or include a water bottle, or something.” Seriously?! How on earth did I totally space something as basic as a drink?!
  • I went to pick Devyn up from school and Miss Mary met me at the door. “I don’t want to alarm you,” she started, “but Devyn fell during recess today.” She hastened to reply, “She’s ok! But in the future, if she wants to wear dress shoes to school, maybe you could include some tennis shoes for recess too.” These teachers must be thinking that I’m a total idiot at this point.
  • When taking a shower this week, I put Reagan in my bedroom while the older kids were watching cartoons. I didn’t take into consideration the fact that older siblings can open doors and did. By the time I got out of the shower, Reagan was nowhere to be found. Only when I hear laughter coming from the swing set, did I venture outside. Lo and behold, Reagan was sitting in the grass watching her brother and sister. I’m in big trouble with that one.

Three Signs You Are Very, Very Tired:

  • After pouring myself a cup of coffee this morning, I put the carafe away and went into the living room. When I went back into the kitchen, I couldn’t find the carafe anywhere. I opened the cabinet and discovered that I had placed the carafe on the shelf.
  • I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and discovered a very unusual taste to my toothpaste. It was then that I realized I had used the kids’ bubblegum toothpaste by accident.
  • I forgot the breast pump today. I am going to be in severe pain by noon.

And lastly, Courtney’s Blog Design Give Away is ending today. So hop on over and enter to win a custom blog design from yours truly!


I'm Listening - Part 1

Thursday, September 17, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

I am up to my ears in study right now, and loving every minute of it. Never before has God brought a theme into my life so clearly as right now. In the midst of three different books, the theme is recurring and shouting so loudly I can’t hear anything else. I’m being brought to my knees in a way I’ve never have before. All three books are astounding in and of themselves, but together, how could I not hear what God is telling me?!

Curious? Here they are.

unChristian by David Kinnaman
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Daniel by Beth Moore

Want to know the theme?

All three touch on the fact that in America today, in our culture today, one cannot tell the difference between the non-Christian and the self-proclaimed Christian as they stand side-by-side. One proclaims to love and follow Jesus, the other does not, and yet the way we, as Christians, live our lives look no different to anyone. Ouch, huh?

What would someone say about your life? Do you live in such a way that God is evident, that His fingerprints are every where in your life? I shudder to think what others think of my life as a Christian, as someone who claims to love God. I can say with certainty that I have fallen so very short of bringing glory to the true, Living God.

Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like “hypocritical,” “insensitive,” and “judgmental,” young Americans share an impression of Christians that’s nothing short of . . . unChristian.

unChristian has been one of the most enlightening, convicting books I have read in some time. The Barna Group conducted extensive studies and research into the insights of a young generation (ages 16 up to 29) regarding Christians and their faith.

It’s not pretty.

I am not a logical person by any means. I would much rather deal with emotions and feelings than look at statistics, dry numbers, and logic. Yet even this book has grabbed me by the throat and refuses to let go. The numbers, the percentages are shocking! And convicting. The hardest part to process is that the numbers don’t lie.

My first reaction to the book was simple. Why should I care what the world thinks of us as Christians? Isn’t Jesus pretty clear in that the world will hate us, is supposed to hate us? But I love how David Kinnaman addresses those concerns right off the bat. We NEED to care, folks, because in order to connect with our peers, our contemporaries, we need to understand them and their thoughts about us. Not only to connect with them, but to start changing ourselves from the inside out to truly reflect who God has called us to be to the world!

You won’t like the book, I can almost guarantee that. It seems to fly against everything we have ever been brought up to believe, but the book is necessary to make changes in our own lives! And that’s where the book Crazy Love picks up.

Don’t you love it when everything seems to intertwine together? More on Crazy Love at another time. But I highly suggest, no I urge you, to grab unChristian and be open to what God may want you to learn from it.


Some Gratefuls

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

Since going part-time at my other job, our income has taken a significant hit. Not to mention that Jon is being forced to take furlough days (days off without pay) these next few months, and we're having to shave even more out of our budget. Its tight, really, really tight.

But truth be told, both Jon and I are loving it. Its forcing us to take stock in what we truly need and take comfort in the blessings we have surrounding us every day. Some things I'm so very grateful for:
  • The way my hand automatically reachs for the crook of Jon's elbow during church.
  • Smiling as his arm snakes around my waist and pulls me in closer during prayers.
  • Reagan's smile and the way her eyes light up when she sees me for the first time after a nap.
  • Hudson's little voice as he tests out new words every day.
  • The excitement in Devyn's voice as she announces she was line-leader at school that day.
  • Cracking open my bible in the dark of the cool morning, smiling as I imagine the warm breath of God as He spoke those words into being.
  • The quiet of my mornings with Him, wondering what truths He's going to speak to me today.
  • Loving that Jon and I still manage to flirt and tease one another 12 years into this journey as a couple.
  • Laughing as the four of us ran throughout the house in a water fight last week.
  • Soothing Reagan as she watched, unsure of this rough play, not entirely sure she liked it.
  • In awe of Devyn and her unfiltered approach to school and faith. Announcing to her classmates and teachers that "I'm going to bible study with Nana tomorrow."
  • The quiet afternoons when Devyn is at school and Hudson and Reagan are napping. A whole two hours to myself, to do what I want.
  • Reflecting on the theme God is speaking to me right now; it is coming through loud and clear.
  • The smell of my hazelnut coffee. Now there is a heavenly smell!
  • Girlfriends.
  • The announcement of so many new babies coming into the world! Blessings indeed!!
  • The gift of a swingset, and the hours of laughter spilling in from the backyard.

Yes, friends, life is so very good right now!!


From My Draft Pile

Monday, September 14, 2009 8 Comments A+ a-

I found this in my draft pile, and decided now was good as time as any to share.

This subject has been heavy on my heart since, well, as long as I've been a mother really. It is a subject that is dear to my heart, and one that I feel needs to be addressed from time to time. It is a subject as old as time, and one that affects all of us as mothers, or even parents. Please hear my heart on this.

From the moment I saw two pink lines when I was pregnant with Devyn, I was inundated with parental/mothering advice. Do this, read this, don't do that, etc. etc. It was overwhelming to say the least. I read Baby Wise and Dr. Sears, I read 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' and The Sleep Whisperer, I listened to all sorts of unsolicited suggestions, and eventually started taking everything with a grain of salt. Everything was all well-intentioned, even if misguided at times.

We soon had a clear idea of how exactly we would parent, what we would and would not tolerate, a great base of what wonderful parents we would be. And then Devyn was born.

Our great plan flew out the window, and we found ourselves doing things we swore we'd never do.

I don't write much about my parenting style on here. I'm sure you get a good idea from pictures or stories I share, but there's a reason I'm hesitant to share my parenting style with you all. And here's the reason why. Our way is not the right way, nor is it the wrong way. It is just our way!

My only advice to new, expecting moms is summed up in one or two sentences. "Go with your gut! It won't steer you wrong." There are so many debates out there. Breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding; working mom vs. stay-at-home-mom; cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers; feeding on a schedule vs. feeding on demand; co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping; Attachment Parenting vs. Baby Wise; to vaccinate or not. And it doesn't end when they're babies, the debates continue on to include spanking vs. time-outs; home-schooling vs. public schooling; TV vs. No TV rules; etc. It can become mind-numbing, not to mention feelings of inferiority or superiority.

Guess what? There is no right way; there is just your way.

You may make one decision regarding your child, only to find out that you're not at peace with it. It's ok to change your mind. You may love the idea of Attachment Parenting, but when it comes time to practice it, you just can't do it. It doesn't feel right. That's ok! Change your style. Picks pieces from this theory, pieces from that theory, mish-mash everything until you find something you're comfortable with. There is no golden rule to parenting, its every parent trying to do their best by their children.

Ladies, this is where my heart begs to be heard, we all struggle with raising these beautiful blessings God gave us. We question our decisions every day! We wonder if we're going to cause irreparable harm to our children in how we choose to parent them. This is hard work! But we have enough on our plate, without adding to another mother's portion. We have enough doubt in our abilities to parent, without having another question/judge our decisions too. Where is the grace for each other, when we've been given grace we don't deserve from a much higher authority?

I hope that I never come across as having all the answers, because I don't. I'm just doing the best that I can, with the tools I've been given, to raise loving, humble, Christ-following children.


Catching You Up

Thursday, September 10, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

Oh so many things have been taking place in our household while I was on a 30-day reminiscing journey. Here’s just a brief summary of same latest happenings in our household:

Devyn started preschool last week and loving it! Do you remember when I struggled with this decision last year? Well, this year it wasn’t such a hard decision, for two reasons. One, she still needs to work with a speech therapist and this will allow her that. And two, she is ready! She has been asking to go to school all summer, and is even asking me to teach her to read. She is ready for this and I couldn’t deny her this opportunity. It was a very surreal experience dropping her off on the first day.

My husband Jon has decided to quit chewing after having the habit for 15 years! (Yes, I’m sure you’re doing the math in your head, and yes, he was quite underage when he started. That would explain all the groundings he received in high school, including a summer-long grounding. But addiction is hard to quit!) We (and I’m saying “we” because this is truly a joint effort here) are on our 7th day of no nicotine and I couldn’t be prouder of my husband. I believe we’ve gotten over the hardest part of it, with the worst day being my birthday (but that’s ok, this was the best present he could have given me). I am so very happy!!

(Someone had to dress up like Devyn on her first day of school.)

Hudson, oh my Hudson! Wow! Does the kid ever stop?! And the answer is no! He may be lacking growth in the weight department, but he no doubt has made up for it in length. My little man seriously grew an inch or two within two months time. So at two and a half years old, he is already quite the string-bean. He is talking all the time, which makes Jon and I so thrilled. He is saying so many words!!

After subjecting Hudson to numerous tests, specialists, appointments, and the collection of numerous stool samples, we’re happy to report that everything has come back normal. Every single test! You can’t see me, but I’m doing the happy dance! Of course one specialist wants to continue pursuing the issue with more tests, but Jon and I have drawn our line in the sand. We’re done, Hudson’s done, and he is just small. If any other symptoms come up, we’ll be happy to pursue more answers at that time. But for now, we’re going to let him enjoy being a child, and a small child at that.

Jon’s brother, Brock, proposed to his girlfriend of almost two years and she said yes!! No wedding date has been set yet but we’re so excited to welcome Aunt Holly to the family. Didn’t he pick out a gorgeous ring?!

Reagan, oh my Reagan! She is now eight months old and into everything!! If it’s on the floor, she will put it in her mouth. Not to mention how many times I’ve had to intercept chips, fruit loops, and cheeze-its from her generous, giving siblings. She is crawling everywhere! If I can’t find her, she has likely found her way into one of her sibling’s rooms. Or in the kitchen. Or in our room. Or the bathroom. You get my point. She is also pulling herself up to a standing position and walking the length of couches, chairs, even walls. My life has changed drastically in these past weeks. She is the littlest, pudgiest baby I’ve ever birthed. Tiny as can be (still in the 5th-10th percentile), but has the chubbiest legs and belly you’ve ever seen. She is smart too! She will “brush” her hair after watching me do Devyn’s hair and when I’m folding laundry, she’ll take clothes and try to put them over her head. I think this one is going to keep me on my toes.

(This is it, except mine's pink.)

I’m trying to figure out this beautiful new phone. One of the detriments of Jon quitting chewing has been his lack of concentration. Thus far, he has lost his cell phone, a Nalgene bottle, sunglasses, his wallet, the remote control, and a USB cord. This is driving us all crazy!! However most everything has been found, with the exception of the phone, the cord, and the remote control. (The Nalgene bottle was in the Lost and Found at Walmart. Oops!) SOOOO… a trip to the cellphone place was in order; we were eligible for a free upgrade on our account and given a wonderful 2-for-1 deal. Of course, I have no idea what I’m doing or how to use it, so it mostly sits there and looks pretty.

I’m racking my brain, trying to see if I’ve left anything out…


I’m enjoying the blog designing business I have on the side. I’ve added some new designs to the gallery, if you want to check them out. And Courtney conned me out of a giveaway, so you’ll have to check out her blog in the next few days. I told Jon this is something I could do all day long, and never get bored. So I’m having fun!

I believe that’s it. Life is good and I am blessed! And if you think of it, would you pray for me? I can feel the shift of hormones inside my body, which usually brings on the worst of the post-partum. So far I have not seen depression in sight, but I’m starting to feel the effects of anxiety and that’s never a fun emotion to deal with. I thank you in advance.

I really am done now.



Snapshots of the Big 30

Monday, September 07, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

The gorgeous sapphire necklace that Mom and Dad gave me!

The family and friends who came out for my big night.

Love that frosted-green grin Devyn Paige!

Hudson helped me blow out all 30 candles!


My 30th Birthday

Sunday, September 06, 2009 7 Comments A+ a-

First of all, do you all like the birthday present I gave myself? I saw that silhouette of the family on iStock and just had to have it!!

I woke up early this morning. For whatever reason, even though I had the opportunity to sleep in (it is my birthday after all), I just couldn’t. I don’t know what I expected when I woke up, maybe an epiphany regarding my thirty years on this earth, maybe a more responsible self, but I felt the same as when I went to bed last night. Nothing different there.

As hard as it was to post something every day, I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share and reflect on my thirty years on this earth. Some memories made me smile and laugh, some made my heart feel so full it could burst, and others brought me to my knees, either from pain or shame or sorrow. But as much as I’d love to go back and do some things differently, they have made me who I am today.

I have vacillated between many feelings about turning 30; I have wavered between dread, curiosity, acceptance, and yes, even excitement. There’s something about leaving your twenties behind, knowing full well that I’ve stepped over the threshold into true adulthood. Yes, I’ve had a mortgage for two years, yes, I’m a mama to three beautiful children, and Jon and I have traveled this journey of marriage for seven years, so I guess technically, I’ve been an adult for some time. Yet, just the same, there’s a bittersweet feeling to saying good-bye to my twenties.

And yet, as I turn the page of a new decade, I’m excited at the prospects and possibilities that lay before me. So much of my twenties were spent trying to figure out who I was, what I valued in life, and there were many, many, detours to get to this path. But now, on the threshold of my thirties, I am a more confident, capable woman than I was ten years ago. I know who I am, what I believe, what I value, what is important to me. And I intend to live out my thirties making those things a high priority. The possibilities are endless!

I look in the mirror and see a woman who may be going a little gray around the temples, the laugh lines are etching in a little deeper, my body has borne three beautiful babies and no longer has the elasticity of an early twenty-something. But I am a woman who has loved deeply, and been loved in return. Is there nothing more important than that? I looked around the restaurant tonight, the room filled to the brim with family and friends, all of whom mean so much to me, and I know I am blessed.

Here’s to another year on the calendar and an upcoming year full of promise and possibility.


30 Years - Year 29

Saturday, September 05, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

It only seems appropriate to end this 30-Day Countdown with Kamma Lynn. Ah, my dear, sweet Kamma. She and I met at eight years old, in church. There was an instant connection!

Like most friendships, ours ebbs and flows. But no matter what, we can always pick up right where we left off. I know that if I ever need her, she’ll be there in a heartbeat.

When I first read your request for stories and memories about you the first thing I thought of was when I cut your hair...makes me smirk and giggle every time I think about it.:)

I have so many memories, though, you are either a main character or at least play a cameo part in most of my childhood and growing up memories.

Highlights: running around, playing hide-n-seek, hiding in the sauna, Sunday School (where Jeremy always knew ALL of the answers!) at the "health club church" where we met as 8yr olds; Sunflower so many...sleepovers, your mom always cooking us breakfast in the morning, truth or dare, peeking giggly in your moms dresser drawer (you know the one), playing in the garage, in the backyard, keeping a safe distance from your dad (he used to be so scary ;)), talking about boys, playing "college", singing and dancing around your bedroom, the fishtank room, Christy Miller and our "Todd"s, you (secretively) drinking vinegar, your moms fresh out of the oven ginger bread cookies (YUM!), dreaming together about what our lives would be like when we grew up...friends forever.

And that's just elementary school. Junior High, High School and beyond, so many laughs, friends, fights, boys, church camps, dances, lessons, adventures together, talks; bad and good times but always changing and growing and learning from each other, even when we thought we'd never talk again. I can't even mention so many of those individual things...

I look at your smiling face on the computer screen and I almost cry and smile and laugh all at the same time because you have been such an integral part of my life, and I can't imagine it being any other way. Not to mention your solid-rockness for me through everything with my mom. Can't say enough. I love you Jennifer.

Happy Birthday, and here's to 30, 50, 70 more! Always remember that you are as young or as old as you feel, so do whatever you can to feel YOUNG!!! BFFs...Kamma

Kamma Lynn, I love you! And yes, when I started this 30-Day Countdown, I realized that you were there at every turn. I was so happy to see this in my Inbox, it made me smile from beginning to end!


30 Years - Year 28

Saturday, September 05, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

This is from Sarah, and her memory brought me to my knees. Wow. Sarah and I have been friends since second grade, our lives intertwining throughout the years. She and I have become closer since high school, holding each other accountable through life, as mothers, as wives, as sisters, and yes, even as friends. I am blessed by her presence in my life.

Jenn, picking just one memory from our years of friendship was hard. Your beautiful face appears at so many special points along the path.

But during your 28th year, I experienced something with you that was a beautiful picture of who you are, as a woman and a friend. I invited you to share in Sawyer's birth. Some people thought it strange that I would invite a friend into the delivery room, but it just seemed so natural to share such a special event with you, my sister in every definition of the word except for blood. And it wasn't just the fact that you were there with me as I brought my son into the world, it was how you were there that spoke volumes to my heart. You were there for ME, not the excitement of watching a birth, not to ooo and ahhh over my new son (although you did plenty of that too:)), you were by MY side, supporting ME! I remember vividly, seeing the tears in your eyes as I looked through the fog of my own. You just knew what was in my heart at that moment and you knew how to share in the joy.

You walked with me through the heartbreak of my miscarriages, holding me up when I was too weak to stand, crying different tears for me. And there, in that moment, we were beholding the answer to so many prayers. As everyone else flocked over to the bassinet to behold the newest member of our family, you stayed with me, I remember this especially. You asked me how I was doing as they stitched me up, holding my hand and telling me how beautiful my son was and what a great job I did. In that moment, Jenn, you were a living definition of the kind of person you are, the kind of friend and sister you are.

You know what's really important to the ones you love and you know how to love them. You can see inside the heart of another and you know how to carry someone else's burdens and share in their joys in a way that can only be attributed to a gift from God. When you love me, I feel as though I am being loved by Him! You have been Christ with skin on to me in more ways than you'll ever know, you are being used in profound ways Jenn, in the lives of those you love. As you embark upon this fourth decade of your life, I can't wait to see what God has in store, the ways He's going to continue to live in and through you, the ways He's going to challenge you and draw you to Himself. It is my prayer that somehow, I can be the friend to you that you have always been to me, that perhaps I have blessed you even half as much as you have blessed me! Happy Birthday my friend! This world is a more beautiful place with you in it!

Love you!!!!

Friend, you humble me! I hope you know how much I depend on your friendship. You are beautiful, inside and out. And it was such an honor to get to witness the birth of Sawyer. Thank you for that gift!


30 Years - Year 27

Thursday, September 03, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

This from Alli, the third sister. I love that she shared about Hudson's birth because the two of them have an incredibly close bond. Just as Devyn "belongs" to Courtney, so Hudson "belongs" to Alli.

My memory of you is the day of Hudson's birth.

We sisters had gotten permission from both you and Jon to witness it. I was so excited; I had never witnessed a childbirth before. And getting to witness one of my sisters babies coming into the world was exciting and scary at the same time.

All throughout the labor, it was pretty easy to watch. I was a little inpatient to meet my nephew and was hoping the time when could come soon.

Then it came time to push. While you were pushing, I was filled with so many emotions that I couldn't help but cry. Then there he was.

It was such a privilege to witness my oldest sister becoming a mother again, and to witness this little man that would be a part of the family. I got to witness one of God's creations being born.

Jenn, you have been such a wonderful mother to Devyn, Hudson, and Reagan. They are very blessed to have you and Jon as their parents. Thank you for always being a support system, and a shoulder to cry on for me. You are a great big sister to me and a best friend.

I love you, Alli

Thank you, Alli. It was an honor to have you guys there for such a momentous occasion. I love you!!

30 Years - Year 26

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 4 Comments A+ a-

My 26th year brought about a lot of changes for us. We moved into my parents’ basement to take care of some debt/credit issues we’d accumulated during our first years of marriage. We discovered that we were expecting our second child, and that brought up a whole slew of hormonal changes in and of itself.

It was during my first trimester that we’d planned a vacation to Yellowstone National Park with both families. In went my trusty anti-nausea medication and I crossed all my fingers and toes that we’d make it through this vacation without too much nausea. Ummmm… right! I stopped counting how many times I threw up on this trip.

But we did have a fabulous time!! We toured the park, visited Old Faithful, the waterfalls, and the mud volcanoes. We waited on buffalo to cross streets and even sometimes walk in the middle of the street. We got to see moose, a bear, baby deer, and other wildlife. Jon even got to see a wolf! We had campfires and cooked out under the clear sky. Devyn got to bond with her Uncle Josh and Papa Dave.

And I’m pretty sure I convinced two newlywed couples that pregnancy could wait… especially when they could hear me vomiting right outside their tents.

But my favorite memory of the trip? The Firehole River.

Oh goodness! We had a blast! Mom watched 18-month-old Devyn for us as we jumped into rapids and went swimming. First Jon jumped in, then Dad. I stood on the side of the river contemplating with Allison whether it was a good idea for me to jump in too or not. I was, after all, still in my first trimester. Maybe I was foolish, but I jumped. And have no regrets doing so! It was a good, good day!

30 Years - Years 24 & 25

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 4 Comments A+ a-

Oh, the look of horror that came across my husband’s face as I asked him to give me a memory for this 30-day countdown. It was priceless! And I thought for sure he’d bail on me. But to my surprise, this arrived in my inbox.

It made me smile.

From Jon...

Year 24
The day we found out we were Prego for the first time. It was 5:00am and I was lying in bed fast asleep, when you came running in and started jumping on me . “Do you see it? Do you see it?” you asked. And I said, “Do I see what?” So you shoved a little stick in my face. “The line,” you said. So with my eyes half-open, I confirmed that you were going to be a mom and me, a dad. That was a day that you started to get this beautiful glow on your face.

Year 25
On November 18th, we got all of our bags packed ready to go to the hospital; our stomachs in a twist. We were no longer going to be two, but three. We got to the hospital, take the long ride up the three stories to the labor and delivery floor, where we had a induction time of 6:30pm. We go to check-in and the nurse says, “Sorry, we’re full.” At that time I could have strangled someone.

So we went to your mom and dad’s and spent the night.

That morning we got up early and went in. To make long story short, Devyn’s birth scared the s#@* out of me. They lost her heartbeat, you started to fade. And the words emergency c-section were used a lot. But all in all, God had his hand over you and Devyn. God blessed us with a beautiful daughter, the first granddaughter in the family.

PS I love you. You are a great mother, wife, and best of all, my best friend.