Time For a Change

Sunday, January 31, 2010 5 Comments A+ a-

I decided to change things up a bit for Valentine's Day. Normally I'm not prone to hearts, but they just seem fitting for the month.

Bear with me... the pink and hearts will be gone in 28 days. In the mean time, indulge your romantic side for a while.

Some Randoms

Friday, January 29, 2010 7 Comments A+ a-

It’s been some heavy topics around this blog lately; I think it might be time to lighten things up a bit. So I thought I’d just toss some random thoughts from life right now.

We had Kindergarten Orientation for Devyn this past week. And as I sat next to Katie, listening to the teachers talk about all that Devyn will learn next year and how we can better prepare her for next year, I was overcome that this time has arrived. I’m going to cry on her 1st day of school. I just know it.

My coworker, the one who made this gorgeous jewelry, made another piece for me. She calls it “Peas in a Pod”. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Hudson is suddenly very invested in his baseball caps at the moment. One is green with a ball of some sort on it and the other is brown with a picture of Curious George. Hudson is now going to sleep with these baseball caps on, freaking out if it gets lost in the night. And last night it even went into the bath with him.

Life is happening right now, big life “stuff” and not all of it pretty, and really none of it directly involves me. So it’s even more surprising that I’m learning some big lessons regarding myself and my life, while watching loved ones go through their stuff. I don’t think I’ll ever get to share the details of the situations, but I hope to share what I’m learning as it touches my life.

Do you remember my goal for organization in 2010? I had no idea how on earth I was going to accomplish that and then Jon’s mom came for a visit and blessed us me in a huge way! Some might mind their mother-in-law organizing their home, but I am not one of those women. I love her for it! Even if I am very embarrassed that she saw my home in that way. But organization is not one of my skill sets. And that is the understatement of the year.

We have our W2s and are getting ready to file taxes. We’re hoping for a good tax return, and in turn, already discussing what to do with the money if it comes to pass. We should do the responsible thing and pay off bills but the beaches of Mexico sound so divine right now too, and we haven’t had a romantic vacation since our honeymoon eight years ago. Be responsible. Or be extravagant. Hmmmm.

Reagan is turning into our little chatterbox, and after having two slow talkers, we’re just amazed at the things that she already says. She can say “Bye Papa”, “Hi Daddy”, and “Kiss”. Just recently she started bringing me toys, holding them up to my lips, and saying, “Kiss”. She’s kind of bossy too.

Have I mentioned that she gets her bossiness from her daddy? It’s true. Just last night Jon was telling me to scoot over, to stop hogging the covers, to put my leg back over there, and on and on. I got fed up with it and reached over for some chest hair, which then turned into a wrestling match at 11:00 at night, all while trying to keep our screams of pain down so as not to wake the kids. Even 12 years later, I love that we still enjoy moments like those.

Much to Hudson’s dismay, as of two or three nights ago, Reagan has developed an interest in his matchbox cars. She is even making car sounds as she drives Hudson’s cars up and down the couch, which Hudson then responds to by screaming, “No!” and taking them away from her. She responds by screaming bloody murder and hitting him back. I told you its going to be a volatile relationship.

And lastly, if you think of it, pray for Jon’s sanity as my body returns to normal hormone levels. (I truly despise that my body is so sensitive to hormone changes.) In the past month, I have stopped breastfeeding Reagan, gone on birth control pills, gone off birth control pills, and now my body is trying to figure out what the heck is going on. So my emotions have been on a never-ending ride of ups and downs. (And no, I’m not pregnant. I checked.)

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 6 Comments A+ a-


When that clock hits 8:00pm, bedtime usually goes one of two ways.

It can be a great way to wrap up the day, stories read, prayers said, water given, and a kiss good-night. Easy-peasy.

Then other nights, crying starts at the first mention of bedtime, which then turns into tantrums, which then turns into discipline. Those nights usually end with no stories read and tears still wet on their cheeks. Those are the nights that Jon and I often shake our head and wonder why we thought we were up to the task of parenting.

Then other nights, rare nights, bedtime gives me a glimpse into the beauty that are my children. Tonight was such a night.

Hudson selected two books, easy reading with big pictures, and Devyn selected her one book, with lots more words. As we read through Princess Aurora's adventure, I had Hudson and Reagan nestled on my lap and Devyn kneeling behind me, her chin resting on my shoulder. In that moment, my heart sighed. This life, mothering these three, has brought so much meaning and purpose to my life. My heart is full.

We finished with the books, I patted Hudson's bottom and sent him in the direction of his room. I laid Reagan in her crib, and I smiled as she snuggled in under the blankets. Her eyes were already half-closed by the time I finished tucking the blanket under her chin.

I turned to tuck Devyn in and I laid down beside her, when she promptly laid her head on my chest. "Can we pray for our whole family, Mama?" I nodded in agreement and started praying. About halfway through our prayer, I heard a third voice and didn't need to open my eyes to know that Hudson had snuck back in his big sister's room to finish praying with us. "God bless Mommy, Daddy, Devyn, Hudson, and Reagan..." We continued down through the line of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and Elliana. Hudson scampered back to his room after "Amen". And I smiled at his tiny, retreating backside.

I turned back to Devyn and she recklessly threw her arms around my neck. She's become so genuine and spontaneously affectionate lately. It makes this mama's heart proud. I smoothed down her hair, whispered "I love you" into her ear, and kissed her on the cheek. I braced for all the explanations about why she couldn't fall asleep, but there were none.

I closed her door behind me, and turned to go to Hudson's bedroom.

He placed his baseball cap on his bedpost and then allowed me to tuck the blankets around his body. I knelt next to him and listened as he excitedly told me about the imaginary ballgame that he played out this afternoon. Jibber-jabber to the average ear, but as his mama, I was able to catch snatches of words. Enough so that I understood he caught the ball, and Devyn caught it but dropped it. I was thoroughly entertained.

Then he wanted to play the Itsy-Bitsy Spider and we went five rounds. Again, my heart sighed. My mind fast-forwarded 12 years, to a gangly teenage boy that will inhabit that bed. Clothes carelessly tossed about, one leg thrown over covers, an arm hanging off the side of the bed, and the Itsy-Bitsy Spider will be a distant, but cherished, memory. How does a mama stop time, for even just a moment?

I finally called quits to our game, kissed his temple, and whispered good-night. And as I left his room, Hudson was whispering the Itsy-Bitsy Spider to himself. Complete with hand motions.

On a Lighter Note

Sunday, January 24, 2010 4 Comments A+ a-

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the necklace giveaway. I have your numbers right here…

…which roughly translates into these two winners…

Joanna Noel won the multi-colored, mosaic necklace.

And Christina won the simple, silver necklace. Christina incidentally married my uncle last year, which technically makes her my aunt, but we decided to forego with the formalities.

Congrats ladies!! Please contact me at biggest_blessings (at) yahoo (dot) com with your mailing addresses and I’ll get these sent out to you.

Thanks for playing everyone!

Not A Fun Post

Thursday, January 21, 2010 13 Comments A+ a-

This is a heavy topic, especially after such a light post as my giveaway. In fact, before I start, I feel I should write a disclaimer before anyone continues any further. One, this is a heavy topic, involving my thoughts on x-rated materials. I am passionate about it and I am opinionated about it, so if you don’t want to read it, stop now. Secondly, this is not about any one person. This addiction has touched all aspects of my life, be it through family or friends or acquaintances, and I am not singling any one person out. If you think I’m talking about you, I’m not. But maybe God is.

I hate porn.

With an all-consuming passion, I have the most intense hatred for pornography.

Trust me, I am very aware that God views all sin on the same level; there is not one sin that is greater than another. I get that, ok? However, in my experiences, I have yet to find a sin that is so morally degrading, damaging, and harmful to a person and their family than a sexual addiction.

The statistics are staggering. I literally felt sick to my stomach as I read these statistics online.
  • More than 70% of men from the 18-34 age group visit a pornographic site in a typical month.

  • A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.

  • 29% of born again adults in the U.S. feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behavior (The Barna Group).

  • 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005).

  • March 20, 2007: At a men's summit in Oregon before 2,000 men, Shelley Lubben of Shelley Lubben ministries challenged those who were struggling with porn addiction to stand. 30% rose to their feet. She immediately challenged them a second time, with the result that some 70% were standing.

  • 60% of all website visits are sexual in nature (MSNBC Survey 2000).

Sad, isn’t it? There are so many other resources and statistics online regarding Christian men and their addiction to pornography, feel free to check them out.

I feel there are two groups of men when it comes to a pornography addiction. There are those that started out with a peek at a lingerie catalog or an explicit movie scene, thinking to themselves it was no big deal. And that moved to a more sexual magazine, which then moved to a movie, which then moved to online stuff. It’s a slippery slope, my friends, until finally those men no longer recognize themselves and are unable to turn away from it. They know it’s wrong, but they can’t seem to stop.

The second group of men really, truly believe there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. After all, it’s in a man’s nature to appreciate the female body. (That was said with complete sarcasm, by the way.) Or every man does this, it’s just part of being a man. Even Christian men are known to take this stance, truly not being able to comprehend that viewing naked women is not only damaging to their relationship with God, but its effecting every aspect of their lives, their marriage, their children.

I feel for the men in the first group, aware of the effects their sin is having on their life but unable to stop. I can’t imagine being in the grip of a sin, wanting out but not knowing how. The second group just makes me angry; very, very angry. Regardless of where a man falls, in the first or second group, they need to realize that WE, as women, are usually pretty aware when a man is involved in pornography. One might as well be wearing a neon sign on their forehead saying “I watch porn”. It’s apparent in every way, in the way they treat women, in the way they interact with women. You may think you’re hiding this big, dark secret, but WE know!

I wish I had some meaningful, insightful words here to offer, but I don’t. Just my intense hatred of something that is so prevalent in our society. I hate the way that women become objects, something to lust after, something to own. We no longer are people, we’re an object to adore. Can you imagine the damage that does to a woman’s self-esteem?! Wondering, knowing, that we’re supposed to look a certain way and knowing we can’t possibly become close to that image?! What kind of message is that sending to our daughters? That you have no worth as a human being?! That her value is in how she looks?! No, I won’t settle for that; I won’t settle for that for my daughters!

What is it teaching our sons? As I talked this over with a friend recently, wondering how to shelter my son from this, I loved her response. “God is returning before then; we won’t have to deal with it.” And while her answer was so very funny (and I wish it were true), the reality is that somehow we have to teach our sons to turn from it every time.

And when pornography has taken place in the marital bed, forget intimacy in a marriage. How is a woman supposed to compete with the images that are playing in her husband’s mind? As much as any woman says she doesn’t have a problem with it, sooner or later, she will soon grow uncomfortable as she starts to wonder which woman her husband is thinking of in that moment. Not to mention how clear the bible is on lusting after another woman; I truly believe it is a form of adultery.

I realize that there is temptation around every corner. There’s the movies on TV, the pop-ups on our computers, the magazines at gas stations and grocery stores. There is the woman in the low-cut dress sitting next to us, or the bikini-clad woman a few towels down on the beach. It is right there, tempting men at every turn. Jon and I have had so many conversations lately regarding this very subject, and he’s been so open with me regarding the temptations that face him every single day! It takes a determined effort to turn away every… single… time! He has to choose several times a day that our marriage is too important to jeopardize in any way. And it saddens me that my husband has to place this much willpower on something that wasn’t so readily available to our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. With the internet so available nowadays, even our fathers didn’t have near the temptations that men face today.

I am sad, and I am angry, and I am resolute in my hatred of pornography. Just know, as impossible as it may seem to quit, there are so many resources available. Do it for your wife, or your sons, or daughters, or do it for yourself. And even if none of those reasons seems good enough, do it because that’s what God has called you to do. It won’t be easy, but just think of all you stand to gain!

Jewelry Giveaway!

Sunday, January 17, 2010 47 Comments A+ a-

I have the distinct pleasure of giving away some beautiful, handmade jewelry from Sarah with good boy! designs.

Sarah is a coworker of mine, who is also a very talented jewelry maker. I have hired her on a number of occasions to create some beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces for both my mom and sister. Not to mention, I have been the recipient of a number of her gorgeous pieces! I am not exaggerating when I say that I am blessed by her talent!

I’ve been working with her on a couple of designs, both for her Etsy shop and a personal blog design for her husband. In return, I managed to come out on the better end of our deal with some gorgeous jewelry pieces to give away.

Aren’t they gorgeous?!?

I am so excited that two of you get to win one of these beautiful necklaces; I can hardly stand it! Really, again, I just want to keep this as simple as possible, to thank everyone that stops by this little area of the internet to keep up on our lives.

If you’re interested in winning one of these two necklaces, please leave me a comment on this post by 10:00pm (MST) on Friday, January 22nd.

Good luck to everyone!

That's my boy!

Friday, January 15, 2010 3 Comments A+ a-

Last night Hudson woke up three times! Three times!! And even as exhausted as I am today, nothing compares to Rachel’s story. And quite frankly, I want to reach through the internet and give her a huge hug; no one should have to live through a night like that. I apologize for the sidetrack but seriously, can you imagine?!?

Back to my Hudson stories.

After the first waking at 1:00am, I picked Hudson up and carried him back to his room. I gave him a drink of water, tucked the blankets around his little body, kissed him on the cheeks, and turned to head back to bed. Then I heard the pitiful voice of a sick little boy saying, “Pray, Mama, pray?”

Of course I can’t say no to that and so I turned back and knelt next to his bed. I cupped his tiny hands in mine and we prayed our usual nighttime prayer. As we drew closer to the end, he whispered, “Sick, Mama.” And I knew he wanted me to pray for his sick little body. By the time I whispered, “Amen” he was already drifting back to sleep.

Then this afternoon.

I called Alli to let her know that I was able to get Hudson in for a doctor appointment and then I asked to talk to Hudson. He gets on the phone, we chat for a minute, and then he says, “Mama! Watch this!”

Ummm. We’re on the phone.

He then proceeds to take one of those long tubular things and starts whistling. He pauses a moment to shout into the phone, “Are you watching Mama?” And his concert started again.

When he got back on after finishing with a nice crescendo, I applauded his efforts and we said our good-byes. I’m still smiling after that conversation.

All The Ways We Fit

Monday, January 11, 2010 5 Comments A+ a-

Hudson is sick. He's been sporting a fever since yesterday and woke at 4:00 this morning. When I went to his room, he pointed to the rocking chair and grabbed a blanket off his bed, then climbed into my lap. I pulled the blanket snugly around his body and we rocked.

As the chair moved into a quiet cadence, I was awed at how he fit on my lap. His legs pulled up to his chest, cuddling as close as he could. He fit perfectly in my arms.

As perfectly as Jon's hand fits on the small of my back or the nape of my neck.

As perfectly as my hand fits over Devyn's as I guide her fingers over the formation of numbers and letters.

As perfectly as Reagan fits on my hip.

As perfectly as Hudson's head fits right under my chin.

As perfectly as my arms fit around Jon when we're sleeping.

As perfectly as Reagan's fingers fit with mine as she uses them to steady her walking.

As perfectly as Devyn fits against my chest when watching movies.

As perfectly as Jon's hands fit when they cup my face.

As perfectly as Hudson's hand fit in mine when we're crossing a street.

As perfectly as Devyn fits against my side as she curls into me for comfort from a nightmare.

As perfectly as Reagan's head fits on my shoulder.

Yes, this life and all its blessings, seem to fit me perfectly.

Reagan's Big Day

Sunday, January 10, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

As promised, birthday party pictures from Reagan's big day! They aren't much but I still want to commemorate this momentous day.

Since her birthday is only days after Christmas, she was well experienced in the art of unwrapping gifts.

Cousin Elliana, who is only a couple of weeks older than her, got in on the unwrapping action too.

Reagan's newest thing involves climbing on top of anything that resembles a box; we could have given her nothing BUT boxes and she'd have been thrilled!

One of the cupcakes from her big day. I was so sad that they didn't turn out even remotely close to what I wanted. My icing tips were NOT working and I had to make do with a knife. They still turned out ok, and let's not forget, she's one! I highly doubt she even noticed!

The big sing-off and cupcake eating experience. No, I did not design this layout, its a premade one because I'm tired. But its perfectly adorable and will do in a pinch.

And lastly, a picture from this past week because I. simply. cannot. believe. my. baby. is. one. Also, its an outfit she received as a birthday gift (thank you Papa Dave!), simply delectable in all that green and pink. Did you see the pigtails?! Have I mentioned how much I love her in pigtails?!?

Directing My Efforts

Thursday, January 07, 2010 6 Comments A+ a-

January… the start of a new year… of fresh beginnings and new opportunities. Some take this time to make resolutions of new ambitions or another chance at following through with old objectives. Personally, I have never been able to carry a resolution through the end of January to save my life. So instead of having to admit defeat so early in the year, I’m now at a place where I never make the resolution in the first place.

However, with that said, I do have some goals for 2010. And while I realize that they’re virtually the one and the same thing, I just like the definition of goal better than resolution: the end toward which effort is directed. It just sounds less threatening to me, more achievable, a little more room for grace.

So with that in mind, here are the areas toward which my effort(s) are being directed this year.
  1. I follow the organization Compassion on Twitter and came across this little gold nugget on their blog. Ask God to show you what ONE word, a theme if you will, of what He has in store for you during 2010. I’ve been reflecting on that post for a couple of weeks now and I think I know the theme for 2010. Authenticity. I want to be purposeful and authentic in every aspect of my life and in every relationship. I want to move past the superficial into deeper, more meaningful relationships with my spouse, my children, my sisters, family, and most importantly friends. I want to know that I have been as real and authentic as possible, that I’ve not given the wrong impression for appearances sake.

  2. To passionately pursue my God. I can’t begin to tell you how many times God has been in pursuit of me, catching me during times of free-fall, offering grace and forgiveness when I least deserved it. But I can number the times on my hand that I have pursued Him. My quiet times grew few during those last couple of months in 2009, and boy did I feel the absence of His presence. I want it back and I want that all-consuming passion again. I want Him.

  3. As I’ve turned 30, I’ve become increasingly aware of the changes that have become of my body, be it through the birth of three children or a slowing metabolism or just poor nutritional and fitness practices. I want a healthier me. There will be no diet or strict fitness regimen, I just want to make some healthier choices in what goes in my body and more purpose in choosing to walk (or run) to the mailbox instead of drive. These goals seem perfectly attainable to a person who despises exercise as much as I do.

  4. I want some organization and structure in our household and feel I’m already one-up on this goal with the purging and storing of clothes that no longer fit all three kiddos. (Thanks for the help Mom and Alli!) But I’m looking into chore charts for the kids, a filing system for our important stuff, toys that have lost parts and pieces to the trash, a more structured approach to household stuff. Oh my! This is going to be a hard one for me.
So there you have it, my four goals for 2010. They’re big and ambitious but I feel they are perfectly achievable.

Brrr! Its cold in here.

Monday, January 04, 2010 6 Comments A+ a-

You're dying to finish that, aren't you?! I'll leave it up to you.

But I just had to share what we found in our fridge tonight. She is so deliciously yummy! I could just eat her up!

My precious one-year-old! Birthday pics to follow later this week.

Ryan and Kristin

Saturday, January 02, 2010 2 Comments A+ a-

This is Ty. As you can see from the picture on the left, even at two years old he’s getting fresh with my daughter. In the picture on the right, are these two beautiful kiddos three years later. And on this night, during a dinner together with our wonderful, dear friends, Ryan and Kristin, Ty kissed Devyn on the mouth. Twice. The funniest thing about this whole escapade was Devyn’s reaction as she was telling Jon and I about their little “romantic” moment. She giggled the whole time. It was a brief glimpse into what the teen years will be like. Jon looked pained. Truth be told, if their mothers had any say in it, Ty and Devyn would already be betrothed.

Ahhh, Ryan and Kristin. Where to begin?

We met about eight years ago; they married approximately six months before us and we were going to the same church. There was another young newlywed couple (Hi Peter and Rebecca!) and we all decided that we needed a young couples group. It was wonderful to have these other couples go through the fiery trials of young married life together, it was an instant connection!

We went through a ton of tough stuff together. In a short amount of time. We went through church stuff, in-law stuff, marital stuff, family stuff, gossip stuff. You know, just stuff. The tough stuff. The stuff that’ll either pull you apart as friends, or bind you even closer together. We laughed together, we cried together, we got angry together, we got sad together, we got silly together. Very, very silly.

And then, they moved. To Florida, of all places. It was the end of an era.

Or was it?

Surprisingly, our friendship is just as strong now, as it was back then. Despite the fact that we live thousands of miles apart from each other, Kristin and I can still pick up the phone for a laugh, a heart-wrenching, gut-moving conversation, or just a quick hello. She is the friend in my life who will call things exactly as she sees them. She’s not afraid to hurt my feelings or tell me when I’m wrong. If I ever called her and told I was either about to make a horrible decision or if I just needed her, I have no doubt she’d be on the first plane out.

The funny thing is, we only had mere months together before they moved away. And yet, my relationship with Kristin is stronger than some that still live in the same town as I.

They’re here visiting his parents and we’ve already had two wonderful nights hanging out together! Last night included a wonderful, much-needed double-date. And oh, it was so good to be out with real and authentic friends. I need more of that in my life; real and authentic relationships. But that’s another post for another day.

Ryan and Kristin, thanks for the wonderful night out!!