Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Post-Miscarriage Love & Support

I am overwhelmed by all of the comments, messages, and hugs Lee & I have received after sharing the blog about our miscarriage.

It feels so wonderful to be loved and supported.

It is awesome that we don't have to go through life alone.

Lee & I didn't really tell a lot of people what was going on. It was like, what do we say??

I hadn't fully miscarried the baby, but there was definitely no heartbeat, no live baby...and it wasn't going to end pretty. But what do we say??

We did tell a few friends because we were supposed to do things with them and had to cancel. And those friends constantly checked up on us throughout the long week that we had...and even after it was all over with.

Lee told me I needed to make sure that I was being honest with people when they asked me how I was doing. I didn't need to just say that I was fine, which is the easy, default thing to say. I needed to share the truth.

And even though I was feeling great physically, on the Friday after the D&C, I began to experience some baby blues. I knew my hormones were changing, and I knew that it was ok to cry. And thankfully I didn't cry about everything!

I just felt a little blah. But, thankfully, Lee & I were both aware of how I was feeling, and he didn't let me get too down or gloomy. He's good like that.

I was able to tell these ladies if I was up or down, whatever it was at the moment when they happened to text me. :) And I knew that they were ok with whatever I told them, and I knew that they would be praying for me. 

And God's perfect timing allowed me to be with my parents and the rest of my family for the weekend, which was wonderful as well.

I really wasn't sure if I wanted to share what we were going through. It all happened so very fast...

But, I have gained strength and encouragement from other women who have gone through this experience before. And we are not meant to go through life alone.

The more we open up and are transparent to those around us, the more they can see what God is doing in us and through us.

And I know that He's still doing a lot in and through me.

Thank you again for all of the love and support you've shown me and my family!! We consider ourselves truly blessed!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Miscarriage...

Everything happened so fast.

One week I felt pregnant, the next week I didn't.

Lee kept telling me that I was showing the signs of pregnancy...and I kept denying it. I didn't feel pregnant...until I realized I wanted to drink chocolate milk 3 times a day, and I seemed extra exhausted.

So, Lee bought a test to prove me wrong...and I took the test to prove him wrong. Well, he was right and I was wrong. The test didn't even take 30 seconds to say that I was pregnant. It actually showed positive for pregnancy before it even showed that the test was working accurately.

Lance, who works with Lee at Chi Alpha, was at our house when this all took place. He saw first hand the shock that we were feeling. There were going to be 3 kids under the age of 4 at our house within a year. It was crazy to think that way! But it was exciting! Our kids play well together...they love each other so much. It would be fun to have 3.

We didn't tell very many people. I know that there is a high risk for any pregnancy ending in a miscarriage before the 13 week mark. So, Lee & I knew we would wait until the first trimester would be over before we announced it. (Actually, we were planning on announcing it at our Chi Alpha Christmas Soiree this Tuesday night.)

We did tell our parents, siblings, a few other family members, and the staff at Chi Alpha. It was a new life that was worth being excited about!

Lee & I both had this slight nudging feeling that we were going to lose the baby. We didn't talk about it often, but we would mention it and move on. There was nothing we could do about it either way...except pray. And we've been praying for 8 years that God would give us happy, healthy babies who love Him and serve Him. And He has already answered that prayer twice.

A week after I took the pregnancy test, Lee & I were watching late night tv, and suddenly my back started hurting really bad. Lee googled it and said that back pain wasn't normal and it was a sign of miscarriage. I also started spotting, which is another sign of miscarriage.

I called the doctor the next morning, and they wanted to see me. They did an ultrasound and bloodwork. According to my last cycle, I should have been 8 weeks pregnant, and there should have been a detectable heartbeat, but there wasn't. Dr. Hardey didn't want to give up completely. So, he asked me to come back a week later.

It was a rough week. I kept waiting to just start bleeding. All the time. I didn't want to leave my house because I didn't want to be humiliated in public. I didn't know if I would hemorrhage...if I would need to go to the ER. It was a looooonnnggg week.

I had some more spotting, and expected the worse to happen. But it didn't. It was an emotional roller coaster. I had a friend call to ask a question, and I just started crying as I explained what was going on. Lee & I then spent some time hugging as we cried together. It was a loss for us and our family. It was just a deeply emotional time for us.

Yet this whole time, we were trusting God. He knows what our family needs, what our family can handle...I believe God created a woman's body to work a certain way, and a miscarriage is the body's natural way of taking care of something that is not healthy...there was something wrong this time with this baby.

At the next doctor's appointment, Lee & I went in for another ultrasound. There was no changes, no heartbeat. We had a few options...to let it happen naturally, to take medicine to help it happen naturally, or to have a surgical procedure called a D & C to remove the tissue that was there.

Lee & I talked about it, and scheduled a D & C for the next morning. We did the paperwork, got the bloodwork and everything else done that needed to be done before hand all taken care of. And we were at the hospital at 5:30 am the next morning. (A huge thank you to Hope for staying with our kids at home!!)

I had a friend call me the night before the procedure...after she had brought us dinner, called throughout the week to check on us...and she told me that she had this procedure done as well - except hers was in an emergency setting. And when she went home, she took a nap, and when she woke up she felt normal.

I was ready to feel normal.

I had the procedure done. It took 5 minutes. After waking up from the anesthesia and spending a little bit in recovery, I was back in the room with Lee in no time. I fell asleep for about an hour there, and when I woke up, I felt great. Seriously. I was in shock at how well I felt.

We came home, ate some breakfast with Hope, and then Lee went out to run some errands while I packed up some clothes to go to my parents.

We left that afternoon and had the pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my family that night, and I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family without any worries or any pain. 

God is so faithful to us. He takes such good care of us.

All of this happened so fast in our lives, and I'm not sure why it all happened. Yet I still trust God. Now more than ever I know how precious the lives are of the children that we have. How precious the lives of the students we minister to...the ones who come from good, bad, broken and/or dysfunctional families...that they are here for a reason. A divine purpose. It wasn't an accident that they were born.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made...Psalm 139:14

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Culmination

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Sure, Christmas is awesome with the message of Jesus's birth...and the immense decorations and gifts...

But, for the Latham family...Thanksgiving is the one time of year when everyone from my dad's family comes in. It's definitely a full house.

There's nothing like a Latham Thanksgiving...it could easily be on tv. It is that entertaining. Some of the greatest laughs have come from things that have happened on Thanksgivings past.  

I'm thrilled that my kids get to experience this. The joy of sharing an epic meal, time outside playing with a ton of cousins, the Macy's parade and then the dog show before it gets noticed and turned to football games...

It is a precious time for me. It is something that I look forward to all year. It's a part of my legacy.

My parents are generous people. They continually open up there home to people. The food seems boundless, and you cannot come to my parents house without eating something. Everyone has to eat, and you usually don't leave without leftovers either.

This year, Lee & I got to expand the Thanksgiving celebration. We hosted a UL Chi Alpha staff Thanksgiving at our house. We had a great time...so much so that the interns and a few staff had to leave for meetings, and they came back around 9:30 pm to eat more and bring leftovers home!

I love that there is a time to celebrate gratitude. To express thankfulness by sharing with others. To know that God has provided all that we have (and so much more), and He's shown His faithfulness to us time and time again.

It really is my favorite time of year...and it seems like Thanksgiving is just the culmination of a year of thankfulness and gratitude for all that God has done for us, and it builds anticipation for all He's going to do for us in the next year.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Worst Sound...A Baby's Grumbling Tummy

Last week was rough!!

Brennan started getting really fussy and running a fever late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I thought it was just teething...I mean, he had 4 teeth coming in at the same time. But the fussiness just wouldn't stop. He wasn't sleeping at night, which meant that Lee & I weren't sleeping at night.

Thursday night, I started noticing little blisters around the corners of his mouth...and I attributed it to the enormous amount of drool that was coming from the boy...after all, he was teething...or so I thought.

Friday morning, I took him to the doctor. The last time he teethed this bad, he had an ear infection to go along with it...and I didn't want to go into the weekend with a sick baby.

So, Lee brought Bella to the cafe with him while Brennan and I went to the doctor.

He just hadn't been his usual self...and it was so sad. He hadn't been eating or drinking anything...and every time he tried, he would just scream in pain. It broke my heart.

While we were in the room, waiting for the doctor, I heard his stomach growl. It was the first time I'd ever heard it...and it broke my heart even more.

I almost started crying. I thought of mothers around the world who are holding a baby whose stomach is growling, and there is no food for them to feed them. It must be the most awful feeling in the world. I cannot even imagine not having anything for my baby to eat. And I don't know about where you are, but our food banks in Lafayette have been dealing with shortages.

I cannot imagine not being able to feed my hungry babies...

"give us this day our daily bread..." Matthew 6:11

"I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging for bread..." Psalm 37:25

Brennan has the hand/foot/mouth virus. It's called a disease, but that sounds so harsh, and the doctor told me that it was a virus. He said he diagnosed dozens of patients with that just this week.

He also told me that it would get worse before it got better, and he prescribed this mixture of benadryl and some kind of novicain kind of medicine to numb his mouth. And the biggest fear was that he wouldn't eat and would get dehydrated and have to go into the hospital (which one little girl who had this virus had just been discharged that morning).

The medicine and the healing of power of Jesus worked. He slept a lot since his big sister wasn't home to wake him up...and I got to catch up on a little sleep too. And he has been feeling so much better...his little blisters got worse all over his body, but he barely scratched them. He started eating like a horse.

And he's very happy once again. He's such a funny little boy.

Miraculously, Bella hasn't gotten the virus. I'm praying that she won't.

Now that he's better, I'm going to start working on getting food for a food bank here in town.  I can help one mom not hear her baby's tummy grumble from lack of food in the house...and I don't want to stop there.

I'm so thankful that the Lord provides for my family. Since we are missionaries, our salary does not come in a normal way...but that's ok. We have never gone without. It may have been tight some months, but we have always had (and will always have) food, clothes and shelter.

I've been blessed...and I want to make sure that I get to share that blessing with others...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bella's Prayers

Every night we have family prayer time before Bella goes to bed.

Yes, I try to show her as much as we can about praying without ceasing...but at night, we have a specific prayer routine that we do.

We thank God for Bella & Brennan, and for being faithful to us by providing and meeting our needs, and then we present our requests before God.

We've been doing this for a while, and we even pray for the same things every night. So much so that she can finish our sentences for us.

And it's been really neat to see God answer those prayers.

For a long time, we prayed for our friends the Buckels to get a house. Their living situation was not ideal, and Chris told us once that his little girl asked him when was Jesus going to build their house. We knew that God was doing something, but when you hear that, it just breaks your heart for them.

Well, we didn't know that God's answer to Bella's prayer for them a house would be answered by giving them one they would have to move from Thibodaux, Louisiana to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to get!

But God doesn't always answer our prayers like we think that He should.

I saw this post on twitter, and it's been stuck with me ever since:

"If you're making your life choices based on money opportunities, your not even giving God a chance to blow your mind." Gil Gatch

I have been trying to make some decisions based on my monetary needs instead of waiting for God to provide for my needs. I was trying to take away the opportunity for Him to blow my mind.

It's the whole thing of Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and don't lean in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." (emphasis on ALL is my own...)

I have been doing what Lee would call "scheming..." I've been trying to find a way to stay at home with my babies and still work a little to make some extra money. And I haven't felt peace about any of the options or opportunities I've come up with. So I have waited, and I'm trusting in Him...

And He's continually providing. And it's not like the way I thought He would. But I'm ok with that.

So, God is answering our needs for our provision and the provision of our friends...for blessings for family and friends and our missionaries...

And I cannot explain to you how excited I get when another one of her prayers gets answered with a "yes" right before our eyes. I know that she fully doesn't understand yet, but I know that the building blocks and foundation of her faith are being poured right now.

And I want her to have a firm, secure foundation in her faith in God.

I'm so thankful that God hears our prayers...even my little Bella's...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

I've been given (or bought for myself) several marriage books over the years.

It's true that it takes a lot of work to make a marriage work, and there are a few books that have really helped me understand how to make our marriage better.

One of the books was a little, tiny thing...something about "How to be the wife your husband has always desired..." I can't remember the title, and due to the fire, I don't think I have it anymore - and to be fair, Lee had the other one, "How to be the husband your wife has always desired..."

Anyways, the thing that stuck out to me the most about this book was this piece of advice:
"Let boys be boys and play with their toys."

The author talked about how much better of a husband her man was after he was able to go out and ride 4wheelers with his friends. And she stressed about letting him go BEFORE she asked him to finish the honey-do list...And that he often came home ready to tackle her list without her ever mentioning it to him.

This has been true in our relationship.

It's so important for Lee to spend time with guys and me to spend time with girls. Not all of our time has to be spent with each other. And not all of our time has to be spent at home.

Lee pays more attention to me after he's been hanging out with guys. He's more affectionate towards me and the kids. He's also more ready to wrestle and tickle...forcing me to be more playful than I normally am.  And he's more than happy to stay with the kids and let me get out for a while.

Our marriage is a partnership. We are two individuals who are joined together as one...but we don't lose our own identities...and we don't live separate lives either. It's a delicate balance.  And we have to work hard to make sure that it doesn't get out of balance.

I know that Lee loves me just as much if not more after he's had a time of being a boy. I can't explain it. I'm sure there is some physiological explanation that I'm totally unaware of. But I will settle for the proof in the tender hug and kiss I get from him when he gets home after he has been out with the guys.

There's nothing wrong with a boy being a boy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marriage Maintenance - Fighting Fair

I started reading a new book...Four Days to a Forever Marriage: Choosing Love over Anger

It's in a conversational format, and it's written by both husband and wife - Dr. Gary & Norma Smalley. It's really cool to see both sides to their story. Because just like in my house, men & women view things soooo differently.

One thing that has stuck out to me the most is one of their "fighting rules," which is to "maintain as much tender physical contact as possible. Hold hands."

The last thing I want to do when I'm mad is touch Lee in a tender way...much less hold his hand. Especially if I'm the very upset one. (We tend to take turns...one of us is usually more upset than the other.)

I'm just being honest.

But, the next time we disagree, I'm going to try this. I'm not saying that it will be easy or always work, but I want our relationship to grow and flourish...and I think this is an area where I can greatly improve.

I need to be less defensive with him.

Holding hands would definitely keep me from building a wall...and I know that when Lee and I disagree, he's not trying to hurt me. This can keep my heart tender.

I know that my tone of voice is different when I hold his hand. My body language is different. I can't cross my arms and "protect" myself or close myself off.
Most of our disagreements are because we aren't communicating as clearly as we want to. And the frustration of being misunderstood can turn the heat up quickly in a discussion.

Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

I want to be better at offering a gentle answer, and I know that one way to work on that with my husband is by holding his hand.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Bon Bon Day

Have you ever had a bon bon day?

My friend Shonda and I talked about these days...where our husbands come home and see the house the way that it is and think to himself, "My wife must have sat on the couch watching tv and eating bon bons all day..."

because the house is in much worse shape than it was when he left in the morning.

Shonda and I both have wonderful husbands, and we know that they probably don't think that because they would never dare say that to us moms who have 2 small children at home.

But it feels that way.

There was no sense of accomplishment. Nothing seemed to get cleaner...only messier...

Brennan is getting more teeth in right now...which means that he is soooo fussy. I literally could not put him down, even to sleep, which was often interrupted by his sweet older sister who was very concerned about his constant crying and fussiness.

Days like these are hard. Thankfully they are not every day of the week, but sometimes it feels like a week in one day.

Being a mom is the hardest, yet most rewarding job I've ever done. It takes a lot to stay at home with the kids and not go crazy. There's definitely not a dull or boring moment.

I'm thankful that my husband appreciates the job that I do, and he doesn't get upset when I do have a bon bon day. It makes the times when he comes home and the house is clean even more special.

It's important to focus on the positive...even on a bon bon day...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

He Thinks I'm Worth Fighting For

I have a good husband who fights for me.

He hasn't had to get in a fist fight yet over me...

But he fights for me to be the best that I can be.

He refuses to let me settle for anything mediocre.

I've gone through some hard times emotionally and mentally, and he's always been there beside me. I know that those were some frustrating times for him. I didn't want to come out of the self-pity I was wallowing in. Most of the times that I came out of it was because he drug me out.

Yet he still doesn't tire of fighting for me.

Anytime we talk about future dreams or desires, I often want to sit back and let him do all of the talking. After all, he's much more of a talker than I am.

And I would rather support him in his dreams.

But that's not fair to him.

He needs to be able to support me in mine too.

Sometimes it's hard for me to dream. It's hard to see past the diapers, wipes, cries, and chores that envelope my day to day life.

But, those days are changing. Yesterday with Bella at Mother's Day Out was a glimpse that life isn't going to be this way forever.

So, as dreams come flittering into my heart, Lee is there to catch them and help me run with them. He is there to push me to be better than I am - to go further than my dreams.

He sees me as something more than a wife and a mom. He sees me as his best friend, and he wants the absolute best for me. And he's willing to fight for that so I'm not lost in the background, where sometimes I am more willing to stay than I should be.

He thinks that I'm worth fighting for.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bella's a Big Girl

Today was Bella's first day at Mother's Day Out. She did great!!! And I did too. :)

She has been really excited about going to "school," and today she finally went. And she liked it.

Her teacher, Mrs. Jenny, was super sweet. And when we walked in the door, all of the kids walked over excited to meet Bella.

I think it will take some getting used to their routine and schedule. She's not used to taking naps until later in the afternoon, and she usually sleeps for a while. So, she was pretty tired when I went to pick her up.

I'm excited that she's going to be learning more than colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. She's going to be learning Bible stories and memory verses from the Bible too.

And, I'm going to get a bit of a break. Brennan took a long nap when we got home from dropping her off. So, I felt like I got so much done!! It was great!

Life is changing very quickly. I am amazed at how fast it seems to have passed by. Bella's growing up...Brennan is too. And we are growing as parents, too.

Life is best experienced when you never stop learning.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shredding with Jillian vs. Chasing my Kids

I've been getting compliments from ladies lately saying that I'm looking good...I'm losing the baby weight...and since I made such a big deal posting when I was doing my shredding workouts, they ask if that is what's doing it.

I wish I could say it was. I do want to be shredded, and I fully intend to. I even told my dad that I would be able to take him down with one arm tied behind my back. (He used to do this to me and my brother when we were younger...he would even take us down just using one finger...he's a strong man).

But I haven't had much time to workout lately. I've been running after my kids instead! Oh my word...now that Brennan is walking, he's into everything!!!!!!!

When Bella was this age, we lived in the apartment, and she was pretty confined. And she liked (and still does) being in the same room as me.

Brennan doesn't care! He goes everywhere and finds everything he's not supposed to. He's definitely an adventurous boy!!

It's fun watching them grow. And I know that I will have plenty of time to get shredded. Right now, I'm just getting into better shape by chasing my kids around. Sorry, Jillian, I will spend time with you later...I'm enjoying this workout while I can!!

Monday, October 3, 2011


It was my turn today to post for the joli blog...the blog that I'm a part of at Crossroads Church here in Lafayette.

It's about how I struggle with condemnation. How I'm much harder on myself than anyone else is....and it's usually all for nothing. :)

You can read more about it by clicking here www.joliblog.org

Friday, September 30, 2011

Uhaul Fire Kinda Day...

I still feel like I'm in this brain fog! Ulgh!! It brings back crazy memories...

The only time I really remember having horrible brain fog - which, this present time frame of my life is nothing compared to then - was the summer of 2005.

The day before my birthday, we were moving from Buras to Pineville. I had a job at Pineville High School, and Lee was going to be attending LSUA and working maintenance at the campground in Woodworth.

I was sad to leave Buras...but I knew that we were supposed to go. The morning we moved, I woke up and felt the Lord speak to me, "See now that my hand is upon you." I knew it was God because I would have never thought of that on my own.

We packed up our Uhaul...they had given us an "upgrade" because they were out of the one we ordered since people were packing up to evacuate from Hurricane Dennis. It was junky and kept over-heating. Lee's dad drove it to Pineville for us, Ms. Teresa followed him in their van, and then Lee & I each drove our cars.

His parents took Hwy 90, and Lee & I took I-10. They had to stop several times because the truck kept overheating. We got stuck in traffic.

While we were in New Olreans, Lee and I were both listening to LifeSongs 89.1 FM. I remember being on the westbank turning onto the expressway. I heard this statement, "The will of God will never take you, where the grace of God cannot keep you."

Lee and I both heard it, but we didn't talk about it on the phone or anything until we stopped to get something to eat on the other side of Baton Rouge after being in traffic for over an hour.

When we were about 30 minutes from Lee's parent's house, his dad called him to tell him that the truck had caught on fire in the driveway, but the fire department was on its way. As we were turning in the neighborhood, Lee called me to tell me that his dad had called him again to tell him that they couldn't put it out, and we were going to lose everything in it.

My heart was broken. Those were my things. Things that I had since I was a child. Irreplaceable things.

I didn't understand why. I called my parents. Everyone was crying. It was a major loss.
Were we really supposed to move? So many questions and doubt filled my mind...and as Lee and I were asking "why," a neighbor, who had lost her husband to a heart attack said, "why not you? He knows you can handle this." She was right. Peace flooded us.

I had a scrapbook that my cousin Sylvia had made for us from our wedding day. It was little slips of paper that people signed instead of a guest book. That was in the truck. The firemen searched for it, bringing me books to look at from inside the truck. They tried so hard, but couldn't find it.

So, my brave hero of a husband went into the truck after the fire department left and had put it out. He searched for over an hour. He had to put fires out again.

I had given up hope, but he hadn't. He found it. It was soaking wet, but the pages were able to be saved. He came in holding it, all cut up and covered from head to toe with soot...but he found it.

The days and months following the fire were hard. The truck sat in the driveway for a few days afterwards...it was horrible. They said a brake line broke, and with the engine overheating, it just caught on fire. Thankfully this didn't happen while my father-in-law was driving it!

Then Katrina came through and destroyed my whole families homes and belongings. It was just a rough time. I cried a lot. A whole lot. I was seriously depressed.

But, I made it through that time, and I'm a better person now because of it.

And I know that I will make it through this season of brain fog just fine, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bella Bee is 3!

Bella is 3 years old today...next thing I know, she'll be 13. Sometimes, I think she thinks she's 13...

It's amazing how these 3 years can feel so long and so short at the same time.

She's an amazing little girl. She's smart and funny. She's creative and talented. She's sweet and sassy.

The sassy part is pretty new. I know that she's getting it naturally...and I'm wondering how often she sees that in me. Often, I tell Lee that she's only repeating something she's heard from me...

It's hard to explain the love I have for her. How much I would do for her. How much I believe in her and the potential she has inside of her.

It's my job to nurture her...to believe in her...to help her learn.

It's a great responsibility, but it's also a huge honor. I'm thrilled that forever I will get to be an influential part in her life.

I get to have a part in her becoming a strong, confident woman of God.

And what has already happened in these 3 short years are shaping that woman.

It's crazy to think that way...so I'll stop and just keep enjoying being with my little girl now. We'll go back to her playing with my hair, dancing and singing around, and snuggling as much as we possibly can.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brain Fog

I haven't been feeling inspired lately. I feel like I'm in a brain fog. My thinking is unclear, and I feel like I'm just making it through each day. Lee said he thinks I'm in survival mode....I'm surviving but I'm not thriving.

I know that I've had a lot to think about in the past few weeks. And the grief from the loss of my grandma (and thinking about my mom) has had a toll on me.

I just feel like I've been in a funk. Stuck. Not moving forward.

It hasn't been fun. I haven't been a fun person to be around either.

And still in the middle of the funk, I know God is speaking to me (even when I don't hear His voice)...and I know that He's challenging me to grow through this.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jeff Stanfill..."Things don't grow at the top of the mountain. They grow in the valleys and are carried to the top of the mountain."

My most glorious, top of the world experiences don't challenge me to grow. It's the unpleasant, uncomfortable almost down in the dumps experience that make me grow.

This funk has made me realize how selfish I'm being. My patience has been shorter with my precious children. They don't deserve that. I haven't been the nicest person to Lee...he doesn't deserve that either. My emotions and feelings should not dictate how I treat them. It's usually the people who are the closest to you that you hurt the most, and I don't want to hurt my beautiful family.

I have a choice to be selfish. To continue to live in this funky, brain fog time. Or, I can keep walking by faith...taking steps away from selfishness to selflessness. It's not easy. It's not a clear path at the moment.

I grew up in Buras, and there was always thick, dense fog. There would be times where I could hardly see a tenth of a mile in front of me. I had to slow down, but I didn't stop my car and wait for the fog to lift up. And because I slowed down and was extra cautious, I made it home safe.

So, even through this time, I know that I can slow down, but I still need to move forward. One step of faith at a time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Nap Sunday

Bella isn't interested in taking a nap today.

She is normally a wonderful napper...she has walked with blanket in hand to her bed, telling me that she's ready to take a nap. I don't even have to ask.

But today is not one of those days.

And it's dreary outside, and everyone else in the house is sleeping.

Doesn't she know that days like today require a nap???

I used to love taking naps. For a long period of my life...high school, college, and even when I was a teacher, I took naps on a daily basis. It would be a big deal for me not to take a nap.

And I've always had a comfy bed with my comfy pillows.
It's just made my nap tradition that much easier.

Then I had kids.

And with one kid, it's easy to take a nap when she's taking a nap.

But two blew that theory out of the water.

They never seem to take a nap at the same time. One will go to sleep and be waking up as the other is falling asleep.

And whenever they do both take a nap at the same time, it feels like there are a million other things that need to be done instead of taking a nap myself.

And if you know how much I love naps, you will know how big of a statement that is for me.

I know...I know that this is a napless season of my life. There will be times in the future when I can take naps every day again, but I will long for these moments that I have now.

So, to honor that moment, Bella & I are about to enjoy an evening cup of coffee and snuggle on the couch in lieu of a nap for today.

It's all about perspective. And I pray that I don't lose myself or my children by having a selfish view of life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Treasured Memories

It's amazing how fast time seems to fly by...

A lot has been happening lately. We've been busy with work. Readjusting to a busy schedule and now 2 little ones. No two fall semesters will ever look the same. This time last year, I was dealing with a 2 year old and a newborn.

Now, I have a potty-trained 3 year old and a walking 1 year old. It all looks different.

Then, my maternal grandmother passed away. She would have been 82 in just a few weeks. She's been sick for a very long time, but it is still hard to let go. I am grateful that she's not suffering any more...and she's not giving others a hard time. :)

My Memaw was one of the most talented artists I know. It's a shame that we don't have more of her art work due to hurricanes and our fire...we lost most of what she's done.

I love to brag that she hand sewed my mom's wedding dress. My mom is so much tinier than I ever was - even as a teenager, I tried it on, and it didn't fit! It was beautiful and beaded, and all done by hand. That's talent.

One of the things I was most sad about losing in our fire was a small painting that I had done when I was about 3. Memaw even had it framed and asked me what I wanted it to be titled. I must have said, "A,B,C,D,E" because that was what was written on the back of it.

I wish I would have inherited more of those talents. I think my mom and my sister Lulu got them all. I can't sew straight to save my life...and my paintings aren't near as to what hers were.

She used to cut the wood to make her own boat paddles. Then she would stain them and paint a marsh scene on the wide part of it. Those were beautiful too.

I could go on and on about her talents and abilities. I could also go on about how much of a hard time she loved to give all around her. She was quite a character.

Memories are precious. They are worth sharing and being passed down to my kids. They are the treasures that have (without my knowledge even) shaped me into who I am, and will have an impact on my children as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Update

It's been a bit of a busy month. Very busy.

And Brennan is more mobile now. He's consistently walking, even though crawling is still faster. And he's getting into just about everything, until I walk out of the room he's in...and if he's not in my arms, he freaks out. Immediately.

Lee keeps reminding me that Bella went through this phase, and it was a lot for me to handle then. But it's hard when they both want to be on me...all of the time...

So, it's hard to write. Just since I've started writing this one post, I've gotten up to replace Brennan's current choices of toys with more appropriate ones. This takes constant strategy all day long. If he chooses one of Bella's sacred toys - like her new Jessie from Toy Story doll (which is the reward for being potty trained!) -
I have to coax it away from him before she has a meltdown, or causes him to have a meltdown by taking it from him. Because now he screams at her when she tries to take anything away from him.

I'm happy that he can stand up for himself. I'm happy that neither one of my children seem to be push-overs...at least not with each other. And honestly, it's sometimes funny when he refuses to let her take a toy from him...and he screams. It's hard not to laugh.

Lots of things going on now...Bella's using the potty with very few accidents. No more diapers for her! I'm thankful to my friend Rebecca Reine for inspiring me with the 3 day potty training method. It has worked!

Brennan is about to turn 1! That's crazy. It doesn't seem like a whole year has passed by. Since it's a busy time of the year for us and our families, we're just going to do something small at home and then have his and Bella's birthday parties together in the same day. It will a fun time of celebration!

So, school has begun. The students are back at UL, and Cafe Chi Alpha is as lively as ever - with a lot of new faces, which is really exciting. Our routines are a little out of whack, but we're trying to keep the kids on their normal schedule. I want them to be at the cafe to see new people, as well as their "friends" who love them so much. Some events are just too crazy for me to try to keep up with 2 mobile, active kids, so I will be at home. But I'm ok with that. It's taken me 3 years to feel this way, but I am definitely ok with being at home.

Every woman's role is different. I cannot compare myself to anyone else. It's amazing to me how God can make women so unique and different...our dreams, desires, goals, may be the same, but we will each have our own steps to getting there. It won't be the same way. But, what I have learned that the women in my life - those single, married, with kids, and without kids - are the most supportive, encouraging people who are helping me make sure that I am doing what I can to make my dreams come true. And I hope to bring that same encouragement to them.

After all, we are in this together.

And I must say that I am very fortunate. My husband is my biggest fan. He supports me and encourages me, which is priceless. There is no one else I'd rather be on this journey with.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

We Are in This Together...

We are thrilled to be a part of Crossroads Church here in Lafayette.

We love it. It's a great place for us and our kids. Lee has been a part of the worship team for about 3 1/2 years now. It's been a great opportunity for him to use the musical gifts that the Lord has blessed him with. And it's cool that people enjoy watching him worship. We've been stopped in Target, Walmart, and restaurants by people who attend the church, and they always tell him how much they enjoy it when he sings and plays. That's quite a compliment.

Once, he was getting his hair cut by one of the coolest hairdressers ever - Morgan Willis at Dore' Dore' Salon in River Ranch, and he was just talking to her as she cut his hair. A girl came around the corner and asked him, "Do you sing and play guitar?" Lee was a little shocked and said yes. She continued, "Do you play at Crossroads?" Lee again said, "yes."

She said, "I recognized your voice from around the corner, and I had to come tell you that I love it when you sing and play."

Lee was in shock. He said Morgan was too.

It's an honor to be recognized by others for the gifts and talents that God has placed within us.

Recently, Pastor David asked Lee and I to be a part of the prayer team when we are available. As many weekends that permit it, there is a special time during the worship service for people to have someone on the prayer team agree with them in prayer.

The past 2 times that I've been able to be a part of the Prayer Team, I've been able to pray with people about decisions being made and the safety of children. I've also prayed with people who are hurting. My heart breaks for them...with them.

I feel so blessed, and so humbled by the grace of God. If it wasn't for His grace and mercy, I could be that person standing there. It's by His grace that I'm not.

And because I know that it is God's grace and mercy working in my own life, I agree with them that God can and will do the same for their lives. I believe that I will hear them proclaiming the miracles and glorifying God because their prayers have been answered.

This world is full of people who are hurting. For just a few minutes during a worship service at Crossroads, I am able to agree with them, encourage them, and walk away still believing with them for a miracle. My faith is stretched with theirs. I am looking forward to hearing of the answers to our prayers.

I'm thankful to be a part of a church family where we can share our joys and sorrows with each other. I am carrying these burdens to the cross of Jesus now. And I know that my church family is carrying mine too. We don't have to live this life alone and on our own. We are in this together.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Poetic Justice

You can see it coming in a chick flick from a mile away. You know that the girl is going end up with the guy. And if she doesn't, I end up not liking the movie because it didn't end the way it should have!

We want the happily ever after ending. Even if it doesn't seem realistic.

We want to see people living in victory.

There's the saying, "Misery loves company." But I think that it's safe to say that most people don't love misery. There are miserable people who don't want to get out of their misery, but it's not fun to be around a miserable person...and to be the one to get them out of their misery - that's almost impossible!

You can't want something for someone more than they want it for themselves.

It just isn't going to happen.

You are in charge of how you live your life.

You can decide if you want to live in victory or in misery.

Sure, circumstances in life can cause you to be miserable. Victories may seem rare.

I'm beginning to chose to focus on the victories - however small or large they may be.

Victories in my life magnify my view of God.

Magnify means "to increase the apparent size of, as a lens does"

I can choose to magnify God or magnify my problems...my unliked circumstances...not getting my way.

Whatever I magnify is what is going to be bigger in my life.

I have a big view of God, but I definitely want Him to appear even bigger to me than He already is. I want to see Him clearer - not through a distorted lens of my way of thinking.

I don't want to live miserable life. I want to have poetic justice.

Really, Romans 8:28 (in the Christian Bible) is about poetic justice.

"All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose..."

So, even when things don't go the way that I think they should...or circumstances hit me harder than I'd like to be hit...I can still focus on the victories that lie ahead.

And no matter what happens in this life...because I have decided to follow Jesus Christ, no matter what...I will live with Him in eternity. It really will be the best happily ever after!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

11 months old...

Tomorrow my little man will be 11 months old. He's 1 month away from being 1 year old.

A whole year has flown by yet again.

Life looks nothing like it did a year ago.

I am not the same person that I was a year ago.

I've grown a lot. I've discovered new things about myself.

Life is quite complicated with 2 little ones who are 23 months apart. But I know that it could be more complicated. I have soooo much to be thankful for.

I have happy, healthy babies. Yes, Bella had to have her tonsils out, but the ENT told us that she is a very healthy girl, which is why she recovered so quickly. Every time we go to the pediatrician for check ups, he commends us on how healthy Brennan is. And most people tell us that our kids are so happy. It's noticeable. We are so blessed. We give all credit to God.

We were married for 5 years before we had Bella. This was intentional. For those 5 years, every time we would talk about kids - either other peoples or having our own - we would pray, "God, please give us happy, healthy babies who will love You and serve You all the days of their lives."

God has answered those prayers. I never want to take that for granted.

Lately, I am being encouraged and inspired! I feel like it has been a while...for awhile I've actually been frustrated. I've been in this "embrace the season" mode lately, and while I've been doing that with my kids - and enjoying life with them...I don't think I've been doing that spiritually. I've been frustrated with God because I wasn't hearing from Him what I wanted to hear.

Yes, I said that correctly. I believe God is always speaking to me...I just may not be listening or hearing what I want to hear...He doesn't answer things my way.

How do I know that God was speaking to me? He was answering prayers...and the more desperate I got, the more He confirmed in my heart and through other people speaking into my life.

This has been encouraging to my heart. It's inspiring me to dream again.

And the answers I've gotten may not have been what I've expected, but I know God is listening to me. I'm no longer frustrated...I am at peace. I have joy. I know God is moving in me and on my behalf. And I'm embracing this season of my life.

That's a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Recent Victories

I have a few victories that I'd like to share:

1. I am currently wearing my wedding ring!!! This has been a personal goal for a few months now. I've been wanting to wear it, but it seems like some of this post-baby weight stuck around in my fingers. Well, a week ago, I put it on...and it fits! It's not going to come off...definitely not loose, but it is not cutting off the circulation either! I'm pretty excited about this.

2. I've been consistently (for the most part) working out at home. I've been doing my 20 minute workout - 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels. It's an intense 20 minutes, and I normally don't like high impact aerobics, but this is perfect for me. Just when it's getting started, it's almost over. And I'm keeping up a lot more. I even think that I'm going to move up to level 2. I feel a lot better about myself, and I know that I have more energy. I'm also looking forward to fitting in clothes that I haven't worn in a long time -and even buying some new clothes! This is a huge accomplishment for me!

3. Lee and I have been reading a couple of books together. This is fun for me. I love to read, and it is hard to read without interruption, but I'm doing it. It feels good to be reading again. And it gives me and Lee something else to talk about - and it inspires dreams of our own. Definitely a winning situation.

4. We just finished YMI (Young Minister's Institute). It was a great time for us...it wouldn't be YMI if I didn't learn somethings myself. I am always encouraged by the speakers who come in and share what God has placed on their hearts - and it always, always amazes me how they repeat each other without ever knowing who else said what. The Holy Spirit is amazing like that.

5. So, this one falls into the category of miracle...and I'm choosing to believe it. We have a family envelope that we keep extra cash in. We use this money to do special things with our family - like go on vacation, eat out for birthdays or our anniversary, or even buy something special for ourselves or the kids. Anytime we get cash given to us, we will put it in this envelope, and we try our hardest not to use it unless it's a special occasion.

We used some of the money when we went on vacation in Texas, and for a few other things like taking care of upgrading my computer. So, the family envelope was not at the status that it once was...but that's what it's for.

I counted it recently. It wasn't much in there. Lee asked how much was in there, and I told him what it was before I put a little extra cash in there. Over the weekend he counted it. He asked me again what I had told him was in there, and he told me what he counted. It's almost double what I said we had in there.

This blows me away. I thought outloud, "I wonder if God doubled it." Lee said he was thinking the same thing.

I'm choosing to believe that God reached His hand down from heaven and added money to our family envelope.

It's a wonderful feeling to live in victory.

What kinds of victories are you experiencing right now?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I never want to seem unapproachable. I don't want people to think that they can't talk to me.

When I was in college, my roommate Kate and I did everything together. Everything. You often didn't hear our names separate. It was one phrase "Kate & Bri." We are both generally quiet girls until you get to know us...Kate is still quieter than I am...my Latham side kicks in and I can get loud. But, if you were to see us talking and laughing with each other, and then put me in front of a person I don't know well, and I didn't seem like the same person.

I guess I'm just not comfortable in my own skin.

Anyways, we were told by friends (later on, after they hung around us for a while) that they thought we were stuck up at first because we seemed unapproachable. We'd seem snobby because we didn't talk to people we didn't know...or we weren't the same people as we were around our closer friends.

It's a shame, but I still get quieter around people I don't know. I pull back into my shell. I don't know why, but I do. I can speak in front of a crowd of people, but 1 on 1 with a new person can really freak me out! I feel like I don't know what to say...how to start a conversation, what am I going to talk about next when there is a 22 second lull in the conversation...

I don't know why I freak myself out so bad, but I do.

I am getting better. I'm making myself branch out more. Engage in more conversations. Not be a bump on a log around people I don't know.

I want to seem approachable. I want to be able to talk to people I don't know. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me...

I've been told that I have a "nurturing" personality. I do love taking care of people and seeing them be taken care of. And I want to be seen this way by everyone, no matter what because I do believe that God has given this as a gift for me to use to bring glory to Him. But, I don't always see the needs of the people around me. I have to talk to them to hear it. In order to do this, I have to be open and approachable.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I'm preparing to teach a journaling class again at YMI this year. This is quite humbling for me because I do not feel like an expert in this area.

Sure, I have a degree in English. I taught in the Louisiana public school system for 6 years.

But journaling is different. It's more of a spiritual discipline - like fasting or praying or worshiping - than it is just writing.

Each person's journal will look different from the next.

Each person will grow in their journaling as it is exercised - just as in prayer, fasting, or worshiping.

There is always room for improvement.

I believe some people begin journaling and quit because it is not producing the kind of things they feel that they should be seeing. They believe it needs to be a deeply emotional, cathartic experience every time they write, and when it's not, it's disappointing. So they quit journaling.

I don't always "feel like" worshipping God. I do not always want to sing songs of praise and worship. But I do, even when I don't "feel like it..." Sometimes I even feel silly singing when I don't want to sing. But I know that I must keep worshipping God beyond my emotions and personal experiences. And I will improve my worship the more I do it.

The same goes for journaling. I try to write everyday. Some days it is a paragraph. Some days it is 2 sentences and then I'm interrupted by one of my babies...Some days it is 3 pages (my journal is a smaller size book) The important part is that I write. I write my joys and my sorrows. My blessings and frustrations. My questions and answers. In my journal I am free to express the real me. And I find freedom in writing whatever comes to my mind.

Journaling is different from blogging. I try to be very honest and transparent in this blog, but not everything that I write in my journal will be seen on here. Sometimes my inspirations may come from my journal, but my journal is a safe place for me to express myself.

When I first taught my journaling class at YMI 2 years ago, I asked Alicia Britt Chole for some advice. She sent me a list of 5 things that have helped improve this discipline in my life:

1. Journaling is a discipline, which means it takes time to develop.
2. Journaling helps you focus your thoughts on God in a noisy, distracting world.
3. Journaling creates a lifestyle of reflection which deepens faith and thought
4. Journaling marks a memory point of God's faithfulness and our growth
5. Journaling provides a tangible venue to go to God first before we process with others.

It's amazing to be able to look back and see what God is doing in me and through me. I like to think of it as a record of where I have been and where God is taking me.

If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I'd love to help you develop this discipline in your life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

God's Got Answers

I've been praying a lot lately. A lot. I want to hear from God. Specifically. I have questions, and I know that He has answers...and I want to know those answers.

So, I pray. I ask. I listen. I don't hear specifically what I think I should be hearing.

It doesn't mean that He's not speaking or listening to me.

I know that there are some who may disagree, but I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that things happen for a reason. Everything. If the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes can say that there is a time and a season for everything, I believe that God would have a reason for everything too.

We may not ever get to see the reasons on this side of eternity, but I do believe that there is a reason for everything that happens.

Back to God speaking to me...

Just recently I made a statement to Lee about my blog...and how I've gotten such a great response from the posts I've made about Marriage Maintenance. I told him that I'm going to title my book that. I've always talked about writing a book, but it's never been anything other than me saying that. This actually has potential.

Anyways, that same night, Lance, one of our student staff members at UL Chi Alpha, texted me to tell me that he loves my blog and that I should title my next book Marriage Maintenance.

I definitely take that as a God confirmation.

That's what prophecy is. Confirmation of what God is telling me. If someone "prophecies" over me as they are praying for me, and I don't feel right about it in my heart, I do not have to believe it or go along with it just because it was prayed over me. But also, I can write it down, hold it in my heart, because the timing may not be right.

So, I am the place where God is confirming things to me through other people. It's a neat experience. It's humbling, too. God doesn't have to do that for me, but He knows that I'm human, and sometimes I require hearing it from other people in skin. That's kind of Him.

I'm still listening and waiting in anticipation for the questions that I have that I want Him to answer. But I'm learning to trust Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding.
6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (or make your paths straight).

I'm learning the whole "lean not on your own understanding" part.

Sure I say I trust God, but if I take matters into my own hands, or I spend all of my time worrying about my situations and circumstances, then I really am not trusting God with all of my heart.

So, I'm learning. I'm listening. I'm waiting. He's speaking to me...and I want my heart to be ready to hear His answers...not ones that I've come up with on my own.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some People Need an Audience...

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. I don't think I could have imagined all that we would have gone through during these past 8 years.

We've definitely been with each other for better or for worse...

In good times and in bad...

In sickness and in health...

We've shared a lot of joys and sorrows together.

It's hard imagining life without him. He's a part of me. We are a team. We have the joy of spending life together. We have the joy of sharing the good times and walking along side each other in the harder times of life.

And we are better for it. He brings out the best in me. He makes me shine so bright. I feel like I do the same for him.

We went to RUI (Reach the University Institute) a few years ago before we began our internship with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.
One of our assignments there was to create a dorm program for the students who would be attending part of that week. My group's dorm program revolved around the "Easy button." We had different topics that a few of us talked about, and since I was married, they asked me to talk about relationships.

I used my own as an example...and talked about how important it is to be yourself in the relationship.

"Some people need an audience. My husband Lee is one of them, and I get to be his audience."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that repeated about me and Lee - and it has been 4 years since I said it! The people who have heard it love it...and to be honest, it is because they know how true it is.

We are a perfect complement to each other's life...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Marriage Maintenance - Friends Again

Just a short 8 years ago at this time, I was getting ready to marry my best friend.

I can remember when I knew that Lee was my best friend. Something crazy happened at a store in the mall - something that was like "oh my word, I can't believe that just happened in front of me" and I had to call someone to tell it to, and I didn't call Sylvia or Kate, my two closest girl friends. I called Lee. In that moment I knew he had become my best friend.

We know each other well, like best friends do. And we were friends before there was romance as well as after. It is our friendship that has kept us together.

Romantic feelings only last for so long.

Then they are gone. And you have to make a conscious effort to get your brain to produce those chemicals again. (I am definitely not an expert on the scientific side of this, but maybe I should study it)

Just like any friendship can grow apart over time, a marriage of two friends can grow apart too.

You have to work to have things in common.

This was especially true for us whenever we had Bella.

My world became all about changing diapers, feeding a fussy baby, holding a fussy baby (because she wouldn't let me put her down or let anyone else hold her)...everything was survival for me.

Lee continued to work and be a part of the Chi Alpha world, which I wasn't really a part of at the time.

One night, when Bella was close to 8 months old, one of Bella's favorite people came over to watch her. So, Lee and I went out to dinner...we sat at the table and hardly talked. I know he was tired and stressed...so was I. We finished eating and then didn't really have anything else in mind to do together, so we went home.

We had only been gone about an hour. I started crying as we sat parked in front of our apartment. I had a small "freak-out" moment. We weren't really friends at that moment. Sure we were, but we weren't best friends like we had been. I knew couples who had gotten divorced because they weren't friends. I didn't want that to happen to us.

So, I can say that was a monumental night in our marriage. We have made it a conscious effort to be friends. To have fun living life together. To enjoy each others company. To be open and honest with each other, even when the truth hurts. To work through our frustrations together instead of letting them build up and explode.

Marriage takes work. Maintenance. Constantly. Life is full of changes. It is not static. It does not stay the same. So why would I want that for my marriage? I want it to be full of fun and love and life. I want it to be thriving.

A healthy marriage is the best gift I can give to my children and others who are a part of our lives.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friend from a Hashtag

I made a new friend through social media. It amazes me how God can use social media to bring people together.

I woke up at 4 am and I couldn't get back to sleep. Part of it was due to realizing I was sore from my new workout video 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. It's is way more intense than I like my workouts to be, but it is short enough and segmented into 3 different sections that I can handle it. And I'm seeing results.

Anyways, I have used a hashtag (#) on twitter to make a statement- it would look like this #30dayshred - and when you are on twitter, these hashtags are highlighted, and you can click on them or search them to see how many other people are using the same hashtags. Twitter even has top words/phrases that are trending locally or worldwide.

So, at 4 am, I looked to see who else besides me had used the hashtag #30dayshred.

I found a lot of women who seemed to be in the same boat as me. Moms trying to loose weight. Women who didn't have a lot of time. And this workout was killing them just as much as it was killing me.

I was intrigued by one lady's twitter id. It was Kelly_NoahsArk. So, I searched her. I saw that she is also a Christ follower, and she's also a blogger.

So, I read her blog. It was odd for me...I felt so connected to this woman I had never met. She wrote in a similar style to mine. She has a 3 year old girl. She's experienced loss and pain - not the same as my own...her second child was stillborn, something I cannot relate to, but she was continuing to live after the loss...and be there for her family.

I felt I instantly found a friend. So, I emailed her, which is unlike me. I told her I was encouraged by her blog, and that it felt neat to know that we were in the same sisterhood of Christ.

She emailed me back. She was also encouraged, and she thought it funny on God's part to bring two women together through a twitter hashtag about a workout video.

God is in the little details of life. I may never meet this woman face to face on earth, but I can read her blog and know that I'm not alone in the craziness of being a mom of 2 young children. And because we both have made decisions to follow Christ, we will be friends for eternity.

That's just awesome to me.

If you want to check out my new friend Kelly's blog, click on this link:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The White Glove Treatment

So, I've written about this before. I'm not a neat-freak...I do wish that I was, and I get told by my neat-freak, OCD friends that I don't want to be that way. And I know that they are right.

I don't want to live wearing a white glove.

I would just like to get rid of clutter once and for all - and not get rid of it only to have more. To not have to worry about cleaning up all of the time. There is always something to clean up, and toys scattered from one end to the other, and a never ending pile of laundry (clean or dirty) or dishes.

And I think about how embarrassing it is sometimes to have people come to my house when it's not perfect. How doors are closed and I don't want anyone to see what may be behind those doors. Oh, I know it's never perfect, but when it's clean enough for me to think that it's close enough to being perfect. I don't like for people to know that I'm a mess. That's just my pride.

Pastor Shawn Marcell this past weekend at church said that he loves discipleship most of all in ministry. He likes it even though it's messy. It's messy to get involved in someone else's life and help them along the way. It's never perfect. It's not an easy journey. But there is joy in walking along someone's life and sharing in their best and worst moments.

I need to open up more and let people into my messy life. I tend to hold people at arm's length because I don't want them to know my issues...to see my problems...to see my mess. I don't know why I feel like I have to appear perfect.

I know that there are some people who say that they will become a Christ-follower once they have their "act" cleaned up. Once they get things together and in order, then they will make the decision to follow Jesus Christ.

It doesn't work that way. First, you can't really clean up your life and keep it perfectly clean all by yourself. It just won't work. Second, it's not the way it was meant to be.

Jesus died for us, He paid the price for our sin so that we can come to Him, and He will forgive us, cleanse us. No matter how much I try, I cannot cleanse myself of sin. I can only ask for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse me. And I have to trust God that He will do this when I ask - and then be done with it. Let it go. Move on. Keep moving forward in my faith.

As much as I would love to clean my house one good time and have it stay that way forever...it won't happen. People live here. Little messy people. I live here. So, I have to keep cleaning, even when I don't want to. It may not always look like the way I want it to, but it is always a work in progress. And I can keep letting people in, even though it's not perfect.

I'm not perfect. Yet I still have the freedom to boldly come before Jesus and ask Him to keep working on me. And I will let other people into my life to share this journey with me. They will see my imperfections. They will see my faults. They will experience with me my joys and sorrows. And together we will work towards becoming more like Christ.

I'm thankful He's not watching over my life with a white glove. His arms are open and waiting for me. And I know He's not wearing a white glove because, according to the Bible, I can see His nail-scarred hands.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This World Has Nothing for Me

We've been watching the DIY (Do It Yourself) nextwork lately...

Oh, how it makes me want to buy a house. Even a fixer-upper...something that we could make our own.

I love the fact that we live in a house right now. It is double the space that we had in the apartment. It is awesome to have a ton of room...and basically all new appliances because they've been replaced within the past year. But oh to have a place of our own!!

Right before Bella was born, I was determined to buy a house. It wasn't happening. At all. Nothing was working. We looked. We talked to a real estate agent and a mortgage company. It just wasn't the right time. I was broken. I wanted to raise my baby girl in a house, not an apartment. I cried. A lot. And I was 8 months pregnant, so that didn't help.

Then the Holy Spirit gently spoke to my heart. He reminded me that I can't take the material things of this world with me when I die. When I get to heaven, it will not have mattered if we owned a house or lived in a cardboard box. Seriously. It doesn't matter.

So, we lived in an apartment, which was fine. And now we live in a house, which is even better. I do believe that someday we will own a house, with a fenced-in back yard...and I will be able to paint the walls and do things that I want to do. I may even take a truck and trailer over to IKEA and spend some of our renovation money there!

It's all wishful thinking.

Bella knows the whole chorus and bridge to a worship song now...she sings it often, and it is a beautiful thing to hear her sweet voice.

She sings, "I need You, Jesus, to come to my rescue. Where else can I go? There's no other Name by which I am saved. Capture me with grace...I will follow You."

Then she sings the bridge... "This world has nothing for me, I will follow You."

Now, the funny thing is that she started singing this song because I started singing it in my I'm going to pull out my hair if these kids don't take a nap soon moments. But she was listening, and now it's become her song too. And if I can get that in her heart, I've done something right. And so if we never get the house that we want, it doesn't matter. I want her to know that I believe it when I sing that "this world has nothing for me...I will follow You, Jesus" even if I don't get what I want...if I don't get my way. I'm still going to follow Jesus. That is worth more than anything this world has to offer me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Not My Thing...

Don't you wish sometimes when you say, that's not my thing... that it didn't have to ever apply to you...or you never had to deal with it?

Here are a few things that I consider in the "that's not my thing" realm that I still encounter more than I would like:

1. Early mornings...Not my thing. I am not a morning person...as I write this early in the morning, which is probably why it is on the top of my list.

Bella has had crazy sleep patterns since her surgery, and when she's up, I'm usually up. I know her little throat is probably dry from sleeping, which makes it hurt, which makes her wake up and be ready to face the day.

When I was teaching in Buras, I felt a little sorry for the kids in my 1st period class. The wheels in my brain just weren't turning. I could feel myself come alive during my 3rd period class. The later classes got the better of me.

Although early mornings are not for me, now that I have kids...I don't have a choice. And when I do get to sleep in, it is a glorious thing!

2. Cleaning...it's no secret. I'm not a fan of it. I don't get an endorphin rush from cleaning. I like things nice and neat, but I don't like the process to get there. Definitely am the type of person who would hire a maid service, but that's not going to happen.

3. Bugs...I don't want to touch them, and I certainly don't want them touching me.

Too bad just wishing doesn't make it go away...

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Ladder of Life Lessons

Ever Evolving.

Life is full of changes. Stages or phases that we go through.

I once heard Dr. Hope from the New Orleans School of Urban Missions speak at the Young Minister's Institute (YMI) about lessons in life being like a ladder. You can't skip one wrung and go on to the next. Sure, you can try, but eventually, God will somehow bring you back to that wrung that you skipped only to ensure you learn the lesson.

You can't skip out on life lessons.

Sometimes, it feels like I've been on the same wrung forever. Other times I feel like I climb up several very quickly. Either way it goes, I'm still learning.

My ultimate goal is to be like Christ. This will not happen overnight. It definitely won't happen with me skipping lessons in life. I need every opportunity I get to learn to become more like Him.

So, I have to take each wrung on the ladder for what it is worth. Each one I climb is a success - a victory worth celebrating, no matter how long it takes me to climb it.

And for those that I do skip, I am thankful that God loves me enough that He doesn't want to leave me the way that I am. He wants me to be perfect like Jesus Christ. So He gives me the opportunity to truly learn it and not skip over it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bella is Recovering Well!!!

Bella did great for her surgery. Absolutely wonderful.

The doctor came in to reassure us that we had made the right decision. She said that Bella's tonsils were huge, even with her sedated and laying still. She said that she should feel great. I'm thankful that we won't have to fight that anymore.

The nurses kept telling us all day on Friday what a great patient she was. They were so wonderful. They actually carried her out with her blanket, and then carried her back in after she was waking up from the sedation...so she wasn't on that little bed when we saw her leave and come back. That was super nice. I think I would have been scarred by those images. We got to rock her and cuddle her...sing to her and comfort her. It was a good feeling....even though I knew she was in so much pain!

My mom and my in-laws were here over the weekend to help with Brennan and take care of us...It was nice. Always great to have family around.

We're still adjusting to the medicine. I just don't want her to be in a super amount of pain. Ibuprofen seems to be our magical drug of choice. She is almost like herself again after we give her that. I think the prescriptions are too hard on her. She's so tiny as it is.

Too bad she doesn't like ice cream. She keeps asking for popcorn, but she can't have that. So, popsicles are always on the menu. She's doing pretty good drinking now and eating. And we'll be eating more pudding soon, too - thanks to Kelsey and Nadine!! :)

I'm very thankful for all of the prayers that we received. She is recovering well...and now that we know what medicines not to give her, I think we'll be fine. She's still a little grumpy at times, but she did just go through a major ordeal. She's doing great considering that. I would probably be a big baby if I went through it.

We are so thankful for all of the kind words and prayers that we've received. We know that God had His hand on her, and we feel so blessed. And Bella is enjoying the gifts that she's received...even feeling well enough to play with the markers from Hopie, and one of the balloons from Crossroads is so big that she rides it like a horsie!!

We appreciate all of the care and concern...Thank you for loving us and our children!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Peace of God

I'm sick to my stomach. Part of it is the ridiculous sinus/tension headache that I have right now. It's just making me sick. After a little medicine and a wonderful husband who took care of the kids for a little while, I'm feeling better.

The other part is that I'm having to get everything ready for Bella's tonsillectomy that is happening early tomorrow morning. Really early.

She is totally unaware. Completely clueless. Yet I know what is ahead. And she's usually a trooper when it comes to taking medicine and recovering. But it still makes me nervous.

Philippians 4:6 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I know that I need to not be anxious. It is hard. This is yet another test of me being able to trust in God. I know that worrying won't add another second to the day. It won't improve or make it worse. It will just waste my time.

So, hopefully as the sinus medicines do their magic, the peace of God will invade my heart and mind in only the way that He can make it happen. Actually, that's what the next verse says...

Philippians 4:7 NIV
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I know that I can have peace. I just have to accept it. I can also refuse it by continuing to worry and fret and be anxious.

So, I will choose to spend the rest of this day and tomorrow in peace. I know that God is with me. And He is more concerned about my baby girl than I am. She's in good hands.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ms. Heidi

One of my best friends from my childhood lost her mom this week. So hard to understand. Ms. Heidi had been very sick for the past 6 years. In and out of hospitals. Surgeries. Breathing problems. Miracles. And yet this time, she went to be with Jesus.

They moved to Buras when Amy and I were about 5 years old. Amy was painfully shy. My dad would ask her a question, and she would answer through me. She's totally not like that now. :) Our families became friends, and we did all kinds of stuff together. Even going on vacations together. There was nothing like a big family vacation to Panama City Beach. We even rented a 3 story condo the month before Katrina hit Buras. That was a very fun, crazy time. It was a beautiful house...and we invaded every crevice of it with my Latham family of 9, my dad's brother (Uncle Max) Latham family of 10, the Metzger family of 4, and a couple of friends too. There was like 26 people in this house. And we loved it. Such a great memory.

Ms. Heidi was our Missionettes director. She had a degree in education with a focus in home ec, and she taught us well. I remember all the things we did to get our badges. She went through a lot to make sure we learned what we needed to know.

She also had a wonderful, loving relationship with her husband. They were great examples of love. It's one thing for me to see my parents love each other, but I was surrounded by couples who had been married for years and still loved each other so much. I am totally blessed for that.
Bro. Joe is kind and compassionate and a hippie at heart. He wears his flip flops often - which he would wear when he got home from work. I can honestly say that they loved each other deeply. Better than in a movie.

Ms. Heidi was a great lady who left a great legacy in her daughters as well as in us. The hours that Sylvia and I spent at her house are countless. Literally. There were summers where we would just rotate houses - mine, Syl's and Amy's. We had a wonderful, beautiful childhood, and a lot of it was due to our moms.

It is so hard to see her go. To let go. I know Amy feels like she still needed her mom. Heck, I still need my mom, so I completely understand! But I know that Amy is the woman she is today because of her mom. And she will continue to be the strong, passionate woman that her mom instilled in her.

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

I know that as we grieve over the loss of Ms. Heidi, we will be comforted. We can remember the good times that we had. The laughs. The tears. The moments to cherish forever.

And we can know that heaven rejoiced as another soul entered in and walked into the arms of Jesus. She's no longer suffering. She's continuing the life of worship and the love affair with Jesus that she began here on earth.

And one day, because Amy, Anna, and Bro. Joe have a relationship with Jesus as well, they will reunite and worship Jesus together.

What a glorious day that will be!!