Author Archives: micahnsarahdowns

Six Months.

Rayla Michaela Hope (I always call you that because you are your daddy’s twin) –

Youre actually almost 7 months as I write this…

In the past month or so lots of development has happened!

You went through a stormy week or so and after that… you started sitting, eating more solids, sleeping through the night (sometimes not always), scooting a little and babbling.

You can say momomomom although I don’t think its quite intentional yet…

One of my favorite things is when you suck on your tongue when you see me and are hungry or I swaddle you up and you know what’s coming.

You are obsessed with your siblings. You love to jump in your jumpy thing and you do enjoy toys, especially the black bears, the glowworm, baby dolls, Sophie, the little doll with braids, and your Rayla bunny from aunt boo, but nothing is like the entertainment your siblings provide. You coo at them, grab their faces and hair, laugh, cuddle/wrestle – its just the best ever. You bring us all so much joy.

You’re a very distracted nurser right now and sometimes I even have to send daddy out of the room because his voice is like magic to you. Despite that, we’re still going strong and you have lots of rolls so I’m thinking everything is okay growth wise. We haven’t been to the doctor in forever… so I’m not sure of actual stats.

We tried you out in your room with Verity and it wasn’t the best… wasn’t the worst either… but we decided sleep is more important right now so we will try again in a bit.

It is such a privilege to be your mama and have a front seat at the way God is growing you up. It’s going way too fast for the record!

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Four & Five Months.

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5months

Rayla Hope –

You are looking more and more like your daddy! So much that I frequently call you “Rayla Michaela Hope.”

This month you learned to roll.

You found your feet.

You are obsessed with your siblings now and daddy – oh man your whole face smiles when they talk to you.

You’ve hit that stage where if I am in the room and you are in someone else’s arms you will find me and lock eye contact so hard. Its the cutest how much you love me (or milk…).

You have turned into the easiest baby ever. I lay you down and you turn that little face into your blanky and go to sleep (still in our bathroom haha). You eat about 4oz every three hours. You’re waking about once a night.

I don’t know if you are teething or just in the stage where everything goes in the mouth but my goodness – so much slober.

We’ve let you try a couple things. Just one jar of each… I probably wont start feeding you food for another month or so but its one of my favorite things ever to see babies discover new things about life!

The foods you’ve tried and in the order you’ve tried them –

  • Oatmeal (pretty good)
  • Sweet Potatoes (your fave so far)
  • Apples (I think they were too acidic – not a fan)
  • Peas (indifferent)

I feel like we are out of the newborn stage (how are you almost 1/2 a year old?!) and have hit a sweet spot. We made it past the 3 month mark without any major sickness (you’ve had a handful of colds but your body works how it is supposed to and fights well), I don’t worry about you gaining weight, you’re developing beautifully, you’ve got a sweet and funny personality. We’re grateful to God for you little love.

Three Months.

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Hey sweet girl!

You are getting more and more fun with each passing day. As much as it already pains me to see old pictures of how small you were… I love that you can hold up your head, its safer for your brother and sister to hold you, the millions of rolls that make up your legs, etc. You are so sturdy and interactive. Also, since Im so far past surgery I’m normal now too and that makes a huge difference. It’s crazy that three months ago I couldnt even sit up, hardly walk up and down stairs, join my family for all our meals – time is a crazy thing!!

Let’s see….you love the Christmas lights and that is pretty cute to see. You love to “sit up” and “stand.” If we lay you on your back reclined now you work those abs trying to get to a sitting position.

You’ve developed the hair skullet that your siblings all had but you still have a fair amount of hair on top!

One of my absolute favorite memories this past month is when you and I were hanging after a feeding before you went to bed, daddy had passed out next to us and was already snoozing and you just kept staring at him and smiling, eventually you would coo and your whole body seemed to lunge for him. I didn’t even stop it to get my camera (shocking I know) but I tried to imprint it in my memory.

You still love your siblings and find them pretty entertaining. I’m  your #1 gal though and I kinda like it 😉

As unique as you are you do look like a good blend of Haddon and Verity. People have said Verity when youre sleeping and Haddon when youre awake. I can see that too. You have the same cheeks your sister did at this age but your eye shape is more like your brother’s.

You’ve found your hands so you pretty much always smell like spit or some other baby bodily function. I don’t mind a bit though. I think God makes us that way to take care of our  babies well.

I’d really super duper like if you would start sleeping through the night but until then… as a friend at church told me “imagine its God waking you up to spend time with Him versus your baby needing you again.” You really aren’t that bad, usually once mayyyyybe twice which is what you’ve done since birth. It’s just that… I’m pretty sure I’d be able to handle all the things better so let’s work on that this coming month, k?

I love you sweet Rayla.

Two Months.

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You’re almost two and half months now when I’m writing this.

Rayla you’re such a pretty baby.

You’re going on your like third cold – I wish it wasn’t so but…. older siblings. The first one was super pathetic and your congestion made me afraid. I didn’t realize I had PTSD from your sister being hospitalized with a bad respiratory infection. You just had a couple rough days though and have seemed to handle the following ones a lot better.

We discovered you’d really rather not be swaddled but love to sleep in Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

You don’t have a strict schedule yet but we are figuring out your rhythms. The pediatrician said we could train you at this point if we wanted but part of the freedom of staying home is you don’t have to adhere to a firm schedule, the rest of us don’t right now!

You smile and coo so much more now and we all loooooove it. Your siblings think it’s especially great! “Mom! She smiled at me!” “She’s trying to talk to me!”

You don’t sleep through the night… in fact, more often than not you wake up twice now. I think if I dream fed you it might still be once but I’m too tired these days to stay up for that! It’s common that I get in bed after you go down for the night.

You’re gaining weight so well and have doubled your birth weight and are in the 60th % for weight and 30 something for height and head circumference.

Showers and baths really relax you.

You are seeing so much clearer these days. You like to look at us best but also still appreciate fans, windows, shadows, and some toys.

You still don’t love tummy time but you are so strong! You prefer to be held in the standing position and even try to sit if you’re reclined. You can scoot too which is a tad bit scary!

Being a mama of three is not easy for me but I love you so much I have no doubt that these sleepless nights are so worth it. You are a miracle baby girl and we are so glad to have you.

My C-Section Experience.

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Oh just cut open on a table, no big deal.

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Healthy as can be!

I already gave my birth story account so this is just going to be surgery and recovery experience.

Once I was in the operating room and they moved me to the table and strapped me down everything became a bit overwhelming. I think with all the people, the lights, Micah had to step out for a minute, it was just a lot and I felt tears start to trickle. I couldn’t wipe them so my midwife fetched a tissue.

I am so thankful to have had my midwife with me the whole time. I thought if I needed doctor intervention they essentially “turned me over” to the doctors but that wasn’t the case at all. She stayed with me and it was actually really neat to see what a good team they made.

My midwife took pictures for me while the doctor did the surgery, I am so glad to have those.

Okay, so after everything is set up and they are ready to go, I don’t feel anything at first just like people warned me. But then… the pressure when they pushed her out. Oh my gosh! Why do people say that doesn’t hurt?! Pressure hurts and I had a wonderful epidural! But she came out and let out the best cry so I was so happy, they whisked her away for vitals, etc. and Micah got to go be with her. I was so happy that she was okay I didn’t even care I was a bystander getting stitched up. Until… they really started to put me back together. Again, just the pressure… now I know why you have to be strapped down. The top half of my body was literally moving from whatever they were doing behind that curtain.

During recovery I got to hold her and nurse, bliss! I was on plenty of drugs so I didn’t feel much pain at this point. They monitored me and my incision for a little while before taking me back to my room.

That’s when the “fun” began…I started to itch like crazy coming off the drugs. So much so that if sleep wasn’t already terrible it was more so, to the point I asked them to take those leg compressors off because it was just making me hotter and itchier. Everyone that gave me advice said to stay on top of the pain so I did ask for them to bring me relief as soon as it was due to wear off.

Standing up and going to the bathroom the next day was pretty rough. It felt like every organ in my body fell to my stomach. My lungs were tight. I had to practice blowing into some contraption to keep them strong and prevent pneumonia. As much as I hated being interrupted in the hospital all the time at night it felt so comforting to know people were there that knew how to take care of me and what was normal, etc.

Going home was rough because you aren’t supposed to walk stairs… I live in a townhouse, I mostly camped out in my room but still. Car rides made my stomach jiggle which hurt. I was so looking forward to laying on my stomach but couldn’t. Rayla had to lay pretty much across my stomach to nurse and that hurt, I know why boppys were invented now. It hurt for the kids or Micah to try and hug me close. I couldn’t carry the kids or have them sit on my lap. I stopped taking painkillers two days after I came home because they made me constipated (even with a stool softener).

Pretty much I sound like a whiney baby right now but it was the worst thing I have ever physically gone through. Unmedicated labor was intense and I’m pretty sure I must have been blacked out during some of it but when it was over it was over. This… it lasted for 2-3 weeks. There were times I was so sad because I thought I would never be me again. I worked out my whole pregnancy and then just walking was hard and I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 6 lbs. Then, slowly but surely, around weeks 3-4 I could just tell I was getting better! There was light at the end of the tunnel even if it was a long one. I knew I would be me again someday. Sure, I’d have a scar I wasn’t used to seeing but do you know what? I don’t even hate it. In fact, it reminds me that God has graciously allowed me to have three little people… all in different ways but safely eventually in my arms. It’s almost like… my Rayla tattoo. Maybe Ill have to get different ones for the others now haha

There are so many things that I have found helpful but this blogpost summaries way more than I care to keep writing, so… check it out if you’re interested.

https://www.mightymoms.club/c-section-recovery/

My biggest recovery helps:

  • Family and friends that care for you and bring food.
  • Loving husband that trys to understand even when there is no way he ever could.
  • C-section panties (forreal).
  • Any type of stool softener/suppository if you’re going to take pain meds. Yes, I’m talking about poop (or lack there of) on a blog because people need to know these things.
  • Soft clothing with hardly any band or one that comes high (because the scar is super low).
  • Make stations so you don’t have to do stairs in the event someone cant help right away. For example, I get super hungry while nursing. So I keep snacks and water by my bed. That came in handy big time when I couldn’t run downstairs to get something to eat.
  • Rest, Rest, Rest – seriously don’t try to do anything but care for and enjoy your baby. It’s much easier to not get down about surgery and scars when you’re falling in love with someone.

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One Month.

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Rayla Hope your first month we spent snuggling mostly.

Due to me having surgery there wasn’t a whole lot I could do but sit and rest. So we bonded pretty well these last couple weeks.

You are a typical baby that eats, sleeps, and POOPS. oh my word, we go through so many diapers.

You have a tendency to get pretty gassy depending on what I eat. Not exactly sure what it is but I have a hunch that its all the typical gas inducing things and… kale.

You have gained weight like a champ! At your 3 day home from the hospital check up you were only a couple ounces from your birth weight and by your one month check up you were almost 10lbs. You have a little bit of a lip tie but since you are gaining so well we aren’t going to do anything about it right now.

Your siblings adore you.

Verity always asks “is this the REAL Rayla?!” Her two year old self waited so long for you and she gently strokes your face and kisses you all the time.

Haddon loves to hold you and is so patient when you get upset. He even put you back to bed by himself the other day! He said he gave you your doe doe and turned on your bed. Big brother for the win! For a while he would put his shirt up because I told him you like skin to skin.

Daddy has been a champ changing diapers at night and handing you to me so you can eat. He takes turns if I get too tired or impatient when you need to be soothed.

None of us would have survived the first couple weeks if it hadn’t been for your grandmas. They are the best. They cleaned, cooked and cared for all of us so sacrificially.

I am so thankful to God for you Rayla Hope. I love you baby girl.

 

Rayla’s Birth Story

(It’s a detailed one!)

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Walking on the night of September 4th.

 

September 5th I awoke at 6:45 am to Micah telling me the hospital called saying they wanted to move my induction time. Micah told them we didn’t have an induction and to cancel it. In my slumber I was like “wait, you didn’t cancel my 39 week appointment did you? They talked about maybe stripping my membranes if she was head down.”

As soon as the scheduling office opened I called to confirm that I still had my weekly check up. I went in and was greeted by my midwife saying you never got a call saying I scheduled you for an induction? (Turns out the main scheduler was on vacation and the person in her place had indeed forgot to call and tell me I had an induction scheduled…)

So my midwife takes me back to check me anyway and lo and behold little Rayla had turned breech again. Despite being head down at 37 weeks, head up at 38 weeks, after a chiropractor adjustment (Webster Technique) and binding wearing for almost a week she had still managed to swim head up again! My midwife suspected she was on the smaller side, because of all my amniotic fluid (almost double what most people have) and because she was my third (uterus stretched) she just had a lot more room to keep moving around.

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Binder

 

She looked at me and sighed knowing this wasn’t what either of us wanted and asked “how do you feel about trying a version? They are still at the hospital waiting for you because of the scheduled induction. If it works we could induce you. If not, we could do a c-section” (My practice doesn’t vaginally deliver breech babies). I didn’t really hesitate in saying “okay, let’s try it I guess.” She told me not to go home to get my bags and just go straight to the hospital. I got there around 10 am.

I called Micah and let him know that one way or another we were having a baby today so to go ahead and finish his appt and get to the hospital.

By the time he got there I was all checked in and ready for an epidural. The doctor performing the version likes to have the patient ready and prepped incase of an emergency, plus that way you don’t feel the version. The only down side of the epidural was that it made my blood pressure drop reallllly low. I think it was 50 something over 20 something – I almost passed out but they got it back up quickly.

After that my midwife and a doctor literally flipped my baby in 2 seconds. It was the craziest thing ever, put some jelly on my belly and turned her. I didn’t feel one ounce of pain (thanks epidural) and I felt her head go to the bottom! We were all so excited that it worked so easily. They thought I was a good candidate because of her suspected size and all the amniotic fluid but I don’t think any of us thought it would be successful that quickly. After 30 minutes of making sure she handled the flip okay, we started Pitocin.

As with the other two, Rayla was sunny side up so I don’t progress very quickly. After a handful of hours I was only a 5 or 6 so my midwife decided to break my water to see if she would descend more. Not too long after this happened Rayla’s heartbeat would go down sometimes during a contraction…because of what happened with Verity I called the nurse in right away and asked her why it was doing that. She assured me that the dips so far weren’t concerning and they were keeping a close eye on her even if she wasn’t in the room.

Because it was such a good epidural and we were all hopeful things were progressing nicely even if slowly I just read, Micah and I hung out, texted friends and family, etc. It was such a crazy day I think we were just trying to process that we were about to meet our girl!

After a while longer they had me switch positions to see if we could get her to flip and see if it made her HR any happier. I stayed on all fours for about 30 minutes before flipping back over (with help of course). She said she would check me again at 10pm. At around 9 she came back in and said she wanted to check me. Micah asked if there was a reason she was checking me early… she said “yes, that the baby’s HR was starting to dip more and not come back up as quickly as it had before.”

I was an 8 but the more important discovery was… a prolapsed cord. It wasn’t coming out, but she could feel it coming before the baby’s head (imagine like a headband). She said we couldn’t deliver like this and wanted to call the doctor in to see if he could help. The doctor and her (and looking back… a lot of other nurses, etc.) came in. They were an amazing team and worked so well together. The doctor literally had me push a little and while I did he would push the cord behind Rayla’s head. Their goal was that if I could get her to come down enough and get the cord to stay behind her head then I could push her out. I was just 2 away from being fully dilated but she was just still really high and even though they tried for 15-20 min. He looked at me and said, “I think I just want to get her out of there.” So for the second time that day with everything moving so fast, I said, “okay, let’s do it.”

Talk about a change of pace. The doctor, the midwife, nurses, etc. sprang into action, threw scrubs at Micah and the next thing I know I am being wheeled to the OR.

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My rock

 

I didn’t tear up until I was strapped to the table, the bright lights, all the people, how fast everyone was moving, it was overwhelming. My midwife grabbed a tissue so Micah could wipe my tears and the medical staff assured me that Rayla was fine and she would be out in two minutes. She was and when she came out she let out the biggest loudest cry and I don’t know if I’ve ever cried purer tears of joy.

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From life’s first cry… till final breath, Jesus commands her destiny.

 

  • With Haddon, I didn’t cry…it was relief after three days of unmedicated labor.
  • With Verity, I cried out of fear when she wasn’t breathing when she came out and was wheeled away to the NICU.
  • With Rayla, the biggest most joyous and thankful tears in what I would consider was my most dreaded way to give birth.
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So happy.

 

Funny how certain things just don’t matter when all is said and done.

I didn’t even care I couldn’t hold her right away. I was just so happy. Micah got to hold her and watch her be cleaned up. Once we got to recovery I got to hold her and nurse her. It was amazing.

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Nice to meet you baby girl…

 

The whole C-section experience is a story for another day…

I wondered once, “what if I would have just waited till 40 weeks and I would have said no to the version and she flipped head down on her own.” But I quickly said, well that’s not what happened and am trying to bask in knowing my girl a week sooner knowing that if she hadn’t flipped I would have had a C-section anyway.

It wasn’t until way later that my midwife told me that one of the top 3 emergencies in obstetrics is a prolapsed cord and in her 44 years of midwifery she has only had 2 incidents of it occurring.

There were so many answered prayers throughout the day even though it ended in major surgery. Some specific ones that I don’t want to forget:

  • I didn’t shake. I hated the shakes with the other two labors. Haddon I didn’t have meds but I did with Verity and still shook a lot.
  • I never feared. I did get overwhelmed right before surgery but I was nervous that I would be so afraid and anxious because of what happened with V. Even when her HR dipped though, I knew they would get her out if they had to. The Lord just totally protected my mind and I tried real hard to captivate every thought.
  • She let out the best first cry!!! Every single time I’ve sang “from life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny” since Verity was born I have cried in humbleness because of the fact that I don’t control or command either of those things and I trust in a God who does – sometimes that’s hard. No matter if He let’s there be a first cry or when He let’s there be a last breath He is good and trustworthy. My children are His.
  • Her cord that provided her life didn’t end it. For some reason I remember specifically praying that very thing in the shower maybe a week before her delivery.

So I pretty much have crazy labor and deliveries. Easy pregnancies – Crazy births.

Each of my children are SUCH miracles. All humans are. But despite crazy odds – Haddon had a true knot in his cord (it wasn’t tight), Verity had respiratory distress (needed 7 minutes of intervention), and Rayla had a prolapsed cord they are all sleeping peacefully in their beds and I get to kiss them and disciple them every single day. It’s not a grace I take lightly. I don’t deserve them at all but I’m so grateful I get to be their mama.

But on a humorous note, why do my girls have to start out that dramatic? Like seriously? No more drama. ever.

Rayla Hope – we all love you so much baby girl.

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So excited to be a family of 5!

 

6 lbs 13 ounces | 19.5 inches of happiness!

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An Every Day Dance of Grace

(Originally published here)

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 pretty much sums up the mantra that replays in my head all day long as I mother my littles.

All my life I have wanted to be a mama and while I consider it a huge blessing and a dream come true – it is also a heavy responsibility. It means I am a teacher, every moment of every day.

If you are a mom, or if you are going to be a mom, God is trusting you to steward human souls. Souls that He made (Genesis 1:26-27; Jeremiah 1:5) and loves and has a purpose for, the purpose is for His glory.

He doesn’t give them to complete us. He doesn’t give them to make us happy. He doesn’t give them just to sanctify us. He doesn’t give them to us to idolize them. Sure those things feel like they happen but human beings are His and not ours. He made them and loves them more than we do.

We are stewards of their souls for a certain amount of time, and it is a responsibility and privilege I take so seriously. If I believe scripture, then I believe when it says in Romans, that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for all have sinned (Romans 5).

He gave us Christ, whom by His obedience we are considered righteous (Romans 5). I am considered righteous because of Christ, and that is a truth I will never fully grasp, and so I learn alongside my children when we read God’s word and let it soak in.

This reality, this good news now affects everything about the way I parent. It keeps my eyes focused on the treasure of who Christ is and what He has done. As a mama with a messy past, I know this truth so well. What He did for me and the fact that I get to be with Him… It is the breath that fills my lungs. It heals my deepest hurts and shame. It pushes me forward in love. It leaves me longing for eternity. I’m not a mom that walks around calling my kids sinners all day. I do, however, teach them what sin is and what virtue is. I help them recognize the conscience that God created in them.

They don’t understand sin yet; they are four and two, but I hope they never remember a day that if their sin was revealed or confronted, it wasn’t met with immediate grace, forgiveness, and love. I lavish them in that because that’s what He does for me. I want to give them a taste of that. But, I get distracted easily. I’m prone to wander. (Lord, do I feel that on a daily basis.) Prone to leave the God I love… for unimportant worldly mindsets and things, even with regards to parenting.

Because I am cursed with being a Type A perfectionist (just kidding about the cursed part… I am fearfully and wonderfully made) the way I try and care for my children often is tiring to me, and it’s my fault. I want them to keep sleep schedules, eat the healthiest food, and have toys and books to develop their brains and bodies correctly according to all the recommendations. I want their birthday parties to be themed and their outfits to match. I want their rooms to look like they could be featured in a Pottery Barn magazine. The list goes on.

It’s hard to remember the greatest purpose of child rearing when you are trying to tackle the mundane day-to-day living. However, I am thankful that He has given me the wisdom to see how fleeting time is.

I only have a certain amount of time with these little souls, and I have no idea how long that time will be. The reality is that it could be five more hours, five more days, 5 more weeks, 5 more months, five more years or God-willing, my children will outlive me. For however long I get to mother these people I want to be able to say I gave it my all. That I tried to be like Him, show Him, teach Him – in every moment of every day that I was with them.

Because someday He is coming back and they will hear Him because they know His voice. His word has been there since they were babies. The Spirit of Christ has used me to write it there. When I rose, when I sat, when I walked by the way, when we laid down. I don’t believe motherhood is the highest calling on earth and I don’t like to hear Christians say it. It’s just not true. It IS an incredible responsibility, though, and I desire for both faithfulness and fruitfulness as I run this race of motherhood that Christ has laid in front of me. Do I think that if I do it “perfectly” they will be saved? You know my mind wanders there sometimes! But I know it isn’t true. I’ll be diligent to do my part of proclaiming the gospel, and teaching them faithfully and trust God to faithfully do what He does, the redeeming and the renewing.

So if we are teachers, every moment of every day, what is it that we are teaching? His word MUST be in our hearts if we are to impress it on theirs. Saturate your mind with it – whatever that looks like for you. You will grow weary in many ways as a parent and let things go at the time; that’s fine. Don’t grow wearing in teaching the word, mamas. Don’t grow weary in proclaiming the good news of the gospel to these little souls. Because in teaching them the story of scripture, whether Genesis, Ruth, Psalms or John, we are teaching them Christ (Luke 24:27).

I do want my children to rise and call me blessed someday, but more than that though I want to worship our Creator together for eternity and that can only happen through what Paul calls the “power of God to save” in Romans 1, the gospel. I want to see Haddon and Verity, beautiful creations of His, surrounded by His glory, and overcome with His Majesty. Eternity. That is what keeps my eyes focused on Christ as a mama.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

A Few Recommended Resources

30!

 

I turned 30 yesterday. I don’t actually feel different from last week but I have been reflecting on the grace filled life the Lord has given me. I decided to write these 30 reflections out to be able to remember what I thought about various subjects (in no particular order) at this point in life someday. Maybe the 30 years its taken me to learn some of these things (and I’m still learning them) will help you learn something in the 3 minutes it takes to read this. Enjoy!
The Past: I think the past definitely shapes, molds, affects you but it doesn’t define you.

Marriage: I think that marriage is the most sanctifying and beautiful gift. Allowing someone to see you day in and day out in all sorts of situations is the most humbling thing and I will be forever grateful all my days. Even if Micah never decides to like cleaning.

Margin: I think there needs to be some in life to just let life happen without it being written in your planner.

Motherhood: I think that God is incredibly generous in letting me have these children. I don’t think its the highest calling as some Christians life to say but I think its absolutely amazing and that if the Lord has given you little people to steward for shooting off into the world you better make it your priority. Also, dont idolize it. Cheers to balancing that!

Working Out: I think I should and I like the results when I do. It makes me happy, keeps me healthy, and gives me a “me thing.”

Eating: I think that unless I have an extreme allergy I will enjoy all things in moderation and when I feel like it but that mostly my diet should fuel me not be a feast to my eyeballs.

On Scripture: I think I should desire this more than I do but I also know it’s real and living and has the power to do truly miraculous things like lead people to their realization for the Lord.

On Friendships: I think I’ve had some amazing friends from each season of life.

On Commitment: I think people struggle with this and that grace should be allowed but people should still commit when able.

On Church: I think if  you find a bible believing/living/teaching/preaching church with intentional community you should be a part of that family and see your need for it.

On Discipleship: I think you should always want to grow in holiness. I think meeting with someone regularly to grow in knowledge of Him is one of the best ways to spend your time.

On Relationships: I think they are messy and beautiful and you should always try to make them more beautiful and less messy.

On Finances: I think I shouldn’t have spent so much money when I made bank as a waitress. I also think God gave me a great counterpart who helps me see money in a different light and we balance each other well. I think you should get out of debt as fast as you can within reason. I think you should be generous.

On Scripture: It is alive and living. It will convict you and lead you to repentance and grace.

On Believing: It is not enough to believe. If I don’t see my need for Christ I am still lost and will never be found until I am found in Him. I believed my whole life. When I saw my need for Him my entire life changed.

On Hospitality: I think opening up your home to be a safe place for people to ask questions, learn, and enjoy life is one of the best ways to use what you’ve been given. I have had amazing examples of this.

On Communication: I think that this is hard and that people have so many unspoken expectations. I think you should strive for good communication and be willing to work through it nicely when it sucks.

On Work: I think the Lord made us to work and its a really good thing to do so. I think people often get obsessed with it and do it for the wrong reasons and to make something of themselves though or to have luxurious lives. I think we have elevated ourselves as fame seekers and money and in doing so we have elevated work higher than it needs to be often at the expense of others.

On Control: I think we want it. We want it so bad we will do weird things to have it. All it takes is a couple situations out of our control to realize it was never ours to begin with.

On Taking Pictures: I will never regret the amount of pictures I take. It helps me remember with one glance things my mind would soon likely forget.

On Understanding: I think this is really more on being humble. Which I think we should be.

On Prayer: I think I need to talk to God a lot more. If I ever saw the amount of time I spent scrolling versus the amount of time I spend on my knees I would probably have to run over my phone.

On Social Media: I think its amazing to be able to connect with people and for that I’m grateful but I think its changed the way people think and function not necessarily for the better.

On Death: I think its inevitable and I cant wait for the day it doesn’t exist but I am thankful the Lord is long-suffering and waiting on others to come to Him.

On the Government: I think people need to chill. The President isn’t God and the country’s rules aren’t God’s laws. He will reign on this world again someday but today He lets it go astray for His purposes to be fulfilled.

On Love: I think we should love one another I think we should treat each other with gentleness and respect. I don’t think we all have to agree on how that is done and what it looks like.

On Pushing Yourself: I think I should always find a way to push myself. I’m not talking about the rat race of life, I’m saying always be growing in an area.

On Forgiveness: I think it should always be done. Always. No matter what it looks life afterward – work it into life. You’ll be less bitter and there will be less conflict. We apologize often and say “I forgive you” constantly in this house. In a world of imperfect people you will have this opportunity often.

On Living Hope: I think I can view any aspect of life with the lens of something more, His Kingdom and I’m thankful I’ve learned that now rather than later.

Self-Reflection: I think self reflection is important but don’t gaze there too long. Gaze on the one that made us.

(These are on the more serious side… another post needs to be done on the physical things about turning 30. For example, how you cant drink coffee past 1 pm or you will be up all night, you cant have more than 2 drinks or you will suffer the next day, you will get chin hairs).

Part 3: Things I Learned while Training

I left off with this mini series talking about what I used to train for this race.

Today I will talk about things I learned or that happened.

  • I lost a toenail – so gross… I had some pain underneath a toe for a couple days before I (of course) googled it. I saw that it could be a blister and how to take care of it. So, I did. It popped and oozed just fine (ew) but I eventually lost the toenail. It’s grown back fine after many months!
  • My IT band started giving me issues two weeks before the race if I ran over 3 miles – this was one of the most unpleasant surprises. I dont know why it happened… I think I should have changed shoes earlier and should have stretched more. I popped a tylenol for the race, rubbed some DoTerra deep blue on it, and wore an IT band thing. It ended up being fine through the race.
  • Only wear clothes you are absolutely comfortable in – my sister in law said that when she would do her long training runs on the weekend she always wore the same outfit so that the race had no surprises. Not only did I not do this but I wore a tutu on race day lol. I think I will stick to her tip if there is a next time – which I am still not sure about haha
  • I did not lose any weight
  • Running in the heat is the worst – be sure to hydrate!!