Monday, March 26, 2012

a little bit of real life (and my 37.5 week maternity pics!)

i am sitting at starbucks studying the bible, working on some blog posts, and basically avoiding all the germs in my house that are swirling around my family right now.  and because of this... you get to enjoy a blog post from me filled with my maternity pictures.  enjoy.

i was kicked out of the house this morning by my caring and thoughtful husband.  he took the day off to care for our 3 sick kids (and the lone non-sick one).  he knows how prone i am to catch stomach bugs and doesn't want me to catch this one with being so close to having our new little one.  three weeks ago i had food poisoning and it induced painful contractions that i prayed to go away.  this is not the way i would like to go into labor.  God, i am trusting Your perfect timing and that You know all things.  when i do not understand the timing, i trust that You know the timing and Your hand is upholding me and those i care about.

though i am still 2.5 weeks out from the due date, the impending arrival of this new little guy is all so real due to my sister-in-law's waters breaking 2 weeks and 5 days early this past week and her having her beautiful little daughter much earlier than she was anticipating.  wow.  we were only due 2 days apart!  i could have this little guy anytime now really, though so much of me doesn't feel ready and would like him to wait.  just wait until this sickness is out of my house, please!

my wonderful sister took maternity pictures of my 37.5 week belly yesterday during a brief pause in the pouring rain that has been here for about a week and will stay a week or so longer.  she did a great job and i love the documentation of this 5th pregnancy.  though she is not a professional photographer, i would say she is pretty good at it.  but, then again, she is pretty good at anything she puts her hand to - she is just like that in being creative and all.

you want to know something?  real life is not always fun and exciting.  sometimes it is drudgery and full of sickness and a lot of no fun things.  i remind myself to keep my eyes on Him and to acknowledge His activity and upholding of my life.  He really is so faithful even in the midst of the hard things we go through and the difficult days.  we just have to choose to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them back on Him.  (please tell me i am not the only one who needs this reminder so often?!)
dark can give birth to life, suffering can deliver grace, the ugly can be beautiful.  God transfigures everything for His glory. ann voskamp

so, what do you think of the maternity photo shoot?

i am enjoying these pictures while i can because sooner than later i will be posting some newborn pictures for all of you to enjoy!  isn't that wild?

still counting gifts to 1000...

584 - 601:

584. tears before the Lord during prayer for His help.  He cares.

585. warm tea and honey for a sore throat.

586. practice contractions.

587. clean laundry to process.

588. uriah's 1st piano lesson.

589. garlic oil for little hurting ears.

590. a new niece born this week 2 weeks and 5 days early... and perfect.

591. all the kids' books newly organized (by the hubs and the kids).

592. a wonderful husband who sent me away while the stomach flu took over our house and is cleaning everything to try to protect me and the unborn baby from these germs.

593. my sweet and talented sister (not sister-in-law this time, she was the one who had the early baby!) who took my maternity pictures for me at 37.5 weeks along!

594. growing anticipation to meet this little one within me.

595. the Lord's perfect timing and that i can trust Him though i do not understand.

596. surviving the 1st soccer game in the freezing rain and the 1 year old screaming for 40 minutes straight (my 1 year old).

597. reading isaiah 37 and being blown away by the Lord's deliverance of His people.  when He was so faithful to literally fulfilling the short term prophesies, we can trust Him to be faithful to literally fulfill the long term ones we haven't seen come to pass yet!  so exciting!

598. listening to kevin prosch in starbuck in my ear buds.

599. the best midwife that i trust to take care of me when i have this baby.

600. a washing machine to clean all the germy articles in my house.

601. forced time to be by myself.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you have a blog, let me know if you have a list of your grace gifts so i can visit!  if you don't, write something you are thankful for in the comment section.  i love hearing from you!

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  i would love to keep in better touch with you!


Friday, March 23, 2012

peace. be still.

word for the day: loud


it all started with a sharp word towards one of my kids, for what reason i really cannot remember.  a heated impatience threatening to boil over and consume everyone within its immediate range, i gave a look at my husband.

"what's wrong?" he asked.

it isn't what is wrong.  there really isn't much that is wrong.  actually, if i would take the time to step back and give an honest look at life around me a lot is very right.

it is just too loud inside my head.

sometimes i wish all the noise in my brain would stop.  be quiet.  give me some space to really think.

sometimes i know that i am being driven by some primal urge to make the noise just go away - to shut off the loud and replace it with quiet.  this animal-like instinct can unfortunately wound those around me and there is no one left guilty for any crime except me.

when Jesus said to the storms, "peace. be still," i wish He would come say it to my internal life.  i am tired of the storms inside that affect the way i act on the outside.  i despise that i take my stress and unrest out on those i love the most.  i long to act from a place of peace rather than a place of irritation.
finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  philippians 4:8

what i fill my mind and heart with is surely going to affect what comes out, right?
be still, and know that i am God.  psalm 46:10

i long to be still.  i long for quiet in my soul.  Lord, make the loud noises stop.


want to join in?  it is easy.

5 minute friday rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

as always,  i love to hear from you.

Monday, March 19, 2012


we were having fun at a wedding

doesn't it feel like it is time for a random list of thoughts again?  i thought so.  here are some random things on my mind at this very moment.

my sweet thumb sucker - i was a thumb sucker too

1. it is one of those grey days outside.  it is ok though because we are battling colds around here.  i even got this one!  oh my.  pumping up on citrus and all the good for you stuff to get this out of the house and all of our systems before the new baby comes.   about 3.5 weeks left til the due date, but my babies have ranged between 2 weeks early and 1 day late, so we will see when this new little guy decides to make his arrival.

2. i have always been pregnant with a family member.  (crazy, right?)  my incredibly talented sister-in-law (her work is featured on my blog a ton!) is due only 2 days before me with her 3rd kid - 1st girl!  i have feverishly been trying to get stuff ready for her baby shower this weekend.  i am so excited for her!  i can't wait to meet my new little niece (#13!!).  i am making the popular salad that i blogged about last week at barbie's for the shower - mmmmm good!

3. simeon and this new little guy will be my closest two kids in age.  my first three had due dates within 4 days (guess we are fertile a certain time of year every other year??), and ended up having birthdays within 2 weeks of each other exactly 2 years apart.  then we had a 2.5 year gap between david and simeon which was amazing - who knew how much a difference just 6 months makes in the maturity of a 2 year old!  now this will be our closest two right after our furthest two... simeon is just 20 months and the baby literally could come at any time.  so, they will be around 20-21 months apart and it feels so much closer.  i really don't think simeon has a clue that a new baby is coming.  i am soaking in the last days and weeks of him being my littlest baby.  i told the family i am still calling him my big baby.  baby doesn't end til around 2, in my opinion.

4. prayer request: i would appreciate prayer for two things about this baby's arrival. 
  1. we need to settle on the right name.  i feel like the Lord guided us so much with our 1st 4 boys' names and i am really wanting the perfect confirmation for this baby's name as well.  we have ideas we like, nothing we have agreed on, but also haven't had the confirmation my heart needs yet.  
  2. i would like prayer this baby would arrive at the perfect timing.  my midwife missed my birth with simeon and i would really like to have her deliver this time around.  she brings so much peace with her and makes me feel very safe.  i also would like all of us well before the new little guy arrives - i have done sickness in the house with a newborn and it is no fun!

5. i made beet sourdough pancakes this late morning.  sounds gross?  oh, my friends, it is soooo not gross!  amazing is more the word i am looking for.  you should definitely check out the recipe at my friend katie's blog.  (check out some of her other recipes while you are at it - she has great ideas that are healthy and yummy at the same time!)

 36 weeks pregnant!

still counting gifts to 1000...

571 - 583:

571. listening to john thurlow play my heart's cry on the piano keys.

572. fresh flowers in vases in my living room.

573. replacement parts for my broken rocking chair are ordered...and will be here before the baby is born!

574. found the perfect yarn for the new baby's blanket.

575. learning to knit something new and turning frustration moments into learning opportunities.

576. borrowed bradley books to brush up before labor.

577. my sister's homemade tiramisu.

578. herbs and herbal teas to prep my body for the big day.

579. thoughts of possible names swirling in my head... knowing the Lord will show us the right one.

580. pink pancakes.

581. a beaming bride walking down the aisle.

582. dancing with my 4 boys on the dance floor - watching childlike abandon.

583. soaking up the days left of simeon being my youngest.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you have a blog, let me know if you have a list of your grace gifts so i can visit!  if you don't, write something you are thankful for in the comment section.  i love hearing from you!


Friday, March 16, 2012

being brave

word for the day: brave


the time is coming soon, whether i am ready or not. 

i better get ready.

it is completely natural and yet the most intimidating thing i have ever done and will ever do again. 

i have to be brave.  being brave doesn't mean that you aren't a bit nervous on the inside.  being brave doesn't mean you are ignorant of what is coming.  actually being brave is counting the cost and going into it fully aware of what it will take and what it will look like.

and no one knows for sure the day or the moment that it will start, but God has left that mystery up to Himself.  but i do know it is coming and i need to prepare.

in so many ways, as i write, i think of the parallels to the time before the return of Jesus.  i mean, they call it birth pains, right?  and here i am, thinking and reading and planning for very real, very physical birth pains in just a matter of weeks.  part of me is nervous.  part of me is excited.

but i know, most of all, what it will take is all of me being brave.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 timothy 1:7

He has been my Rock to navigate me through 4 births already, and i know He will be my Rock once again.  even when things get more intense and the contractions get stronger, i don't have to be a hero.  no, i just have to keep my mind steadfast and look at the One who is my Hero and He will guide me through.

He is always faithful and there will be such a great prize waiting for me on the other side - my baby.

someday He will be the One waiting for me on the other side and that will be the best prize for being brave.


want to join in?  it is easy.

5 minute friday rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

as always,  i love to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

amazing asian chicken salad

today i am sharing at my freshly brewed life in the spring in my step series!

i am sharing an easy recipe for one of our favorite main course salads – asian chicken salad.  as you know, we love to eat healthy, real food and love to save money while doing it!  this salad is fast and easy to put together - a healthy meal everyone will love!  (i was just requested to have this salad at an upcoming baby shower).

here is a little excerpt of facts i share on why to eat more cabbage:
since our star ingredient is cabbage, i would like to list some of the health benefits you get from eating more cabbage:
  • rich in vitamin c, iodine, calcium, vitamin e, magnesium and potassium
  • aids in treatment of constipation, headaches, excess weight, heart diseases, arthritis, eczema, among other ailments!
  • ranks up with broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts with the reputation of fighting cancer
  • rich in fiber
  • ½ cup chopped only has 16 calories!
come over and read the rest of my post and recipe - i would love to hear you stopped by!


Monday, March 12, 2012

10 years

we had a wonderful time celebrating our 10 year anniversary this past friday.  my husband wrote me a song and recorded it - how romantic is that, right?!  flowers in bold beautiful oranges and reds grace my living room.  we spent time my the river watching our 4 boys throw rocks in and took pictures in the same spot we had wedding pictures taken ten years ago.  (the above picture is from my phone taken by one of my kiddos).  we went to our favorite little italian restaurant for dinner and watched a movie.

the very best part was just simply being together.

there is so much i could write about marriage, but i will save that for a later date.

God is so faithful and has used marriage to shape and refine me.  looking at how much i have changed and grown over the past 10 years, i can't wait to see how much He shapes me over the next 10 years. 

the better and the worse - it is all used for His glory.

still counting gifts to 1000...

542 - 570:

542. singing a worship song with the kids when i thought i was too tired.

543. long day of taking care of kids alone when the hubby isn't feeling well.

544. hot flax wrap on my achy tired back.

545. being stretched in my patience.

546. pink cherry blossoms everywhere i look.

547. "this too shall pass."

548. 10 years of marriage.  guess we aren't newlyweds anymore?

549. eucalyptus oil in the humidifier.

550. anticipation of giving a gift to my husband who gives me so much.

551. reminders that i will never please everyone.

552. my boys laying hands on me and praying for me.

553. the desire to create.

554. little feet tap dancing in my belly.

555. an encouraging email from a friend at just the right time.

556. remembering the words in our vows.

557. sourdough starter covered waiting to make bread.

558. newman's organic peppermints.

559. tomorrow is a new day.  His mercies are new every morning.

560. He is not intimidated by my weakness.

561. starting to feel peace in anticipating labor.

562. favor in the craziest ways.

563. a very surprising phone call that someone we haven't talked to in a long time wanted to bless us big time.

564. my grandma and my kids putting a puzzle together.

565. meyer lemons off grandma's lemon tree.

566. meeting new people.

567. the opportunity to share at barbie's one of my favorite recipes and on eating more raw fruits and veggies.

568. buying fun new yarns.

569. God wowing me with His faithfulness and provision.

570. a wonderful day celebrating the past 10 years.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you have a blog, let me know if you have a list of your grace gifts so i can visit!  if you don't, write something you are thankful for in the comment section.  i love hearing from you!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

6 keys to dealing with emotional funks

image by mee lin woon

i was asked a couple weeks ago by one of the members of the facebook page for this blog if i could write a bit about how to deal with emotional funks (and even specifically hormonal emotional funks).

i think this is a great question and it has had me thinking for the past couple weeks and even gathering insight from others in our at the gate called beautiful community.  how as christian women are we to deal with the very real emotional swings in life, in the month, or even in the day? (this could apply to men too!  i know women are not the only ones that struggle with emotions).

1. worship.  it has to be my number one go-to fix for broken emotions.  remember, emotions are not good or bad, but they are an indicator of the health of your heart.  if your heart isn't doing well, chances are the emotions are going to give you little warnings so that you can do something about it.  (kinda like pain giving indications of something wrong in the body).
a bird doesn't sing because he has an answer.  he sings because he has a song. unknown

i happen to be a worship leader and a musician, so the most natural place for me to worship is at my upright piano in my living room.  my favorite times to worship are the few times i can get where no one is around to hear me, especially when i am very broken emotionally.  with a husband and 4 little ones, sometimes i have to stay up extra late at night to make this work.

i find crying out to the Lord in the form of song to be one of the most pleasurable experiences of life.  it doesn't matter what funk or pit i come to Him in, my vision is always realigned to gazing on the beauty of Him.  every time i gaze on Him i cannot help but be changed.
but we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 corinthians 3:18

every time. 

nothing changes in my circumstances.  everything shifts on the inside and the raging emotions, the surging hormones, just seem to melt - often into a puddle of tears.  (one of the reasons i love to do this specific type of worship time alone).  i cannot tell you how many tears have fallen on the broken keys of my 1900 upright baldwin piano.  i cannot tell you how many times my voice has cracked and gone off key as i could barely get out the words of a simple chorus.  i cannot tell you how many times i felt Him, really felt Him, meet me in the midst of whatever it is i was feeling so strongly and bring me peace.

you might not be a musician.  that is okay.  you can crank up your favorite Jesus culture you tube video or blast your favorite worship album in the car or on your ipod.  you don't have to sing well to worship well.  worship is the heart posture that says,
 i will love You no matter what is going on in life.  i will lift you high and say that You are good.  i will believe the truth and not my emotions because You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

dance.  sometimes this is the only way to break free from the emotional chains - stomp them down and look like a fool.  i seem to remember a very famous king who did this very thing and God said he was a man after His own heart.     (2 samuel 6:14)

2. cry out to the Lord.  one of the gals on our facebook conversation said she sometimes just prays, "help me, please, please, help me!"  i cannot tell you how many many times this has been my exact prayer.  did you know it is legal to pray for yourself?  it totally is legal! 

when we ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help us, He always does.  always.  (you can stand on that one.)  our prayers don't have to be fancy or long or even coming from a place of knowing exactly what it is that we are needing.  just asking Him to help is enough.
if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? luke 11:13
3. tell your emotions to stop all their noise!
why are you downcast, o my soul? why so disturbed within me? put your hope in God, for i will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. psalm 42:5, psalm 42:11, psalm 43:5
emotions = soul.  we can speak to our emotions and tell them to get into order.  king david did this all the time.  emotions are great indicators and lousy leaders.  do not let them lead you.  tell them to follow what you choose to do.

He isn't surprised by the raw ugly state of our emotions - He chose to love us with full disclosure of our brokenness.  we can come to Him and hope in Him, no matter how ugly our emotions may look at the current moment.

4. let the small things really be the small things and focus on what really matters.  it really is simple but feels like a hard thing to do.  if the laundry is piled up, there are tons of errands to run, bills unpaid, calls to make... remind yourself, what really matters in eternity?  for one day, or for even a couple hours in one day, you can let these things that seem so important wait.  take the time to get your heart aligned and these mountains will shrink in their size.  everything does not have to get done right now and you probably won't do a great job at doing them in your current emotional state anyways.

5. ask for prayer.  let yourself be vulnerable with other women (or your husband even!) in the body of Christ.  we are here to be a support for each other.  although it is so hard and humbling to admit our weakness and admit we don't have it all together all of the time, it is so amazing to have someone pray for you.  if you can, have them pray with you right then and there.  i have ended up in a mess of tears and felt the heaviness lift when i have taken the step to do this with women i know.

we think people are judging us for not having it all together.  they usually aren't.  actually showing our weakness and asking for help can encourage someone else who also has bad days.  you can give another woman the courage to ask for prayer when she needs it if you step out first yourself.

6. eat right and sleep well.  this simple reminder can make a world of difference.  when emotions are crazy, it is so tempting to splurge on all sorts of things that won't really make us feel better.  take time to take a nap.  take a walk.  drink some calming herbal tea.  eat something nourishing to your body.  take care of these little things and it will help you focus on the big things.

in what ways do you deal with emotional or hormonal funks?  
what have you found to help pull you out of the pit?


Monday, March 5, 2012

starting to feel better

i am missing this sweet little face right now.  it is sunday night (as i write this though i will post it tomorrow), and i have battled an intense food poisoning all day - in the worst way if you know what i mean.  i will spare you the details.

my sweet husband whisked the 4 boys off to church this morning then took them to my mom's house, so i could be sick in peace.  they have been gone all day so mommy could be sick and not be tending to little ones.

i am finally starting to feel a bit better.  now sitting here in a quiet empty house is seeming a bit lonely compared to life that usually fills it.  i must be feeling well enough to notice.

just reminded once again how blessed i am in so many ways.  my just normal everyday health is one thing i take for granted so often until something like this stomach thing hits. 

so happy these little ones and my thoughtful husband will be walking in the door any minute. 

so thankful that tomorrow is a new day.

still counting gifts to 1000...

526 - 541:

526. a husband who took the kids away for a day while i battled intense food poisoning. 

527. starting to feel better.

528. rehydrating... lots of early contractions were a bit scary at one point.

529. my wonderful kids - missing them gone all day.

530. hearing this song again... i would have to say the 3rd, and often unknown, verse is my favorite.

531. the relaxing rhythm of knitting.

532. reading a book on planning for birth.

533. messes all over this house.

534. my grandma comes home from the rehab place this week.

535. 10 years of marriage with my husband this week.

536. prayers when i don't feel well.

537. friends.

538. the nearness of the Lord.

539. a sweet worship time. 

540. uriah lost his first tooth.

541. simeon's first haircut. 

i am linked up at a holy experience.

if you have a blog, let me know if you have a list of your grace gifts so i can visit!  if you don't, write something you are thankful for in the comment section.  i love hearing from you!


Friday, March 2, 2012


word for the day: ache


i have never met you, but i think about you often.  sometimes, when it is late at night and i am lying awake in my bed or when i am walking around the quiet neighborhood by myself and my mind is allowed to silently wander, i think about all our days together.  i know that you are not perfect, for of course you are only a broken human just like me.  but there is something about you that will not let my heart go.

when i think of you my eyes fill with tears.  my throat chokes and words are pointless.  my heart and my arms ache.

you are right beyond the horizon.  i believe you wait for me and i try to wait for you.  it is hard sometimes.  i can almost see your eyes looking into mine at times and i have so many unanswered questions that seem left hanging.


my heart joins with the cry of hannah and i say, Lord, when?  when will you give to me...?

and i walk the tight rope of living a life thankful for what i have right before me and a heart that aches for what i cannot let go of - the hope of you.

someday i hope this ache will be filled with tears of joy at seeing your face after such a long time of waiting.

i love you.


want to join in?  it is easy.

5 minute friday rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

as always,  i love to hear from you.
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