Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

What does Alabaster even mean?!?

9 Sep

Over the last year, I’ve been asked at least a hundred times, “Oh, that’s a *insert polite word for weird* name! Where did you get that?” in response to my youngest’s name, Alabaster. Well, if you, too have been wondering where it came from, you’re about to get your answer. You’re welcome.

We had a slew of names picked for either gender, and naturally once the baby was born, we started trying out all the boy names we had picked. We both really liked Toby. Super short and sweet. The “.” at the end of our family. But, it didn’t seem to fit him. We tried it for a few hours, but it just felt so bizarre to say.

During my pregnancy, I had made a few online radio stations. One for labor, one for the first few hours after birth and one for while I was in my bed for the week afterward. They were all kind of random, but seemed to play the perfect songs. “No Longer Slaves” and “Gracious Tempest” got me through all those contractions (my poor midwives and husband probably never want to hear those songs again!!). Instrumental hymns played as he was weighed and I ate the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever experienced (thank you, thank you, thank you, Joanna!!). Then, I had some celebratory type songs to play in my recovery days.  Taking a few cues from my Aunt Kimi, I loaded that playlist with Martha Munizzi, Tasha Cobbs, Israel Houghton, etc. Those are my happy songs, they take me to my happy place. Or, as Tamela Mann says, they “take me to the King”.  Although CeCe Winans was not specifically on this playlist, she kept popping up. And so I would give her the “thumbs down” and move on. She’s just not my jam, frankly. But, then, as I was nursing my sweet new baby, a song from my past came on. It was Cece Winans (although I remember Jill singing it, and much prefer her version instead), and she was singing, “the room grew still, as she made her way to Jesus….”

Music, it speaks to me. It sets the tone for the room. It can say to me what spoken words cannot. When words come through music, I can more tangibly feel the presence of God, and the words go straight to my soul, and speak. When words are spoken, my brain tries to process them, and I lose what was actually being said to me.

As I was listening to Cece belt it out, I decided this was a good story to read as my devotion for the day, since I hadn’t really ever read it in it’s entirety. I turned to Luke and read, “Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.  And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” (Luke 7:36-38 NKJV)

Well, that was not as enlightening as I had hoped. What was the purpose of this in the Bible anyway?? Oh well, I had a baby to snuggle. I would think about the Bible later.

Every so often, I would call Zach in and suggest a name, or he would pop in and throw one out. Every time, we would instantly react with a very strong, “NO!” After quite a few hours, I was getting very frustrated. By this time, it was the next morning, and our new son had no name. This alone wasn’t a big deal, since we had plenty of time to pick, if we needed it. But, the fact that we seemed to be on polar opposite sides was getting to me. He would say, “What about Asher?!” and I would say, “No… too close to Ashley. And, I know someone with that name…” And I would say, “What about Huxley?!” and he would ask, “well, it’s ok, but what does it mean?” .. “Oh, ‘Hugh’s Meadow’. Nevermind”. We could not get to a happy medium. We had 5 criteria: it had to be unique, preferable that we know no one with the name — it had to go with our last name, so Peter was out– nothing culturally specific, like Jose or Guillermo or Azizi or Baird– no bizarre spelling, Ashley would be spelled as is, not Aashleighe, not my thing — and finally, it had to have a good, strong meaning. We felt when we started this journey of parenthood, that what we named our children would follow them, and we don’t want “devilish child” to be the thing we’ve labeled our child for their life.

He liked old names, Murray or Alfred. I also like old names, but catchier, like McAllister and Frederick. He suggested “Alfred” and I suggested “McAllister” and we made a joke about naming him “Al” since it was the only name we had agreed on in this entire process.

As the joke continued, we started referring to him as “Al”, until we could find a more suitable name. Not realizing it, Cece kept popping up on my playlist, “though she spoke no words, everything she said was heard, as she poured her love for the Master, from her box of….” I decided to read a different version of this story, so I turned to Matthew for his account.

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,  a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.  For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Matthew 26:6-13 NKJV)

Oddly, this version spoke to me a little more. As I prayed about it, I found some parallel in my life. You see, I didn’t graduate college, I am not a missionary nor a minister, I don’t work outside of the home, I am ‘lowly’ in human terms; I’m just a mom. This woman, too, was lowly. She was a sinner, just like me, and had very little to offer. But, she took her alabaster flask, filled with the only worth (monetary) that she had, and she offered it to Jesus. I too, wanted that. To take the things of value that I have, and offer them to Him. But, we don’t own anything of worth. The only thing(s) I have to offer, are my children. They are literally the most precious things I have.

When people found out I was pregnant with Vivienne, we got many comments like, “another one?!” and “don’t you know how this happens?” and it was very offensive to me. That somehow, the life of my child was an inconvenience to them. So, when we found out that we were expecting a fifth (!!!) baby, we kept to ourselves. Although I was honored to be holding life inside of me, that God had placed there, I was embarrassed and ashamed that “we were having another baby”.  It was silly and foolish to think that way, I see now. But while it was happening, I just didn’t want to deal with the comments. I saw the likeness of the woman and myself in this part, too. “Why do you trouble the woman? She has done a good work for me.” Why did people comment about the size of our family? It doesn’t affect them at all. I was doing it for God. Because it’s what He has asked of our family.

I really started praying and seeking the Lord’s wisdom on this. What was the take-away?

Alabaster. I kind of liked it. No, I really loved it. Here came the test.


He popped his head in the room. “Yes? Do you need something?”

“What about Alabaster? You know, for the baby’s name…”

“OH! Alabaster! Like Mary’s alabaster jar! Yeah. I’m going to pray about it, but I really love it.” HE LOVED IT! Sold. I threw in for good measure, “We can even call him, “Al”!” We both laughed. (We do not call him Al, for those wondering.)

He came back a while later and said, “I do really love it, but, what does it mean?”

I answered honestly, “Well, I’m not really sure. I couldn’t find a meaning, because it’s like ‘Rose’. It doesn’t have a meaning it’s just ‘Rose, like the flower’ … but, to me, it means, Alabaster: my vessel of offering; the most precious thing I have to give; the gift to God that I’m willing to flush in shame for and listen to the scoffers about and present my gift anyway, because it’s mine and of greatest value and what’s been asked of me.  Alabaster: precious vessel of holy offering That’s what it means.”

He answered in the most perfect way, “Alabaster Norman, then? Call Jeanne and tell her for the birth certificate.” So, I did. And when I told her what we were naming him she said, “Well, I didn’t expect Joe, but I’ve never heard this one before! Where did it come from?!” And she said it in the most kind way, because that’s how Jeanne says everything, kindly. She even tells you to “eat the food or else” kindly. Ask me how I know. *wink* So I told her. And we cried together and agreed it was perfect.

So, there you have it. Alabaster got his name from God. Because he is my precious vessel of holy offering.


Alabaster Norman Newborn
Photo Credit: Precious Faith Photography


Alabaster Norman 6 months
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Peterson


Alabaster Norman 1 year
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Peterson



Macaroni and Cheese, Please!

25 Nov

I’m sure you have all seen the posts on social media, “She was walking on the sidewalk, but wait until you see what happens next!” or, “This man just got the surprise of his life. You won’t believe it when you get to the end!” These days, we are all about the hype. It’s kind of annoying, actually. However, I must say, that “This Mama made Macaroni and Cheese, and the results were incredible! Wait until you see how easy it is!”

Since Mr. and I got married, when we have Macaroni and Cheese for dinner, it is homemade. I usually go through the time to boil the pasta, drain the pasta, make a rue, make Bechamel sauce, add in cheese, mix with pasta…. It becomes tedious, and now with little kids, it’s not very practical time wise. Who wants to spend 45 minutes making a side dish? Well, no more!! I have found, an incredible, one pot, 5 ingredients (plus spices) Macaroni and Cheese recipe. And, it takes less than 30 minutes!!


Macaroni & Cheese

One Pot Wonder Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb short cut pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne, bowtie)
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups chicken broth
4 Tbsp butter, cut into pads
2-3 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese

Now, for the incredibly easy directions. Brace yourself… they are almost too good to be true.

Have you braced? Are you ready?

Put all the ingredients, except the cheese, into a 12 inch skillet on medium high heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat, but allow to simmer. Stir occasionally, for even noodle cooking. When the noodles are fully cooked (about 15 minutes), and the cream sauce has reduced down and thickened, turn off heat, and add in cheese, 1 handful at a time, stirring until fully melted. I added about 2 1/2 cups to the pasta, and sprinkled the remaining 1/2 cup on top. Done.

This macaroni and cheese is probably the most flavorful (because the seasoning is cooked into the pasta), creamiest (because it’s cooked in heavy cream, not water) macaroni and cheese you will ever eat. It’s also the easiest (because it’s boiling 4 ingredients together, then mixing in cheese) and cleanest (come on! It’s one pot!!) macaroni and cheese you’ll ever make. I can sense that you don’t believe me. Why don’t you go ahead and make it, and let me know what you think in the comments… You know you want to.


mac and cheese 2

This, too, shall pass.

17 Nov

Recently, I have had the joy and honor of helping some brand new Mama’s with their nursing experience. Now, “brand new Mama” does not imply at all that they are first time moms. Some of them were. But, some of these ladies were nursing their second, third or even fourth babies. “Brand new Mama” refers to the fact that they have a brand new baby. An absolutely stunning, precious, adorable, lovable, screaming, confusing, frustrating little bundle of upsetting bliss.

Now, I was once a “brand new Mama”. And in a few short weeks (eek!) I will enter that world again. But, truly, it doesn’t matter if you are nursing, or bottle feeding. If you have an “easy” baby or a “colicky” baby. And it doesn’t matter if you have just one precious bundle of joy, or if you are going through this for the 9th time. Nor, does it matter if you birthed them from your womb (biological) or from your heart (adoption). Or if you children are 2 hours old, or 20 years old. The truth of the matter is this: This, too, shall pass.

Shortly after I brought Little Miss home from the hospital, I was up in the middle of the night changing, feeding, burping, feeding, burping, changing, cuddling, feeding, holding her. Ever have a newborn? Then you know exactly what I mean. Right about the time when you think you might have gotten the hang of things, these adorable, tiny balls of human life go and mess it all up again. And it’s wonderful. And it’s frustrating. As I was sitting in my room at 3am, with a newborn, screaming in my face for what seemed like hours, I felt my resolve melt. I started crying with her. And the louder she cried, the louder I cried. I felt so helpless, and yet, so needed. I lifted her tiny body up in front of me, so I could see her face. And without even thinking, I wailed to her, “WHY?! WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH?!” At this point, Mister was very awake, and took her from me, and said, “She doesn’t hate you. She just doesn’t know….” He then took her to the living room, where apparently they slept (she is still Daddy’s girl, to this day), and I lay there in my bed. As I lay there in the quiet, something occurred to me: This, too, shall pass. 

This is my parenting motto: This, too, shall pass. 

It’s quite profound, if you think about it.

However awful and miserable things seem to be, it’s not going to last forever. You can survive this.  That little screaming baby, who has nursed you raw, will one day grow up. And you will miss those times of closeness, and bonding, that only you had. Never nursed? It still applies. So quickly, those itty-bitty newborn diapers are so quickly traded for the bigger “size 1”. And before you know it, your little baby will be potty training, and you will see a lone newborn sized diaper that fell behind the dresser 2 years ago, and you will think to yourself, “How in the world did this happen?” It happens, because, This, too, shall pass.

On the other hand, all the good things come to an end, as well. Cherish every single moment you can, because, This, too, shall pass. Those snuggly little babies turn into mobile toddlers who just want to go. Those little grins, just because they saw your face, soon turn to scowls of disgust at the food they loved yesterday, but hate today. Those first words, “mama” and “dada” are all to soon replaced with, “BUT, MOM!!!!!!!!” Little feet that go “pitter-patter” turn into stomping up the stairs and slamming doors. And climbing out of the crib is just a memory of the past when they start sneaking out at night. So, especially in those good times, remember, they will be gone before you know it, because, This, too, shall pass.

Being a parent is hard. But, the good, the bad, and even the ugly, all come to an end. Those precious baby coos turn into sassy little words. Those midnight screams turn into, “Please, Mama”s. These tiny little people, grow into bigger people. Who will, one day, have tiny little people of their own. And, somehow, those never-ending sleepless nights, seem like light-years away. And those days that seemed so far away, the first day of school, graduation, weddings, are all of the sudden happening tomorrow. How is that even possible? Because, in all things, wonderful or miserable, This, too, WILL pass.  And it will somehow not pass fast enough, but then again, it will pass all to quickly. So, survive it, and cherish it while you can, because in the not-so-distant future, you’ll be reassuring your baby, that no matter what your grandbaby might be doing right now, This, too, shall pass. And try as you might, you can never get those days back.

What are some struggles that you wish (or wished) would pass more quickly? What are some moments that you will strive harder to cherish, or wish you would have cherished more? Let me know in the comments!

Support the Cause

22 Aug

As I am sure we are all aware, there is a current craze taking over social media, known as “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. Never heard of it? I don’t believe you.

At first, there was some outrage that people were “dumping ice water on their heads” to “get out of donating to a worthy cause”. I have a few statements to make about this.

1. Knowledge of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is important. Like all diseases, I think raising awareness is very important. I am in full support of dumping ice water on your head to make a scene and make people wonder what it’s all about.

2. I believe that donating money to a cause that you fully support is very noble, and I recommend it.

3. I believe that donating money to a cause you know nothing about is foolish.

With those three things said, let’s move on.

Anyone else remember the hype about Girl Scout cookies, and those who purchased them, because, if you bought cookies you supported abortion?

I find it odd that the same people who “couldn’t eat the cookies”, can dump the water on their heads.

Why, you ask?

Because what you are funding, by doing the ice bucket challenge is very clearly laid out on the ALSA website.

Stem cell research.

The same process that many couples are using to conceive children (IVF), is the exact same process used to find out more about ALS. The major difference? In IVF the hope is that the baby lives. In stem cell research, the goal is to kill the baby before it forms too far.

I am all for supporting the cause. I want to support research to rid the world of this disease. But, I do not support killing babies, no matter how small, to do it. If you are sacrificing one life for another, that doesn’t seem like a win to me.


So, I respectfully bow out of the Ice Bucket Challenge, and encourage you to be informed, and do the same.


25 Years

23 Jun

Today is my 25th birthday. A quarter of a century. Wow. I’m getting old.

The past 25 years have truly been amazing. Some of you know me from way back in the day (Hi, Mom!). Some of you I have just recently met, or have never met at all. So, I thought I would share some of my life with you! Here is a year-by-year list of major things that happened in my life for the past 25 years.

1989 – This is the year that the world gained one of the coolest people ever — Me. And also, Taylor Swift. But, who cares about her?

1990 – Learned to walk.

1991 – Moved in with my grandparents, and started my career as “Most Spoiled Child in America”. Although not good for society, I really liked that title.

1992 – Met my sister and one of my best friends, Brianna.

1993 -Acquired another, brattier sister, who was super fun to pick on, Veronica. (Love you!)

1994 – Started Kindergarten.

1995 – Learned about crimped hair, and insisted mine be crimped. I’ve always been fashion forward, you know.

1996 – Started wearing fake, stylin’ glasses. Again, Fashionista, here!

1997 – Started wearing real, hideous glasses.

1998 –  My dad got re-married, and I gained my arch-enemies, Chris and Emily. Lucky for us, it has worked out, and I like them now. It was rough going for a few years, there.

1999 – Aaron, the cutest little brother in the entire world was born. He is my buddy, and I love him!

2000 –  I survived Y2K.

2001 – I began public school. I wore hideous clothing, and got made fun of. Often. I almost cared.

2002 – Performed at my first ever Fine Arts for the Assemblies of God.

2003 –  Started High School. Truly some of the best years of my life.

2004 – Must have been a boring year for a teenager. I can’t think of anything good.

2005 – Went on the trip of a life time to Denver, CO. (AAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!) (Also, let’s pack up and move to Colorado…)

2006 – Traveled to Florida with Fine Arts and did a “tour” with the team. So much fun, so many memories.

2007 – Graduated High School. Moved to Minnesota.

2008 – Spent my year getting to know the best friend I’ve ever had.

2009 – Fell in love with my best friend and got married to him.

2010 – Little Miss was born, and totally changed my life. I learned so much about love, from a 7 pound, wrinkly bundle of joy.

2011 – Middle Little joined our family. The tiniest, cuddliest baby, won my heart instantly.

2012 – Buddy Boy made a fast entrance into my world, and shocked us by being a boy. He has kept me on my toes ever since, but makes up for it in slobbery kisses and cuteness.

2013 – Had some rough waters, and learned what it really means to cling to my husband and Jesus. Also, was able to attend the birth of my nephew – incredible.

2014 – God moved us from our comfy home church to a brand new baby church, where we are excited to grow with our new church family.


But, even more than the past 25 years, I am so excited about the next 25 years.


Here is my bucket list of 25 things I would like to accomplish in the next 25 years.

  1. Skydive.
  2. Travel to Paris.
  3. Get my Doula Certification.
  4. Build my dream home.
  5. Buy a new car, straight off the lot, never driven by anyone else.
  6. Write a book, and publish it.
  7. Meet Rascal Flatts.
  8. Officiate a wedding.
  9. Drive a School Bus.
  10. Stand in all 50 states of the United States (I have about 20 down. Airports don’t count.)
  11. Write a cookbook. (Different than writing a book.)
  12. Serve on Jury Duty.
  13. Actually, personally pray one on one with someone to receive Christ.
  14. Become a Foster Parent.
  15. Road trip and see all the MLB stadiums with my husband.
  16. Visit Ina May Gaskin’s farm.
  17. Run a 5K.
  18. Sew a quilt for my bed.
  19. Make Thanksgiving dinner, all by myself.
  20. Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
  21. Be at a taping of the Ellen Show.
  22. Renew my wedding vows.
  23. Write my obituary (I know, morbid, but I want it to be good!).
  24. Preach a sermon.
  25. Be a camp counselor. Preferably a teen camp, but we will see.

Some are really lofty goals, and some are easily obtainable. I hope that in 25 years, I can report back that I have accomplished everything on my list, and then some!

What are some of your bucket list items? Are any of yours the same as mine? Let me know in the comments!

Make It Your Mission

13 Jun

Recently I had the privilege of writing for a fantastic, and encouraging blog, Love Life Ministries.

I talked a bit about our mission in life, and how we treat the mission we have been given.

Here is an excerpt from my post:

“Some people are called to go to foreign countries. Some are called to work with homeless people. Some are called to the workplace. Others, like me, are called to be home.

What do all of these have in common? It is where they are called to be.

Whether serving in Africa, serving papers to your boss, or serving dinner at home, you are serving. You are doing your mission.”

Make sure to check it out!

It Is What It Is – (Part 5/5)

9 Jun

Thank you, Lord, for this desire you have placed in our hearts, and for the ways You are making this dream become a reality!


Sometimes, I think the Lord opens doors for you.

Sometimes, I think the Lord slams them in your face. BAM!


As quickly as we were prepared to start the fostering process, our desires quickly became halted.

Now, before you get all nervous this is going to be another “things aren’t working out” post, well, it is. But a good kind.


That very same week that we had decided to begin the fostering process, and to make permanent changes to Mr.’s anatomy, we got quite a shock.

As a joke, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Mr. and I “bet” on whether it would be positive or negative. We both said negative.


We were both wrong.


That’s right. The same week we decide not to have anymore (biological) children, I get a positive pregnancy test. Just in case, I decided to take the second in the box. I had to be sure, this wasn’t something to mess around with!

I took the second test.


I went to the doctor the next week for a routine first trimester exam. After having the miscarriage, my doctor wanted to monitor my hormone levels through blood tests for the first few weeks of the pregnancy.

I had my blood drawn. I waited.

The doctor came in looking, ummmm, confused.

“Are you sure of your dates?” She asked me.

My heart sank. I couldn’t handle another loss. If my levels were low (which, it appeared they might be), I would most likely lose this baby, too.

“Yes. I am certain.” I answered.

“Then we need to do an ultrasound. Things aren’t quite adding up,” the doctor told me.

I went through the halls, back to the front desk. I had an ultrasound scheduled for an hour out. I waited.

When you are anxious, an hour seems like forever.

I prayed, “Lord, I wasn’t expecting to ever be pregnant again. This is a surprise to me, but I welcome it. Please prepare my heart for whatever is about to happen in there, because I can’t do this alone.”

I remember feeling a new kind of nervous. Not a “what-if-something-is-wrong” nervous, but a “well-it-is-what-it-is” nervous.

And that was my motto. I repeated to myself over the next hour, “It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

As I sat, I began to believe it. Truly, whatever was happening, was happening. I could do nothing to change it.

The nurse called my name.

I went into the room with the ultrasound equipment. The same technician who had been there through the entire miscarriage ordeal was there.

She remembered me. “Hi. How are you doing?” She seemed nervous for me.

“I’ll be better once I know what’s going on…” I answered.

She got to work. She could see nothing abdominally. She inserted the probe and after a second, a look of relief washed over her face.

“Okay, are you ready to see?” She asked.

I wasn’t sure if I was. And, looking back, no amount of time would have prepared me anymore.

“Well, your due date is in January,” she was dragging this out.

“That’s what I thought. They said my numbers were off, though?” I replied.

“No, they are right on track…. for twins.”

She turned the screen around, and there, in the center were two, perfect little black circles.

I just stared at her.

She laughed. I laughed.

“Wait until I tell my husband,” I chuckled.

“Here, you can show him this,” she laughed back, as she handed me this:




Yes, that is indeed my uterus. Yes, I Photoshopped those words onto the image. But, I promise. That image is genuine.

See the ** up there? That little white line indicates they are identical (or so they tell me).

We talked for a few more minutes as she measured a few more things for the doctor.

She finished the scans, and sent me in to get dressed.

When I came back out, she handed me the picture, and said, “I really am hoping for the best on this! Good luck!”

I thanked her and walked out.

As I drove home, I thought of how I would tell Mr. I thought of how we would tell our families and our friends.

I had this grand plan to tell Mr. It involved an elaborate dinner of “double” everything….

I walked in the door and he was sitting on a chair in the living room.

“How was your appointment?” he inquired.

“It was….. ummm…. here.” I said, handing him the picture. I couldn’t wait.

He looked down and instantly started laughing. And I started laughing with him.

We laughed for a while. Not because it is funny, but because we are happy. No, we are thrilled.


Even through trials and storms, God has an ultimate plan. A better plan that we could ever imagine. Had I carried Bethany to term, with her (more than likely) heart condition, we would have certainly had no more children. God saw that we needed 5 to be complete. He truly knows best.

While I don’t think that God “made me have a miscarriage”, or “forced me to go through pain”, I think that He truly wanted what was best for me and my family, and sometimes that includes things we don’t understand.

In a perfect world, Bethany would have been a healthy baby. In a perfect world, there would have been no miscarriage. In a perfect world, there would be no pain. But, this is not a perfect world. This is a fallen world, we are a fallen people.

I know that my pain is temporary, but my reward is eternal. Though I am still sad sometimes at the prospects of what-could-have-been, and while I still long to hold that sweet baby girl one day, I can rejoice in the blessings I have been given.

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” ~Matthew 5:12a

***Since this post went live, we have found out that one of the babies didn’t make it past week 12 in gestation. We are still very thrilled to be blessed with one healthy baby, coming this winter.***






Jesus Loves the Little Children – (Part 4/5)

8 Jun

For the past few years, Mr. and I have been discussing Foster Care and Adoption as part of our plans.

It’s never quite lined up, though.

When I was ready, he wasn’t. When he was ready, I wasn’t.


About a month and a half ago, we were sitting and discussing our family. How the kids are perfectly separated in age. How they play like best friends.

Our family is perfect, just the way it is.

Mr. then brought up, “Well, what about fostering? Do you still want to do that?”

“Oh! Yeah! We should really look into that!” I said, feeling excited.

“Maybe we should look into me getting a certain procedure?” he said, hesitantly.

“Yeah. I feel really good about our family right now. I think fostering and maybe, someday adopting is how we should finish our family.” I was feeling really excited. I have wanted to foster for a really long time. One of my dreams was coming true!

We spent the next few days talking about timing for “the procedure”. We decided that we would wait until after our trip to PA in July, and then schedule it for August sometime.

I asked for the packets to start the licensing process for foster care.

We started discussing how many kids would we foster at once? Boys? Girls? Ages? So many decisions to make, but it was all so exciting.


A little side note about why I have always felt the desire to foster.

Have you ever heard the saying, “You may be the only “Jesus” they encounter”?

That. That saying is why I want to foster.

There are so many children who have such broken homes and families. They are tossed from foster family, to foster family, because they have issues. If you were taken from your family, you would most likely have issues, too. Just sayin’.

I desperately want to show them the love of Christ. Even if it’s only for a month. I don’t think I can replace their “real mom”. I don’t think Mr. can replace their “real dad”. But, I do think that by showing them Jesus, their eyes, and more importantly, their hearts, can be opened to “real love”.

I want to love children the way that Jesus does. That means not just my own, biological children. It means all of His children, wandering and alone, too.

I want to love all of the Foster Children that Jesus places in my home, just like He loves them.

Thank you, Lord, for this desire you have placed in our hearts, and for the ways You are making this dream become a reality!

Oh, Lazarus- (Part 3/5)

7 Jun

“Do you think we should name the baby?” he asked me.

“Yeah. I think we should.”

“What do you want to name it?”

“I’m not sure. But, when the right name comes, we will know.”


A few weeks later, I was reading an article about “The Lazarus Effect”. About how we pray for things, and God answers differently than we want, so we assume He didn’t answer at all.

For the next few days, the story of Lazarus spun in my head. I couldn’t help the thoughts.

Lord, you raised a man from the dead! Why couldn’t you fix my baby?! 

As the thoughts continued to come, so did the prompting: Read the story again.

But, God, I know the story. Lazarus was sick, Jesus didn’t make on time, Lazarus died,  and Jesus raised him.

Read the story again.

Fine. But I already know what happens.

I picked up my computer and went to the scripture.

I started to read.

John 11:1

Now a certain man named Lazarus was ill. He was of Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived.

I kept reading. Lazarus’ sisters send a message to Jesus.

John 11:4

When Jesus received the message, He said,” This sickness is not to end in death; but  it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Seriously, God. I think this is stupid. I’m not ready to read this yet. What is Your point?

Keep reading. 

I stumbled through some more text, feeling frustrated.

John 11:6

Therefore, even when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.

Hmmm. I’ve never noticed that before. Jesus didn’t run immediately to the sick and heal him, he finished what he was doing, where he was, first.

Read that again.

I did. And then I read it over, and over, and over. I couldn’t grasp what the relevance to me was.

I read on. Jesus and the disciples have a little chat about things. The disciples say, “Hey, we should probably go see Lazarus….”

Jesus responds to them.

John 11:14-15

So then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, And for your sake I am glad that I was not there; it will help you to trust Me.”

Knowing how the story ends, I could see Jesus’ point here. Because he was REALLY dead, there was no question if he was actually raised or not. There was no room to question the actuality of the miracle.

The disciples and Jesus discuss some travelling options. They arrive at Bethany to a grieving crowd. Mary collapses at Jesus feet, stricken with grief.

John 11:33-36

When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept.

The Jews said, See how  He loved him!

I felt something odd in my spirit. Jesus knew that Lazarus would die. He also knew what was about to happen, that he would be raised from the dead. But, even still, his heart was sad for his friends. His heart was sad at the loss.

My heart is sad for your grief, for your loss.

Then why didn’t you just heal my baby?! Wouldn’t that have been easier?

Then what about the miracle?

What miracle?! My baby is still dead. There was no miraculous healing.

Keep reading.

I did.

John 11:37

But some of them said, “Could not He who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?”

Exactly! Couldn’t you have just prevented all of this?!

Then what about the miracle?

LORD!? What miracle?! I know, I know. Lazarus was brought back to life. That didn’t happen for me. Is your point to just rub it in my face that you *could* but didn’t?!

No, child. I am able, but I couldn’t. Because if I had, there would have been no miracle.

Wait, so, You *couldn’t*?!  What about Lazarus? You raised him!

You are only hearing you. I said, I was *able*, but I couldn’t, because of the miracle.

I was so confused. I failed to see.

Keep reading.

John 11:40

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?”

Did I not tell you that if you trust Me, you will see My glory?

I trust you, but I’m not seeing it, Lord. I see no glory. So, what? My baby still died. What kind of testimony is that?!

Keep reading.

John 11: 41-44

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me.”

When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice,” Lazarus, come out!”

And out walked the man who had been dead.

I still don’t get it.

Because you only want the answer you want. 

No, I just want to not have a dead baby. I prayed for healing. You didn’t heal. 

I didn’t heal the way you wanted Me to heal.

Or, you know, at all. 

Let Me perform the miracle I have for you, not the miracle you think you want.

What do you mean? It’s over! Are you magically going to un-miscarry the baby and heal it?

She is healed. She is whole. She is complete. She is perfect.

But she was mine, and you took her. 

She is Mine. And I allowed you to borrow her, for the sake of the miracle.


Name the baby. 

Fine. I’ll call him Lazarus. Oh, wait, that’s not fitting. Lazarus was raised… 

Name the baby, name the start of the miracle.

I spent the next few hours searching and praying. Arguing with God. Questioning Him. I read and re-read the story of Lazarus, searching for the name I was to name this baby.

Then, suddenly and abruptly, I had a revelation.


As I tossed the name around in my head, it became more and more clear.

Bethany is where the miracle begins.

It’s where Lazarus is. It’s where Jesus goes. It’s where Lazarus is raised.

Without the sickness and death, there would be no returning to life.


Without this tiny, little, broken-heart-made-whole-by-Jesus, only held in my womb – never in my arms, perfect baby’s death, there could never be a miracle.


Without the pain, there would be no reason to cling to Jesus.


Sitting in the stillness one night, I looked at my husband. He looked up at me.

“What do you think about the name, Bethany?” I asked Mr.

“Oh! I really like that! Where did you come up with that?”

“It’s a long story…”

“Well, let’s hear it!” He said.


We named her Bethany.

Bethany is Jesus’ baby, that He allowed me to borrow, even for 11 short weeks. 

Bethany is my perfect baby, who is waiting in perfect Heaven, who was spared this awful world.

Bethany is where my miracle begins.


Where is the start of your miracle?

Just Flush It – (Part 2/5)

6 Jun

*Please note that there is some graphic content within this post.*


The results popped up onto the bottom left hand corner of the screen.


That was it. It was over. The baby was gone.

“I’m so, so very sorry. I’m so sorry.” She whispered.

“It’s ok.” I answered. But, it wasn’t.

“I’m supposed to get the doctor, so you can talk to her. Are you up for that?” She asked, apologetically.

“Yes. That’s fine.” I was numb.

She walked out of the room. I got dressed.

She came back, “The doctor is in with a patient. Do you want to wait for her, or should I have her call you?”

“I can wait.” I answered. It didn’t seem real.

She took me to an exam room, so that I could wait for the doctor privately.

I checked Facebook, I played Candy Crush. I looked at the clock.

As I sat, it felt less and less real. More and more like a dream.

I waited. And I waited.

I sent a text to Mr., “I’m waiting to see the doctor. I’ll let you know when I am done.”

I waited some more.

All of the sudden, I wasn’t feeling well. I was tired. I was cold. My stomach ached.

I wanted to be in my bed. Forever.

I continued to sit there, waiting.

I adjusted in my seat, feeling uncomfortable. I felt an odd sensation, and not a good kind of odd. I looked at the clock again.

I had been waiting for 45 minutes.

Flashes of middle school horror came rushing back to me, as, I all of the sudden, realized I was bleeding.

I’m not prepared! I don’t have a pad on! I don’t have a change of clothes. I don’t even have a pad with me! I’m pregnant, what do I need pads for?! AHH!!!!

I decided to walk down the hall to the nurses station. At the very least, they had to have a newborn diaper or something they could give me, right? Then I could make it home and deal with things.

Let me back track for a few seconds, here.

My miscarriage last fall, was at 5-6 weeks. There was hardly any cramping. It was just like a period, really. *That* is what I was expecting.

I quickly and quietly explained to the nurse what was happening, “I am here because I am waiting to see my doctor. I think I’m having a miscarriage. I’m not prepared at all. Do you, maybe, have a pad, so that I can at least get home?”

The nurse nodded and said she would go see if she could find something. I responded, “Okay. I have to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.”

I walked into the tiny bathroom and took a deep breath. I sat down on the toilet. GUSH!

I was so confused. And scared. What in the world?!  I looked down. I had blood from my abdomen to my knees.

I glanced in the toilet. There was so much blood, I couldn’t even see to the bottom of the bowl. I was in shock.

I had to pull myself together and get home. Urgency set in. I knew this was the beginning of something incredibly awful.

I cleaned myself up the best I could. I cleaned up the toilet seat, and some spots of blood on the floor.

I flushed, washed my hands, took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom.

The nurse was rounding the corner, “Here,” she says. “This is all I could find.” She hands me a pad no bigger than my hand.

“Ummm… thank you.” I answer her. I feel obligated to put it on, even though I know my problems are much too large for this tiny thing.

I walk back into the bathroom. I sit down and feel an odd pressure. I adjust a bit on the seat. Extreme cramping causes me to double over in pain. Seriously, Lord. Just let me die. I am in pain. I am embarrassed. I am miserable. I feel nauseous, so I sit up a bit, trying to locate the trash can. As I sit up, I feel something emerge from my body as my muscles involuntarily contract. I want to scream, but, I am in a doctor’s office bathroom, I can’t. I look, cautiously into the toilet to see what was there. There it was. A mass, about the size of my fist, dark, and oddly shaped. I knew in my heart what it was. It was my baby.

I quickly put the pad into my underwear, stood up, and opened the door.

The doctor was coming down the hall. I needed help. I needed to know what to do.

I nervously approach her, careful not to actually leave the door of the bathroom.

“I think I may have just, umm… passed… ummm…. you know…. the…. ummm….. baby.” I said to her, hushed and sad.

“Ok….” She said, clearly wanting more information.

“It’s in the toilet. What should I do?” I asked.

“Oh.” She said, nonchalantly, “Just flush it.” She made a downward waving motion with her hand, and turned and walked away. I stood there a minute. Halfway down the hall, she turned around and said, “Just go on home, I’ll give you a call later.”

I was in such a state of panic. My baby is in a toilet, and the crazy doctor lady wants me to flush it like a goldfish. Do I dare reach my hand in and get it? If I do, then what? Should I just flush it? It? When did my baby become, “it”? Focus. Flush? Don’t flush? I was getting frantic. As I stood in the door of the tiny bathroom, I glanced down into the toilet. All I could see was bloody, murky water. As I stood as close to being out the door as I could, I quickly reached out my foot and hit the handle of the toilet with my shoe. Woosh! The water disappeared, and with it, my baby. I didn’t stay long enough to even see the bowl of the toilet fill back up. I rushed out of the bathroom, down the hall, out the door, through the parking lot, to the safety of my car.

With shaking hands, I dialed Mr.’s number. As the phone rang, the tears started to flow.

“Hello?” he said.

I’M BLEEDING REALLY BAD! I JUST PASSED THE BABY IN THE TOILET! THE DOCTOR MADE ME FLUSH IT! I’M COMING HOME NOW!” All my words were frantic and running together. Coupled with my sobbing, I’m surprised he got anything out of it.

“Are you okay to drive?” he asked.

“I don’t know. But I am.” I answered.

“Okay. I love you. Be careful.” He said.

“Okay. I love you too.” And with that I hung up.

I turned on the car, and pulled out of the parking lot. I drove home in silence, hot tears constantly streaming down my face.

The next few hours blur together. I remember lying in the tub, limp, uncaring, not knowing what to do with all the blood. I remember thinking I was going to die. There was so much blood. I remember Mr. being there, looking worried and sad.

At one point, a friend called, and asked how I was. I told her I had lost the baby, and that I felt like I was bleeding a lot.

Within 20 minutes, she was at my door, telling me to go to the ER.

I went. They monitored me. The doctors and nurses there were so kind. They kept me in private areas, instead of public waiting rooms. The doctor’s words were so gentle, as though his own wife, at some point in his 50-something years, had once experienced this same loss. He apologized. Once I was stable, they did an ultrasound. Everything looked so different. There was nothing there. Just a big, grey screen.

I remember getting home, and crawling into bed. I remember staying there. I remember waking up in the morning and wanting, no, needing to see my kids.

As the days passed, and my heart ached, I thought things would get better. They didn’t. It felt so incomplete.

After about a week or so, after the kids had gone to bed, Mr. and I were sitting in the living room.

“Do you think we should name the baby?” he asked me.

“Yeah. I think we should.”

“What do you want to name it?”

“I’m not sure. But, when the right name comes, we will know.”