Friday, September 25, 2015

It's been awhile...

Hello blogging community! 
I've gotten lots of questions, texts, emails, comments asking me when I would be blog again. 
The truth is, I wasn't ready for awhile. 
Last year the Lord started a work in me, a pruning season, and it was painful. 
So much has happened in one year, so many big changes I could write the longest blog post ever, 
but I will just hit some highlights.
First off, we had our fourth baby.
Yes that's right, I said 4. Numero quatro.
Knox Reed.
Getting pregnant with him was a big surprise.
I mean I know how a baby is made, but we were using "precautions."
We had talked about trying for a fourth when the youngest was 3 or 4.
But God had other plans for our family.
When I first took the test and saw those positive signs.
I wept.
Yes I wept, not out of selfishness (I love babies), but out of fear.
Pure fear.
And to that fear I held onto for the entire pregnancy.
I was fearful of losing this baby.
I was ashamed of my reaction to finding out I was pregnant and cut off friends.
I had so many friends who were trying to get pregnant, miscarrying, and tearfully but faithfully waiting for the Lord's blessing of babies.
And here I was freaking out at every twinge and cramp and weeping over my imagination.
I was fearful of family members opinion of this pregnancy.
I was fearful of preterm labor.
I was fearful of losing that sweet boy.
I clung so tightly to fear that I let it suffocate me.
I became an introvert, and then became bitter.
Fear is a horrible disease, because it has side effects.
Bitterness is one of those side effects.
The fear kept me frozen in a state of panic every second, the bitterness pushed everyone
far away from me so they wouldn't see that fear.
It was a vicious cycle.
I prayed to Jesus to let this last pregnancy and delivery be the best one I ever had.
Kind of like a "happy retirement to your uterus party."
But the reality was, it was the worst.
And even though it was the worst, I see how God used that 
to confirm that Knox would be our last baby, and that that would be ok.
During this time I had someone close to me speaking even more bitterness into my heart.
Someone I had no idea was suffering in a different way, and couldn't control their actions.
That's a story for another time.
The day I was induced with Knox, things went by in a blur.
I was induced in the morning, and shortly after lunch I was holding him chest to chest.
Memorizing his face, and smiling so big because he looked like me! 
(He still does, I'm on cloud 9)
See my hubs has some incredibly strong genes.
Our eldest three kiddos look like Johnson clones.
But Knox, well he's my mini me and my heart melts about it.
Not that my other kids don't melt my heart, I mean they are all so attractive
I am going to have to beat potential spouses off with a bat.
But having three kids that get told they look like their dad ALL THE TIME
then finally having one where people go "he looks just like you!!"
It's like a big high five.
Like a double high five and a hug.
Back to his birthday.
That night in the hospital I was so exhausted, the nurse suggested we allow knox
to stay in the nursery for a few hours so we could rest.
We agreed, reluctantly at first, but then both felt it was right.
That was God watching out for us right there folks.
Morning came and they still had not brought my baby back.
The nurse came in, gently woke me, and told me Knox had spit up and choked so bad during the night he had to be put on oxygen.
He had turned blue and required two nurses's attentions.
My heart sunk.
She then went on to explain the dr wanted to have a heart ultrasound done for him,
he had some concerns and wanted to check it out.
I looked at my husband, and then I lost it.
I wept and wept, and thought I couldn't possibly produce more tears.
I know God collects all our tears into bottles, 
but I think that day He had to use a water cooler jug for mine.
My husband walked me to the nursery to see him.
I wasn't allowed to go in.
I stood in the window looking at my brand new baby hooked up to wires and tubes.
It felt like a piece of my heart had been ripped out and was laying in there.
I had to pump (something my body refuses to agree with.)
They told my husband and I, all we could do was wait.
So into our dark hospital room we sat, no baby.
And I cried so hard some more I thought I broke my ribs.
And Justin, well through it all, he was Jesus to me.
He never once broke down.
He held onto hope, and then he held onto me.
He helped me bathe, fed me, and held me as I broke down.
Finally we got a phone call.
"Your son's heart is perfect."
That was such joyful news!
I just hung on to my husband and cried some more.
We had prayed for good news, and God heard our cries.
12 hours of not being able to hold my baby nearly destroyed me,
my heart breaks for those mommas who have to go longer until holding their babes.
The nurse wheeled him back into our room in his little bed,
and I held onto him as if to make sure he was still here.
To feel him breathing, to feel his perfect heart beating.
To smell that newborn smell that I hope heaven smells like.
He was healthy, he was going to be ok.
These events led to another area of my life I had never experienced,
one that is hard to talk about but needs to be.
 Postpartum anxiety disorder.
But that needs a post all to its own.
Like I said, this has been quite a year of God tearing down strongholds,
ripping more pieces of myself away to make room for Him.
And I am coming out of the other side.
Looking less like who I used to be, and more of Who lives in me.
If you have read til the end of this long post, bless you.
You may now be rewarded with some pictures.
I'm back

Thursday, September 11, 2014

this season come

This season come

So I took a slight blogging break.
If you can call three months slight.
This summer went by in a whirlwind of change, and I feel I missed it.
I missed many sun soaked days.
I missed many chlorine drenched, sun burnt hours. 
All that I missed with packing and planning.
We moved to a new home.
No, not Vermont yet, and to be honest that has partly been the reason for my absence here.
This summer was bright and hot, but on the inside my soul was struggling with the shadows of discouragement.
We are still here, still waiting.
Things are happening, yes, the Lord is working and moving.
But I have fought feelings of complete defeat as His answers are still "not yet."
But this season of waiting has taught me a reliance on the Lord that i needed to have. 
It has brought me to my knees, and from there I have been able to stand stronger against doubt
The leaves are starting to change.
The breeze in the air brings on the beginnings of my favorite season, fall.
My babies went back to school.
My youngest is walking.
There's so much change in this new season, and I don't want to miss it.
These past few months, I've learned hard but rewarding lessons. 
The biggest one,
that I must remember this world, this life, is temporary.
Like ripples in the water,
we show up for a time then fade away.
However, Heaven is forever. Jesus is our constant season of joy and contenment. And the ripple we as believers make in this life, are met 
with Jesus standing at the banks of eternity.
So let this new season come.
Bring on the leaves, bring on the pumpkins, bring on the revival. Amen.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

To a father who grew up fast

 At 16, being "daddy" was probably the furthest title from your mind.
You were playing football, planning for life after high school.
Marriage? Kids? Probably planning for those things later in life.
But we ran out of time to grow up, we made choices, adult choices.
And we faced adult responsibilities.
But you didnt run. 
You didnt cry for what you left behind or for what your future could have been.
You have never complained about this path.
You looked at it and saw the beautiful.
Sure it was hard, sure there were certain things that were heavier.
But you looked at me, looked at my pregnant belly, and you chose us.
You faced judgement, you faced doubt, you faced a world of odds against you.
But by God's grace, you overcame all of that.

And look at you now.
The man of three beautiful babies.
Who loves each and every one fiercely.
Who gets down and plays with them, reads to them, sings with them.
Laughs, chases, and embraces them.


The daddy who loved the little ones we lost.
Who held me as I cried myself to sleep as the tiny life in me slipped into heaven.
The daddy who kisses ouchies, listens to hurting hearts.
Whose eyes fill up with tears of joy each time you talk about Jesus.
I pray they each see the love and adoration you have for Jesus, and want the same.

 To the daddy, the man, who was always there, and always will be.
Thank you for the love, the laughter, and the sacrificial way you care for us.
We love you and hope you have a wonderful father's day

Saturday, May 17, 2014

fifteen years

May 17, 1999
day starts ordinary.
time for third grade.
wake up, go to school, wait in car pool for mom to pick my sister and i up.
head home.
same old same old.
i remember in our old car we could either wear the lap belt or shoulder belt.
i chose the lap belt.
i sit by mom in the passenger seat, i like being up front with her.
sister sits in the middle of the back seat.
we pull up to a stop sign near fawn road
nothing unusual, nothing different.
mom screams and and i look in the rear view mirror.
car is approaching, a red truck at full speed.
there is no driver in the seat, where is he?
suddenly, he sits up from grabbing something off the floorboard.
he sees us too late, brakes squealing, tires smoking.
but it's too little too late.
i inhale for the impact.
the force of the car hitting ours takes my breath away.
i feet the lap belt dig into my stomach, suddenly no air is left.
our car spins out of control, into the oncoming traffic.
my mom tries to stop the car, it is in a spin.
uncontrolled and untameable.
her arms grab at the wheel but it's pointless.
suddenly i see the car in front of us, the one in traffic.
i close my eyes.
our spinning car hits another vehicle.
glass explodes and metal bends.
sounds i still hear in my dreams.
finally we come to a stop.
i open my eyes, my sister is screaming, my mom is quiet.
she is in shock.
there's blood on her face and all over my shirt.
i dont know if it's mine.
and then i try to breathe.
i cant catch my breath, i wait for the inhale but there's just pain.
the seat belt is digging into my stomach.
it's jammed and my door is completely crumpled in.
i need air, i need to get out of this car.
i push my door, it's so mangled i don't know how i'm able to open it.
but one quick shove and it opens and releases the belt.
i still cant breathe.
i fall out of the car and pass out in the street.
someone shakes me awake.
a woman, a stranger, tears down her eyes.
she lives in the house in front of the stop sign.
she grabs me and shakes me and listens for my heartbeat.
my eyes jump open, and i can breathe.
but there's so much pain.
there's knives in my stomach. everything hurts.
where's my mom?
where's my sister?
i am instructed to lay still, but i cant.
i stand up. the woman holds me trying to calm me down.
i look at our car. my mother is still inside.
people are surrounding her, the police show up first.
they are all around and I cannot see her.
i look for allie, my sister, she is being held by a stranger.
the man who hit us.
he is holding her trying to comfort her.
she looks ok, she looks safe.
i hear screaming and look to the car we spun into.
it's a mother and daughter.
a girl older than me, probably fifteen.
they are both in terrible pain.
i lay back on the ground.
the woman doesn't leave my side until the firemen get there.
it feels like an eternity,
i hear the sirens and see men with a backboard and oxygen masks in hand,
no way was i going to be strapped down.
i fight them off, scared out of my mind, so much pain, i just want to lie down.
they are doing their best trying to calm me down, they never force me,
they gently tell me what they need to do.
i listen and accept.
laying straight hurts my stomach more..
i start crying.
i am taped down from head to toe, 
 lifted off the ground and into an ambulance.
i see my mom. she is doing her best to keep from crying,
her face is bloody, her nose busted from hitting the steering wheel.
it explains the blood on my shirt.
her left arm and right leg are splinted.
they look awful.
she starts praying out loud.
my sister isn't strapped to a board.
she sits with the paramedic next to my mother.
she is silently crying, shock is setting in.
her forehead is bruised and a little scraped.
but thank God she looks ok.
the other paramedic is new.
first day on the job.
he is shaky and nervous.
but he does what he can for us in our brief ride to the hospital.
we arrive at er.
we are in trauma and surrounded by a team of nurses and drs.
my sister sits in the lap of our friends who arrived at the hospital when we did.
the police got a hold of their number and called.
where's my dad? i forgot he was supposed to be on a plane then.
but he is reached just before take off.
he is on his way.
my mom is being looked at.
she is trying to comfort me without showing any pain.
her arm and leg are crushed.
they look me over, something isn't right.
i am put into a machine that takes many pictures.
they see an injury inside, but cant help me further there.
i am told i will be going to scottish rite.
i cry, i just want to stay with my mom.
but i see my dad and he runs to me and my mom and sister.
he holds my mom's hand, but she tells him to go with me.
not to leave me alone.
i cry as i say goodbye to her.
the nicest paramedics come to take me.
and then i pass out.

my mother, sister, and i were in an accident on May 17, 1999, fifteen years ago today.
 my mother's left wrist and right ankle were shattered. she went thru years of surgery and physical therapy. 
my sister was completely unharmed. the rear view window had shattered right behind her and she remained safe. she suffered a small bruise on her head, no concussion. we praise God for that every time we think about the accident.
i suffered a serious seatbealt injury that almost took my life. six months of vominiting, off and on hospital visits, tests, and surgery allowed the drs to discover massive scar tissue blocking my esohpsgus, allowing only a limited amount of food to pass. i only have a scar on my stomach, but am completely healed.
as scary as all this was, we look back and see God thru every part of it. He worked, He healed, He gave wisdom and comfort thru the most painful times of our lives. we thank Him for His mercies and grace that day fifteen years ago.

Psalms 30:2 "O Lord my God, i called to you for help and You healed me."
Jeremiah 17:14 "heal me, O Lord, and i will be healed; save me and i will be saved, for You are the one i praise."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Year

first off, my baby turns one tomorrow.
one!! what?!!
second, this post is gonna be blown up with pictures.
you're welcome.

^my very last baby bump pic^

^2/3s of my awesome birth team (my other friend's hands were full with the camera)^
^let it also be known 2/3s of my birth team were prego^
 ^i had reached the point where i wanted to be knocked out^
^there is probably nothing cuter than baby toes^ 
^except cute baby cheeks and lips^
^for being born in the early hours of the morning, this guy was pretty alert^
 ^out of all the photos from that day, this one is my favorite^

this feels like yesterday. kudos to my birth team for sharing in this very special day.
hubs, i love ya man, let's do this again sometime. christina, thank you for being the greatest support that night, i might have lost it if you weren't there calming me down,thanks for helping me have a baby while you were six months prego!! p.s. i love you
kays, thank you for waking up at three in the morning (at seven months prego) to come take pics of my little one's arrival. you win photographer of the year award. i love you lots and appreciated every "you got this steph!" shouted out during pushing. 
asher ray, little moose man, i am gonna say this every year, but the time really has gone by fast.
since the moment i knew you were coming you have brought great joy to our familie's lives.
you are a deep-voiced, chuckling, food loving snuggle bug, and I thank God for your life.
may you always remember Jesus is and always will be more than enough.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


There's a letter I wrote almost a year ago.
Confessing a deep hurt, confessing a deep pain.
I've always found it easier to express my feelings in writing.
To write down on paper what doesnt seem to find its way to my tongue.
The words dont come so easily from my mouth, but they fly from my pen.
And you know what? That's ok.
It's ok to write down things that are too hard to say.
I look at the letter now, and it remains in a special place.
It remains unfolded.
It reminds me that healing takes time, like my friend put it once,
"there's layers to healing."
And  as much as I'd like to wake up and wish the hurt away, I can't.
But what I can do is continually lay it at the feet of Jesus. 
To take the hurt, lay it at the cross, and know my shame was carried on His shoulders.
To, like my unfolded letter, know that the hurt is never gone, but there's relief from the pain.
I know of so many women who are hurting like I am,
there's invisible scars that others cant see but feel like they are right on the surface.
 But I encourage you, if you are a woman who is walking thru the pain with a suffering friend,
to hold on thru the waves of healing.
There is so many, there is anger, there is tears, there is so much weighty emotion.
But I thank God for each of you that are walking this road with their loved one.
You are incredibly brave and selfless.
Know Jesus picked you especially to help and bear this weight, 
He trusted you to care for His hurting lamb.
To those that have walked this rocky path with me,
I will never be able to express how grateful I am for the love poured out when I felt empty.
For those that have offered their shoulders to help carry my burden.
I thank Jesus every day for each of you, and those out there on the same path.
May we be women, who like the good Samaritan, go out of their way to help a beaten soul.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Christina: God's powerful and healing love for us

So excited to be sharing this next testimony with yall! My dear friend Christina is an awesome mommy and wife, and daily inspires me.We became friends a couple of years ago, and kind of clicked immediately. "Soul sisters" is what we sometimes jokingly call ourselves. We have seen each other through some pretty rough times, and through some pretty joyful times as well! I was so honored and blessed to have her by my side during the birth of my son, Asher! This girl and her sweet family mean so much to my family and I. They are gracious, humble and gentle. Even through her writing you can see her sweet nature and kind heart! She is one of the bravest, strongest woman I have ever known! Be blessed!

I am so honored to have my dear friend, Stephanie, ask me to share my testimony.  Honestly, as I sit here about to write, I have a sense of being overwhelmed. I hope as you read this, you are encouraged. Well here it goes...

By God's grace, I was born into a home and family that was centered around Christ. I grew up knowing all about Jesus and His sacrifice for my sins. At the age of nine, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the vastness of my sins, my separation from my Savior, and my ultimate need for Jesus! Through blurry,  tear-filled eyes, I walked down stairs to share all of this with my mom and dad. They were overjoyed!! They had been praying from the time they knew I was on my way that this day would come. We all cried and hugged. It is a moment I will never forget! The moment I knew Jesus to be mine. My Savior.

Everything was wonderful after that... HAHA... I mean as wonderful as 4th grade could be! Over the next year, I could not get enough of the Bible. Every word seemed new, now looking at it with a new enlightened understanding!

But as every Christian knows, it isn't all rainbows and sunshine once you accept the Lord as your personal Lord and Savior. My world was rocked as a 10 year old girl. I was molested by my soccer coach during a sleepover. I was not the only one he had taken advantage of that night. The other little girl, was much braver than I and went home and told her parents. My parents received a phone call and asked me if I had been. So ashamed by this dirty feeling the whole experience has left me with, I lied. I was convinced if I could convince someone else, it hadn't happened to me, then I could potentially convince myself as well. The next 8 years there was a war that raged on inside of me that I fought to keep silent. No one saw what I struggled with. I flat doubted God's love for me... Was He real? Did He care? How could He let this man take advantage of His beloved daughter? Maybe He loved me, but was powerless to do anything? Is that a God I could possibly live for?? Could I really trust Him???? These are the thoughts and questions I struggled with daily. During this season, I played the role (as best I could), as a typical good Christian girl. My life was a roller coaster. I tried to be good on my own, of course that did not work out, so I rebelled. And this went on for way too long...

As a freshman in college, I took full advantage of my freedom. In fact, by the end of the first semester, I was on academic probation and athletic probation, I was in the process of completing 45 hours of community service as a form of punishment, and was almost completely kicked out of school. This was my final breaking point. I had nothing left to hold onto... I had to reach out to my Savior... the one I had trusted so long ago. I had made a royal mess of my life trying to do things on my own. The Lord, in evidence of His perfect and sweet timing, was telling me my time of rebellion was up. He had a plan for my life and I needed to get on board. See, He had my husband right in front of me, and well, I was about to mess everything up! We were already friends. He was so dreamy and I pretty much loved him already. He saw me that first semester and saw my immaturity (wise man!). As the Lord healed me and brought me back to Himself, the Lord graciously began to work in Jonathan's heart as well. He began to pursue me in the most perfect way! 18 months later we were married! God is GOOD!

Looking back I can see Jesus in every step. He fought for me. He never let me go... always calling me to Himself. He never gave up on His lost sheep. His faithfulness to fight on my behalf and bring me back to Himself, to this day brings me to my knees in praise to Him! He protected me. The Lord began to heal me . He brought people into my life to encourage me and see past my fake facade I had so convincingly mastered. The Lord, so sweet with His timing, brought me time and time again, in my moments of brokenness, to the story of the lost sheep.  During one of these times I was reading a commentary that talked about how shepherds would go and leave their flock to find that one lost sheep. When they  found their lost sheep, they would break its legs. This first seemed so cruel to me, but as I continued reading, I discovered how they would do this only to then carry them during their entire healing process. This was such a clear picture of my journey with my Shepherd. He had found me, and He had to break me, only to carry me to my point of healing. He never stopped pursuing me. He was fierce in His determination to love me in spite of myself. He did not stop once He broke me. He carried me. He carried me through it all. He never left me.

Now things are still not all rainbows and sunshine. I may never understand His will and His way that would allow me, as a 10 year old little girl, to go through such a paralyzing experience, but I know who my Jesus is. I know I can trust Him and His will for my life. He has healed me, redeemed me. He has never forsaken me. What satan meant for destruction in my life, God used to pull me to Himself in a way I would never have understood outside of my experience. In fact, He has blessed me. Flat blessed me. More than I could possibly have dreamed! I am married to the most thoughtful, strong, servant-hearted man. We have 2 beautiful baby boys. I am blessed beyond measure.