Monday, March 31, 2014


    A very wise and sweet friend, Mrs. Carol, reminded me tonight that each test no matter what it is and no matter our age is about faith. It's always about growing our faith in God. She hugged me tight and reminded me that God has good things for me, and I will be okay. That hug. Those words. They were just what I needed.

    I don't completely understand the purpose of all this pain and loss, but I do know it is about growing my faith in Christ. I can choose to get bitter or I can choose to become more Christ like. I have to make this choice everyday, sometimes multiple times a day. More times than not, I choose Christ likeness. But when I'm tempted to choose bitter, God always reminds me that Christ likeness is better. I know that being outside of His will, and His joy, and His peace is a lot worse than the pain of losing my baby.

     So today I choose faith and Christ likeness and trust that He'll give the strength to make that choice again tomorrow.

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith."
I John 5:4 (ESV)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Little Family Time

     Tonight Joshua took the boys and I out to eat. I think I earned it. I cooked three days in a row. That rarely happens because Mom does most of the cooking. He gave the boys a choice between Chapps and Freebirds. The boys chose Freebirds. The boys had burritos, and I had nachos.

     I love this picture of my boys! I think it shows each of their personalities pretty well.

      On the way home, Joshua stopped and put gas in the car for me so I wouldn't have to take care of that on the way to school in the morning. Then we changed clothes and went for a walk through the neighborhood. The good news is I burned off the extra calories from my nachos. I also walked my fastest mile pace tonight.

     I reached my third goal weight today. I haven't seen my current weight in a couple of years, and I'm finally able to look in the mirror and see a difference. This morning, I even wore a skirt and shirt to church that I haven't been able to wear in almost three years.

     Today has been a real struggle for me. I cried through most of the worship songs this morning. I've spent most of today wrestling with and praying about my emotions. Dinner out tonight and the walk did help me feel better. I'm so thankful for my sweet boys who endure my roller coaster emotions because they love me so much.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

An Attitude of Love

      An attitude of love is what replaces a critical attitude. John 13:35 says, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." That's how the world can identify true Christians by our love for each other. If we want to grow in love, we must stay close to the Lord. Love is who He is. He is the source of love; so we must stay close to the source if we want to grow in love. We love because because He first loved us. Our love for others is a result of His love for us. (1 John 4:11) Agape (unconditional) love puts you before me. It's a choice I make to put others and their interests first. I can only do this if I have the true source of love flowing through me.

     James MacDonald talks about how God's love for us is a perfecting love and because of that love, He is committed to our highest good. His commitment to making us like Jesus (our highest good) stems from His love for us. He loves us too much to leave us weighted down in our sins and struggles.

     In our study, we worked through I Corinthians 13. It describes 15 attributes of love. Love believes all things. Love says I won't judge your motives, but will choose to believe the best. I know I've failed in this area. God has brought to mind specific instances and people that I stopped believing the best I know about them and chose to focus on their faults instead. Love bears all things. Instead of letting love smooth over misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and misspoken words, I held onto those things. Love doesn't keep records of wrongs. I know I've kept record of wrongs done against me. In all of these instances, my love failed because I failed to rely on the strength of God's love and chose instead to focus on myself. In my strength my love will always fail. Thankfully God's love never fails and cannot fail. His love is always perfect. When my love is failing, I need to remember to plug into the source of love, and meditate on the truth found in His Word. The closer we are to Him, the more of His strength we get. That includes the strength to love agape, you before me, love.

"In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
I John 4:10-11 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Letter and Sweet Smiles

     Today was a good day. I received another letter from my brother. I love and miss him so much! It sounds like things are going well for him. He passed his first swim test easily! Yay! He did well on his first graded assignment! Yay! He was studying for his first knowledge test. Hopefully we will get to talk to him on the phone tomorrow. I love the way he signs his letters. It makes me smile.

     We also saw JJ today. She's my precious Jewell and I love her so much! She was wearing one of the new outfits I bought her.

     She gave us some beautiful smiles today. JJ's sweet smile with my boys' sweet smiles was almost too much for my fragile heart to handle. It's ironic how my heart can be full of so much sorrow and so much joy at the same time.  

     These sweet smiles are so precious to me, and I'm so thankful for them.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hardest Part of Goodbye

The hardest part of saying goodbye is having to do it again every single day.
Every day we face the same truth. That life is fleeting. That our time here is short. 
~One Tree Hill

    Every morning I wake up and say goodbye to my sweet baby. My baby is my first thought every morning. How far along I should be in my pregnancy. The plans we should be making. The hugs and snuggling that will never be. I say goodbye to all the moments we'll never have. To all the memories we will never make.

     The twelve minutes it takes from school to home in the morning, and the twelve minutes it takes from home to school in the afternoon are the longest minutes of my life. The deafening silence of being alone in the car. That empty spot in the backseat between Logan and Lucas. It is a glaring reminder that it will always remain empty. All of my daydreams of the boys playing and talking to the baby in the backseat are gone. Just like my baby. 

     Today, I stood in the middle of my classroom reading the science test to my first graders when we came to the vocabulary word, survive. Stay alive or stay with. Survive. And it almost brought me to tears. My baby didn't survive and yet somehow I manage to survive each day. That's what it feels like. Surviving. My voice cracked while reading the test. I teared up. I took a deep breath, and we moved on. My students are so good. They know when it happens that I need just a minute. The room is absolutely silent. I pull it together and we move on.  I usually get extra tight hugs as they walk out the door. It doesn't matter which class it happens in, their reactions are the same.  Most of my students know about the baby. They know I need just a moment. I'll pull it together. Then we'll move on. 

     Our time here is so short. It haunts me every day that I stood in Brittney's classroom that morning saying I wish I could fast forward to July when the baby was here. I had no idea in a few short hours I would be told my baby died. It's a good reminder how precious our time is. How fleeting it is. How we are not promised another day, hour, minute, or second. We have to make the most of what we are given. It's a reminder of how important it is to forgive. To show grace. To make right wrongs. Because we don't know if we'll have another opportunity.

"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."
James 4:14 (NASB)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Celebrating Grammie

     Today is Grammie's birthday. We woke up early and took her to breakfast at MiMi's Cafe. We went right at 7:00am when they open, so Logan could go with us and not be late to school. MiMi's is our favorite breakfast place. Logan had to sit by his Grammie.

     And Lucas had to sit by his mommy. Lucas has turned out to be my biggest mamma's boy.

     Logan took this picture. I love the expression on Lucas' face. Luc is such a ham for the camera!

     We played tic tac toe while we were waiting on our food. Lucas beat me in two games. Logan and Grammie beat each one time. Mom had the BLT Avocado omelet and I had the Pyrenees omelet made with egg whites and fruit. It was yummy! We both brought home a lemon poppy seed muffin. The boys had the MiMi Mouse pancakes with bacon. Logan ate his all up!

     We finished up just in time to get Logan to school. We had lots of fun and made some sweet memories! Logan was planning next year's breakfast as we walked out to the car.

Happy Birthday, Grammie! We love you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Critical Attitude

     The study on a critical attitude has been very convicting for me. I really struggle with being critical. I tend to be very analytical, and it's very easy for me to slide right into being critical. I'm not normally verbally critical, but will usually replay my critical thoughts and dwell on them. I'm often hesitant to share my opinion with others when asked because of my own tendency towards criticism.

     James MacDonald points out in the Bible study that a critical spirit goes against who God created us to be. He created us to live in fellowship with Him and bring Him glory. We can't do either one of those things while having a critical attitude. MacDonald defines criticism as "dwelling on the perceived faults of another with no view to their good." (pp. 90). The perceived part cut right to my heart. God  brought to mind people in my life I've been critical of because they're not meeting my standard. My criticism has nothing to do with God's standard of right and wrong, and everything to do with what I think they should be doing. As I've been praying and working through my critical attitudes, I'm realizing how much I've elevated my own personal preferences. I have a lot of work to do with God in this area. Now that I'm aware of this, I spend a lot of time praying that God will show me when I'm allowing my personal preference to lead me to criticism. The other part of that definition that cut to my heart was with no view to their good. God brought people to mind that I've been extremely critical of and I've not had their good on my heart. I find the more I pray for those people, the easier it is for me to let go of my criticism. Now I'm praying that God will give me the desire and opportunities to be an encouragement to those I'm tempted to criticize. I've been praying that Psalm 19:14 would be the desire and reality of my heart. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

     MacDonald also talks about how criticism is a mask for other heart issues such as unforgiveness, bitterness, envy/resentment, careless/thoughtless words, or pride. I can definitely see where some or all of these things have been the deeper issue with my critical attitude. I spend a lot of time while I'm running praying about these deeper issues and meditating on Scriptures that speak truth to these areas. I'm really seeing the more I pray for these people and pray about my own issues, the easier it is to just love those people as they are and to extend grace to them and myself in our shortcomings. I'm also realizing that just because I hold myself to an incredibly high standard in certain areas of life doesn't mean I should impose my convictions on others. God convicts all of us about different areas in our lives and to different degrees determined by our own weaknesses and struggles. I can't impose my personal convictions on other people and then be critical when they don't live up to my standard. God may not have spoken to them about that area the way He's spoken to me. 

     The truth is that I will always find things to be critical of when I'm looking for something to be wrong. I can't live in contentment if I'm always looking for something to be wrong. I can't work on my relationship with Lord and deal with my own sin if I'm constantly focused on others and looking for faults. I need to take care of myself and let the Holy Spirit do His job. I also need to be focusing on how I can spur others onto love and good deeds rather than tearing down what I perceive as being wrong.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Trip to the Dentist

     This afternoon the boys went to the dentist to get their teeth cleaned. Our appointment was right in the middle of homework time, so Logan took his kindle so he could practice his spelling words in the car and the waiting room. Of course, Lucas had to take his kindle too.

     They called us back pretty quickly. The boys were great while they were having their teeth cleaned. I think it helps that they do them both at the same time. Lucas will usually follow Logan's lead.

      The boys were so happy after their cleanings. Then we had to wait about 15 minutes for the dentist finish up with another patient to look at the boys and the talk to me. Dr. Yoon looked at Logan's teeth, and he looked great. Lucas is going to have to have the work done that we've put off. She wanted x-rays of Lucas' teeth to see how bad it is. Lucas only cooperated for one set. Then he was done. He was so defiant. I was stern. I begged. I bribed. I called Daddy. Lucas won. They only got one side of his mouth x-rayed. Lucas will have to have eight crowns. We have decisions to make about how we're going to have this done. I can only imagine how cooperative he'll be after watching him with the x-rays today. Dr. Yoon is great with the boys though. She has a four year old, so she was really patient and understanding with Lucas.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Children's Choir

     This morning the children's choir sang Fruit of the Spirit. This has been one of our very favorite songs this Spring. Over half the choir was missing this morning, but they still did an excellent job! It was a cold dreary morning, but their bright colors and sweet praises brightened up my day. We are so blessed by Karice who puts in so much time and energy working with the choir kids faithfully every week. I didn't get to video the singing. I need to clean out my photos and videos on my phone, and I had left my camera at home.  I can't wait to hear their Easter program in a couple of weeks!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First Letter from Uncle Josh!!!

     Today we received our first letter from Uncle Josh since he left for boot camp. He actually called me today, and I didn't answer. I've answered every call I've received from Illinois since he left, and there were all solicitations. Of course the one I don't answer is him. Mom also missed his call. Calli spoke to Josh and then called me. We found out he should be able to call on Saturdays, and Sundays is the day he can write and mail letters. We also are able to send him pictures. He misses us, and he sounds really good and upbeat in his letter. He told the boys that them and Justice are his motivation to keep going when he gets tired or bored. We are all so excited to hear from him. It's been hard knowing we can't just call or text him whenever we want. He wrote us one letter and signed it: Love, Bubba, Uncle Josh, the son you birthed. That made me smile!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Flashback Friday

     I love this picture! It represents one of my very favorite memories of the boys. It was such a precious moment for my mom too. One morning, Grammie walked into her room to find these sweet boys sitting in her rocking chair reading her devotional and Bible. When I came in to capture the moment, Logan told me, "We're reading the Bible like Grammie!". I'm so very thankful that the boys see all of the people in our house making time in God's Word a priority.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Few Rays of Sunshine

    I opened up my lunch bag and found a sweet little note from my Lucas. My emotions are still so up and down. Today was definitely a down day. But that note brought a few rays of sunshine and a genuine smile to my face. When we got home, Lucas read it to me. It says, "I love you, Mommy!" I'm so thankful that my boys have such sweet spirits, and they love me so much.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Build A Bear

     On Saturday while Joshua and I were with the high school boys for Disciple Now, Logan and Lucas went to Lauren's birthday party at Build a Bear. Grammie was suppose to take the boys, but Joshua's car starting having transmission problems the night before, so they went with Lauren to her party instead. The boys had a blast. Rikki said they behaved and were helpful. They each built a bear, and, of course, Lucas had to build one just like his brother's. They choose Camo bears and a sound box that makes their bears roar like lions. The outfit they chose for their bears was a Star Wars tshirt and Star Wars jeans. They also chose shoes with flames. Logan named his bear Anakin, and Lucas named his bear, Yoda. I'm thankful Rikki and Brice were able to take the boys with them, and the boys were able to do something special in the midst of crazy Disciple Now weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


These verses have been so encouraging and helpful to me. 

But the Lord delivers the godly; he protects them in times of trouble. 
(Psalms 37:39 NET)

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalms 34:19 NASB)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB)

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 
(Psalms 33:20 NASB)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, 
(Psalms 30:11 NASB)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 
(Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest for us, (Hebrews 6:19, 20 NASB)

And he [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17 ESV)

He Holds All Things Together

     This weekend we're studying and working through the book of Colossians during our Disciple Now Bible study times. Our speaker, Sam Bierig, has been awesome, and I've gotten so much from his teaching. 

     Friday night, we worked through Colossians 1. We read this verse, "And He [Jesus] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17. Sam talked about how Jesus literally is holding all things together, each one of us, creation, everything. Jesus is holding it all together effortlessly. We exist because He's holding us together. It made me stop and think. A lot. 

     I've said several times since we lost our baby that God was holding me together or I would be a crazy person. As I've been meditating and chewing on this verse I've realized He's holding me together now. He's holding me together even when things are good and I think I've got this. It's still Him holding me together no matter the circumstances in my life. I exist because He's holding me together. 

     I've really struggled with not knowing where my baby's physical body is. Like I don't have a place to visit my baby and talk to my baby. My mother in law is able to go to my sister in law, Hollie's grave, but I don't have that. Some days I really wish I did have that. As I've been meditating on that verse, I realized He is holding my baby together. He knows exactly where my baby's precious little body is, and He's holding it together. I can have peace because He knows. He loves us. He's holding us together. What an awesome and comforting truth! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break, Day 5

     Today I had lunch at Olive Garden with my dear friend Elizabeth. She is such a blessing and encouragement to me. It was nice to sit, visit, and catch up. She bought my lunch and brought a little gift. She gave me an Alabama Crimson Tide daily devotional! It's so cool. It has a Scripture verse and stories about the team or players or coaches that go along with verse and tie it to God's story. I'm very excited about it! I always walk away from Elizabeth feeling encouraged. She always points me back to God, and helps me see a different perspective. God knew we needed each other, and He put us together at just the right time.

     After lunch, I took the boys to Target to get a present for Lauren. Lucas picked out a Jake and the Neverland Pirates toy for her because they played that a lot together yesterday. Logan picked out the book Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss. The boys are so proud of what they picked out. I hope Lauren likes her presents. They also picked out a present for Uncle Brice, Lauren's dad, because his birthday is on St. Patrick's Day. I guess they heard Rikki and I talking about it yesterday, and they wanted to get him a present too.

      While we were shopping, the boys were silly and tried on the bunny ears from the Dollar Spot. When we were looking at toys, we found some wrestling mask Lucas and I tried on. I tried on the Sin Cara mask, and Lucas put on the Kane mask. We were making mean faces. Logan was rolling his eyes and laughing at us. 

     I let the boys pick out a new small toy. They each chose a small Lego set. Logan chose a Transformer set, and Lucas, a Ninjago set. I also bougth them a new pair of socks from the Dollar Spot. Lucas chose Iron Man sock, and Logan, Spiderman. On the way home, we stopped at Sonic happy hour. Lucas ordered an orange slush, and Logan ordered a root beer. He told me, "I like root beer, and Grace likes root beer too." He loves his Jeffries sisters!

     Now we're getting ready for Disciple Now this weekend. The boys are super excited to have the high school boys staying with us! Spring Break flew by so fast, but we had so fun together. I can't wait for summer and lazy days!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring Break, Day 4

     This morning, our friends Rachel and Lauren came to play while their mommy was at Bible study. It's been a while since we've been able to play with them, so the boys were extra excited! They played pool, air hockey, and UNO. Then they went outside and played in the backyard for a long time. Lauren was cracking me up at lunch because she kept dipping everything in her ketchup-her chips, her cookie, and her strawberries. She kept trying to get me to try her food dipped in ketchup. She ate all of her food though. Cookies dipped in ketchup is definitely not on my bucket list. 

      After lunch and Rikki's Bible study, we went to pop in playtime at Pump It Up. The boys were so excited to go back. They love it! They ran and jumped and played so hard. They had a blast playing together. I'm so upset with myself though. I was charging my camera battery and forgot to take it with us to Pump It Up. The pictures I took on my phone weren't that great. But the kids had lots of fun and Rikki and I had a good conversation. It's been a long time since we've been able to visit.

     After Pump It Up,  we took dinner to Aunt Calli and saw Justice. We love our JJ so much! She was so funny. She thought because there were three adults at her house, one of us should've been walking around holding her the entire time. I took her upstairs and laid her down in her bed just before we left. She was fussing when I laid her down. When I turned on her seahorse, she immediately stopped crying when she heard the music. She's so mesmerized by it.

     Tonight I met Shellie and Clara at Painting with a Twist. It was so much fun. I really enjoyed hanging out with them. My painting turned out a lot better than I thought it would. The more it dries, the more I like it. I think I did well for my very first time! I love how our paintings are the same, but different. My painting is on the fireplace now, but I think I'm going to have Joshua hang it up in the kitchen for me. I felt bad, it was actually Rikki's idea to go, and by the time she went online to register they were sold out. I think we're going to try to do this as a women's ministry event soon. It was so much fun, I definitely want to go back again!

     When I came home, Joshua had dusted, vacuumed, swept, mopped, and cleaned the bathrooms in preparation for Disciple Now this weekend. He had the boys pick up the playroom the correct way. When he came home from work, he had asked what he could do to help me. I had just asked him to get the boys to clean the playroom, mop, and put the vacuum back together for me. But he took care of everything. I just have to finish up the laundry, prepare the food for the boys this weekend, and put clean sheets on the bed tomorrow. I'm so thankful for Joshua and how helpful he is. He's always willing to help me with the cleaning, and he never complains.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Break, Day 3

     Day 3 of Spring Break took us to the Fort Worth Children's Museum. The boys love it! We have passes, but have not been in a while. It was so crazy crowded because of Spring Break, so we didn't do any extras this time. The boys love the exhibits, so it wasn't a big deal that we didn't go to the planetarium or to the Indiana Jones exhibit. We are going to go back soon and just do the Indiana Jones exhibit.

     We started out in the Inventors area. The boys love to do these things over and over.

     At the back of the Inventor's area, they have a Wizard of Oz exhibit. The boys loved it! They brushed the lion's mane, crawled through the forest, gave Scarecrow a face, made their voice sound like the munchkins, looked in a fun mirror that made them look munchkin size, and many other cool things. They loved looking at Dorothy's ruby slippers. 

      We went down to the play area next. It's usually so crowded that we skip it, but it was actually one of the less chaotic areas we visited today. They explored in the ambulance, the train car, and built and played with the train tracks.

     Then we went out to the water exploration station. Even Joshua loved that one! The boys were excited because Daddy could pump hard enough and make the water squirt high up into the air!

        We saw the Barnett Shale movie and explored the energy resources area. The boys loved the movie because you wear 3D glasses and the chairs move. They were way more interested in the energy area than I thought they would be. They watched the videos and Lucas wanted us to read everything to him. 

      We visited the Dinosaur exhibit. The boys always love sitting inside the dinosaur footprint! Then we went upstairs and explored the cattle exhibit. The boys love the truck with the cow in the back. They always want to take a picture with it.

     Then Daddy took us to Pappa's Burgers to eat lunch. It was our first time, and we all LOVED it. Logan kept saying he wished we had one closer to us. Joshua who does not like to travel far from home when eating out said he would actually drive to eat there again. Logan ordered onion rings with his burger, and they were amazing. They did have a lot of pepper in the batter, but they were so good he kept eating them and gulping down his root beer. Both boys finished more than half of their burgers. That rarely happens at mealtime no matter if we're out or at home.

     More fun memories were made today. Unfortunately Joshua goes back to work tomorrow, so it'll just be the boys and I for the rest of the break.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Break, Day 2

     It was another beautiful day today! The temperature made it up to 86 degrees. A week ago we were recovering from a freeze. That's crazy Texas weather for you.

     We went to pop in playtime at Pump It Up. The boys ran and jumped like crazy for an hour and a half. They did not want to leave when playtime was over. Pump It Up is perfect for them because they can run, jump, and be crazy and it's expected. For the most part, they played together. They loved the long obstacle course in the second room. That's where they spent most of their time.

     Then we drove to Joe Pool Lake to feed the ducks and fish. It was a gorgeous day, and the boys were excited to be outside again. Lucas likes to get close to the edge which makes me a nervous wreck, but I think everyone else was relaxed and enjoyed it. Lucas was calling, "Hey fishies!" "Hey duckies!" as he was throwing his bread. 

     Logan and I went for a run this afternoon too. Logan was excited because he was able to run in shorts. I ran my best pace yet which is still like a turtle running through peanut butter, but it's still nice to see progress being made. 

      We're ready for more Spring Break fun tomorrow!