2012 Year in Review

I came across this questionnaire today on Twitter. I thought 2012 would be a good year to review since it was not the best year of our lives. I sound quite depressed, but let me assure you I'm not :). Just being honest with all of you. God's faithfulness overrides all that we faced this year.

1.  What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Brent getting a job that he deserves and that provides for our needs.

2.  What was the single most challenging thing that happened this year?
It's hard to name a single because the entire year was nothing but a challenge. I will say losing our baby was quite the challenge.

3.  What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Finding out we were pregnant with a healthy baby.

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?
Brent interviewed for a job in Birmingham but was offered the job in Huntsville. We certainly did not see that coming. It created a number of obstacles, all of which were overcome by God's grace and in His perfect timing.

5.  Pick 3 words to describe this year.
Lonely, challenging, emotional

6.  Pick 3 words your spouse would pick to describe your year (without asking). 
Emotional, unexpected, frustrating (my answer)
Frustrating, crazy but according to God's plan, "but it wound up good" (his answer)

7.  Pick 3 words your spouse would pick to describe his year (without asking). 
Hopeless (job-related), weird, frustrating (my answer)
Demanding, rewarding, "and that whole middle part that was really crappy" (his answer)

8.  What were the best books you read this year?
Ha! Well, there's only one book I read cover to cover, What Women Fear by Angie Smith
And there's the two that I started and never finished, Hunger Games and Made to Crave by Lysa Terkuerst
It goes without saying, I'm not much of a reader. 

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Brent and Lily, my family since it was the first time since 2003 I have consistently lived in Bham, and my new-found friendship with Heather (someone I've known since we moved to North AL the first time, but it wasn't until I moved away that we became good friends. We are like-minded and I appreciate her honest friendship)

10.  What was your biggest personal challenge from January to December of this past year?
Finding motivation to be the wife/mom I want to be while living with little money in a basement apartment and working full-time at a job I disliked very much. Debbie Downer, I know.

11.  In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
This is a weird question. I cried a lot. Does that answer suffice?

12.  In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I spent more time with Jesus than any other year before. Hence, why this year was actually a huge blessing in disguise.

13.  In what way(s) did you grow physically?
Well, my body prepared for a baby twice. And for me that means immediate weight gain.

14.  In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
Brent and I have always been good communicators with each other, but the trials we faced caused the communication to increase with each other and with our ever-curious daughter.

15.  What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: Uhh...getting to see Lily
At home: Dance parties with Lily and pushing her on the swing in the front yard.

16.  What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: It would take more than a sentence to explain.
At home: Like I said before, finding the motivation to be the wife/mom I want to be.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Social media...duh!

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Social media...duh! Ok, ok...anytime spent with family was a good way to spend my time.

19.  What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
God causes or allows all the circumstances in my life (something I already knew due to years of my father saying this). They are no secret to Him. He cares deeply for me and uses the trials to draw me closer to Him. Whether or not I like it, that's His goal: intimate fellowship even through suffering. His promises are true, even for me, and His faithfulness has no end. He will not leave me in my hopelessness. He will come to my rescue. He has the ability to and will provide for me, all I need to do is trust Him fully. He is good. He is for me. He is worthy of all my praise.

20.  Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
Glad it's over.

Welcome 2013!!!


Baby Update #2

I had a visit today with my doc...the one that delivered Lily. Can I just say I love her and her staff of nurses? They all made me feel very welcome back into their office. I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time! It was just a beatin' at 173. Only 8 more weeks until we find out the gender!

How far along? 11 weeks

Baby bump? A little one :)

Maternity clothes? No

Total weight gain? LOST 4 pounds!!! And I only know this because I went to the doc today. Don't expect me to be standing on that awful scale every week.

Cravings: A perfectly steamed hot dog ballpark-style (ya know, all wrapped warmly in foil) with ketchup and mustard. Chocolate milk...but that's nothing new. Ice cold water.

Food that nearly makes me vomit when I think about it: Coffee or any other hot drink.

Symptoms: The nausea is going away as long as I eat something every 3-4 hours. Exhaustion. Last night was the first night for me to sleep through the night in 6ish weeks.

Sleep: See above :(

Movement: I know it's super early, but I want to say I felt a little movement 2 nights ago. Not sure.

Gender: Lily is consistently hoping for 2 brothers. If we have one boy, she will only be half way disappointed. If we have one girl, she will be really disappointed.

Belly button in or out: In

What I miss: Caffeine, not because I depend on it. I'm craving cold drinks all the time I would just really like an ice cold Diet Coke.

Best moment this week: Moving into the house that will be the home to our new baby. Hearing Lily randomly say, "Thank you God for our new house." Lily's bedtime prayers for the baby.Oh yeah, and when she lifted up my shirt to say hey to baby and wiped a booger on my belly. That was nice. 

Biggest Challenge: Finding energy to unpack this house.


Blessings found in a Basement

You didn't think I would leave this basement apartment without blogging about it first did you?

Well, I did.

Until this very moment I have grown to strongly dislike this place.

We've had a problem with ants inside, outside, and in our cars.

Our landlady who is tall and thin, walks around at all hours of the night like she weighs 500 tons and seems to rearrange her furniture/hanging wall decor every 5 minutes.

Our landlady's 9 (I think) grandchildren all live out of town and come to visit a few times a year. So multiply 500 tons by 18 more feet. That's a lot of noise coming from upstairs.

We hardly had company over because there is just no where for everyone to be all at one time.

You practically have to straddle a wall to use the potty. And when we you have the stomach bug coming from both ends...well...need I say more?

And a lot of other silly little inconveniences that have gotten under my skin.

I was stacking up the 3 chairs around our 2-person restaurant table we've had in the kitchen. Many meals were shared as we squeezed into that corner of the kitchen.

And at that moment the place that I've grown to not like, I grew to love 100 times more.

It's the memories that make you love what you once hated and wish you had just learned to like it all along.

Like the memories made on a quilt in the backyard on a warm summer day

Or the ones where Lily grew to love cooking with Mommy

The simple joy of a tree swing

First haircut for our sweet girl on the patio

Breakfast every morning at her table (yes, those m&ms were a reward for her first night of no thumb sucking)

Miss Priss running up and down the hall in Mommy's heels

Learning to dress herself from head to toe 

Playing in the den while watching Dora

Dancing to the farm music magnets while cooking

And every single sound of our joyful little girl in the house

But the greatest memory is the how this entire year has been a picture of God's unending faithfulness and goodness to our family. It's been a hard year. I won't go into details, I've already been there done that on this blog. 

But there is nothing in our lives that is left untouched by our gracious, loving Father. Without going all Ann Voskamp on you, all's grace

It truly is. 

It's all the reality of His grace and relentless pursuit of us. 

And with my whole heart I leave this basement with humbleness and gratitude that He appointed this blessed opportunity for us as a family. 

The hardships are always a blessing in the end. A blessing that makes you look back without a clue why He did so much for you. Except you do know. His grace, which the fullness of is incomprehensible. 

And then you look ahead to where He's leading you and again, you are in complete awe of what He is doing. 

It's all Him. It's all His glory. It's all His grace. 

Goodbye basement. You've been yet another avenue that allowed us to see God's grace all around us. You will be missed and remembered fondly. 


Baby Update #1

I attempted weekly posts when I was pregnant with Lily, but it didn't last very long. Let's see if I can make it last with this one.

How far along? 10 weeks tomorrow

Baby bump? In the words of my doctor at my last visit as he felt my stomach, "It's there {a bump}. You are going to get big and feel heavy a lot quicker than the last one." Thanks. If only he knew how big and heavy I QUICKLY got with Lily!

Maternity clothes? No

Total weight gain? None, but I know that won't last long

Cravings: I thought I craved food with Lily. Turns out I just really liked Spaghettios and enjoyed eating them  if and when it was in the house. I'm craving water like there won't be any left tomorrow. I stay thirsty, so I drink tons of water. I was the same way with Lily. But, this time around I truly know what a craving is! I crave different things and once I eat it, the craving is gone. Zaxby's chicken fingers was the last one. I ate at a Japanese steakhouse yesterday after church, so that craving has been satisfied. Wonder what will be next?

Food that nearly makes me vomit when I think about it: crumbled ground beef (like in spaghetti, but I can still eat a burger), corn, all hot drinks (which is so unlike me since I drink coffee everyday and drank it my entire pregnancy with Lily. I did drink two cups of decaf coffee last week, but I certainly did not enjoy it like I usually do)

Symptoms: nausea without vomiting, headaches, exhaustion, round ligament pain (if I move too suddenly my abs cramp up). RLP was actually my first symptom of being pregnant with Lily and this one. I totally forgot about the pain until one night in early November when I rolled over in the bed and felt intense pain in my sides. It was then that I first thought, hmm, I haven't felt that kind of pain since I was pregnant with Lily. 

Sleep: I'm not sure I know what that is. I'm a terrible sleeper anyway, but it's been really bad during this pregnancy. I go to sleep just fine, but after about 1 1/2 hours I'm awake for the next 4ish hours. Then I'm back asleep just in time to wake up again in 2 hours. I'm trying to avoid taking any meds for that since it normally has the opposite effect on me.

Movement: None yet

Gender: We don't know yet. Lily alternates days with wanting a baby brother/sister. The other day she told everyone she was having 2 brothers and that she wanted a baby sister named Linda.

Belly button in or out: In

What I miss: Not having to watch my caffeine intake.

Best Moment this week: Hearing my doctor say I was clear of a miscarriage (of course, he can't be sure of that but everything looks good).

Challenge: I'm in one of my best friends wedding in January. Of course, the dress was measured for a non-pregnant me and it's too late to make any changes. Getting through the holiday season without gaining weight is difficult enough, but doing it while pregnant and having all kinds of cravings is going to be difficult. Thankfully I get really sick if I eat too much, so hopefully that will keep me from overdoing it.


I Never Dreamed He Would Say Yes, Again

There was this season of life in 2009 that Brent and I prayed for two very specific things.

I wanted a teaching position at my church's new Christian academy. We wanted our first baby.

On May 11, 2009, I was offered the job and found out I was pregnant. You can read about that here. 

I didn't think God would say yes to both.

8 months pregnant with Lily at a surprise baby shower with my first class at the academy. Precious precious memories. The weight gain? Not so precious. 

There was this season of life in 2012 where we were so desperate for things to change that we didn't pray for anything specific. We simply prayed for contentment with whatever the Lord gave or didn't give to us. It was all we knew to pray.

The miscarriage left me without hope. Brent's job made him miserable.

We didn't pray for another baby. We didn't pray for another job. We prayed for content hearts in Christ alone. Satisfaction in what He provides, trusting and forcing ourselves to believe it was for our good and that He was receiving glory.

...until Brent had a job prospect in September. Then we prayed like crazy, very specific, and without ceasing.

Meanwhile, Lily prayed for a baby. She told us on several occasions in October that she wanted a baby. Every time she mentioned a baby, I agreed with her and we talked to God about it.

On November 5, 2012, Brent started a new job.
On November 8, 2012 I found out I was pregnant.

Again, He said yes to both.
Picture by my friend Lauren

Picture by my friend Lauren

Picture by my friend Lauren

Picture by my friend Lauren

I never dreamed He would answer both requests the first time in 2009. I certainly didn't imagine more yes's in 2012 to the same requests. 

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us
Ephesians 3:20

God is good and faithful all the time and His timing IS perfect!

And for many of you wondering about our adoption. It's on hold. Well, it never actually started. The application was filled out, but never turned in because it costs money that we didn't have to spare. Thankfully, everything on the application is about to change anyway (address, job stuff, etc.). We will continue to pray about our future with adoption and revisit after Baby VK is born.

Pregnancy update post to come including a cute little video from the big sister...


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