It's pretty cool...

....when you see God's promises active in your life. I see this in so many ways; but a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I had one of those revelations...one of those moments that just make you smile and thank God for His goodness! But first, a little intro...when I was about 5 months pregnant with Pax (May 2007), we had a speaker come to our church who prays prophetic words into people's lives A LOT. He came to teach about the prophetic, how to hear God, and at the end of each session, he'd pray for different people, speaking into their lives what God was sharing with him. One night, as I sat in the audience, he picked me out and began to pray over me. He shared several things about the creative talents God has given me, and how He would use them (this guy doesn't really know me...just knows how to listen to God, so he was right on!). One of the things that stuck in my mind was that God would use my pictures..."Your pictures will set people free," were his exact words. I've pondered this for the past two and a half years, praying about what exactly it meant. I paint a little, but couldn't see how anything I painted would set anyone free. At the time, I had no plans to start a photography business or even to move out of Durango; photography was just a hobby I loved to experiment with.
Fast forward a couple of years +. As I ran around this fall, trying to get all the licenses and taxes figured out to make SunflowerEyes Photography a reality, I've known that it couldn't be just about photography. I felt that God wanted me to use this gift He's developing in me; not only to help provide for my family, but for some bigger purpose in His kingdom. I've prayed and thought about what this meant. I felt that God was leading me to tithe (give 10% or more of the money) off of what I earned from the business; I knew it was to go to orphans or children in need. But where? Here in Ft. Collins? The state? There are over 500 orphans available for adoption in Colorado alone...most people just don't know about them, because they're tucked away in foster care. To one of the many families we have relationship with that do long-term missions? I just didn't know. So I continued to pray.
When Adam and I joined our church here, last September, we went through a series of "classes" about the church. At the first one, the senior pastor and his wife shared about themselves, the church, their individual passions. Bonnie (the wife) is very involved with a ministry called UCOUNT. The missionary our church supports in this ministry (it's much, much larger than just our church) is in India, where she has a home for girls/women/children whom she buys out of prostitution or other kinds of slavery, andvteaches them about God, as well as how to live and provide for themselves in other ways. I became intrigued with the ministry...something about it just tugged at my heart. I couldn't stop thinking of all the women, many very young teens or children, who were in sexual slavery and couldn't leave...couldn't stop thinking of the children sold into slavery so their families could survive, or because their parents were promised their children would have a better life. I began to pray about and research whether or not this was the ministry- and in particular, the missionary- God wanted me to give to. One afternoon, a few weeks ago, I was resting on the couch, not even really praying...and the words that had been prayed over me more than 2 years ago came into my head : "Your pictures will set people free,". It all fell together-my photography, stepping out and starting this business, knowing it was about more than just photography...this woman, this missionary, is the one I am to give to out of God's blessing on my life. And she will use the money to LITERALLY set people free!! Free of slavery of the worst kinds...free to know God and love Him...free, free free!! I couldn't believe it! I'm crying as I write this...overwhelmed at how good God is, how faithful to His promises...this is the last meaning I even looked for in the words prayed over me that May night. But it's so wonderfully RIGHT! I will tithe out of my little and have faith that God will do big things in the lives of women and children on the other side of the world...I believe He will use it to set them free. Not only physically free, but also spiritually free to know Him. And someday, maybe, I'll get to meet some of them and show you just who God is setting free through the gift He's given me.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me," Phil. 4:13

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD; " plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you a hope and a FUTURE," Jer. 29:11


Thankful Thursday

Oh, happy day!! It's Thursday...not only Thursday, but the last day of Adam's finals for the semester, which means he (we!) can just enjoy the upcoming week...#1 on my thankful list for today! I'm also thankful for...
...being 35 weeks pregnant. As exhausting as it is to be this pregnant during the holidays; she's almost here!! Can't wait to meet our baby girl :)
...free hospital tours. New town, new hospital to give birth in...we get a tour tonight to see what the floor is like! And to pre-register, so we don't have to deal with that on D-Day :)
...for my nephew, Ayden. He's coming in on Saturday for a couple of weeks...it's always so fun to see him, and he and Pax have fun together, despite the age difference!
...the ability to take this holiday season nice and easy. I loved the fun, crazy-busyness of being on staff at a small church during the past 3 Christmases; but I know I would NOT have handled it so well this pregnant. We've had such a mellow season so far; it's made it easier to not put so much pressure on myself to do EVERYTHING we usually do for the holidays.
...for having a toddler during this time of year. Everything- Christmas lights, songs, singing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus, even Santa Claus and wrapping presents...so fun with a little guy who's discovering his world and excited about EVERYTHING!!
...a wonderful, thoughtful, patient husband. Who, by the way, gives THE BEST massages :)
...God's provison in our lives. Always. wonderful. I am amazed at the way He's providing for us- and making my dreams come true at the same time



I remeber when "Mike & Sarah" started...or, actually, before they started...Adam came up to me during the Passion Play last spring and said, "Guess what I just heard? Mike asked Sarah out..." or something to this effect. We weren't too sure what Sarah's reply would be, and Adam didn't want to eavesdrop long enough to find out (why not??), so that was all I knew for the night. But a week or so later, after hearing from my good friend Megan that Sarah had, indeed, said "yes," (don't you just love small churches??) I was looking forward to seeing Sarah at worship practice. She didn't know that I knew...but the way she floated into practice would've given it away, anyway. I oh-so-casually brought up the subject of Mike; she, of course, jumped at the chance to tell me all about it. Listening to her talk, that night and many other Thursday nights during practice, I knew something was happening...a love story. sigh. I looove a good love story. And I knew all that God had worked through to orchestrate their story, which just made it that much cooler! So, this fall, I asked Sarah if she and Mike would do a fun couple's shoot for me during Thanksgiving break, knowing that Sarah wouldn't say no..the girl is so stinkin' spunky and loves to be the center of attention. Plus, who'd turn down free pictures of you and the guy you love?? I knew she'd love the idea-and that Mike couldn't say no to her :) Secrectly, I was hoping it would turn out to be an E-session (engagement pics, that is...) AND IT DID!! (thanks, Mike, for reading my mind!) When they showed up, Sarah was rarin' to go. Mike obviously wasn't as into it...not too sure what he'd said yes to, I think. BUT I have it on good authority (Miss Sarah) that he ended up relaxing and enjoying himself a lot...and I sure had fun with them! They were up for anything and anywhere I mentioned; Sarah had their outfits planned to perfection; and I had peacock feathers! Mike describes himself as "black and white" while Sarah says she's "more of a peacock" in personality...so I HAD to incorporate the two ideas into the shoot. SOOOOOO fun!! These are just a few of my favorites of the day..hard to choose!

This picture is just very Sarah, to me...Fun, spunky, and joyful!

*mike and sarah, thanks so much for doing this shoot with me! I had so much fun with the two of you...I loved seeing your personalities play off each other and trying to catch it! Congratulations, you two!



It's live!! My website, that is. I still need a sweet logo...and I still have so, so much to learn...but I've taken a giant leap of faith and pushed the button! So...go check it out!!


A Christmas tree hunt...

...is a tradition in our little family I was NOT about to miss, even if I am 33 weeks pregnant! However, my husband wasn't so sure I wouldn't go into labor if we hiked much; so we went to

my parents' friends' land (follow that?) and only hiked a bit...the fastest Christmas tree hunting we've done yet, and the COLDEST!! It was 10 degrees in the sun, at 11 AM...Pax refused to walk because he was freezing (me too! can't blame him!), so needless to say he didn't enjoy that part so much.
But once we got it home (or on the car, really) he was so stinkin' excited about our "Kiss-miss Tree!" I'm aware that I skipped over Thanksgiving...I will post some pics of our fun week in Brekenridge soon. But today, I'm pretty proud that I survived the hunt (uphill the whole way back, trading off dragging the tree with Adam and carrying Pax a bit) so I decided these pictures take precidence :) This is Pax in the car, after his mini-meltdown over being cold...see his rudolph nose? We seriously were only out for maybe 1/2 an hour...like I said, it was COLD!!!!


Thankful Thursdays

Today, as every day, there is so much for me to be thankful for...i'm thankful

...for Ft.Collins' awsome, awsome parks!
...for my little son sleeping until 7:30 on Adam's day off (I LOVE this!! Even though I still got up about the same time, it makes such a difference when you choose to get up yourself instead of because a little voice is calling, "MAMA! want MILK!")
...for 2 cars that work wonderfully; mostly because of the blood, sweat and tears that Adam and my dad have put into one of them.
...for ice water. Can't drink enough of it these days- no wonder I pee ALL THE TIME!
...for a sweet little boy who is oh-so-snuggly in the mornings and after naps.
...for my dedicated, hardworking husband who as we speak is studying like crazy for another Chemistry test tonight.
...for Thanksgiving break, which for us begins in less than 24 hours!
...for heating pads and pilates, which are making it possible for me to walk (ok, waddle) during these last few weeks of pregnancy :).
...that each kick, stretch, and jab means there is a healthy baby girl growing bigger and healthier each day inside me.
...that I am 31 weeks pregnant today. 9 weeks! single-digit countdown begins!!


A few more belly pictures...

Here's the belly between 30 & 31 weeks...that's 7 1/2 months, for those of you who haven't been pregnant...a little less than 10 weeks to go!! The crib is up, the clothes are getting washed and put away, the list of last minute things needed for nursing and diapering is coming together...Adam and I are pretty sure we're about to get our world rocked by 2 kids. I'm focusing more and more on the birth, which is actually my favorite part of the whole pregnancy (because then you get to see that little peanut!!) and on getting prepared for it, physically and mentally, so that I can do the best that I can...what that means is a work in progress I'm sure i'll share during the next couple of monthe! I would love to have a drug-free birth this time, but am open to epidurals if need be. As my mom has said in the past-you don't get a medal for doing it drug free. It's just something I'd like to experience. Soooo...it's getting closer! There is a possibility I'll have to be induced a bit early, if I have low fluids again as I did with Pax. Ultrasound the beginning of Dec. to see how my levels are.



oooohhh, baby!

I've heard before that each pregnancy is very different from the next...ohhh, boy, is it true for me! It's crazy, really, how different this little girlie is than her brother. Pax was harder on me hormonally...this one is much harder on me physically. Not sure which is worse. Very thankful that I didn't have the double whammy of BOTH being hard at once! I don't remember Pax dropping until maybe a week or two before he came...she dropped about 2 weeks ago, which is nice for breathing and eating purposes, of course, but extremely uncomfortable...and since I'll only be at 30 weeks this Thursday....well, let's just stay I'm already starting to waddle a bit. Not the most attractive walking I've ever done. Sleeping has been...awful until the last 2 nights because, as we all know, when they drop, you pee. a lot. But lavender oil is one of my new best friends!! I've had crazy heartburn (didn't you all want to know that?? I know. you love it when I share!) which I had all of twice with P...tums are like candy right now. And lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, starting about the time she dropped...as well as some real contractions, which have made me slow waaaay down. Which is very, very hard for me to do because, well, although I don't mind asking for help I HATE feeling like I can't do things I think I should be able too; or even keep the same level of activity I did with my first pregnancy. It's also made me a bit more focused on my weight than I like to be, although I haven't gained as much weight this time. I know that the baby comes first...I know that I'd do anything to make sure she's safe, healthy, and doesn't come too early. And I will. Gaining weight just isn't my favorite thing (like it's anybody's favorite thing?) and so when my activity level is restricted, I do tend to think about it more. My focus easily taken off what is truly important (gaining enough weight for a healthy baby) by my own selfishness. I don't look any more pregnant with this one than I did with Pax, although at 7 1/2 months I have had some people ask if my morning sickness is almost over (ha!). This makes me want to carry around a picture of me from before I was pregnant just so I can show people that yes, I really AM preggo and not just fat. A never-ending battle for almost every woman I know, this weight issue...I long for the day when my self-image is a reflection of God's image of me, and not of my own media-warped brain. sigh. sorry. This was supposed to be a blog about the funny and not-so-funny differences between my two pregnancies. But now my very tired preggo body just wants to go to sleep...and so I will go put lavender oil on my foot (a new, rather hippie-ish world of essential oils we're discovering...but they are AMAZING! called doTerra.) and sleep beautifully all night. Thank You, Lord, for the healthy little girl growing inside me...give me clarity, patience, and good rest as I face these last 10 weeks!

Thankful Thursday

It' s been a loooooong time since I've done one of these posts...mostly because Adam has no classes on Thursdays, and it's become our family day. So we're usually pretty busy doing something....but today, Pax is napping, Adam is cleaning leaves out of our elderly neighbor's gutters, and I have so much to do but, instead, am taking a few minutes to update some of my blog and thinking about what I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for....

...the ultimate control God has over my life. I have dreams and plans, but God is the one who opens the doors and makes things happen. And I am so thankful I can give Him the control over it all.
...music. A beautiful gift.
...the worship ministry I've gotten involved in here. It's a big church, so the way things are run are VERY different, but the worship pastor has a great heart for worship AND pastoring, and God's thrown me back into the thick of it. Excited to see what's in store!
...for the tiny girlie growing beneath my heart. She was dancing during worship practice the other night, just like Pax did when I did the same thing while pregnant with him. It makes all the other not-so-fun parts of pregnancy worth it.
...for my husband. So incredibly supportive, so incredibly strong, so incredibly inspiring to me.
...my strong-willed 2 year old. I CHOOSE to be thankful for his strong will, even when he's using it to defy me. We're both learning.
...for hugs, snuggles, and kisses.
...for the stash of Reese's cups in my drawer, provided by my hubby on my birthday.
...for a roof over our heads, heat, light, and indoor plumbing.
Now you know what I'm thankful for today...how about you??


funny boy...

Little Dude to Adam, walking into the room after a bath:
"Hi Daddy, what's up? I Pax."

Me today, trying to figure out what Toby the Tram Engine (from Thomas) has on his sides..
"I think it's like wood, or side cars..."
"Cow catchers," (Pax, correcting me from his dad's arms....he's exactly right. Adam bursts out laughing.)

I love two-year-olds!


Snow Day, Sick Day

This past week has been a fun, crazy, week..My 26th birthday was on Tuesday, and I was thoroughly spoiled by my husband and family, including sticky buns for breakfast, chimichangas for dinner, and pecan pie for my "cake". Gotta love having a husband and mom who are both great cooks! Adam got me a very cool lens (he spoils me...it's a Af-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4g, for those of you who know or care...) and just generally always does what he can to surprise and celebrate me...dinner with the whole family and games made it a great day. And it started to snow!!
Early Wednesday morning, while the snow was still pretty easy to navigateI've always wanted it to snow on my birthday, but generally it waits to Halloween. So I enjoyed my little birthday present from God--which turned into a massive snowstorm and 2 snowdays for everyone but CSU up here! we got at least 2 feet of snow...when Pax was tromping through the snow Tuesday afternoon, it came up to the bottom of his coat-and kept falling all night. So fun!! He LOVED the snow, loved catching snowflakes on his tounge and making snowballs to throw, and just generally had a blast! Yesterday afternoon, however, he came down with a nasty cough, so our plans to trick-or-treat downtown this morning with some other moms + kiddos were cancelled. Bummer. Mama's going a little stir crazy, but coughs and 20 degree weather just don't mix,...so we went to get coffee. Adam's first class got canceled, so he came with us for a nice, snowy morning treat. Now we're home, watching Veggie Tales...I know my kid feels junky when he doesn't even want to play with his trains. Poor buddy...he sounds like a very congested, barking seal. Ahh, the beginning of cold season! Hopefully he'll be up to a bit of trick-or -treating tommorow night!


I did it.

It's official...I bought a website and am working on it as we speak. Someday soon, y'all will be able to be at the unveiling of SunflowerEyes Photography...the website. This is seriously the rebirth of a dream I've had since 5th grade...and it's so so so cool to see how God has brought this dream back to life this past summer! But. You must wait. Because, well, this website thing takes time to make perfect. In the meantime, I have pictures to post. Little P turned 2 on the 2nd of October...he was so excited! I made him a train cake (at least HE knew it was a train!) he got train tracks, and trains, and a baseball and bat, and was basically in little boy heaven. This kid knows (and will tell you!) the names of ALL the Thomas and Friends characters...not that we let him watch it all the time, the kid just has his Daddy's memory for names. and faces. It's pretty amazing, actually; he knows them before I do most of the time! I have a post to do about this little one's visit with her family....and another about this brand-new sweetie...and another about my two favorite guys...
...and another about the most dramatic wedding I have ever been a part of. and I've been part of a lot! But life is busy, so for now...littleDude's birthday! Enjoy!
Woah...I get cake! and ice cream!uuuhhh...Daddy, I'm trying to eat here.


Marathon Man

My husband ran a marathon last weekend (September 20th, 2009). You don't get to say that very often...at least, I don't. This was his first one...possibly his last! So I thought it deserved a blog. He's wanted to do this for about 2 years...talked about it, thought about it, researched different marathons...finally, we were in a situation where he could do it. I.E., not working at a church where those few Sundays off just can't be used for a marathon! So, right after we moved up here, he signed up for the Boulder Marathon and began to train. He ran, and ran, and ran...finally, September came. We popped Pax out of bed, left while it was still dark outside, and drove to the Boulder reservoir for the 8 o'clock start. Adam was excited, ready, and off! With about 1500 other marathoners or relay marathoners. We waved as he ran by, and then Pax and I had a fun morning going potty in the port-o-potties (I thought most kids were scared to go in the port-o-potties?? I'm pretty sure Pax peed about 7 times that morning...JUST SO he could go in them!). Ok, so that's not ALL we did...Pax ended up in his diaper playing in the reservoir with a little girl and some dogs, getting muddy, exploring the "woods", playing in the car, eating, and watching and waiting in the HOT sun for Adam to finish. And he did it! We cheered him on the last 1/8th of a mile, and he finished in 4 hrs, 20 minutes..I'm so proud of him! I know I could not have done what he did. It was great watching him start, watching him finish, cheering for him, supporting him throughout it all-my husband is now part of an elite group of people who have run an entire marathon. He said it's the hardest thing he's ever done. Now we're just trying to figure out why people do more than one...or two...or run Ironmans (100 miles!!)...but...hip, hip, Hooray for Marathon Man!!


My God is so GREAT...

...so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do! This has been running through my head for the past few hours...with the hand motions (ahh...the joys of teaching preschoolers! hand motions to EVERYTHING...right, Jinny??). I just have to tell you this awesome story, but it'll take some background, so hang on. It's good.
For those who don't know, my sister Erica died 7 years ago last June (no, that's not the good part. duh.). It was very sudden, about a month after I finished high school; she was 24 and super healthy. What we DIDN"T know was that she also had a genetic clotting factor called hyperhomosystemia. It causes your body to make more homosystine than it usually would; if your levels are too high, you get blood clots. Combined with the birth control pills she took for bad cramps, it caused a blood clot in her leg which broke off and went straight to her heart. She died very quickly..it was devastating. After the fact, we were all tested for the gene-I have it, my mom has it, my brother has it, my dad has it. Double whammy in the genetic pool. So. What does this mean? I take prenatals all the time, whether preggo or not, because they contain the right mix of B-6, B-12 and folic acid to keep my homosystine levels at a safe range naturally, no drugs needed. Too high=blood clots, too low=too much bleeding. When I became pregnant with Pax, I became adamant about trying to control my levels naturally as long as I could (pregnancy alone has a greater risk for clotting, and we weren't sure what my risks for miscarriage would be with this disorder). I have a good friend with the same blood issues; her doctor immediately put her on blood-thinners for her entire pregnancy (which involved a needle every day...yucky). My doc was great about it, let me take the pre-natals plus extra B-6, B-12, and folic acid, and tested my blood levels each month. They went up a bit, but stayed in the safe range and I was able to control my homosystine levels naturally throughout my whole pregnancy. So, this time, same thing, new doc...and I prayed. I prayed that not only would my levels stay low and to not have to do shots, but that God would somehow REMOVE this issue from my DNA. See, I know my God can do cool stuff like that. I started on the extra pills, and after my first blood test....my doctor thought I had LOW homosystine issues because of the numbers. I stopped taking the extra pills, just to see what happened (too low is bad, too). They stayed low. After my Doc visit today...THEY ARE STILL LOW!! My doctor actually called them "remarkably low", as in, "I don't know why they are so good...with this factor they should have at least gone up a little." But MY GOD!! He has the power to create worlds, calm storms, and change DNA! Now, I haven't gotten a new genetic screen yet...but I believe my all-powerful God is working to heal my body; I see the proof in the numbers, the doctor is surprised...and I know that my God cares enough for me as His child that He listens to my prayers and answers them. Even in things that seem too big (or to small?) to be possible. Won't you celebrate with me?? It shouldn't be like this. I shouldn't be able to stop all the vitamins and keep my numbers low...especially when pregnant. Last time it took extra supplements just to keep them in a healthy range. But My God is so Great!!! And my numbers are "remarkably low!!" (see? told ya it was worth the read!)



Erin and I have been friends since she was a Senior in high school and I was a Freshman. We were in youth group together, and stayed in touch on-and off until I was a freshman in college. We both ended up working with the youth group at the same church, hung out a lot, had fun...she's great. One of those people that, no matter how long it's been since you've seen them, you know that you'll pick up right where you left off. I missed her wedding 2 years ago because it was on my due date with Pax, which I was very sad about. But I was not about to miss this! Erin and her husband, Aaron (yup that's right!) had a beautiful, healthy little boy last Thursday night. This pregnancy has been especially meaningful (and scary, at times, for Erin) because they lost a baby boy last summer. Erin found out at around 20 weeks that the baby was no longer alive; at the same time she found out that she had a massive tumor on one of her ovaries. We're talkin' football-sized. They believe this is what caused the baby to die; so Erin and Aaron not only had to deal with the loss of their little guy, whom Erin had to be induced to deliver anyways, but as soon as she recovered from the birth she had to undergo surgery to remove the tumor, and tests to see if it was cancerous or not. Thankfully, it wasn't; Erin healed well and they were warned not to get pregnant again until the New Year. But a little surprise came their way a little early! Asher Benjamin Peter was carried safely to delivery and born healthy. I'd asked Erin if I could take some newborn pics of Asher when he was a few weeks old; the next day she asked me if I could take some maternity pics of her, as well. I just wanted to post a few, because I had so much fun and she has such amazing hair!! Plus, she is (and has been!) a dear, dear friend...and I know some of our mutual friends read my blog. So, without further ado...Erin! One week before Asher's birth....
I call this next one the "yes, this is what I always do when I'm 9 months pregnant..." look :)

Congratulations, Erin and Aaron! Can't wait to take pictures of your sweet little guy!!


Comfort zone

Today was the first day of MOPS at the church we are attending here. I've been super excited about this, because, although I went to MOPS only once in Durango, I figured it'd be a good way to start meeting some other mamas, maybe make some friends...and heaven knows I'm missin' my friends. Adam is always amazed at how big of a deal having good relationships and spending time with those people is to me...not to make him sound weird, he's a guy, not a hermit...but women, well, we're just wired differently then guys. Guys need relationships, too-but not the same way we ladies do. Or at least, my husband does not seem to need them the same way I do. I thrive off of being around people, having TRUE friends, and I left some amazing ones in D-town. Still my dear, dear friends, yes, but life goes on, and things just change.
Anyways. Back to MOPS.
After dropping off Pax ("see ya, mama!" yes, my kid may have inherited my "social neediness" gene...) and getting set up at a table, eating, meeting some new mamas, all that MOPS jazz, the pastor of women's ministries at the church came up to talk.
She was great. She talked about comfort zones, getting out of them, the GROWTH that God does in us when we step out of them...and I started thinking.
1) My ONLY comfort zone right now is my husband. Maybe my kid. I've gone from "pastor's wife" and well-known (face, at least, perhaps voice..) at a small church in a smallish town to wife of a pre-med student, living with my parents (which, although a blessing, is not a comfort zone...it's very different to live with your folks when you are married with kids than when you were the kid), depending on God every week for our income, trying to start a new business venture, one friend that I actually see, starting to go to a huge church (8,000 members is a bit of a change from 500!) a month ago where you don't even know if you've seen the same person twice except for the pastor; auditioning for a worship team of AT LEAST 30-40 people (I made it...that's another post, though...I've never actually auditioned for a team before. Good experience.) and pregnant. Which, for me, means I cry a lot and can be moody. To sum it up, no comfort zone in sight.
2) God is teaching me so much through this. I can't even write about it all now, still processing so much....but I do know this: so many people find their comfort zone and stay there until they are FORCED to leave it. By God, by man, whatever. I know lots of these people...and I'll tell ya: they're missing out. Hugely. God's best work in me (well, in my narrow view, anyways) has always been when I'm out of my comfort zone. This doesn't mean it's fun, it doesn't hurt, or that I even go looking for opportunities out of my comfort zone as much as I should...but it's always, always amazing. And I know this time will be, too.
3) If you are settled in your church, your town, your crew...reach out. Please. As an advocate for all newbies everywhere, I'm begging you! It's not easy to leave everything behind and start over, again. It's even harder when you're married and have kids, oddly enough. To have someone genuinely care, see your newness, your lonliness, your "I have to pee but I don't know how to get to the bathroom"-ness long enough to really talk to you-not just say hi and ask your name, which they forget 2 minute later-makes you an angel for the day in my book. And I'm not even shy! It's just so nice to not have to ALWAYS be the one trying to make a relationship happen in a group where everyone has all the relationships they "need". I've been here many, many times over the past 10 years, and it doesn't get any easier to be new. (Well, ok, at least this time everyone speaks the same language as I do, so that's easier)
But seriously....
meet new people. ask about their lives. talk for 5 minutes and LISTEN. And then, if you like them (maybe even if you don't!) ask them to coffee. or dinner with the fam. or to a playdate at the park or something. step out of your comfort zone and let them into your lives, BEFORE you know whether or not they will be a friend. It could seriously change someone's life....maybe even YOURS!
Maybe that doesn't seem like a "big enough" step out of your comfort zone, but, for the newbie, it's huge. And God will work through it. And you will never be the same. And that's a very, very good thing.
ok. off my soapbox. Thank you to all the people who have reached out to me in my past newbie-ness, and who did change my life. Even if you don't know it.


I could, but....

I could do it, you know. I could walk out the door, take my resume to the schools, get a teaching or aiding job, and quickly solve so many of our "problems". I would have a steady job, bringing in steady money. It would take the burden off my husband, who has been struggling with not being able to provide for his family the way he feels he should. He could just focus on school and not have to even think about working part time. It would enable us to move into our own place, perhaps even to buy a house, instead of staying at my folks' house unsure of when we'll be able to move out. We could have our own space, a room for the new baby, a place for our friends (when we make any...) to come over and hang out. I could put my son in daycare, or at least in an in-home caregiver situation, leaving the everyday raising of my son to someone else. In some ways, it would be so much easier...relieve so much stress...but I know that I know that I know that this is not what God is asking me to do. When Adam and I began exploring this move, I thought about going to work full time...and ended up sobbing. I knew I didn't want someone else raising my kids, even if it was a good friend or a grandparent. I knew that God had blessed my family with these children, and that he was calling me to the ministry of full-time Mama. It's been the hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had...I knew it wasn't time for me to go back to work full time. So...what next, since our family still has to eat? That's the cool part...since making the decision with Adam that I would continue to stay home with our kiddos, and having absolutely no idea how it would work out, God has provided (and is continuing to provide) ways for me to bring money in to our family. Steadily all summer, and now...well, it's taking more leg-work for me at this point to get things "official", but it's still working out. I recently decided not to continue the childcare I was going to do in our home, for several reasons, and felt a mixture of relief and fear. I'd just let go of our only "steady" source of income. Freak-out time...but. I felt right about it. I have time now..time to focus on a couple of business ventures, time to spend with Pax, time to be more flexible with Adam's schedule (does that make sense?) and-one of the most exciting things to me- more time to focus on the new baby when it comes. It's hard, figuring out this juggling act...we have some very specific things we believe God has told us about this new season. However, they seem to be completely opposite sometimes: start the road to med school, stay home with the kids, have flexible jobs, don't work full time...either of you. How will we provide for our (rapidly growing) family?? Only God knows. I'm working on that being enough. I'm working on letting go and just trusting that God WILL provide a way for all this to happen, because He's the one leading us on this adventure in the first place. Somehow, that was much easier to do before I had kids. Adam started school yesterday, and today I'm overwhelmed with love and thankfulness for my husband-I know this isn't easy for him either, but he's so supportive. As much as he wants to be a good doctor, he wants to be a good husband and father more. He's had a hard time with not having a way to provide for us, with feeling bad that I've been the one providing-I've told him again and again that his going to school IS providing for our family. It's taking a step toward caring for our family in the future, as well as following what God has told him to do. I'm so thankful that he is going forward with this dream, instead of bowing to the pressure of "you can't start medical school, you have a family!!". I'm so very proud of him. It can't be easy to be going back to school, feeling like the old odd man out with a wife and kids, and riding your bike past sophomores who used to be "yours" in youth group (true story...it happened yesterday).



I'm having the cravings of a 4-year-old. Yesterday it was french fries and ranch dressing (ok, so maybe that one is more like Benjie than a 4 year old...). Today it was macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs. A candy bar earlier this week. Doughnuts (which my brother supplied without knowing when he and my sister-in-law moved out...although I don't think that one stayed put too long). And the thought of coffee basically disgusts me most days. oh, to be pregnant and hungry. This is NOT normal. Except for the fries part...but that usually goes with some Cukoos' wings. (MMmmmmm...Cukoos'...) And I'm proud to say, with the exception of the mac n' cheese with hot dogs, I've restrained myself and dodged most of the craving minefields. (And I did make the mac myself....couldn't quite bring myself to feed my pregnant body (or my son) all that processed cheesy goodness that comes in the blue box) What is it about pregnancy that makes us (or at least me!) want to eat anything and everything we usually wouldn't? I didn't really do the craving thing too often with Pax. With my first, I mostly craved hot sauce and chocolate. So normal for me, except I wanted to drink buckets of salsa...with the occasional burger thrown in. This one...AHHHH!! most days I want to avoid all "healthy" food (salads, fruit, etc.) and simply eat nachos with the occasional doughnut thrown in (or on top, whatever). I feel like I'm constantly fighting with this little 4-year old inside me : " EWWWwwww. Why do I have to eat that?? I don't LIKE tomatoes (or spinach, or sweet potatoes...you get the idea.) I want mac n' cheese!! yea, mac n' cheese with HOT DOGS!!" "You can have mac n' cheese, but you have to eat this salad first. You'll love it, just try it!" "EWWWWW!! Noooooo!" "Eat it, or no mac n' cheese!" (pouting)...."FINE. EWWW...this is so gonna make me sick!! (drama, drama drama)".
Not that I would actually ever HAVE that discussion with my child...he would just eat or wait till next time. But. A pregnant woman cannot skip a meal, especially a raveneously hungry one deep in her second trimester...Adam asked me the other day if I ever felt like all we did was eat. Yup. Especially right now. But is that a bad thing?? So much good food...so few weeks until eating turns into grazing because this kiddo is taking up too much room...if I can only dance carefully around this minefield, only setting off the SMALL ones, OCCASIONALLY--I am not one of those genetically blessed pregnant women who gane 25 pounds no matter what I eat. Willpower...another tricky concept when you're deep in the second trimester...anyone got a slice of cheesecake??


Potty time!

Some proof that potty training is TRULY happening...woohoo!! Adam took pax to the potty last night after dinner, and took some pictures of the big event, as well...
Hmmmm....this book looks perfect for potty time....is that Ernie??

It IS Ernie! I loooove reading on the potty!

Yes, we like to take embarrasing pictures of our son. It's all part of being a parent in the digital era...on the preggo side of things, Monday was my last day running with this little peanut. I was hoping to make it to 6 months, but it's just getting toooo uncomfortable. I don't know how women run into their 7th and 8th months! I'm pretty glad I made it this far...with Pax, I was so sick the first 4 months I was lucky if I did ANY sort of exercise. By the time I was feeling better, I'd lost so much cardiovascular strength...well, let's just say that I did the best I could. I was really enjoying running with this one...but biking and swimming will have to take over instead. How do the superwomen do it??? 17 weeks...not too bad, I suppose. Adam starts school the 24th, I start daycare next week for 2 little girls...we've had all this time, and now everthing seems to be coming up super fast! crazy!


Summer travels

At my little cousin's swimmeet: Jake, Pax, and Adam (the scene of Pax's first potty triumph!)

Yes, he got in the dog crate by himself....and no, we didn't let him sleep there :) or rather, the dog wouldn't let him...
Since we had...well, lots of time to do whatever we wanted this summer for probably the last time in a loooooong time, plus a kid who still flies for free (for 2 more months!) we made some last minute plans to do a little travelin'. A blessing in disguise, this no-job thing! The thought was that we could either stay in Ft. Collins and do....regular stuff, or we could take the opportunity to see some friends and family that we probably won't see again for a long time. D-town was our first stop, the only one that had been planned for longer than a week, for a family friend's wedding. The great thing about that was, of course, that we also got to see all of Adam's family, as well as some of our friends who were either at the wedding or in town. We got to watch the fireworks with our friends the Onions, and both Pax and their little girl (who is about 5 months old) LOVED them. Every time there was a lull, Pax quickly asked for "more!"The Smiley family: My cousin Janell, her husband Dennis, and their boys Jake and Joe.
Then it was home for a day to do laundry before taking off to see my cousins in California, which consisted of some In-N-Out Burger, a lot of pool time, and the beach. Oh yes, and the MONUMENTAL EVENT : Pax decided ( of his own accord, I swear!) he wanted to go potty on the big potty!! So wWe have officially begun the long road to potty training. He thinks it's pretty cool, so far, luckily...I'm praying that he will keep doing well and be fully trained (or at least close!) by the time the little peanut gets here. I'd LOVE to only have one in diapers! I know it's a big dream, but....The Waters family in San Fran- Ella, Seth, Maria, Ian and Levi (no I don't know which is which) and the travelin' Blegers.
We also got to stop by the Waters' house in South San Francisco for a quick lunch, which was great- we miss these fellow ex-River Church-staff friends!-and loved hearing about how well everything is going for their church plant out there. Pretty much Seth was glowing. I mean, the guy is almost always happy, but you could tell he was in his element. Pax and Ella closed themself in the potty while he "helped" her go potty by putting toilet paper in the toilet...it was good times for all. After another quick day home, we headed to Huston to see our friends the Husemans. Again, a fun, hot, HUMID time of helping them get settled in their new house and watcing kiddos play. Can I just say one thing? I HATE flying when I'm pregnant. Those little doggie bags? Yup. Used 3 of them. At least it was me and not Pax. I'm officially 15 weeks today, and finally starting to feel better on a consistant basis-woohoo! It's been a crazy, fun whirlwind of traveling .... but I'm ready to start settling in to the new "normal", whatever that ends up being. Adam starts school the 24th, I start doing some in-home daycare the 17th, and already had some tutoring going on. God constantly takes care of us, in all things and in some very cool ways- but that's a post for another day :)


Thankful Thursday

it's been....awhile since I've found the time to post on a Thursday! I have so much I am thankful for...just no time to tell all of you about it :) But tonight, since my bro is making dinner (pizza!), my husband and dad are entertaining little boys, and I have a free moment...ta da! The return of Thankful Thursdays!
...I am so thankful for my camera. It's fun, it lets me do cool things, and now God is using it to provide a little for our family...a literal dream-come-true!

....for the blessing-in-disguise of Adam not finding work yet. We get to go out to California for a week to see family, and hopefully the Waters family, too!

....for cars with air-conditioning. Makes the 7 hour drive to Durango tommorow MUCH more appealing :)

...For my nephew, Ayden, and the chance to have him visit for 2 weeks. We don't get to see him enough...and Pax ADORES his big-boy cousin! they've had soooo much fun together!

...for cool, free, kiddo waterparks. They're everywhere up here, and did I mention they're FREE?? hours of fun on hot days!

....Just had to add this picture. Yes, that's my son, asleep under a picnic table. He fell asleep in the car and stayed this way for at least an hour...for those of you who know my son and his sleeping habits, yes, we were shocked. Adam actually looked at him after I put him down and asked, "Where's our kid?"

...for God's constant provision in our lives. I love it...it never looks like we think it will, but it always shows up!


The great debate, pt. 3...or is it 4?

Along with tacos, chocolate milk, and other VERY IMPORTANT matters, we've had a debate going on in our house for...well....probably the last year and a half. A very important debate, about when we would like to have another baby. Pax was a little surprise package we found out about 7 months after we married, and...we just thought it would be really cool if we could plan the next one. This idea especially appealled to my husband, who is a Great Planner of Life. Or at least he tries to be. Ask him how that's worked out since we got married....:) Anyways. We talked and talked and talked...all thorough the long months of sleepless nights and trying to nurse a hurricane, we debated. Finally, it was decided that we'd love to have a Spring baby next time. May, to be exact. Which would mean starting to try again in August (a concept so compleatly foreign to me, it kinda freaked me out...for those of you who haven't planned kiddos, you know what I mean!). We were compleatly happy with our little plan. Except we forgot one little thing (well, actually, one BIG thing....). GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR!! and so, on our 3rd wedding anniversary, also our last night at theWELL and 4 DAYS before we left Durango...I believe my exact words were, "you're kidding me." when I saw those 2 pink lines show up! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am pregnant. 9 weeks today, to be exact. Due around Jan. 22nd, in the dead of winter (winter babies are great! who said they wanted a spring baby??). We had an ultrasound yesterday and got to see the little peanut and its' good, strong heartbeat...crazy, amazing little miracle. Surprise! someone asked me last night if this one was planned...planned? who plans their kids?? (actually, I know who you are..what's that like?) we are so blessed. I know this. I am so thankful for the way God gives us our children...and I can't wait for this trimester to be over :) so. boy or girl? anyone want to take bets?


we made it.

We're here-in Ft. Collins, trailer, van, and car unloaded....thanks, Ben and Lisa!! Pax's clothes are unpacked, our room is about 1/2 way- but at least our bed is set up! The couch is in our "living room", along with our rug-Pax was very happy to see his things! Although he's been freaking out whenever Daddy goes to the car with boxes or to get them- figures it means he's leaving, and he better make a break for the car! I'll post pictures of our "suite" in a few days...when things are a bit more settled. Just wanted to let you all know we're here, we're safe, and thank everyone SO MUCH for the help with packing the house and trailer. It was a loooooooong day yesterday (once again, thank you Lobmeyers for the DVD player!!), so we're turning in early tonight! Thanks for all your love and prayers!


3 years!

Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary...not much to those who have been married 20 or 30 or 40 years, but to us-it's pretty exciting! Crazy how fast these past 3 years have gone...sometimes it feels like just yesterday we got married, and sometimes it feels like we've been married waaaaay longer than 3 years! To commemorate this wonderful day in our family history, here are some pics from the last 3 years....unfortunetly, the discs with the wedding pics are already packed. So you get the everyday ones!

The night before Adam proposed....

On our honeymoon...New Year's Eve, 2006, with Grant and Paula....September 28th, 2007...Pax came Oct. 2nd!
Kauai, Setember 2008...ahhh, palm trees!Indiana, October 2008, at the coolest orchard ever!

photoshoot at the bakery with Jan, Janurary 2009 ....

Pax's "bye-bye bottle party, April 2009....Such great memories! Happy Anniversary, my love! I love being on this adventure with you!