a love that overtakes me

2014-05-19 10.35.39-2

Almost 20 weeks ago now, this fellow came into the world and changed my life – forever. I became a mama and I fell in love in a way I could never have imagined. It’s a love that overtakes me when I’m beyond exhausted and my little dude wakes me up, again, needing some snuggles and a paci or a middle of the night snack. It’s a love that makes it so very natural (even though it’s so very hard) to sacrifice my own desires/needs and take care of his first. It’s a love that delights in every little thing that he does and every part of who he is. I’m smitten and there’s no amount of his scream crying or my sleep deprivation that could change that. It doesn’t matter that I’ve tried to write this post 5 different times and I always have to stop because my baby needs me. I miss having time to write and create different things, but I know it is just a season. I also know that when this season is over, I’ll miss the little baby cuddles more than I currently miss having a clean kitchen or sitting as long as I’d like in a coffee shop with my journal and a good book.

This love has taught me so much about my Jesus and the way He has forever loved me and you. My love for my baby is big, but it is so tiny in comparison. (People say these things all the time, but now I get it…)

This love has taught me that true sacrifice always flows from true love, and that you can’t have true love without true sacrifice. (I feel like I should have so much more to say about this, but I just can not find the words. Could be the sleep deprivation, could be that it’s just too big for words.)

Now, this sweet boy needs some attention… But hopefully, I’ll be back soon (even if I have to write on my iphone while nursing my boy, like now. The multitasking mama life.).

20141003-105952-39592489.jpg

a place of rootedness

Written 2/23/14

I’m sitting on the floor in the hall of our new house. My husband is doing some painting touch-ups in our son’s bedroom.

Those two sentences BLOW my mind.

I spent nearly 3 decades of my life husbandless and have had this amazing husband for 1 year and 4 months. I still am amazed that the Lord saw fit to bring us together, and make us one.

Now, this short time later, I’ve got a baby in my womb. [I think womb is a funny word and am determined to say it as much as possible while I have the excuse. You are welcome.] He will make his appearance into our world probably sometime between 3 and 4 months from now. That’s nuts. I have a child, a son. He’s making me huge, and kicking around at my insides this very moment. And I love him, though I don’t yet KNOW him.

And… we have a house! And it’s OURS [and the bank’s… but whatever].

When Jon and I got married, I moved into his apartment. So, we made space to fit me in and we/I changed and added to the décor to make it OURS and not just HIS. This feels so different than that. That was temporary and we constantly considered the temporal aspects of it. This feels like a HOME for our family to dwell in and to grow in, not forever, but for a good while.

This is a place of rootedness… and I think it’s a physical symptom of a spiritual reality.

Jon and I (separately and together) have never dreamed of being home-owners. In fact, we dreaded the thought. We’ve been mobile people who love the ability to get up and go when and where opportunities open up.  “Putting down roots” somewhere sounded lovely, but mostly for other people. When we began talking about the possibility of purchasing a home, it made us feel a bit claustrophobic. {Though I will admit, there has been a part of me that has always longed to settle somewhere.}

We also knew we didn’t want to stay in our two bedroom townhome apartment for too much longer and that buying a house made sense for us financially, much more so than renting a house would. I’m certain, however, that the reason home-ownership began to be less claustrophobia causing was actually spiritual.

Rootedness has been a theme in our lives and marriage. It’s not a rootedness in Nashville, and it’s not even a rootedness in each other. This rootedness is one that can only be in Christ and by Christ.

I know I don’t fully comprehend what He has done, is doing and will do, as our roots grow deep into Him. I know that a large part of it is happening through the Body He has placed us in here in Nashville. I guarantee you that if it wasn’t for the expression of Christ in our brothers and sisters here, we wouldn’t have bought this house and we probably wouldn’t be here at all.

It’s because of our local expression of the Body of Christ that we no longer feel claustrophobic in taking this step. I’d even go as far as to say that I am personally experiencing a deeper sense of Freedom as we take these steps, that once felt heavy and constraining.

Here’s to new seasons, and a beautiful Family to share them with. Happy 2014!

a dancing gummy bear

It’s been over two months since I posted here. In that time, I’ve also mostly disappeared from twitter and just basically been quiet. My mom has come to my blog to see if I’ve made an appearance, almost every day. I doubt anyone else has checked for updates nearly that frequently, but for anyone who has noticed my absence, HERE I AM!!! Sorry, I’ve kept you waiting.

At first, the lack of posting was due to putting more time into some other projects. Eventually though, I had to put those on the shelf for a few weeks too. I was tired. I started feeling nauseous off and on every day. I fell asleep at weird times, a lot. I spent a lot of time on the couch, drinking ginger-ale, and eating crackers.

It’s apparently a lot of work to grow a human being inside of you.

Yep. We’re having a baby, expected to arrive sometime around May 14th. Now that I’ve hit the 12 week mark (and I’m having to try to hide my growing stomach in pictures that may find their way to Facebook), we figured it was time to let everyone in the loop. :)

In the last couple of weeks, my energy level has been on the rise – heading more towards normal. [YAY! ] I’m not going to promise a sudden influx of writing here, but there’s a much better chance now that I’ll write again before another two months passes us by. We’ll see though…

For those who love this kind of thing, here’s a picture of our little person taken about 3 weeks ago – when it was the size of an olive. It’s now the size of a large plum, or so the books and apps tell me.

20131030-111318.jpg

Jon described her/him as a dancing gummy bear. It was very active, most of the time we were watching it – waving it’s little tiny arms around. (And yes, I called our baby an “it”… it’s just easier than saying him/her over and over.)

{For those of you who are overwhelmed by a constant baby announcements in your Facebook feed, I’ll do my best no to be too crazy about it…}

I wonder now if we seemed more like this…

When I was a kid, I liked to make my brother play INTERVIEW. It’s a common game for children, right?

We’d put on dress up clothes. He’d sit down behind a pretend desk. He’d call my pretend name. I’d come in the room. We’d introduce ourselves to each other. He’d ask me questions.

“That’s not a good question.”
“I’m asking the questions.”
“Ask questions about my other jobs…”
“Don’t tell me what to do!!”

He’d tell me he had some more interviews to do but he would let me know when he made a decision. I’d go into the closet and change into DIFFERENT dress up clothes. He’d call my next pretend name. We’d do this many times. He’d make a decision about who to hire. I’d put those clothes back on and re-enter the room.

“Congratulations! You got the job!”
“Oh! Thank you! I’m so excited to work for you!” 

At the time, I thought we were acting very ADULT. But, I wonder now if we seemed more like this…

I love watching our family grow! // Ben and Erica

Baby Benny

When I was 3 1/2 years old, I became a big sister to a little brother. I’d hoped for a little sister and upon finding out that he was a brother I said, “I’ll love him, but I’m not gonna like him.” I quickly realized that I did actually both love AND like the little guy! But then he got older and more mean, and that statement became true sometimes. Apparently though, I wasn’t always nice to him either – or so he claims. But, whether we liked each other at the time or not, I was always attempting to take care of him (whether he wanted me to or not). It was my job as a big sister!

At some point – probably about the time I left for college, I’d say we became friends! (He would not say that, as both my brothers have informed me countless times that sisters are sisters and NOT friends. I, however, disagree.)

Eventually, I’m pretty sure he forgot that he was my LITTLE brother and started acting more like an OLDER brother. I think for a while he was afraid he’d have to take care of me forever, as he figured I would NEVER get married. But then I DID get married! And he (along with the littlest brother we share), walked me down the aisle.

Brothers walk

In four days, he’ll be waiting at the end of another aisle for his bride. She’s delightful! And perfect for him! I’ll finally, officially, get that sister I wanted. Thanks, Ben! ;)

Ben and Erica

Ben and Erica have been together for several years now, and she’s already a part of our family! But, I’m excited that it will now be “official!” And I know that they are too!

Jon and I are flying to CA tomorrow to celebrate these two! I love seeing my not-so-little brother happy, and so grown up! And I love watching our family grow! 

one month // pictures // stay tuned

Our Wedding Celebration was one month ago, yesterday. It has been an incredible month and we have a lot that we want to share. Let’s start with some pictures of the wedding weekend. It was incredible. All of it. And so much of that was thanks to our Church Body here in Nashville and to our friends and family who spent the weekend with us.

To all who were a part of the WONDERFULNESS, we say a big… huge…

THANK YOU!!!!

Our wedding photographer, Mary Rosenbaum, is amazing! Here’s a sample of her work:

When she’s worked her magic with all the pictures, there is sure to be more shared. For now though, here are a few shots snapped by friends at the wedding (as seen on Facebook).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay tuned for a series of posts on the wedding (We did things differently and will talk about how and why.) and marriage in organic church life. Not that we’re experts. It’s been a month. But it isn’t just about us. It’s bigger than that.

Thanksgiving | {family, memories, wilderness}

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things. To start with, this is the first time in 5 years that I have been at “home” in California with my family for the holiday. I am thankful that I’m here to force my brothers (and Erica!) to take goofy pictures with me! I am thankful that I got to eat some of my Nana’s fantastic BUTTERMILK PIE! And my mom’s green bean casserole!

I am thankful for a season of living near some of my bffs…  being near the ocean again… And for mountains and trees… And San Diego weather! I’m thankful for the other families of friends I have sprinkled around the world… for the memories of Thanksgivings spent sleeping in hammocks and eating the best rice and beans you could dream of on the Amazon River… and for memories of my friends chanting “Shanda! Shanda! Sing a song! Sing a song!” and then singing “Fried Ham” around the table while eating duck and “corn bread” (corn on bread).

But, I wouldn’t feel honest if I didn’t tell you that life has been less than purely peachy lately. This transition time has stretched further than I hoped. And it’s been full of hiccups and questions and annoying circumstances and big decisions and huge paradigm shifts that are changing everything for me. Not easy. And not over yet. It feels much like a season of walking through the desert. And really, I am in a wilderness. God has shown me rich things that He is taking me to, but I’m not there yet. I am on my way… slowly, but surely. And in the meantime, He is supplying me with Himself – manna in the wilderness – and promising that there will be even MORE of Him on the other side!

So, at the top of my list of things to be thankful for this year: I am thankful for the wilderness and for the sifting and stripping down that is occurring in my life and heart here. I am thankful for Christ supplying Himself to me, and for the love and encouragement I am finding along the way, and for the richness that I know He is leading me to on the other side of this wilderness.

There have been days that JOY was very hard to find or choose. But it is returning, more and more. And I am filled with hope and excitement about what lies ahead. I know it is going to cost me things to get there… but it will be worth it, entirely. Jesus always is.

For an awesome article on seasons in the Wilderness, click here!