one day at a time

The past week has been a startling lesson, actually, in how quickly you can go from normal life…

… to a dead halt, and more than two weeks of nothing but waiting. I was in Peoria last Thursday evening,  August 10, when  my water broke and I was admitted to OSF – it’s kind of hard to believe that will be a week tomorrow! The little guy’s heartbeat is staying steady, and my contractions and fluid leakage are not super concerning, and the doctors say he does not seem to be under stress – we’re thankful for that. There is risk of infection, but that’s why I’m here until he reaches 34 weeks. Hopefully, on August 26th, he’ll be about 5 pounds and ready to join us! 🙂

I can choose to sit here and feel guilty (which I do sometimes) or I can choose to sit here and be thankful (which I do sometimes)… I feel the weight of not being able to fulfill my responsibilities at home, of relying extensively on Grant, on our parents, and on the many people who are feeding my family in my place. I am also thankful for this time of rest, for the relative safety of being here at OSF where there is excellent medical care, and for God’s peace that has been palpable through the entire thing. That is grace in action, and it is an answer to your (and our) many prayers.

We are blessed by each of you. Thank you so much for being here for us, for loving us, and for serving us during this time.

outer banks, NC

Our family vacation was spent in Frisco, North Carolina this summer and it was amazing. We spent a lot of days digging in the sand, riding the waves, visiting lighthouses, remembering the Wright Brothers, celebrating birthdays, playing mini golf, eating ice cream, riding the Ocracoke Island ferry, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, playing pool, watching fireworks over the ocean, cooking and eating, and just being. It was so nice to be within two blocks of both the sound and the ocean – so many more possibilities of things to do and so many more beautiful views.

It was a long road trip to and from… definitely over 16 hours with stops, even driving through the night. But it was do-able with lots of drivers in the family, plenty of help with the kids (I still feel like I owe my family something big), and plenty of great things to listen to. 🙂 (Of course, if you consider Wee Sing, Thomas the Train, and “Any Dream Will Do” to be “great things to listen to… there were varying opinions about that).

We have good memories and Ivory and Titus loved the ocean… they wore their life jackets almost always, because the waves were big, but they loved running in and out of them, falling down, jumping over the surf, digging into the sand, and eating all the snacks and gummy worms they wanted.

Our family has changed a lot in the past couple years and it was fun to connect all together… I’m so thankful for the people God has given us. Love you all! ❤

book review: positive discipline – tools for teachers

51zU4yDGACL._AC_US218_Perhaps the theme that stood out to me the most in this book was the importance of “not engaging”. My dad always used to tell me that it takes two to fight, and I guess it’s the same way when it comes to teacher-student relationships. And, I also found it very relevant to my relationships with my children! Since perusing this book, I’ve thought of this idea often as fights break out between my children, and during times when they defiantly stand up to me – the truth is, that they cannot fight if I do not fight back. And so, we find other ways to work it out. The book offers some tools to start with! 🙂

It’s a read I found relevant to both teaching and parenting!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. 

a fearful thing

I loved these verses we read in church on Sunday in Proverbs 30, because they echo my own thoughts and longings for a comfortable life: “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’, or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” (vs. 8-9)

This is my own plea for our little family, although I’ve never been able to put it quite so eloquently. I want to be comfortable. I think parenting gets harder every day, and the future looks scarier. I wonder how in the world I’m ever going to raise children who follow the Lord, in a time and place so hostile toward His Truth.

I read this morning in Hebrews 10:31 and again, felt my own thoughts were echoed, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” It is! It’s terrifying to live by faith, to open the calendar to a Monday again and just plead for strength for the week and wisdom to know how to best invest my time. I loved the reminder that followed, though: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions […] for ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

I know that I’ve been here before, because I go through cycles of trust and fear. And I need to look back and to remember the times when God has been faithful and when by His grace I have been able to lay aside the scary and the earthly and focus on the heavenly. I think sometimes the fear is borne out of a lack of trust in myself – worry that I’ll fail. But, if my focus is right, that lack of trust in myself can be converted into a deep trust in God – my Rock, who never moves and never changes.

And because it’s so true, and always so relevant…

Blessings – Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

seth & adrienne’s wedding

May 21 was a lovely day for a wedding! It was a good weekend – we got to officially welcome Adrienne into the family! There were a few tears and not a lot of sleep, but it was all beautiful and such a blessed day.

Weddings always make me realize how much we aren’t newlyweds anymore, and I’m increasingly thankful for that. There was a time when I wished to go back – when it would have seemed fun to fall in love for the first time all over again. But, definitely not anymore. I love Grant more than ever, and I’m so thankful that it’s not new love – it’s love that has grown deeper and stronger because of what we’ve been through together, because of how we’ve grown together, and because we work together and refine each other. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

graduation & adoption

In the seven days between May 14 and May 21, we celebrated several really big and exciting life events with both of our families. We kicked it off on Mother’s Day morning with Seth’s graduation from the U of I College of Aces. The kiddos did amazing through the 2 HOUR AND 40 MINUTE ceremony, BUT they were ready to do things like run around campus and climb on fire hydrants when we were done. 🙂

It was a gorgeous day, and we are excited for Seth! We were even more excited for the following weekend, but I still don’t have wedding pictures yet, so that will have to come later!

On the Wednesday in between, we went to the courthouse in Bloomington to see Carl & Ayden’s adoption finalized and celebrate with Matt & Kim and family. It was a great afternoon and so exciting to be there for it!

We went to Miller Park afterwards and Ivory and Titus loved the splash pad. 🙂

book review: He calls you beautiful

unnamedHe Calls You Beautiful has been my go-to read during nap time and my morning quiet time, and that’s saying a lot. There are plenty of other things calling for my attention during those moments of rest, but this book has drawn me in. I chose it skeptically, never dreaming how much of a bright spot it would be in my day.

Just as the Song of Songs relates in equal parts to earthly marriage and our church-to-bridegroom relationship with Christ, so does this book. And it is also equal parts teaching/Bible study and stories that are so well-placed, so interesting, that you just want to keep reading. Dee Brestin is a very talented author; she tells the Song of Songs like a story and simplifies it, yet brings it to life. I was so impressed by this book. It has opened my eyes to the Song of Songs, the love of Christ, and the countless beautiful ways that earthly marriage points to the eternal. I’ve been so encouraged and filled by this study.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.