Tomorrow my children will attend their first real funeral. The funeral of a wonderful woman that I am so sad to see leave this earth but for whose transition into heaven I envy.

I first met Belia, a little over 14 years ago. The mother of a new friend. I had no idea that she would become such an inspiration and support.

Through my friendship with both of her daughters, I was included in several family functions and celebrations. Always loud and boisterous affairs with kids running about I often felt like I was in another world, it was so unlike my childhood or family gatherings. There was a deep love that ran throughout every relationship and it brought something alive in me I hadn't ever known.

My relationship with this special family began at the beginning of my own marriage. The start of my own family.

As I grew to know Belia, and her children, and grand children God birthed a desire in me for events like these. For houses so full of people, and laughter, and joy that it feels like a Christmas movie. I looked at Belia as this great matriarch and thought "I want that." To have my children and grandchildren surround me. To be able to share my relationship with the Lord with each one. To raise children who invite their friends into their family.

It is in no small part, due to these relationships, that my husband and I chose to go beyond the typical two child family. I want my adult children to have a huge family to draw support and love from even after I am gone. I want them to have what I didn't have as an only child.

So tomorrow I will weep with a family I am so enamored of, for their great loss, and mine. I will also rejoice that she is with Jesus and my little Eden.
At 11:42 pm last night, in the parking lot of in n out, while I was munching on the last of the fries I managed not to drop on the floor, my friend informs me of the multiple ways I can cheat the time on my blog and thus still make my midnight deadline.

I decided to just stick with the truth and let Blogtober suffer. That's two down. Whoops.

I am so excited to, once again, be in the midst of a potentially, if I let it be, life changing Beth Moore biblestudy. Having my faith stretched, pulled, and reshaped everyday.

I feel like, as so often is the case in my spiritual life, that this study comes at the hight of a realization God has been speaking to me for over a year. I know God and I love Him. I trust Him and know He is powerful but I have no idea how limitless and creative He is. How He can choose to work in me if I am fully open to His creative hand.

At the same time I am reading another book, fiction of all things, but based on a true encounter with God that defines the deity and humanness of Jesus in such a simple yet overwhelming way.

When Jesus walked on earth he was fully human. Fully. All of the miraculous power He displayed was not a mark of his Godness but of His communion with God. That He walked so close and so personally and so in tune with God that power flowed through him like an open sea. He was so fully available he heard every whisper and grasped every inkling of God's will and desire.

He trusted God so fully and so desperately desired to share Him with all that is own suffering and pain were of little concern. He embraced the torture of the cross with eyes wide open, giving a great gift to all mankind.

It stuns me to look at Jesus this way. Stuns me because I know that is all available for me too. That I could know Him like that. that I could stand so fully confident that I would be able to turn water into wine if that is what God needed of me. That I could be so fully in tune with God that His power could dwell so fully in me that a mere touch would bring out the healing power of the creator of the universe.

I am tearing down the boxes I have tried to put God in...even the ones that I thought were too vast to limit Him.
Today was one of those special days when I look at my kids and realize that they are better human beings than I could ever have hopped to be.

My son was sitting at the kitchen table drawing endless super heroes and, while asking which one is my favorite I preferred. Soon we stumbled onto the idea of Halloween and ideal costumes. Now let me just say that I love a good costume and I grew up with some amazing ones, and the costumes now are even better!

So here we are, and my sweet boy is telling me about the different variations of clones and that he still wishes he could be a bad guy but that he gets it...and I have to drop a bomb that I just want to...a bomb that broke my heart.

"Sweetie I just don't know if we can really afford that one. And didn't you kinda have an Anakin costume last year?"

And my amazing little guy thinks for a few minutes and says "Yeah, I really like that one. I guess it would be cool if I just wore it again" and then switches into how we can accomplish a suitable costume for his little brother, offering up one of his favorite shirts and rushing to try it on his brother.

I was just so pleased that he was able to look past his slight disappointment to find utter joy in making his brother happy.

I know I wouldn't have done that when I was 10.

So, I have finally figured out how to get my laptop to limp along. After all the computer chaos and then the missed day I feel like I need to start all over. Not because I failed at my goal, but I really lost momentum.

Yesterday I had every intention of writing but I got sidetracked by a "quick" conversation with a friend that lasted until just after midnight. It was the best kind of distraction. It wasn't just a visit and there were no tears, but it was a conversation where two friends got a chance to really share their lives with one and other.

I am so grateful for all of the amazing women, and "girls" in my life. Friends that I not only get a chance to speak into their lives but have them speak into mine. Forming the deep sisterly bonds that girlfriends can.

When my physical me needs a reminder of God's deep love for me it is always through relationships that He is revealed.

The excitement of the new ones and the older, broken in ones that feel like those most comfortable jeans.

So while it threw off my grove, and I lost a day in blogtober... I was so grateful for the conversation.
And I can't access my pictures or anything fun...

I have been sitting on the floor looking through my CVS add and playing with all my coupons putting together deals for tomorrow and it frightens me how excited I get thinking about the fun and exciting freebies that I am hoping to get this week.

My husband just laughs at my little game and chooses to be glad that it doesn't cost us anything extra.

Even still I have to keep myself in check, not allowing the thrill of the deal to become a distraction in my life. I know I have done that before, gotten sidetracked with all of my planning and stopped asking God to lead, when it comes to finances.

So, as silly as it seems, I sometimes have to take a chance to make sure I am submitting even this, to God. That I am not relying on a deal or getting greedy.

I am grateful that God would think enough of my everything to care about even this area of my life.

At the end of a long, yet nice day, I really enjoy sitting at my desk and clearing my mind, waiting for God to speak while I blog. I love the ritual of it. My life doesn't have a lot of ritual, but this is one of my favorites...

So now here I am and it's hard to connect to it as I lay on my couch with my laptop. It's just not the same. But, change can be good even if you never learn to like it so I am going to dive in again today and wait for God to meet me again.

Sometimes I feel like refinement just hurts, or can't God give it a rest already, and then days like today happen. I look at days like today in comparison to where my heart was only a month ago and I can actually see Him changing me. I can myself reflecting more of who He wants me to be and I beam. Like a child who see's the mark on a growth chart that is just a bit above where it once was.

Where I had a chance to be hurt I chose to hurt for someone else and to continue to see my value to God. Where I stand a little straighter and the pride is not human but in knowing my inherent value, even if God and I are the only ones who see's an amazing place to be.

I have spent so many years second guessing and wondering if I had any value, constantly pricked and bleeding when I was told of it was hinted that my value was to finally see evidence of myself standing in tis place was wonderful.
My desktop is down and my laptop is...well...sad. So blogtober is temporarily interrupted. :( I hope to be back tomorrow.

Today is one of those days that makes me long for summer. For long, warm, lazy days. For barbecues and beach days.

The weather is not crisp like autumn today, it's warm and the pool looks inviting. And it seems far too long since my family has had time to just lounge.

So here I am, longing for swimsuits and knowing Christmas is just around the corner.

Tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, a day that I once knew nothing about and even if I had I wouldn’t have really paid attention.

One of the things I realized in the last few years is that, especially in western culture, we are so silent about death, about grief, and especially so about the grief of lost babies. It’s one of those things that people fear to talk about and so often just don’t acknowledge.

I have been blessed beyond measure that my sweet Eden has been celebrated and talked about and cried over openly. She is not a secret we just never mention. Her photograph hangs on my wall with her brothers and sister and doesn’t cause anyone to wince or become uncomfortable. I think it would actually make my friends and guests more uncomfortable if her picture wasn’t there.

So tomorrow I will light my candle in remembrance of some very special little people whom are greatly missed here on earth. Eden, Nathan, The Twins, Krista’s babies, The Triplets and so many more…

Today there is a sense that there is great expectation about something amazing and heartbreaking...

In reality I have shed several happy tears today. Been frustrated by some people. And had a lovely surprise on my doorstep early this morning...

Last week I received a card from The March Of Dimes because a good friend donated in my Beautiful Daughter's name. Standing at the mailbox I wept happy tears that, even a year later, Eden's life mattered to people who never got a chance to know her. That loving her didn't require actually meeting her. That a short little life could impact and change people.

Mostly I am just happy when she is remembered. Not as a sad footnote, but as a little girl who was celebrated.

Being Eden's mother has changed me in ways I never could have imagined and I am hardly the same person I was a year ago, and I scarcely recognize who I was two years ago.

This past year has been filled with a pain deeper than any I ever believed I could endure. I have watched my children and my husband weep from so deeply I thought they might never stop, I have wondered if I would ever cease to ache.

But in the midst of all of that God has revealed himself to me new, nearly everyday.

I don't know if I will ever understand why God denied the pleas of so many of His children. Why standing and silently saying no fit His plan better. And I believe I will always wonder about that... but still, I know that God is who He says He is. That His plan is perfect and that I have seen what true peace is. That I have lived it, felt it, breathed it.

The enemy has come many times to whisper in my ear about an impotent or uncaring God. He has poured salt in the deep wounds of my grief. He has attempted to shake me free of my faith many times.

And when he has, I have found renewed strength and renewed faith in the utter holiness of Eden's final breath. I can scarcely look back at that time without seeing all of heaven weeping as I handed my daughter into her Father's arms.

I have been through even more trials since I had to submit to the will of God and love Him while his actions hurt. I am in the midst of one even still. But when Satan tries to tempt me into depression and resignation I am empowered in my faith by remembering 36 holy hours that He gave me with my little one.

36 hours in which my baby girl cooed, cried, peed on so many nurses and guests, and proved her full humanness by getting cranky when she was unswaddled or cold. 36 hours in which I got to cuddle and love her. 36 hours that are so removed from everyday that they are almost like a dream, though they are forever etched in my memory.

So today is not a sad day. Today is a day I rejoice that God chose me. Trusted me with a difficult choice.

Today I remember her beautiful bowed lips and her feisty attitude, and celebrate the first birthday of my precious Eden.

I love you sweet girl. My arms ache for you everyday but my heart is happy to have gotten to love you!

Yesterday started like any other day, except it wasn't. Yesterday was my dear baby girls 8th birthday so the day started with a bit of magic to it.

There were no big parties or giant plans, just a plan to enjoy our family and celebrate the gift of this little girl turning young lady.

And it couldn't have started any better than the email I received from one of her church teachers...

"I know that you know your little girl more than anyone else but I just have to say that she is special! She has a heart for the Lord. There's more going on here than just a 'smart little girl'."

I always wonder with this one, she has a certain maturity to her that I fear leaves her a little more open to becoming jaded towards the things of God. I can see her storing hurts and disappointments in her heart that could prevent deep roots from forming. She was who I worried about most when God did not heal her baby sister. I feared she would be angry and not understand God's denial of our plea for healing.

I am a grown-up and it's still sometimes hard for me.

I have seen though, in this past year, she has turned her tender heart more towards Him. She has, in her way, sought more of Him.

When she prays she expects God to move mountains, and my faith increases as hers grows.

Even in the ER waiting on the doctor to come and seal the small gash in her forehead, she told me after we prayed, that she could feel God holding her hand.

This must be what they mean by childlike faith.

I have a really remarkable and interesting post for the great day that was my daughter's birthday today... but with the exhaustion that sets in after rushing to the ER for a bloody head wound I just can't do it now.

Everyone is ok. The hospital was great. But I need a nap....goodnight.

Some days I see a gimps of the relationship I'll have with my darling daughter when she grows up. I see glimpses of the two laughing and talking over coffee or while getting our nails done. I see us talking about the important and the ridiculous. I see myself weeping over her babies when I hold them for the first time and falling in love with the young man of God who will win her heart.

I see some of this in the midst of the daily battles over things both small and great. Over acts of will and acts of defiance and the moments of sheer joy that punctuate our days.

Tonight I kissed her goodnight on the eve of her birthday realizing that these past 8 years have gone by in a mere blink and I only have so many days left to help mold her little heart and guide her into a real and deep relationship with Her Savior.

I saw her sly smile and I thanked God so much for the gift He gave me those 8 years ago. And, once again I sat, slightly awed that He sees me as capable of guiding her wild and beautiful spirit.

Just help me show her how real you are Lord and how in love with her you are!
Sometimes, when my husband is home and my children are giggling it's just best if I don't ask questions. Dad's seem to find the most bizarre and, occasionally terrifying idea of fun.

Today though I couldn't help but step into the hall to investigate when I saw my oldest son streak by with a bottle of barbecue sauce. It's not so much that I wanted to know. More that I couldn't not know. What on earth could be happening in a hallway, with a condiment and all those giggles?

As I rounded the corner I couldn't hepl but let out a laugh myself. All my kids in a pile being tickled by Dad, unable to contain even a molecule of excitement and glee.

Apparently it wad dinner time and Daddy was having kid ribs, tickled to perfection. When he joked they should have sauce, my ever litteral 10 year old grabbed the bottle. Thank heavens it was new and yet unopened.

Soon there were little ones and not so little ones dog piling me and bringing me into the fray. And I though once again how different my life looked than I once imagined. How God had turned the dreams I spent so many years invested in, into something totally different. How He had brought me from a place where I never dreamed of even considering marriage an option until I was at least 30, where I had a firm limit of two kids at most, and certainly not before I hit 35, where I wasn't going to give up my identity for any this.

Wife at 18, and birthing four beautiful and amazing children by the age of 33.

And my identity, not given up for a man, but created new and amazing in the light of the Son of Man.

I am so glad, so grateful that His plans do not always match our own. Even when His plans leave me a little baffled and confused. Even hurting a little.

I have found over and over again that when God promised me "the desires of my heart" (Psalm 37:4) that His intention was the whole Psalm... if I commit my mind to Him, commit to living a life walking and delighting in Him, he turns my heart to desire the great gifts he has for me.

Jesus, continue to mold me into the woman you want me to be that I will be inline to receive and recognize your blessings.

Sometimes it's so hard to hear what God wants to say when your heart is bruised and battered. When any number of answers make sense. When, pretty much all of them lead to a little more hurt.
Someday I hope I can openly chronicle all that is happening in my life right now. That I can do it in victory. Right now I know it would hurt the heart of mt Abba to do it so I'll just hold my own hurts and figure out how he wants me to release them.

I can only ask for your prayers that I would see clearly where He is taking me.

I wish I could say i am one of those amazing mom's who wakes up at 5am everyday, cheerily bounds out of bed to spend an hour in prayer, before cooking a four course breakfast for my family. But, I'm not.

I squeeze every second of sleep I can, generally waking to some sort of bickering or need to referee my kids, who have already eaten a nice healthy bowl of something akin to Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.

This morning when I stumbled out of bed I heard giggling and water running. I was slightly afraid but still trying to pretend my day hadn't started. As I was just beginning to muster up the courage to enter the kitchen, water still running, I reminded myself to stay calm. That any damage was likely reversible or replaceable. Before I even made it to the halway, my daughter was beckoning me to "Come See" with a smile spread ear to ear.

When I got to the kitchen I saw why, my two oldest absolutly beamed with pride as they showed me the sink , empty of the dishes I had left overnight and the prunny fingers they had from washing.

As if that wasn't enough to bring about the perfect beginning of the day they sang me the song I had overheard amidst the giggles...

Son: Now that I've got my little buddy
Daughter: Doing dishes is less cruddy
Son: Now that I've got my little buddy
Daughter:All the dishes will be less muddy
Together: Now that we're using teamwork, teamwork
Now that we're using teamwork
The chores will be all done

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

One of the best parts about being home with my kids is that we find these rare stolen moments that we might have missed between school and seat belts, car seats and snacks.

This morning, sitting bleary eyed at my desk, it was a typical slow Monday...I was heating up something for breakfast waiting for my mind to realize that my body was awake. Sitting curled up in my blanket, the edges fall to the floor to make a quite attractive tent for a three year old. Soon I was distracted by giggles from beneath my chair.

So I got down on the ground and curled up on the floor with my youngest, under the blanket "tent". We just laughed and smiled and talked. I think we spent a full half hour under there and by the time the excitement had finally passed the grin on my face nearly matched his.

I love those moments, even when we spend all day together they can still, sometimes get missed.

So when the tent had lost it's spark, and my blanket had been stolen for another adventure I sat and watched my three amazing kids and thanked God for every blessing He has given me.

And then I realized what that smell was...and got up to change a diaper.
It is just after 10pm and my sweet baby boy is running around the living room, a full 2 1/2 hours after his bedtime...with no sign of slowing down.

We had a long after noon at his grandmothers house and a hard nap in the car on the hour drive home... so now his internal clock is all wonky.

Before I had children, and especially before I had 4, I never imagined that this would be okay with me. That I would give in to a child who clearly didn't understand what his little body needs.

But here I am.

Is this my ideal? No. The best choice? Probably not.

I am doing what is best for us now with the resources I have available.

I know I am far from the perfect parent and sometimes I'm not even on the same planet as that ideal. But I try. I try everyday to do the best I can and reevaluate when I'm not doing so well...

In short, I am working really hard at being honest with my goals, motivations, and failures.

Isn't that the best any of us can do?

Look at what the truth is and correct where life's not working?

In looking through some old rough drafts on my blog and found this in a post that never got finished :

Every single morning that I consent to get out of bed and live my life is a step I take in faith. A step I take in the true hope and belief that my God, my Father, my Abba will meet with me, strengthen me, and carry me. I understand why people throw in the towel after something difficult. Why they let the darkness win. It takes a lot to keep going and the world is rarely ready to slow down and meet my pace. There are days that just staying in bed looks like a pretty good plan. If I did that though, if I just stayed in bed I'd miss everything that matters. So I say to God that I will serve him and honor him by living.


It amazes me how quickly and completely life can change in a matter of weeks or months. I remember feeling this. Being overwhelmed by it. Nearly being suffocated by it...

And now? While this day, in and of itself, hasn't really been terrific and has had it's own upsets that led to a pretty decent temper tantrum, I am in a wholly different place.

In embracing what God has to offer, in looking to Him to guide each step or carry me when I just couldn't walk anymore, I have seen more of Him. Of His beauty, grace, and strength.

I have seen the gift of friendships, old and new.Of helping lead someone nearer a relationship with God. Of living my faith, and living who God created me to be, out loud.

I can even say I am grateful for the struggle, though I hope it lets up soon.

I read a lot of blogs every day. Funny, poignant, random. Some are chronicles of the day to day living, some are a plea to God. Most are about finding a good deal...but everyone carries a bit of the author.

I never thought I'd be a blogger. I never imagined I'd have much to say. Yet here I am, nearly a year and a half after I sat in front of my monitor and poured my very soul out onto the keyboard and hit "publish post".

My blogs have been instrumental in shaping who I am today. Not in that they have been imbued with some great power from God, but that as I pour out my words and more of me I am forced to see myself. It has been a giant mirror on parts of my soul I have too long been able to hide.

I have had to deal with ugliness in my own heart, lest it spill onto the page. I have swelled with love so overflowing I couldn't help but share... I have struggled and been blessed.

My great hope, in all the world is that someday, just living my life in an honest and vulnerable way I will impact the kingdom of God. That someone will see something honest in me that helps them see that God is busy at work in even the least of these.

As I plunge headfirst into two new biblestudies I hope that I am stretched, challenged, and changed...and that even my very blog reflects it.

Please Jesus, just let me be used.

One of my good friends gave birth to her fourth child today. A daughter. When I read the news I nearly cried with joy. Not just for the joy of the baby but for the birth as well.

Her daughter was born at home, into the hands of her grandmother.

In a room filled with four women who loved each other dearly, a fifth little princess was born.

The birth was planned for home, but the baby came quickly and before the midwife arrived. No one panicked. No one feared. They simply welcomed her.

One of my greater regrets is how little I knew about labor and birth when my first child was born. I read all the books on a happy and healthy pregnancy, and I took my childbirth class... but there was so much I didn't know.

And it really wasn't until I had my third that I had a proper understanding of the natural process of birth. That I could see all the many things that had been done "to me" while laboring rather than allowing God to work in the beautiful and mysterious way He designed it.

And by then the medical community saw me as a patient, not a woman about to transition to motherhood.

It breaks my heart that this deeply spiritual and life changing, life *bringing* event had been so medicalized. That even in the church of America we have so little trust that God knows what He is doing or that He has a plan.

We hand His timetable over doctors who "know better". We interrupt the natural flow of it all, just because we can.

I feel like we have lost something beautiful in all of this. We have lost a sense of wonder and awe and replaced it with fear and trepidation.

Our mothers are patients to be cured, not women to be assisted and supported.

If I ever have the blessing of birthing another child I pray that I am able to fully it's birth like my friend was able today.

Welcome to the world little one.
I'm sitting here at the desktop computer and my husband is on the floor next to me with two laptops and an external hard-drive trying to piece together the wreckage of a system crash.

This, of course, makes for some very distracted writing since this is the most quality time we have had in at least a week. He occasionally bursts out with some random fact or story, and his itunes playlist seems to be loaded with songs about Brian Wilson. Does that take an obsession too far, when songs written and performed by your favorite artist aren't enough, and you have an entire collection of songs about him?

I am often jealous of my husbands time and ability to seek out and find new and interesting music. I have always had a musical spirit. I still remeber what it felt like to sit on my floor, next to my salmon pink clock radio and tape player (remeber tapes?) and try for the perfect mixed tape. No downloading, just waiting for your chosen dj to play that elusive favorite song that you always seem to catch in the middle. Cuing up the tape to just the right spot and the utter excitement when you caught the song after the first note...and then the heartbreak when the sation call letters were spoken over the last ten seconds of the song and you had to start again.

I had a notebook I used to keep song lyrics in. Again, no easy feat when you don't have the trust internet and google to do your bidding. Play. Pause. Write. Rewind...repeat.

Tonight in church I was once again overtaken by the power of music. Lifting my voice to worship The Lord in song, I felt the entire day melt away. the late appointments, cranky kids, and erands left undone seemed to disapear as I sang words that my heart could not have composed more perfectly.

A plea to God, of a broken hearted girl leaning on Him for every need.

I was refreshed. Requiped. And ready to stand up straight, no longer bowed over with the days burdens.

God is so good to meet me just where I am. To show His face to me in the ways He knows i can see...even when I am unprepared.