We live in a world of sin and imperfection. I am a child of God striving each day to live out my calling. Welcome to my blog where you get the inside scoop of this Youth Pastor's world!
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Probation

The Christmas “Santa” put us on probation. That’s right Santa put us on probation. It began like every other Christmas in the Mann household. We did Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s, we came home and anxiously went to bed fighting sleep but knowing it wasn’t until sleep won that Santa would make his yearly visit. I don’t recall what I asked Santa for that year or much else about this Christmas, but I do remember waking that morning, waiting on the stairs until my mother had enough pictures so that we could go down and see what joys there were to see. We walked into the living room all decked out in Christmas glory, and ran to the mantle to see what Santa left for us. We could see our gifts but there was a note that had to be read first. I was old enough to read, and read it out loud for my little brother.  We were in utter disbelief to find that we hadn’t behaved badly enough for coal but not quite good enough for our gifts. So there we were on Christmas probation, our gifts would be given to us when our parent’s felt we had been good enough. We were able to open our gifts from our parents but our stockings and gifts from Santa just sat there haunting us throughout the morning. We went throughout the rest of Christmas, visiting grandparents and enjoying the rest of our Christmas festivities all the while knowing that we were still on probation. It was embarrassing each time one of our cousins asked us what we got for Christmas because we had to tell them we were on probation and couldn’t have our presents yet. I remember by the time we made it home that evening I had been good enough to open one part of my gift, and I remember getting a Barbie, which had to be from Santa because my parents wouldn’t buy Barbie’s. My brother had to wait a little longer to get any of his gifts, and I don’t remember how long this probation lasted because eventually we got the rest of our presents, which neither of us remembers much about but we will never forget being put on probation by Santa.
                Looking back on this lesson that “Santa” chose to teach us that year, it always makes me laugh. But it actually was an incredible lesson of Grace. We weren’t good enough that year for our gifts, and even though we had to wait for them we ended up receiving them in full. None of us are good enough for gift that Jesus offers, and many of us wait a long time before we are willing to let ourselves partake in this glorious present but when we do, we get all of it, in full. We don’t have to be good enough for God; Jesus gave Himself because He knew we never would be. We are offered the most beautiful gift possible, don’t put yourself on probation, but humbly accept this gift and let it change your life.
         “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mother Mary

As Christmas nears this year I can’t help but think of Mary. I can’t even imagine being in her position. She was so young, so pregnant, so far away from home, and with a man she barely knew. She definitely puts my pregnancy woes in perspective, being due around Christmas has definitely put this holiday in a new light for me.

Being 8-9 months pregnant can be miserable, your whole body aches and feels weird because there is definitely another human in there cramping on the space that used to belong solely to your organs. And sitting, standing, walking, laying down, it doesn't really matter at some point it will become incredibly uncomfortable and even unbearable. All of this is true for me right now, bending over and picking things up can be one of the hardest tasks of the day, and yet I can’t complain, because I’m not riding a donkey over rocky terrain miles and miles away from my family. A donkey....seriously that sounds like the most uncomfortable way to travel right now.

Each night I go home and struggle to fall asleep or find a comfortable position on my memory foam bed, next to my husband whom I have known for years, and am completely in love with. Mary spent this part of her pregnancy sleeping on the hard ground wherever they camped for the night, next to her betrothed whom she was getting a crash course in getting to know.

I will deliver this baby in a hospital, with up to date technology, doctors and nurses, pain medication if I want it, and my family there to calm my nerves and coach me through this. Mary did this in a stable with animals in the next stall, far away from her family and everything she had ever known, with only Joseph to comfort her and deliver the baby.

Through all of this the Bible describes Mary as calm and with a sweet spirit. She must have been fully cloaked in the Holy Spirit to endure all of this and to endure it with grace. I think there is a lesson to learn here from Mary. If you truly put all of your faith in God and trust His will and Spirit, even the most painful, scary, and stressful moments of your life can be endured in peace and calm.
I pray the peace that passes all understanding, that engulfed Mary during that first Christmas, surrounds you this Christmas season. You may not be giving birth to the Messiah, but you have been called, and given the power of the Spirit to do mighty things for God. Don’t let the stresses and inconveniences of life deter you from your call.

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.’” – Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46-55

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Different Kind of Christmas

A song came on the radio that stopped me earlier, I only heard the last verse and it was enough to make me look it up when I got to the office today. Losing someone close to you is always hard, and there is something that makes that so much harder when the holidays show up. My heart goes out to all those broken ones this Christmas season, those trying to figure out how to make this Holiday mean something in the wake of losing a piece of their heart and quite possibly the piece that made Christmas what it is to them. There has been a lot of tragedy around the world recently that I'm sure the grief will be strong across the globe this Christmas.

The first Christmas wasn't pretty or peaceful as our Nativities may look. I'm sure the fear, pain, and unknown was rampant. We see it as a Silent Night, and a peaceful event because we can see the whole picture. We know who Jesus is, and why He came to Earth. We can see the beauty in all the chaos because we can see that this was just where the story began not where it ended.

So this Christmas if you are finding yourself filled with grief, pain, heartache, unknown, or anything but joy, just know that the God of the first chaotic Christmas is still in control. Just as perfect love will cast out all fear, it will cast out the pain and tears. The Alpha is the Omega, the beginning and the end, He can see the whole picture and there is nothing you can possibly be going through right now that is too much for Him. This may be a Different Kind of Christmas for you this year, but don't let your sorrow overshadow the joy that can come at Christmas, it is ok to celebrate and decorate, and enjoy the ones you hold dear. For the one you are missing wouldn't want you to be held back because they aren't here. You don't have to spend this holiday alone, allow yourself to be wrapped in the arms of perfect love where you will find the peace that passes all understand and the healing that your heart needs.

Different Kind of Christmas - Mark Schultz

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dear Baby (Letter #3)

Dear Baby,
 I think you're going to come out thinking Baby is your name. So how about this:

Dear Adah/Aram,
  We have entered your due date month. Mommy is almost mentally where Daddy has been for months, and ready to tell you to "GET OUT." But then again you're incredibly safe where you are right now, you can't be bullied, beat up, or harmed by all the things that kids go through these days. But Mommy wants to hold you, and you're starting to make Mommy very uncomfortable. Mommy is definitely getting nervous to travel very far away. We have one more trip this weekend, then you can come anytime you want. There are so many people who are so excited to meet you. You are already so loved, it is almost overwhelming. You get to grow up in an amazing church, the people here already ask about you every time they see me. I pray you will grow to cherish them as much as they already cherish you. You are already so blessed, you have 11 grandparents. That seems totally crazy, I guess I should say you have 4 grandparents, 6 great grandparents, and 1 great great grandma. They are all so excited to meet you, and it is driving them crazy that they don't know if you are Adah or Aram.
 It seems like forever since the last time I wrote you. I talk to you all the time, and Daddy loves to sing to you. His favorite thing right now is to try to get you to move so he can see. He gets so excited every time he can feel you. It amazes me that there is room for you inside of me. I often feel huge and then am surprised I'm not bigger. God sure was creative when he decided how babies should be created and brought into this world. I often find myself full of anxieties about you entering this world, but then I remember I will get to hold you, and that mothers have been birthing babies since basically the beginning of time, then I don't feel so stressed about it.
 If it wasn't real before it definitely is now, we are in the month that you are to join this world (please don't wait till January). For so long I have been saying as long as we make it to December 6th, this baby can come any time after that. Well Sunday is December 6th, so you are welcome to join the world any time after the Christmas program is over!
 Bring on the next couple of weeks of swollen hands & feet, achy muscles, clothes that don't fit, and sleepless nights. Along with every kick, roll, hiccup, & movement that bring your Mommy so much peace. These next couple of weeks will feel like the longest of my life, and go by so quickly, because before we know it, sweet child of mine, you will be in my arms! But please do all the growing you need to do now, because I want you healthy when you enter this world! I hope you enjoy your music sessions with your daddy as much as I do, he can't wait to hold you and dance with you for real!

See you soon, love of my life!
Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grace Wins

The morning after a big loss is always a tough one. It doesn't matter what kind of loss it is, it could be a death or a state play off game they all hurt in their own way and are sometimes the toughest to push through. Well today happens to be one of those days in this town. Today is the morning after a big football loss. Our high school boys lost last night in the first round of the playoffs by one point. Well being a youth pastor and having quite a few players on the team, my heart broke for them last night. And I know today has to be one where they are kicking themselves playing the only if game. As an adult it is easy to brush this off as just a football game, it's not such a big deal, but when you're in high school and you have been practicing for that game, and the whole season is now over because of one point, it is a big deal.

When something that is a big deal to you happens and knocks you down it is easy to find yourself in a dark dismal place. To some people a football game is just a game but to others it is everything. Your big deal may only be a big deal for you, but it doesn't change the pain or the way you feel. It is real. It doesn't matter what it is that puts you in your weak state of mind, because it is that place that can become prime stomping ground for the evil just waiting to get a hold on your heart. And when you find yourself in that moment you often look around and find not a lot of support but the opposite, it can feel like everyone is judging you and looking down on you because you don't have it all figured out. When what you really need are those people to rally behind you and help fight off those fears and doubts when you're not strong enough to do so.

Matthew West's new song Grace Wins has a line in it that keeps playing in my mind when I think about these football boys today, those grieving life gone too soon, and people struggling through whatever it is that life has thrown at them. This line "There is a war between guilt and grace and they're fighting for a sacred space. I am living proof that grace wins every time." This sacred space is the mind. This place that when filled with guilt and fear there is no room to see the grace and the greater plan for the situation.

I know this war far too well, especially recently. There have been many things in the past couple of months that have put me right in the middle of this battle over the sacred space within me. And it is so much easier to lie down and let that guilt and fear win, but that is not what we are called to do.We are called to rise up and fight back and let grace win. Doubt and fear are not from God. God is full of love and grace, He stomps out fear and guilt.

So today if you find yourself in that moment of weakness, don't allow yourself to be filled with the what ifs and if only's, don't look around at the judging eyes but fall to your knees and lift those feelings of guilt and fear to your Heavenly Father who exudes grace and gives it freely. There will always be a war between guilt and grace over your sacred space of your soul and mind. Don't give Satan that foothold because Grace can win and will win when you put your trust in God. The morning after should be just that, a morning not a long term stay.

                                      

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Forever In Your Heart!

For the past month I have struggled with how to help my best friend move forward since her mother passed away, and this morning I woke up thinking about Nicole and her family and how this past month has flown by and yet has drug on. I've wanted nothing more than to write some kind of tribute to the amazing woman that mothered my best friend, but every time I tried to write it, there were no words. There was nothing I could write that was worth saying. This morning I was in that position again, trying to figure out how to comfort my friend, when the only words I could think to say were the ones everyone says when someone dies, and they aren't really all that helpful. I sat at my desk praying for words to comfort this extension of my family and my heart. I truly feel that these words I was given are a testimony of LaDonna to her family from God. I could see her face and almost hear her voice as these words were written down, but the comfort and the peace that I felt was nothing short of God Himself. I pray these words can instill peace to those who read it, as it did for me as I wrote it. <3

My Dearest Family and Friends,
  If only I could show you what it looks like on this side of the Pearly Gates. Everything the Bible says is true, and so much more.
  Before I let go of my Earthly home I was scared of the unknown. All those doubts that sneak in, in our weakest moments were fighting for my attention. As I lay there in that hospital bed listening to those I loved most laugh and talk about our life together, I wanted to hold on so much more and stay with that laughter. Then that laughter would quickly turn to tears as you all struggled to say goodbye and return to the lives you have been called to live. I knew my time was  near because I hated holding you there.
  God has called each of you to such great and mighty things, and who am I to stand in your way and hold you back? You must continue the journey of life even though mine is through. I may not be able to hold your hand or answer your call, but I will always live with you through the laughter and the tears.
  If I could give you anything today as you struggle to move forward, it would be the relief from this grief that holds you tight. It would be reassurance for the lonely days of fear, when you're reminded of all your failures. You are beautiful my dear one. You have much more in you than you'll ever know. This life you are living is not all there is. The life you are given with your last breath is worth every tear, heart ache, stress, and fear. Don't give up on your journey just because mine is through. Your life really is worth living. You have a job to do, hold your memories of me dear, but don't let them hold you back. Cry your tears of grief and pain as you go and make a difference in the world. Live a life that will keep on growing far after you rejoin me.
  I love you my dear one, and though I can't hold you through this pain, God, our beloved Father has you wrapped up in His arms. If only you could see this place you wouldn't be sad for me. You would rejoice and be glad. This place we call Heaven is the home I have always longed for. It really is peace that passes all understanding and a place with no more tears or sadness. Hold on my dear one until it is your time to let go.

Forever in Your Heart!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Finding Peace in the Moment

The background on my computer is a rotating file of pictures of my life with Adam. They always make me smile. And some days I find myself just watching the pictures rather than focusing on work. There is a beauty in a picture that doesn't show in real life. The picture captures a moment, and you can read a lot into it, but what you can't see are any of the fears, stresses, worries, or things that preoccupy the mind and often ruin special moments. They don't capture the texts, emails, phone calls, with stressful or bad news. Because we don't share photos we don't like. I definitely don't hang on to them, if I look fat, tired, worried, or anything but happy.

So on a day in the midst of a time that feels like pure chaos, I find myself almost jealous of the me in that picture. Because that person is enjoying a moment of bliss, chaos free, stress free.

Today I find myself wanting a drama free day. Which could only really happen if I managed to sleep all day, because the Lord made me a thinker and I can't turn my brain off.

So today I'm going to be thankful for pictures that remind me just how much life goes on. They remind me of the peaceful and blissful moments, and help me find those moments when things seem to be swirling around.

Photo Cred: DacandAlisha.com

This was the picture that stopped me today. I just want to be in this moment, right here with my husband. Lost in each other's eyes and feeling like the two most special people in the world. This picture looks like bliss, peace, and love.

What you can't see is how cold I was, the stress and chaos of every wedding day. the trying to squeeze in the pictures before the guests get too impatient and start leaving. But none of that mattered in this moment. I remember this moment, it was captured well. This moment in time will be what I need today to push through. This reminder that in the midst of what can be the most chaotic day of your life, you can find moments like these, the camera doesn't always capture them, but they are all important and define our lives.

Be sure to cherish these moments. If you don't notice them, and they aren't photographed, you can easily miss them.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grace

Grace, a word I have always understood as God's Riches At Christ's Expense. I am starting to understand this word on a deeper level.

Somewhere I decided that my life was ministry, not just my job. Which means that everything I do becomes a part of my ministry. I decided this way back when I started this blog and that is why it is titled Agape Dreams. My earthly dream is to live in such a way that people seek God and His unfailing perfect love.

Well recently I have had the opportunity to learn about Grace in a new way. I don't think we will ever fully understand the gift of grace while living on earth but when you are presented with the opportunity to try to give grace and show grace to someone who won't accept it, it starts to make more sense.

On the cross, Christ offered us a gift. This gift is unlike any other. The youth group and I have discussed this as the most beautifully wrapped present you can imagine, sitting there with your name on it. You didn't have to shop for it, you didn't have to pay for it, it is just there for you. We all have the choice whether or not to open it. And even after we have opened it we have the choice whether or not to let this gift become part of our lives. This gift was paid for on the cross. This is the gift of grace. We have the choice to do with it as we please.

So what happens when we choose to use this beautiful present as a football, and kick it around, rather than what it was intended for? Is there a line? Does God ever draw a line in the sand and say this is it, you have chosen not to accept my gift, therefore I take it back, and you can spend eternity without it?

I believe the answer is yes. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells us that there will be a separation of the sheep from the goats. Sheep know their master's voice and follow where He leads. Goats are stubborn and do things their own way. The Bible also talks about an unforgivable sin, which is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And to truly do that your soul has to deny the Holy Spirit. There is a line, thankfully I'm not God, and I don't have to draw this line.

But there are times on Earth when we are presented with opportunities to share Grace with other people, and sometimes we have to continually watch them take that Grace and throw it back in our face. And sometimes we are presented with the decision of drawing a line in the sand and saying this is it. There is the line you can't come back from.

This was a line I had to draw a week ago with someone I love more than I understand. And putting my foot down and drawing that line was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It is very obvious that I am grieving right now, and even a week later I can't get this off my mind. I find myself doubting my decision to draw the line and walk away.

But the truth is, that I love this person enough to let them make this choice on their own. And my line in the sand is not eternal, it is more of the Prodigal Son story and I have to let them go, and pray that hopefully they will see the light someday and come back.

My question for awhile was, "Is there a line between grace and stupidity?" Is there a point when what I'm considering grace is not helpful for anyone involved. Is there a point when I just have to walk away and let them do with my gift of grace what they will? The answer is yes. There is a line, and for each person that line may be different.

The thing I have to remind myself is that even though God draws the line, it doesn't change how much He loves us. His love never changes and is always there waiting for us, but true love has to be a choice, and not one made for you. Which means when I made the choice to walk away last week, it didn't change my love for this individual. I still love them, and always will and maybe one day they will see it, but if not they taught me a whole lot about grace, and this amazing gift that God has given us, and how we don't have choose it. And as heartbreaking as this situation was for me, I can't imagine how heartbreaking it is for God. His line is eternal, when people cross it they're really gone forever, and I'm sure that breaks His heart, quite possibly more than watching His son create this amazing gift on the cross.

Grace, how will you use this gift that has been given to you? And how will you show it others? What does Grace mean to you?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Adam's Sermon 10/11/15

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out of the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – Brennan Manning
The biggest turn off to Christianity is Christians? How is that possible? Christians are Christ followers; they live their lives imitating Christ. They are loving not condemning. They are doers, active in making a difference in the world. You can tell who they are just by how they carry themselves and interact with others. They pray for others and genuinely care about the well being of the people around them. A Christian is more than just a good person but a person with a special light about them that can only be explained with Christ. A Christian looks like Jesus.
If that is true then how are Christians the ones turning people away from Christ? Jesus tells his disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow him. He didn’t say take my name, create a religion, sit in pews, sing some songs, listen to a message then go on about your life like nothing has changed.
He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Jesus carried his cross right up to death’s door. He didn’t get there with a nice house and car, the perfect clothes and money to spare. He got there bruised and bloody. He was covered in dust and dirt with his clothing stripped to merely rags. Somewhere this message became warped. Take up your cross became a fashion statement and we wear them around our necks or on our clothes. Following Christ became filling the pews, staying awake for the sermon, and then beating the church across town to lunch so we don’t have to stand in line.
As Christians we are called to more than this. We are called to a life of being uncomfortable, a life of getting our hands dirty, and breaking our bodies for the cross we have been asked to carry. Christianity is supposed to be more than something worth living for but something worth dying for; which is exactly what the world is looking for. Something worth living and dying for; a cause, a mission, something to fight for. Not another set of rules and regulations they’ll never be able to live up to. That is exactly what the world had before Jesus came.
We are called to be different, to be set apart; to live in this world but not be of it. We are called to live a life of conviction. Our relationships with Christ should be more visible than any other relationship we have.
A relationship with Christ is a marriage, something we’re supposed to fight for. In Joshua, God commands him to be strong and courageous, not to be frightened or dismayed, for He, the Lord our God, would be with him wherever he went.  Joshua was a warrior, he led the people of Israel through battle. We have a war in front of us too. A war against evil and darkness, a war against apathy and indifference. Casting Crowns said is so well in their song Courageous.
Insert Courageous here!
So how does this mission minded United Methodist Church make a stand? By being courageous and not afraid. By being willing to be loud for Christ. By putting our feet on the ground and getting our hands dirty. The average United Methodist Church in America is 94% White, 56% Female, and 32% 65 years old or older. Look around, I’d say we’re pretty average. In America the people who consider themselves unaffiliated with church are 68% White, 57% Male, and 72% ages 18-49. That is the population we need to be reaching.
I am someone that fits that statistic, I am white, male, and between the ages of 18 and 49, but I consider myself affiliated. But I haven’t always. I grew up in the United Methodist Church, my father is a pastor, and I spent my time like a lot of PK’s in the pews napping through my father’s sermons. I enjoyed youth group, conference youth activities, camp, and would occasionally sing a special on Sunday mornings. Over all I was a pretty active youth. Then I graduated and started doing things my own way. My faith life took sort of a back seat. Then I moved this direction and my personal life collided with this church. I started spending time  with the youth and it reminded me how much I wanted and needed God in my life. So I restarted my faith journey begging God to give me my dream job and getting angrier and angrier each time the answer was no. To the point that the darkness took over and moved into my life full time. This darkness was so great that I ceased to function and merely existed on this planet. It wasn’t pretty in fact I was quite ugly. And I did my best to put the light out around me, all the while being frustrated with myself for doing so. It was a constant battle.
There was a light in my life that wouldn’t go out, wouldn’t leave me alone, and wouldn’t quit fighting for me. It turns out there were multiple lights but one in particular was the  most annoyingly bright. There was a battle in my home for my soul. A battle between light and darkness. The Star Wars fan in me sees this as an epic light saber battle. A few months ago the light won and has helped me come to this place where I could get up here in front of you.
Marriage to Christ is a lot like the first few months of mine. A marriage to the light and in order for that marriage to work the light has to win and when it does it is called to shine so bright and beautiful people can’t help but be drawn to it. Jesus tells us to shine like the city on a hill, leading others into relationship with him.

Christianity is called to move, breathe, to love, and fight. Christianity is called to be real not just a church service. It took the light of Christ shining in my face daily for months for me to become more than a statistic. It is going to take you being the light of Christ for others for our church to be more than a statistic. 

A picture we took after church. After Daddy did a good job sharing his message!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

You Are Beautiful

At camp this summer Autumn gave her testimony. I wrote her this poem as a symbol of her testimony for years to come.

You are beautiful Lord
When all I can see is darkness
You are beautiful Lord
When I am drowning at sea.
You are beautiful Lord
When I can't see right in front of me.
You are beautiful Lord
When all I know is suffering
You are beautiful Lord
When I push against you
You are beautiful Lord
When hatred fills my heart
You are beautiful Lord
When I just can't let go
You are beautiful Lord
When my tears start to flow
You are beautiful Lord
When I open up my heart
You are beautiful Lord
When I finally let go
You are beautiful Lord
When I learn how to stand
You are beautiful Lord
When I find my voice
You are beautiful Lord
When I share your love
You are beautiful Lord
When you heal my wounds
You are beautiful Lord
Through it all, it never fails
You are beautiful Lord.

Monday, September 21, 2015

25 for Your 25th

Today is Adam's Birthday. So I thought  I would write a special blog for him. So here are 25 reasons I love him! And don't worry honey I'm not sitting here with the book I gave you for your wedding present. These are the 25 reasons that come to mind right now!


25. You make me laugh. This may seem small or trivial, but for this serious person, it is very important.

24. You love Autumn. And you have stepped up to show her that not every man in her life wants to hurt her, and that is so incredibly important.

23. You love my family. Even though my mother takes too many pictures for your liking, you love them. And you interact with them like your own!

22. You gave me a new family. Family is very important to me and you have just given me more! :)

21. You love my job! In a deeper way than I ever could have asked for. You have connected with this church and the youth. They want you around and you want to be around.

20. You have convinced me that dogs are not all scary and you made me fall in love with this one!

19. You love all animals, in a way I will never understand. But I have a better appreciation for them because of you. 

18. You remind me constantly to simplify. There is no need for too many options.

17. You're a nerd! You understand my nerdiness and you are never ashamed of yours!

16. You work hard! You are willing to work overtime and push through it even when you're exhausted.


15. You play hard too! You constantly remind me that it is ok to just spend some time not working.

14. You have joined our Praise Team at Church.


13. You can sing! And you do, all the time! I find great joy in hearing you sing!

12. You pray! You pray for our life together, the things we have going on, it doesn't matter because you pray!

11. You hold me!

10. You understand my soul!

9. Performing Arts Camp. I love it even more because its something you love too.


8. You are totally excited about being a daddy!

7. You like what I cook, most of the time! :)

6. You show a real interest in how I spend my day.

5. You love Camp Horizon almost as much as I do! Which means you never think twice when I'm going to be gone for a week at camp!

4. You know how to relax and you are continuously teaching me how.

3. Your relationship with God is important to you.

2. You changed my last name!

1. You made me a mother! First with Ranger and now with Baby Utt.

I love you for all these reasons and so many more! Happy Birthday my Love!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Best Friend Brag

So I just want to take a moment and brag on my best friend. I seriously was given the best of the best. It doesn't matter what she has going on in her life she always has time for me and what I have going on. We have been best friends long enough that we have seen each other through some crazy times. 7 years in anyone's life is going to be a roller coaster. We have been blessed to get to do these past 7 years side by side albeit miles apart.

This past year for her has been a particularly rocky one. Her mother was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome and had to have a Bone Marrow transplant towards the end of November. Well the transplant was successful and so was the 100 day incubation period or whatever they call it. But after a few weeks at home LaDonna had to go back to the hospital. It has been a roller coaster ever since. Well today on their 31st Wedding Anniversary, she is moving to Hospice Care in Wichita.

I had what I'm going to call the honor, of being next to Nicole when she got the call that this move was happening. And it is incredibly hard to watch someone you love fall apart. Nicole and I are both cut from an emotional cloth so we get the pleasure of being there when each other fall apart a lot, but this one was different.

I can't even begin to imagine what is going on in her mind, and no one really wants to think about losing their parents at a young age.

The craziest part for me is the fact that her world is falling apart and yet she still asks me how I'm doing, and cares enough that she wants me to be truthful when I answer. Her world has been a complete roller coaster this past year, and she still somehow managed to be the best Maid of Honor ever and made sure I felt nothing but special on my wedding day. She rejoiced with me when I told her we were pregnant. She held my hand, and drove me to the doctor's appointment to find out if we were miscarrying or not. She has been here every step of the way as we entered parenthood with a 17 year old, and is often my first phone call when I'm frustrated about something with the system.

She has gone through all of these trials with a lot grace and compassion. She hasn't slacked on her job as a Social Worker and I swear she is probably the best one in the state. She definitely works harder than most.

I just thought the world should know that I happen to have the best friend in the world. On the day her mother is moving to hospice care, she cared that I was nauseous this morning. She is one of the strongest most amazing women that I have been blessed to meet in my life, and I am extra blessed to call her my sister and my friend.

I love you Nicole! I don't know how you do what you do, but keep doing it, the world is much better for it!


I absolutely love the top picture. And days like today require a little fishy face!



PS. Nicole, this all came to my mind while eating your cucumber!:P

Friday, August 21, 2015

So Not a Housewife

I want to preface this blog by saying if you are a Housewife, don't take any offense to this post. This is just a post about how I most definitely am not, and sometimes envy those of you who are.

I hate cleaning, I really do. I love Norwex and it has made cleaning something I actually do and don't hate quite so much but for some reason it is still one of my least favorite things to do. If I am spending a day at home or even an evening, cleaning is not at the top of my list....unless someone is coming over.

That being said, I swept the floor last night! The dog hair was ridiculous, and my Norwex floor system was amazing. Note: I said swept not mopped :S

I hate grocery shopping. Hate it, hate it, hate it. And recently have become incredibly bad at it. I mean I really should have made a list before I went but I'm pretty sure I still would have forgotten to put something on the list. Last week I went grocery shopping with a week's worth of meals in mind but not really having any of those picked out. I decided I wanted to make beef and noodles, I bought everything but the noodles! I bought cream corn...I won't eat cream corn! I forgot the macaroni, which might as well be a sin in our house, seriously a whole week without macaroni, AND CORN! I decided to make baked ravioli and the kind of ravioli I bought was disgusting so the meal was a bust. And apparently my husband doesn't like country fried steak, so when I got all excited to try a new meal for him, he said it was ok.

So I guess a long with grocery shopping I can't meal plan to save my life. I decided the other day we were going to have Hamburger Helper because we desperately wanted macaroni and that was the only kind I had, but forgot to thaw the Hamburger out and it was one of those huge rolls of it, so we just had macaroni and Hawaiian sliders. But those were supposed to be two different meals! We've been substituting mashed potatoes for macaroni so I didn't even think to check if we still had potatoes before starting dinner last night, and you can't really have country fried steak without mashed potatoes. So I had to send my husband for more, because we had run out. I was feeling all accomplished for actually cooking for an entire week but each meal was its own kind of failure.

The other thing about being a Housewife would be staying home with the children. Well that just doesn't sound appealing at all. I mean the idea of staying home for 6 weeks for maternity leave sounds daunting other than the fact that I won't be sleeping a whole lot and will need it for my own sanity. Ugh. Babysitting is fine for a couple of hours and I absolutely love the children I work with and can't wait to be a mom, but to stay home all day and play house....I just don't know! They say it is different with your own child and I'm sure it is incredibly hard to leave them with someone else but I am not wired to stay at home.

I happen to have quite a few Stay at Home Mom friends, and I often envy their craftiness and how clean their houses are, but I have to remind myself we are all called differently. I'm pretty sure if I stayed home all day my house would still be a mess, meals would still be iffy, and groceries would still wait until the last minute to be bought. Then I would spend all my time feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything while my husband was at work all day. When I was probably writing Bible Studies and things like that.

So I'm going to do everyone a favor, and not be a housewife. So that means I'm still not going to wash your clothes until you put them in the hamper. I'm not going to spend my time picking up after you, because I have a job and I'm busy all day, that means the house is shared not my job alone. I will clean when I can't stand it anymore. I will cook with whatever pieces of meals I buy at the store and when all else fails Wendy's? I will pay the bills and make sure the necessities still happen. But don't be surprised if you come over to my house and there are not any new crafty things for me to show you, and all I want to do is read or watch TV.

And I will continue to go over to my friend's immaculate houses and come home  and strangely want to clean and create and cook. But I'll get over it in about five minutes, especially if there is a good movie on.

This is one thing I have always known, but didn't really sink in until I got married. I am so not a housewife!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

When You Need 6 Tires!

Sometimes it can be hard growing up and moving away. Especially when it comes to finding your own replacements for the things you have grown accustomed to. Finding a new doctor, dentist, chiropractor, those kinds of things are hard to do, especially when you love the ones you have grown up with. Well I have officially accomplished all of the doctor related ones and I replaced church when I moved here because it came with the job.

The hardest one of these for me was replacing my car place. My family goes to Rakie's Oil Company in Arkansas City, KS. This is a full service gas station and tire store. It wasn't until I was in college that I even put gas in my car because I would pull up to Rakie's and they would just take care of it for me. I was (still am) a little spoiled. So when I moved it was really hard what was I supposed to do when something was wrong with my car?

Well there haven't been too many things I've had to take care of here, so most of the time I pushed it off until I could drive home and let Rakie's take care of it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it but that is what I did. Even being married I preferred for Rakie's to take care of my car issues. I know that when I go there I will be taken care of, and not taken advantage of. That is not something I can guarantee anywhere else I go.

Well Sunday I went out to go to church and one of my back tires was flat. So I drove Adam's truck. I called around Monday morning to find somewhere that would do a patch cheaply and could fit me in that day, so that I didn't have to keep airing it up to get around. I found a place in Newton and they checked it all out and found a piece of wire wrapped around the tire....dang it no cheap patch. Well they didn't have any tires that would fit my car so they would have to order one. They also said I needed my other back tire replaced as well. They also don't do any financing options. Well this week money was particularly tight and there was no way we could buy a tire let alone two, and Adam's truck really needed a new set.

So I got back on the phone that afternoon to find someplace that could finance tires for me. I called Kansas Auto Repair in Newton. A nice lady answered the phone and she said to come in the next day and they would take care of us. So I did. I was incredibly nervous to into a car place hoping they wouldn't see a pregnant lady and try to take advantage. The lady at the front desk was incredibly nice and personable. She knew every single customer by name and genuinely cared about taking care of their car needs. It became obvious after a few minutes that this was a family owned business with her father and husband there as well. I was immediately put at ease.

She was incredibly busy but still took the time to start to get to know me, and our vehicle situation. We took care of the financing paperwork and ordered tires. I went back today and had my car taken care of, with an appointment for Adam's on Tuesday. I was there most of the morning and still had the same impression of this place, they knew everyone by name and they really cared about each person. I saw two different college age guys come in just to say hi before they went off to college, they wanted to stop in while they were in the area.

It's safe to say I have found my Rakie's away from Rakie's, minus the full service gas station. Rakie's will always be home for me, but I have a lot of comfort knowing my vehicles are being well taken care of because I don't have any intention of moving back to Ark City any time soon. We have made this our home and I know I have found the place that in 16 or 17 years I can send this little one in the womb with the car they are driving and they will be taken care of, because they will have been going there their entire life.

Here is the website for Kansas Auto Repair, in case you are in need of a "Rakie's" in this area. http://www.kansasautorepair.com/

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Senior Year

This morning I dropped Autumn off for the first day of her senior year of high school. And of course being who I am that got me thinking back to 2006 when I was starting my senior year. They often tell you that high school is the best time of your life. Well I would disagree immensely. I remember by senior year I was quite ready to be done with all the drama and stress. This is probably because my junior year was full of just that so going back senior year was not exactly what I wanted. There was a large shift in the group of friends that I hung out with at the end of junior year so I entered senior year with a lot anxiety. The rest of senior year is quite a blur, and Facebook isn't a lot of help, since I didn't get Facebook until sometime my senior.... WHAT, NO FACEBOOK?

Things I do remember!
Best Friend: Becca Wise
Boyfriend: Tim Miller
Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors, The Crucible, MASH
Wanted to Be: A Child Psychologist and a youth group leader

I put on a lot of weight my senior year. (if only I could go back and tell myself to be careful about how much pop I was drinking)

I drove my brother and I to school every day.

I took one class at the college first thing in the mornings, and loved it. I felt like I had so much freedom and felt so cool to be in college but still in high school.

I gave blood for the first time and it was a horrible experience.

I spent a lot of time with Mr. Hosch that year, he was our theatre director and very much our friend.

I remember being crushed not getting casted for The Crucible, and feeling so honored to be asked to be the Student Director for MASH. I hated Little Shop of Horrors.

After Prom was way more fun than the actual Prom.

Youth Group was a priority and my parents were the leaders.

I met Autumn and that is where our journey began. It seems crazy just how much high school is a distant memory.

I still love theatre. I keep in touch with my high school buddies on Facebook, but I don't really spend time with any of them.Youth group is not just my priority but my life. And the only person that is really still in my life other than my family is Autumn.

Oh that Letter Jacket I loved so much! This was Senior Night at a Football game

Our annual New Year's Eve Party. We are all showing off our cell phones. For some of us they were quite new, and super cool because they flipped open! This picture made me laugh today. These were my closest friends.
Colby, Tim, Joseph, Myself, Anna, & Becca

Daric and I after The Crucible. We were so much bigger then!!! :S

The family Christmas photo. I started straightening my bangs around this time.

High School Football Games, we always packed the stands!


These two are with Becca. We spent a lot of time together that year!

Even our prom dresses were similar in color

Mr. Hosch! Now Reverend Hosch!

Amanda and I doing the acolyte thing on Graduation Sunday.

Hosch with all of his Student Directors from the year!

After Prom...motorized toilets.....need I say more?

Another picture with Becca from MASH


And then there is Autumn! Look how little she is!



      
I can't do a first day of Kindergarten or anything like that but I can do when I met her to now.

 I love you Autumn Louise! I pray your senior year is full of great memories. I pray you find things that you love this year that you will still be talking about 9 years from now. I won't lie and tell you these will be the best years of your life, but I pray this is your best year of High School. I pray you find the goofy silly group of friends that you will want to do everything with! I pray you find more of yourself this year. 

Senior year! We have made it! From mine to yours and our journey continues on! From the Class of 2007 to 2016. From Bulldogs to Swathers, purple & gold to black and red. It's here and it's going to be grand!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Music Speaks

I have always loved how music speaks to me. I'm not musically talented but lyrics sure are close to my heart.

A little over a month ago, I picked my 17 year old little sister up and brought her home to live with me, knowing at that time that Adam and I were the best option for her to start adult life on a positive note. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but you're never fully prepared to be a parent no matter the age of the child.

As we drove home, and all my fears were flooding my mind, she was playing on her phone, and I already had a glimpse of what we were getting into. I remember thinking, "Are you sure God? Am I really doing what you want us to do?"

This song came on the radio.

Do Something by Matthew West

I've always loved this song but I've never had it yell at my like it did that day. Now when I hear it on the radio it is the reassurance I need in those moments that we really are on the right track.

Well as we have ventured into normal day to day life...whatever that means. I can honestly say this is rough. Good foster parents must saints. To take a kid in at 17 and try to give them some glimpse of a normal life or at least a functioning one....whew!

Well there have been many moments in the past few weeks where it has been a battle of emotions between a 17 year old female who can't see why and a pregnant adult who cares. My poor husband just rides the ride and tries to humor us back to some sense of normalcy.

Well we had one of these moments the other day, that was particularly hard on this pregnant momma. I was at one of those moments asking myself if maybe I should just care a little less. Knowing full well that is not even a possibility for me. And we were in the car driving home and this song came on.


All of Me - Matt Hammitt

I fell in love with this song awhile back but I was listening to it with my husband in mind. This time I heard it with that stubborn, beautiful, blonde young lady in my mind. Granted she was sitting right behind me in the car. And I lost it yet again, but this time in more of a sense of surrender. Surrender to this God ordained event that is happening in my life. We will continue to work through this, cherish the good moments and push through the bad. Because I know in my heart that this is what God has called Adam and I to. This moment, this place, this opportunity. We are on an uphill journey. I will have to remind myself, she isn't me, she hasn't spent the last 17 years with strict, Christian parents guiding her decisions. She isn't the 8 year old girl that I picked up 9 years ago to go out for ice cream, she isn't the 11 year old girl I took to make Build-a-Bears for our 3rd anniversary, she isn't even the 17 year old girl I woke up in that smelly room on that couch, that I brought home with me the first day. She is changing continually and often against her own will. God is working in her in mighty ways and for this to work she has to have all of me. My job is to keep the sadness from stealing her away. So we push through the daily drudge with the dream of a High School Diploma and open doors to a future that is bright and beautiful!

I am forever grateful for the music that speaks to me in ways no one else can!



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dear Baby (Letter #2)

Dear Baby,
  Today we get see you. It has been quite awhile. Last week I got to hear you and I am starting to be able to feel you, but today we get to see you. Daddy and I are so excited, we can barely even talk about it. Oh sweet child of mine, I hate to admit but I'm nervous today. Daddy didn't really understand why, but I'm sure since you can feel whatever I'm feeling you know. I don't care if you are Aram or Adah, I just want you to be healthy. Last time we saw you, you were just a little blob, and you moved for us which created so much excitement and joy in our hearts. Last time we got to see you, we weren't sure you were still there. I know you're there, I can feel you, but I'm still nervous. Your momma is a bit of a worrier and she may watch too many medical shows. So today in the midst of the excitement of getting to see you, I'm definitely praying that you have 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms, 2 legs, and all the rest of the beautiful parts you need to be you. Nothing extra, nothing abnormal, just our beautiful little Gameboy sized bundle of joy. I find peace today knowing that God knows you. God already knows you as well as He knows me. No matter what, you are a beautiful child of  God, created for a purpose. Even if you have 3 arms and 12 toes you were created for a purpose. You have already taught me so much about faith, patience, love, endurance, and joy. You're not even here yet but your divine purpose is already shining through you. Even the names we have chosen for you have special meaning we fully believe that you are beautiful (Adah) and will shine like an ornament for God, you are also high and exalted (Aram) because you will be called to great things in your lifetime. You are loved by so many people, there are so many people already praying for you and who you will become. Writing to you has calmed my nerves, today we get to see you, and soon, oh so very soon, you will be in our arms. You are beautiful and exalted, the rest is just physical, God knows what He is doing!

I can't wait to see you!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Tides of Change

For someone who isn't a huge fan of change I seem to be doing a whole lot of it at once.

My daily Timehop reminds me that a year ago I was knee deep in wedding planning, and a year before that still trying to figure out how to do my job, and a year before that I was in the process of moving to Hesston.

Sunday marked 6 months until our little one is due and last week marked 7 months of marriage. In two weeks Ranger will be a year old. And on Monday, Adam and I welcomed a 17 year old girl into our home to live until at least her graduation in May.

Typing it all out makes my exhaustion this morning a whole lot more understandable. We're newlyweds in a new to us house, Adam has a new job, and we are months away from a new baby, and now there is a new soul living under our roof.

Some of you may be thinking, Holy Cow this chick is crazy. Well sometimes I feel that way. But I feel like I want to share this story because it might seem crazy but there has definitely been a lot of prayer and thought put into it.

In August of 2006, I was 17 years old and starting my senior year of high school. There was already a pretty solid call onto my life to do some form of ministry. I didn't know back then that you could do youth ministry full time so I had lots of different plans in my mind, but I knew I wanted to help children and share my love for God. But I didn't want to wait until I was older, I knew there was something I could do right then.

So I signed up with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cowley County. I looked through some papers and picked one that I hoped would be a good match. I signed the form and agreed to seeing her one hour a week for 6 months. Much to my surprise this girl who looked like me, stole my heart, the heart of my entire family, and in two months from yesterday we will celebrate our 9 year anniversary.

6 months, that's all I agreed to, and here I am 6 months from bringing my own child into the world and that beautiful blonde girl that I took out for so many ice cream dates is living in my home.

Being her big sister was the hardest thing I had to do as a 17 year old. But her life is completely the opposite and for the last month and a half her life was better being on the run than in the group home she had been placed in. So after a long conversation with my husband, many tears and phone calls, and oh so many prayers. We signed the paperwork, we went  through the steps and brought her home. Where now I can worry about her in my own house. She will have the opportunity to have a real senior year of high school. She will play sports, play in the band, go to church, do her homework, have a part time job, and hopefully enter adulthood with half a chance to stand on her own two feet and make something of herself.

She has always wanted to live with me and for first time we actually were her best option for a good life. So today as I sit in my office wondering why I can't focus on planning the two camps, and one speaking engagement that will consume the next three weeks of my life, it became apparent to me that I had to write this.

I know so many people are going to question this decision that we have made and will ask if we have thought this through. I mean we have a baby on the way. I can guarantee you that thinking things through is never something I under do. It often drives my husband crazy just how much I think something through. This decision really came down to the fact that we were capable of giving this child of God the best possible opportunity she had to be successful in this life. And being who I am, I cannot walk away from something that is so apparently God knocking on my heart. Jesus told his disciples to feed his sheep. That's what we're doing.

So if you are on the negative side of this decision I don't want to hear it. God is guiding this and we have put this in His hands. Every young person deserves a chance to be loved, nurtured, guided, and to be young. I had all of that and it isn't like this girl walked in off the streets into our lives. She has been in my life longer than my husband. She is my longest relationship. We appreciate all of your prayers and your support as we enter parenthood six months early with a teenager! Thank you!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hearing the Heartbeat

Yesterday I had my first OB appointment. I guess I should have done some asking or reading about it because from what I had been told this was just an appointment where they did lab work and an exam but nothing exciting. So when Adam asked if he needed to be there I told him no. I didn't figure blood work and peeing in a cup were worth him taking time off work.

Then the doctor brought in the Doppler machine and said lets see if we can find the heartbeat. Instantly I felt like the worst wife ever. I had no idea they did this at these appointments, and Adam wasn't there. I almost didn't have her do it just because he wasn't there but with all the craziness we have had a chance to be reassured that we still have a healthy baby growing seemed like something I couldn't pass up. I should have asked for my phone so I could record it but I wasn't thinking all of that through at the moment.

It took her awhile but she found it. That beautiful fast paced heartbeat. That had to be one of the best sounds I have ever heard, especially with the stress of things and how icky I have been feeling. It was like oh yeah I'm not just sick, I'M PREGNANT! The sonograms are amazing but this early they have to tell you exactly which blob is the baby and point it out, but that sound was so distinctly different that it was obviously the baby.

When Adam got home he was quite pouty for awhile. I found a video on YouTube that sounded just like it and he wouldn't listen to it because it wasn't our baby. :(

So exciting news! I heard the heartbeat! Sad news, Adam didn't!


The best news, we have a healthy heartbeat which means a healthy baby! Hopefully Adam will be able to go next time....or maybe I can record it for him.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Preggie Pop Drops

People keep asking me how I'm feeling and the truth is that most of the time these days the answer is nauseous. I haven't actually gotten sick yet but I sure have been close a few times. I definitely am waivered these days by smells, tastes, being hungry, being awake, lol just about anything.

I found these amazing pieces of hard candy that have been a miracle for me.

Crackers, pickles, and all the other things that women have told me that helped them are nothing in comparison with these babies!

The picture is now a link to buy them on Amazon if you or someone you know needs some.


They're all natural, and drug free. Which is why I decided to give them a try. They are a little sour which is part of what helps I think, and they have essential oils in them.

They're definitely currently my favorite invention right now! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Heartbeat

Well that was one long weekend. I don't remember praying for patience but we sure got a big dose of it this holiday weekend.
We got the call this morning that my HCG levels had gone up but not doubled like they were supposed to so we still weren't sure what that meant. We just had our second sonogram and we saw the heartbeat and the baby move, and it's definitely bigger than last time.
The doctor should call tomorrow and tell us what she sees but there was a whole lot of relief when that baby moved and the heartbeat was was beautiful!
Thank you to everyone who has been praying, your words were felt and kept us going through the wait.
Thank you!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Might Be a Miscarriage

If you can't tell from the title this is where I'm sitting today. In the world of "might be a Miscarriage" but we don't know for sure. It's early and blood sometimes can just be blood. But when the doctor isn't very positive it's hard to be. And maybe if I felt good it would be different but yesterday was an easy day. I thought I was just having the worst sickness day yet but when we got home last night the sight of blood kind of knocked me over but this first time there has been blood and last time everything was fine. But we have to wait for blood test results and even a sonogram won't tell everything so we're waiting to do that too.

When we found out we we're pregnant a few weeks ago we decided we weren't going to tell the world until after the first trimester, but waiting is hard and after we saw that sonogram with the heartbeat we couldn't really hold it in anymore.

But as much fun as it is rejoicing with everyone, it is so much more important to have all those prayer warriors on our side when something doesn't go right. And right now something isn't right. And you can't pray for us if you don't know something is going on. So this long weekend we are living in a world of the unknown. A scary emotional world. But God is here, I can feel him.

So please if you're reading this pray for us and that however this turns out we won't lose sight of God and his presence. And if this is a Miscarriage that we will have the strength in this marriage to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. And if there still is a baby that we will make it through this healthy and safe.

Thank you, oh and keep the comments and thoughts to the minimal please I'm already emotional, sorries and advice aren't really what I'm after. Just prayers. Thanks.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Food and Pregnancy

So I know cravings are generally a thing during pregnancy and so are foods that you generally love making you nauseous. So I thought I would keep a list of both for this pregnancy and see how it goes.


Foods I love but now they make me nauseous:
1. Dr. Pepper
2. Special K Breakfast Sandwiches
3. Milk
4. Leftover Pork from Mother's Day
5. Italian Herb & Cheese Bread from Subway
6. Meat (all meat, any meat, the sight of meat, the smell of meat, the thought of meat) :(



Cravings:
1. Salad, French Fries, and Pretzel sticks from Applebees (all of this as one meal)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Year of Change!

Do you ever sit back and marvel at how much your life has changed in a year? I mean most of us do this sort of thing at the beginning of a new year, but do you ever do it randomly in the middle of the year?

Well this past year has been a year of complete change. Most of the time we get excited when we have ONE big life change in a year but several????? Whew sometimes that just seems crazy.

Well the reason this comes to mind today is that tomorrow will be one year since Adam proposed. So a year ago today, I was still praying for a ring!

In the past year!

May 14th - Adam proposed as we closed out the school year with our youth! It was incredibly magical and I couldn't have asked for it to be done any other way. You can read the whole story here.

We took engagement pictures in June (I think)
Photo Credit to On the Wall Photography


The summer was filled with Camp and Wedding Planning.

August 31st - I fell in love with a dog. Me, a dog, for real! This was the date we adopted Ranger. And today he is 10 months old! He stole my heart in a really big way.

The day we brought him home!

Ranger, about 2 weeks ago! He's so big!


November 22, We said I Do! It was beautiful



Then we started life together. By started I mean continued and even more so than before. Our first few months of marriage were intense and not always in a good way. But then things started to change again!

April 1st, we moved into a new house (our dream house!)

Ok we love all of this house. But check out the fridge & freezer. If we ever have to move I think I will miss these the most!

April 15th, Adam got a new job!

Praise the LORD!!! We have seen the light. :) Things are all smiles now!

Which is good since 


April 27th, 

We found out right at 5 weeks.


We told our parents on Mother's Day. It was so much fun surprising them.


video
Adam's mom's reaction!






video
My mom's reaction!


Then we had our first sonogram appointment yesterday and got to see the heartbeat. 

Our little Blueberry sized 7 week baby! :)


Then we decided Ranger could make the announcement!

Mommy and Daddy are getting me a human!



So ready or not the changes just keep coming. And of course they always will. It is exciting and scary. But I don't think I have ever felt this blessed. All of this and each day I am employed to do ministry. 

Thank you to everyone who has made this past year possible, these changes exciting and meaningful, and for just being here on this ride called life with our little expanding family! :)


One Happy Momma to be!