Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful

    Something about having a baby makes me have the need to write (as evidenced by the fact that the last time I wrote was when Callie was born). So, here I am. On this old space that has seen me through so many stages of my life, hoping it can hold some of the emotions and thoughts swirling through me.
    Everything about pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum has been different with Carter than it was with Callie. With Callie, I was so worried about everything. It was all so unknown, and everything was an opportunity for anxiety (which is very unlike my personality). Particularly the first weeks after she was born, I was crippled with fear that something bad was going to happen or that I was doing everything completely wrong. Somehow, she survived her first time mother and is a thriving three year old!
     Three years of motherhood has given me the wisdom to know that despite what Dr. Google will tell you, everything is going to be fine and that each stage and each moment is so fleeting. So this time, I've been able to just enjoy the beautiful gift of a newborn baby. I'm trying to drink him all in... his sweet noises, his buttery soft cheeks, his frog legs that remind me of all the times I felt him kick inside me, his long fingers grasping mine, his little eyes as they blink, blink, blink up at me, his little cry to let me know he needs me, his satisfied face when he finishes nursing, his million dollar dimples, the way he snuggles up to me when I lay him on my chest... 1,000 gifts in a little 8 lb 9 oz package.
   I've found myself so many times picturing myself in the future looking back at this week. I can see myself in 5, 10, 15, 20 years looking back at the photos from this week with such fondness. I know these moments are some I will treasure forever, and it's easy to begin to feel like holding onto these beautiful moments is like trying to catch a waterfall in my hands. But instead of despairing over the inability to freeze time, I choose to picture myself swimming in an ocean of a lifetime of beautiful moments with my family. Whenever I look at him, I can't help but imagine all the wonderful things I hope this life will hold for him and all beautiful moments we have to come together.
   There's a song I've had on repeat all day, a new favorite called "What I'm thankful for" by Garth Brooks and James Taylor. It perfectly captures my feelings on this extra special Thanksgiving. It plays in my head as I reflect on these "treasure forever" moments.


What I'm thankful for ain't on no list
For it only in my heart exists
For time has helped me understand
The things I can't hold in my hand



{The first moments of Carter's life as he laid on my chest and took his first breaths of air into his lungs}

For those that came before my turn
Oh, from whom I've gathered lessons learned
That light the path that lies ahead
I see them as I bow my head

{Jason talking to "his boy" just after he was born. I get teary thinking of Carter growing up to be a wonderful husband and father like Jason. And I love thinking of the long, rich heritage of men in Carter's life, and how their Godly example has laid a firm foundation for his life.}

Yes, I'm thankful for the Lord above
The gift of His unending love
The promise kept that there is something more
These are the things I'm thankful for


{Our first picture as a family of four. Picturing all the things we will do together as a family. As Callie likes to say.... Daddy and Mama and Callie and Carter forever!}

For our children hear this prayer
Let love surround them everywhere
And may their children's children know
The one from whom all blessings flow



{Callie is absolutely enthralled with her brother. I'm so thankful they will have each other to lean on through life. I know their little lives won't be without hard times, but I also know that with Jesus, they can endure anything life brings.}

Yes, I'm thankful for the Lord above
The gift of His unending love
The promise kept that there is something more
These are the things I'm thankful for

{I do not take for granted the gift of a baby, and the fact that we were chosen to care for this precious boy.}

And amidst these gifts and presents
We receive this holiday
May we take a thoughtful second
Just to fold our hands and pray


{I love this boy so much, it hurts. I love thinking about all the wonderful things he will accomplish and all the goodness he will bring to the world.}

Yes, I'm thankful for the Lord above
The gift of His unending love
The promise kept that there is something more
These are the things I'm thankful for
    
  Thank you God for these blessings! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.
 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Adjust Your Crown, He is Faithful

    Image by One Girl Photography

Today my girl is nine days old. I think I've learned more about God in the past nine days than I have in a long time.

My mom asked me the other day what has surprised me about having her, and it may sound trite, but truly I have been taken back by the insane love I have for her. People always talk about their love for their children and how there is nothing like it, but it really feels like my heart is outside of my body. I am overwhelmed with an intense love I've never experienced when I look at her. I finally get it now, just how CRAZY it is that God, the creator of the universe, would call us his Children. See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1). Unfathomable.

Then to think that Jesus came as a baby to earth. Jason and I have remarked several times over the past days how Callie depends on us for everything. She can't feed herself, can't soothe herself, can't even wipe her own tears. The God that spoke the world into existence came as this, a helpless babe. 

Perhaps most of all though, with the whirlwind of emotions of the past two weeks, I've learned to depend and trust in God like I never have before. From anxiousness as her due date came and went and  trusting that God would perfectly orchestrate the details of her birth, to breathing through contractions that just so happened to last exactly as long as it took me to sing "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus" in my head and considering with each one how I'd proved Him o'er and o'er. Then finding him faithful through two hours of pushing and honestly thinking I could not go on, but ultimately seeing that sweet girl's face and knowing it was all more than worth it.
  Then having her taken from us at 4:00 am the morning after she was born due to rapid breathing and trusting a promise that a dear prayer warrior and friend, April, sent me that "those that trust in the Lord are like Mt. Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore (Psalm 125).", and picturing his angels surrounding our girl when I couldn't be with her. Sunday morning brought the hardest blow as they told us she would have to stay and that there may be something more seriously wrong. I know Jesus sat right with us as Jason and I cried for two hours while at the same time His church was lifting us up and interceding for us (we later found it was probably just a "bad lab" that showed her platelets as being low and that she was never really sick, but God wanted us to experience that and we trusted Him and found Him faithful). 
His faithfulness has continued this week as we've been home, through hormone crashes and intense bouts of anxiety, thinking I was not capable of doing this and having every fear of what could go wrong plaguing my every thought. But my Lord whispered to me that for me and Callie I can have "no guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can even pluck me from His hand, 'til he returns or calls me home, here in the love of Christ I stand!"

Faithful, over and over again. We are in a really good place now, just loving our girl and trying to soak up every single moment. But as the NICU nurse told us as we cried, the worry won't ever stop. But I know, we will continue to find Him faithful in all situations we face in this life.

My friend Susan has a catch phrase she often repeats when things feel out of control, and that is to "adjust your crown". Meaning that we know that we are children of the King and that all things that come to us are for our good and from His hand, and that we just need to remember that the God of angel armies is on our side and not to worry or doubt. I'm sure it was no coincidence that our dear friend Kam of One Girl Photography was inspired to take this shot of our princess in her newborn shoot.


Oh yes, oh yes. I'm a child of the King. His royal blood, now flows in my veins, and I who was wretched and poor now can sing. Praise God, Praise God. I'm a child of the King.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Reflections



For the first weeks of my pregnancy, it didn't seem real to me at all. Sure, that little screen had showed the word I had longed for, and my doctor had confirmed the great news, but other than needing a daily nap, I felt the same. Even when morning sickness haunted me, I could think of nothing I wanted to eat, and smells would send me gagging, it still didn't seem real that there was a new life inside of me.

Unfortunately, I've always been a prepare for the worse type person. For example, when I would babysit for people over night, I would make a plan for how I would get the kids out if the house caught on fire. I've just always been the type that wants to be informed and prepared. So, with each doctor's appointment I would prep myself that they could tell me that something had gone wrong. 

I was terribly nervous before our gender reveal ultrasound. We had planned a gender reveal party and I had told all my students, and I kept being so fearful that we would go to the appointment for them to tell us there was a mistake or something had gone wrong. I emailed my teaching teammates that morning and asked for prayer. They all reassured me that they had similar feelings, and my teammate Susan encouraged me to pray against this fear (which I knew was sinful and lack of trust on my part).

I immediately felt peace after praying. Then when our ultrasound technician enthusiastically said "it's a baby girl" and I could see our girl kicking, playing with her feet, and even swallowing that I finally realized. There is a BABY, MY baby, inside of me!

I had felt what I thought were kicks all the way since Thanksgiving, but in the last week, I have felt them for sure. And on Christmas eve morning, Jason was able to feel the kicks for the first time too. His face was priceless. He keeps telling her how pretty she is and how much he loves her.

Up until this point, I really hadn't had an emotional moment. I didn't cry when I found out or when telling Jason or our families. I haven't shed a tear at any of our ultrasounds or at our gender reveal party.
But on Christmas Eve I was driving around doing some last minute shopping. I looked up to see a funeral procession, and for some reason, that just set me off. I started praying for that family and praying that the person knew Christ, and I was just overwhelmed with blessing and thankfulness. I was overwhelmed by the profound love of a Savior who would come to earth to bear such sadness and to give such blessing, The music from my favorite Christmas movie, "A Muppet's Christmas Carol", was playing in my car and singing "Bless us all, with playful years, with noisy games and joyful tears. We reach for You, and we stand tall, and in our prayers and dreams we ask you, bless us all."

I was just overwhelmed at the blessings surrounding me. Feeling the little kicks as I prayed and cried and being thankful for the life inside of me. Thinking of Christmases to come with those noisy games with our daughter. Thinking of how the Lord takes care of us in all things big and small. And in being so thankful for my husband, family, job, health, and so many more things, the joyful tears came (which turned into a full on ugly cry and gagging fest, just keepin' it real!)

But as I sat there and watched the funeral procession pass, I thought about how all of those wonderful things pass away in light of eternity. And even if every single earthly blessing I have was stripped away, I would still be the most blessed because of Jesus....because He came! Then this abundant life He gives on top of that, it's indescribable.

 And although I can't wait for all the fun that will come in Christmases to come, I hope our daughter will know that Jesus coming, that's what it is all about, and that is something worth celebrating.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You are the Best Thing

Hello friends!!

Well, it's been a minute since I've blogged, and much has changed since the end of summer! Going back to school is always crazy, tiring, and time-consuming.

But, in August, my tiredness and lack of blogging came from a totally different source! At the end of August, we got some of the best news ever. We found out we are expecting a baby!

More specifically, it was on Friday August 24th, I woke up to the day I had been anticipating, the day I could take a pregnancy test. I took the test then went about getting ready for work. Jason was still awakening from sleep as I looked for the second pink line. I wished so badly that I had the "pregnant" or "not pregnant" tests, as I squinted to see the line. I thought there might be a line there, but I just wasn't sure. I decided to get some different tests later, and rushed to get ready and get out the door. I didn't even tell Jason that I had tested that morning.

Thankfully, I had a busy day at work so it went by quickly. I went by the drugstore on the way home where I decided to buy some lip gloss so the tests wouldn't be the only thing I bought. As soon as I got home, I went in and tested again. As I waited for the eternal three minutes to be over, I laid on our bed and prayed and sang some songs to my Savior. No matter what the test said, I had peace that it would be what was best for that time.

I went in and looked down, and saw that beautiful word staring back at me. I always thought I would scream or cry, but I just smiled and thanked God. I began thinking about preparing to tell Jason when he got home from work, but for a long while I just stared at the test.
I was pregnant.

Instead of telling you how Jason and our families reacted, I thought I would show you! 

                                   Baby Leming - Medium from Chelsea Leming on Vimeo.

Today, I am 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant! The first weeks were tough with crazy exhaustion (as in...come home from work and nap, wake up and eat dinner, then back to bed!), and the oh-so-fun nausea. I was blessed to have only actually gotten sick twice (in the same day), but strong smells are still sending me running and gagging, but I feel like it's getting better every day!

I hope to be back soon because I definitely want to record this great blessing. 
Love to all!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer 2012

Having summers off is an amazing gift. It's the perfect time to relax, spend time with friends, and get stuff done!! I love summer and 7 weeks ago after waving goodbye to that last yellow bus, I sat down and wrote out the things I wanted to accomplish. 

First I counted out how many days I had and discovered that with weekend days, I had 55 glorious days of freedom, so I wrote down 55 things I would like to accomplish, and today I crossed off the last thing (with 3 days to spare I might add)!


Most of the things on the list were things I wanted to accomplish in the house with cleaning and organizing, and it feels so good to feel like my house is tidy and orderly going into a new school year! And although I'm sure you would love to see pictures of me cleaning all my baseboards, I think what I will want to remember from this summer won't just be what I got accomplished, but all the fun I had in between through what else but instagram photos!

This picture was from day one of summer!! This shows how many of my days began: no alarm clock, hitting the pavement with Katie, and a green smoothie. Perfection!

A whole lot of our summer was spent working on our basement renovation which you can read all about at my other blog rooted in love home, in case you missed it!

Here are Jason and Sophie hard at work one night.

 On June 3rd, I celebrated my birthday, and Jason treated me to a pancake breakfast...

....and some sweet decorations!


The next week, I got to spend some time with my awesome Grandma! We started with a lunch date...


 ...and then headed to my cousin's house to meet her new sweet baby boy!

An unexpected blessing this summer was getting to teach some swimming lessons and make some extra spending money by just hanging out at the pool an hour a day. Yes please! I had a blast with this little swimmer and her froggy friend.

One of my favorite summer activities is reading! I read some great nonfiction books this summer by Malcolm Gladwell including Tipping Point and Outliers. I also devoured a few more mindless reads through some fiction by Emily Giffin including Something Borrowed and Something Blue. All great books in their own rights! Of course reading outside with the company of my pups makes anything great.


One of my favorite days of the summer was taking two of my nieces and a friend to Six Flags!! We had an absolute blast, and they haven't stopped talking about it! It was great to have the opportunity to give such joy to them, they said it was the best day ever! It doesn't take much!


We had the honor of attending my dear friend Julie's wedding at the end of June, our favorite part was seeing the Burdett family!

I also had lunch with Ms. Noelle and her mama last week, but we didn't take a picture. I love this little face!

VBS has always been a highlight of my summer! This year I got to teach at our new church, and it was a blast. Telling hundreds of kids about their creator and savior Jesus is a great way to spend a week of summer in my opinion!

We celebrated our 3rd anniversary on June 20th, and enjoyed a night on the town. It was a great night!

We spent a week at student life camp as well where we got to teach and serve with the students from our church. The theme was on being audacious, the whole experience was awesome!


Our family sang at a church one Sunday, and my sister, mom, and I all accidentally matched in our polka dot dresses, so we embraced the cheesiness. I love those ladies.


 We had a great weekend with some of our nieces and nephews. We enjoyed making cow costumes, cow appreciation day, movies, and pool time!


Some people were more enthusiastic than others, haha...



Our latest fun outing was going to the Dark Night Rises Premier. It was a great movie and a great time, but I'm heartbroken over the tragedy in Colorado. It's a great reminder that life is short, and that we must redeem the time!


I'll end with this picture of one of our weekend dates with our niece Madison from early in the summer 
Pool, laughs, lazy days, and smiles: the epitome of summer.



Although I hate to see the summer go, I'm excited for a new school year and all the adventures that lie ahead too!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Continue in Love

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now continue in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15: 9-12

Last weekend, on June 23rd, my sister got married. "Continue in love" was their theme.

And I couldn't think of a better summary of the weekend either.

Starting with the bachelorette party on Thursday, where I was reminded that there is just nothing like the love between good girlfriends.

Soon after my own wedding, I had been invited to meet some friends for lunch one Saturday. I was debating internally about whether I would go or not, thinking of the things I need to get done and not really wanting to make the drive to the city. But when I mentioned it to Jason, he told me I had to go because if I didn't, I would slowly loose contact with my friends, and that it was important to keep them. What a wise man. 
These girls were great, and although I felt a little bit old around their fresh  21 year old faces, it reminded me of my own sweet friends who I need a meet up with soon (you know who you are!!).

Friday morning began the beautification process (and it's quite a process isn't it?) with a group nail appointment. 
I think this is when it (finally) started to feel real to me that my sister was getting married! I'm not sure why it took so long for it to sink in, but I loved seeing the excitement on her face as she prepared for her day.

That afternoon, I went to our downtown to see if I could help at the reception site, and primarily to set up the slideshow I made for the rehearsal dinner. As I was driving there, I thought a lot about how special it was that the wedding was all happening in our beloved hometown. Anyone who knows me has likely heard me talk about my hometown pride, and the fact that my family has lived in the county for five generations. Eden's wedding was filled with some of our most beloved places. The ceremony was in the church we grew up in overlooking the village where my grandparents lived and raised my mom, and her reception was at the beautiful old theatre in historic downtown.

The rehearsal dinner was at our favorite hometown restaurant: R&M Sandwich Shoppe.  Not only is the hoagie shoppe rooted with nostalgia for all of us and still family owned after 40 years, it also has the best sandwiches. Jason would rather have a hoagie than just about anything else from any fancy restaurant you could name. After setting up, I had a little fun  exploring since we had run of the place.
Yes, I'm a big dork, but I sure did have fun. :)

Next we ventured to the actual rehearsal which was the perfect mixture of laughs and tears.

Laughs brought to you by: 
Slow chicken dancing down the aisle
(slow chicken dancing might just be the next dance sensation, you should try it!)
Further bonding with team-bridesmaid:

And practicing our "wobble" for the reception.

But, there were also sweet tears with the realization of the realness of it all. William's dad was particularly sweet and got choked up a few times. 

The rehearsal dinner was filled with lots of love. William and Eden wrote really heartfelt letters to everyone which was so sweet.

In the slideshow I made, the last slide before each of their baby pictures was a simple line that said "And he/she was very loved". 
This fact was very apparent on that night. The air was thick with love.


After a few last minute wedding errands, I headed over to my parent's house to spend the night with the bride. It was just our original family of five resting in the house that built us on that night, and it was just as sweet as it sounds.

Eden and I slept in our original childhood bedroom in our respective twin beds. We stayed up way too late talking about nothing and everything, both too nervous/excited to sleep. We also spent the night together the night before my wedding, and as we were talking that night Eden said she was excited about "all the sister moments" that my wedding day would bring. Her sentiment touched me so that I had her quote printed in our wedding album. So, all night as we talked I kept saying "that can be my quote". 

I don't know how quote worthy I was, but that night was something I'll treasure. Those walls have seen millions of sweet (and not so sweet) sister moments. From saying our goodnight prayers together and telling Jesus to "save some for himself" to cleaning frenzies while pretending that Mrs. Lisa was on her way to pick us up for an adventure. All the way to making fun of Eden for being scared of storms and stubbornly crying alone after she would flee to Mom and Dad's room, and that one night when she really tried to choke me. It's true, a sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost, and I'm so thankful for mine.

And we awoke on June 23rd, to the day she would be married!

The morning was a blast with hair, makeup, and plenty of laughs.


And suddenly, the moment was upon us, it was time to go get pictures and get married!

I so wish I had pictures of the ceremony to share (but it may have been awkward to carry my Cannon down the aisle with me), so we will have to wait on the pictures from the real photographer, but it was such a beautiful God-honoring ceremony. The bridal party walked down the aisle to "Oh how He loves us" by David Crowder, and I got to walk in to the epically awesome "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us!!" Yes, it was very hard not to throw my hands in the air and sing like I typically do during that beautiful proclamation of truth.

One of the officiants elaborated on the "continue in love" theme and noted how Eden frequently testifies about the love of God, and how when you are around Eden and William you can feel their love for each other, their love for God, and their love for you. My Dad also did a part in the ceremony that included communion to unify the families (which was really cool), and also a heartfelt prayer. It was really sweet, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.

It was on to the reception at the theatre which was SO fun!! They had a candy bar, popcorn, and glass bottle cokes which were adorable and an absolute hit!


Dad and Eden danced to "In my life" by the Beatles, which was perfect since that is the song that plays in my head when I think about the places from my childhood. There was some awesome dancing including the Wobble and an incredible "Time of my life" dirty dancing lift between William and his brother. It was just a great night. 
Before long, it was time for them to ride off together as husband and wife.

And right now, they are still on their honeymoon, and it's killing me to not get to talk to her about everything!! (Hence the long post maybe, bless you if you made it to the end).

Congrats to my sweet sister and new brother-in-law! 
Love you guys!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Less

I attended a breakfast honoring some of my students this morning that was put on by the Optimist club in our town. These lines from their creed particularly struck me:
  
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

It convicted and inspired me, and made me consider how I spend my time, thoughts, and energy.
It reminded me how my one mission on earth is to love others and point them to Jesus.
I'm so thankful for reminders like this, and I hope that, through His grace, I can get a little better each day!

This post is brief, and different from my usual style.
But, maybe that's the point.

He must become greater, I must become less.
John 3:30