Monday, December 2, 2013

Birth experience of a lifetime

I literally cannot even belive it has been almost a week since I had Rylynn!

It was everything I had hoped and so much more. I know so many question why I wanted to have her here at home, but I can tell you it was such a blessed experience, so very different from my hospital births!

First, this baby decided she wanted to stay until after her due date, which was several weeks longer than any of her three sisters and totally new for mommy! During the last four weeks we had many many many long nights of contractions and wondering if that would be the night. The last two weeks before she came I had finally begun to feel as though she wouldn't come, not that i was desperate I just felt so strange about it suddenly- like my pregnancy was going backwards and I felt further from holding her in my arms.
Then, of course, things got emotional and I spent a lot of time alone in the bath in tears trying to pray and figure out what my deal was. Yes, i was uncomfortable but I wasn't feeling frustrated to be going to my due date, I just had some heaviness that prevented me from getting excited about the baby.
After a particularly trying morning I stomped out to the car to vacuum it out (i was NOT putting my baby in that dirty car, haha) and started texting with my mom and listening to worship crying out for the Lord to help me understand why i was fighting so hard.

Fear. Not about labor, about letting go of my dream of having a son. We have both felt for years that the Lord was preparing us to also have a son among these beautiful girls, and we felt like this would be it. But then the month before I conceived this baby we lost another and were certain it was a boy. So my fear had morphed into believing that maybe that boy was our promise and he was lost to us. What about those little dinosaur jammies, dirty little face and stick swords.... things my heart has been desperate to experience, to watch Bryce sit on a dock next to a little boy and toss stones in the water. Seeing a mini daddy. And so, because we had prayed and felt that this baby was to be a surprise, we didn't know what we were having and I had built up such an anxiety about it that I just couldn't dream about the identity of THIS child.

Bryce and I talked it over and I cried some more, spoke with my wonderful midwives about it the next day, Tuesday, and finally felt released to celebrate whoever this baby would be, that the Lord is in charge of his own promises and if a son was one of them- He was in control of that. I would never have been upset to find this baby was a girl for wanting her to change, more so knowing i would never have a son, as we're quite certain we're done having children.

So, after giving that piece of it to the Lord we both felt ecstatic, that we would feel just as thrilled to find we had a daughter than a son! The very next morning my labor started up at 8am!
We took off for the store to get groceries and keep me moving, then to the gym and I walked 2 miles around the track to keep the contractions coming. By this point they were regular, couldnt walk or talk through them, but they weren't super painful (i have a high pain tolerance). After that we came home and got the kids fed and to bed and decided to lay down for a bit. My contractions slowed to every 8-10 minutes and then just sort of petered out. I called Deidre at four to see if she wanted me to get up and walk and keep them coming or just let my body do what it would. Since I had already walked so much she preferred I just let my body rest and see what happened. I got up to make the kids dinner, and as I did the two big girls ran up, laid hands on my belly and prayed that the baby would come:) I love their faith and trusted that the Lord had something in mind! I baked a cheesecake for the next days Thanksgiving we would be hosting and ate dinner Bryce made for us. By the time I sat down the contractions started coming in hard and enough that i was getting uncomfortable, that was about 6pm. I sent Deidre a quick text and told her I'd keep an eye on them. I was really enjoying having this day to labor with my children there, they were so sweet and loving and were very excited to meet the baby, though they didn't quite understand why mommy had to be in pain for the baby to come. Bryce went in and out them to bed around 7:30 and by this time I was almost unable to communicate at all, I needed him every three minutes or more to press counter pressure on my lower back or i was swimming in so much pain I couldnt calm down. He got the kids in bed and I snuck them a kiss between contractions. I was feeling so much pain and pressure that he decided to call Deidre and fill up the pool. As he ran around taking care of stuff I just tried to focus on worship music and finding some position that would give the pain in my back some relief. I focused on the wave and allowing the baby to move down and get ready for delivery. Deidre and Andrea arrived a little after 8pm and began running around like crazy getting all of their stuff set up for birth. As they walked through the door i screamed for Bryce to run in and put counter pressure on my back, they knew it was pretty serious then! I briefly remember Deidre asking for an extension cord and i pulled one out just as a contraction hit and tossed it behind me toward her, I heard her say "she's definitely in labor!" I felt so bad but man i was focused on survival! A few times Bryce had to get in my face and tell me to focus and that I could do this, I was just overwhelmed by the back labor!
Andrea had me lay down to check me and listen to the baby, which sounded good, and I remember as she was checking i just kept saying " i better be a five because i NEED that pool!" So imagine my relief when she said I was an eight! I almost cried I was so happy it would be over soon! I hopped in the pool immediately and felt even the smallest relief with the heat across my back! Bryce was running trying to get supplies together and add music i wanted and water to the pool that I went through three contractions in the pool by myself until I said "Im feeling like i need to push" Deidre gave me the go ahead to start that process as they finished up getting the room ready. By this point we have no pictures, my mother in law is on her way but there's no way she'll make it, and Bryce doesn't even remember knowing i was pushing! I was on my hands and knees and chin tucked pushing for several minutes just letting her moving down with each contraction trying to stay calm. Finally I yelled for him to get in the pool and push on my back as she was coming down, He did fully dressed, and Deidre held my face and looked at me and smiled, telling me to slow my breathing down and tuck my face down and focus. I kept reaching down to try and help my body stretch to help her head, but Bryce kept thinking i was checking myself and told me to stop, but i could feel her fluffy hair and knew she would be arriving soon! I pushed really really hard that time and most of her head was out! I tried to then push and also guide her head out but was guiding her up which got her shoulder stuck, so Deidre had me stop and had to push her back in a little and help guide her back down, then one more push and she was out. Deidre said "Kaylee pick up your baby!" so i scooped her up and sat back, "it's a girl!" and I gotta say, i was not disappointed at all:) She was gorgeous! Dark hair and big:) It took a second to get her to respond but Deidre just calmly rubbed her back until she started to cry and wrapped us in a towel. We carefully got out of the pool and up on the bed with dry towels. Within a few minutes her placenta followed and daddy got to cut her cord.
Rylynn Brooke Miller was born at 8:47pm weighing 8 pounds and 20 inches long. By far my biggest baby!

The experience was amazing, I loved that the people in the room with me were those that were deeply invested in my pregnancy, in my family and in my heart. They knew me, what i wanted and hoped for, they prayed for me, they blessed me with wisdom and encouragement, they treated me like I was amazing (i felt like a total wimp!) and they celebrated with me! They included my husband, loved on my kids and were there every step to talk about everything with me. I was comfortable and confident with my home birth experience, and I wish that every mom could have one like this! Also, just can't beat sleeping in your own bed without all the poking and blood pressure and strangers trying to watch you nurse or bother you because you won't vaccinate on day one. It was wonderful, Bryce was relaxed and involved, the best coach and help I could have dreamed of, and he was SO excited for another girl! He helped me through the doubts and fears and helped me see that we were getting the gift the Lord had for us, and boy is she beautiful!
Her name means Distinct refreshing stream, which i believe to be a wonderful fit for her. I know she has much to teach me and so much to add to our family! The girls were elated to meet her the next morning, and have since loved every minute with her!

Honestly, once she was born, I felt a little sad that my journey with my midwives would be over soon, it has been such a wonderful experience I don't know if Im ready to not be seeing them every week!

Thank you Deidre, Cynthia and Andrea for blessing us with your service and expertise! We LOVED having you join our family and we will miss seeing you each week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Honestly I never thought I'd have anything in common with most women that go all the way up to, and beyond their due date with pregnancy. Especially on my FOURTH baby! I guess that just goes to show you, there's NO predicting these things!

I have dreamed about this "Perfect birth" for years, since Lucy was born. Each of my children seemed to be born surrounded by some sort of unexpected hiccup that interrupted a peaceful and relaxed birth experience.

Two days before Lucy entered the world at 37 1/2 weeks, the Dr. discovered she had an arrhythmia and sent me to a larger facility two hours away to a specialist to be sure she could be delivered at our small, NICU-free hospital. As the specialist determined her heart would get back to a normal beat once it separated from the placenta, he assured me she could be born at our small hospital just fine.
I went into labor that night and she was born 12 hours later. She had to be hooked up to tiny stickers for EKG's and such regularly, but, as predicted, within a couple weeks her heart resolved back to a perfect beat and she has been great since!
Brynlee refused to turn around and sucked her butt way down in the birth canal and her head straight up in my ribs. She was called "complete breech" with her little legs crossed Indian style. Ultrasound confirmed at 35 weeks that her fluid was quite low preventing her from turning or being manually turned. I began going in for stress tests every two days to be sure she was still doing well. Finally, knowing C-section was inevitable (Dr.'s in rural areas are so rarely trained for natural breech birth these days, though it is still common with midwives!) we scheduled it the day before she would be 37 weeks. She came out just fine, and though this birth came with many many tears and emotional scarring from being separated from her for hours, we came through great and healed well.
Avery, being that I became pregnant when Brynlee was just 7 months old, followed her c-section by only 15 months. Because of this every Dr. i sought refused to consent to a trial of labor after a c-section. I began to research and pull together every resource i could to fight it, but it came down to signing a paper refusing to follow the medical opinion of my physician and trying for a natural delivery anyway. It was rough, I was not treated very well and heard some of the worst, most hurtful things I can imagine from these women who were supposed to be caring for us. Because of such treatment I went through labor at home with a very close nurse friend keeping an eye on my progress for 30 hours before I was dilated to an 8 and we drove the hour and 15 nminutes at night, having contractions, through the mountain to deliver her. I arrived and of course labor slowed for a while, i was hooked to monitors and IV's, restricted from eating, told ridiculous things about being a terrible mother (don't get me started on the risk of abruption vs. c section complications) and finally, with no intervention besides my water being broken, Avery was born 5 hours after arriving. Perfectly healthy and beautiful, not a single tear or scar trouble. Fight for what you want, the "once a c section always a c section" rule is absurd, this is YOUR body you can choose not to do it!

Anyway, when I found I was pregnant this time I started to look for a midwife, assuming I would likely still have the baby in a birth center or hospital, I just wanted someone who might care more for me and not treat me terrible. I wanted someone who would listen to me, someone who had had children unmedicated and brought into the world naturally like i so badly wanted. I found Deidre, and I have just fallen in love with her! She LOVES my family and my story and she has so invested in me. I get to be loved on by three of them out of the office, Deidre, Cynthia and Andrea and each appointment they pray for me, they are empathetic to how I'm feeling and they've come to my house to check on me. They text with me and encourage me, and they support the decisions i feel are right for my family. As I studied more I decided I really wanted to try for a home birth, so that we could transition quickly and easily back to family life. I had loved laboring almost completely at home with Avery, and the idea of no one to intervene, check my stats, bother me about vaccinations, and try to convince me i needed a "purple crying" class in order to be released after two nighs, I decided a home birth was the right choice for us. Especially after watching "the business of being born!" It really helped my decision be simple! What a dream, I am literally ecstatic that I will be welcoming my baby into our warm loving home, surrounded by pictures of their dad and I on our wedding, their big sisters playing, and sounds of home. I am so glad that I will KNOW everyone in my room well before the birth, and that my baby will come into the world as God intended, without harsh lighting, without shouting and poking and people totally disregarding me and whisking away my new baby.

Thus, my point in writing is really a speech to myself, reminding myself of what I've wanted and that it will be coming soon. I have had regular contractions for the last four weeks, making getting to this point so difficult for me. I know I cannot complain as so many women desperately wish to be pregnant and cannot, or some who have difficult painful pregnancies. The Lord has designed this babies' arrival just as He did the others and I am reminding myself to focus in on what the Lord is doing here and trusting that He has a reason and a plan for this baby. I am so grateful I have not ended up in a hospital, or had to give up my dream and consent to induction. I know that this baby is being perfected and readied for such a time as this. But I must tell you, this point has been reached with many tears and heartache as I've truly been pregnant since January (miscarried in Feb. and within days was pregnant again) and if you know me you know that my body does not handle pregnancy very well. I know I face some fears bringing this baby into the world following miscarriage, knowing this will be my last baby, and my girls being so ready to meet this baby and adjust to mommy taking care of a new baby. There is much anxiety among my girls, and I am ready to show them that we will be okay, our baby will fit right in, and mommy will love all four :)

If you've taken the time to read this, thank you for investing in our lives, I know sometimes reading through these things can be grueling, I usually love to write encouraging words and lessons, but honestly the lesson right now for me is to stop focusing on what I want and focus on the blessing the Lord is creating in me, and choosing excitement over anxiety.

This birth will be beautiful, thank you for your prayers over us!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Every time people see that I am pregnant with my fourth baby I get this wide eyed crazy lady stare. I realize most people these days only want a couple children, and mine are quite close together- but i LOVE having children! I always wanted four and though pregnancy is usually a little challenging for me I adore that the Lord has blessed my body and my heart with four little gifts.

This week I have been really gearing up and preparing for labor. I had a major mental shift recently from "I'm so tired and I always have to do too much work and not enough rest" and the internally selfish perspective of that to "I am SO ecstatic about where I am and that I get to give birth soon! What an honor!"

It came at the perfect time as well. This weekend was supposed to be a sort of "babymoon" for Bryce and I, a chance to get away together and be part of one of our most looked forward to events of the year. But as it stood it just wasn't working out and I felt the Lord grant peace over my heart in staying behind to be with our girls and rest up for the coming weeks. It would have been a difficult trip for me this late in pregnancy anyway. But it was a difficult decision as we desperately miss time together and need to get away! Plus sometimes being alone with little ones is a little frightening for me! Perspective is everything though isn't it? If you think about it, YES it is! You can change the outcome of your current situation JUST by changing your attitude. We try to teach our children this everyday, because as a kid you don't control much about your life. So we are sure to remind them that the one thing they do get to choose is what attitude they present to the world. I am not necessarily an excellent example of this, but as the Lord has been reminding me so much lately to be constantly evaluating my own attitude I feel that I'm improving!

So, this weekend is going to be, and has already started out as glorious! It has really made me excited about having three little girls! We spent time snuggling and watching princess shows, ate snacks, painted our nails, blow dried our hair after a warm bath, decided on sewing projects for the dolls, and even spoke to my parents on the phone. I have been working so much in the mornings lately that I've just missed these lazy days playing and enjoying my girls! I am now only working a couple days  a week which will really help my energy as well as helping them adjust before the baby comes. I can tell they are a little nervous and excited about the baby, so I want to bless them this last little bit of time so they know they are loved!

I am reading Ina May's guide to childbirth and BOY has it opened my eyes! I mean I have kinda steered toward hippyish these last few years anyway just by way of nutrition and health, but I hadn't really read into and understood birth as much as i should have five years ago! Birth is incredible and I am SO excited that i get to do it again!

Yes, I did just say that :) I know- every single time I talk to women about birth they think I am NUTS for not wanting epidurals, c section, or hospital birth. I hear almost every time "God made Dr.s and scientists to invent epidurals so you don't have to go through the pain!" But my perspective doesn't stem from pain, and it doesnt stem from trying to be macho or show up other women. I LOVE labor! It is NOT an illness, it is just treated like one! It is such an incredibly empowering gift that God made our bodies to not only put together a child inside of ourselves, but then gifted us with the ability to push the baby out! All the physiological, emotional and hormonal processes our bodies are intended to go through during labor are so amazing- yet generally missing when used in tandem with narcotics, interventions and surgery. It is mind blowing to me that women in our U.S. culture do not know that much about labor! We are so fearful of it that when a woman says she wants to go natural we think she's one of those weirdos trying to prove how awesome they are. But really it is a woman saying "I am not afraid of this process, I can mentally handle the pain, my body was made for this." It is a difference in perspective. As I said above, a choice in attitude.
No i don't mean to say that some C-sections are unavoidable, or that Dr.'s are bad- I mean to say how your labor goes should be your choice completely and should be approached without fear, but with excitement- giddy ridiculous excitement! You are marvelous! You are MADE to have this baby come out of you and not leave you broken!

Anyway, no high horse needed here- I do not see myself as better or stronger than any other woman out there, but i do know my perspective is different than most. I don't love pain, I love that my body can do this, I love proving to myself that God made me miraculous and with the insane ability to bring a child into the world without incident. I've had three very different birth experiences, and this one will also be quite different. I've experienced a lot with my three kids! I think this time is going to be so insanely joyous that I will not even be able to describe it to others. Fear free, panic free, busy-ness free, it is going to be amazing!

If you are planning to have babies or are pregnant- or want more kids you should definitely read this book by Ina May Gaskin! She has been a midwife since the 60s and has some incredible stories and insights into things that you may not realize are possible for you! It is a very empowering and freeing book, and will definitely prepare and excite you for labor even if you've never done it before. Don't believe the hype you see and hear from T.V. pregnancies or even your friends, labor is safe and beautiful!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What right do we really have to our feelings?

Oh boy.
This lady has been learning some tough lessons lately.
I'll tell ya, this has been one of the hardest seasons of life I can remember to date. Walking through health challenges with Bryce was no doubt difficult, but this seems to be on a whole new level as we fight daily to accomplish our dreams and passionately pursue God's promise over our lives. We knew it would not be easy, but still daily we can get easily overwhelmed with the upfront cost of dreams.

Today I was so completely caught off guard feeling bad for myself. I could literally make you a huge list of reasons why i was righteously upset, and trust me you would probably get upset right along with me and pump me an air fist of "you didn't deserve that girl!" But what good would that do me? Or you? It definitely would not be encouraging, and it wouldn't help me in dealing with whatever it is I need to deal with. So instead, I warned Bryce of my mood and put my headphones on for some worship music, good old musical conviction right there :)

Grace. Something I have desperately been working toward, a word I feel the Lord gave me to strive toward and believe I can achieve. I'll tell ya, He has certainly put me in a place to HAVE to learn it or be drowned by it!

What right do we really have to our feelings? It seems like our culture encourages us to act on our feelings, to express them. We constantly are building each others feelings up. When we are angry we want someone to express their disgust that we've been treated wrongly and so our feelings get stronger and we may respond back in anger to those that hurt us. What benefit is there to this? There is no benefit for the one hurt, or the one who harmed them, or the friend that encouraged the anger. All it did was serve to make a bad situation worse, or make a situation out of nothing really.

So i find myself contemplating this as I start adding up all the things in my life that I do in unnoticed service for others. The fact I realize is that this is what I am called to do, adding them up doesn't make me have to do less, It just changes the attitude and heart I have about them. They move from service to martyrdom, as though I am looking for great recognition, tears of gratitude, someone else to suddenly do it all for me. None of those are going to happen and even if they did it does not change the fact that I was called to do them, not my husband, my kids or anyone else. Not only that but I rob my family of the blessing from my service when I do it in anger or resentment. No longer do they feel loved and cared for and able to operate in their giftings and go about their day with confidence, now they know I'm upset and ungrateful that I have to serve them. They cannot enjoy the dinner I made, the dishes I washed, or the toys I put away. Bath time becomes rough and impatient as I'm thinking about all the things I have to do for them before bed, instead of a silly bonding time that we can laugh together and they know their mother delights in them.

Again, I ask you, what benefit do your feelings play in your daily life? Are they not for a purpose? As children of God we are not given the right to express and discuss and feel our feelings. It doesn't encourage those around us, it doesn't help anyone to accomplish what they have to or have been called to, it distracts from seeing the gifts from the Lord in each and every day. It wastes so much time!

As soon as my attitude was adjusted, because music is the window to peace for me, and cried out all my self pity, I realized that none of it was the fault of my children or husband, it was my own selfish nature wishing for some attention- and it doesn't deserve any. There is blessing even in suffering, though i don't consider chores necessarily suffering. But sometimes feeling as though you're unappreciated can feel like suffering, and though it is a relevant thing to feel- it definitely benefits no one for us to express or focus on it. The Lord wants to bless us through our willing service, a loving attitude, a desire to help others for nothing in return. He returns in ten fold more than a person could anyway!'

If you're a mama and you've not seen "the invisible woman" look it up on youtube, it's only a few minutes but it really helps to illustrate the reason why we serve our families, we do it for the Lord and because it glorifies Him!

Also checkout the song "Steady my heart" By Kari Jobe, it really helps me adjust my attitude when I just know it's wrong.

Life is hard, we go through seasons of great testing of our faith and those seasons feel heavy and difficult to bear, but the Lord gives them to us as gifts, to gain faith and grace and an understanding of who He is and what He goes through. If we can constantly keep our attitudes in check and see them as gifts, they stop being so much to bear and we begin to walk through them with gladness and joy instead of self pity, doubt and anxiety. He is great, He is loving, and though we feel anything hard should not be from Him- we have the opportunity to grow and He knows we CAN make that choice and He allows us to walk through those things to prove to ourselves that we are strong and we can go through fire. It's worth it guys, you're not alone walking down a hard road, I am feeling a little lost right along with you!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cliff Jumpers

Through obedience I have seen my entire family come to the most beautiful season of life I never could have dreamed possible. The faith an obedience of my parents when they were young and raising tiny children has turned into one of the closest, God-centered families that only He could have created! When a family chooses to sit around the dining table for hours discussing the bible, dreams of ministry, challenging, asking, and taking note of memorable scriptures for each other, it is unbelievable! It has really brought me into a new understanding of what the family of God should look like (not that we are it, but that as a church body we are called to be in similar communion!) With grace and joy this brings me often to tears, I remember being an on fire teen beginning missions when i was only 14 when my brothers had other interests. I dealt with fears and heartache knowing no one understood me and I mostly frustrated them. I had my own season of walking away, but upon returning I spent a year concealed away spending my days ruminating on the Lord and His mighty power. After that year I married and went home and I truly believe the reason for those five years home was to reunite a passionate effective family and in that loving environment teach us our spiritual gifts and allow us to learn from each other and from Him. It was such a beautiful season and so much fruit has come from those little seeds we planted and worked the ground, fed that wonderful soil and here we are today! The Lord has begun to now spread us out, more mature in our love for Him and our knowledge of His great plan we have been tossed to the four winds to become leaders, givers, goers, motivators, writers, senders, lovers of His word. What a blessing to be called a BALES/MILLER!
Dad and I were texting tonight and it just inspired this expression of the theme of our season of life: we are cliff jumpers! I've reviewed many times lately that the lesson the Lord has really had me focused on has been His overwhelming grace and what that really did for me.
Bryce and I, well we've always lived out lives as cliff jumpers. No one seems to understand us, but luckily our families have become used to this about us! The Lord has never directed our path in a way that makes sense to anyone and we have learned to be okay with that adversity. When I was 14 the Lord told me to go to Jamaica on a mission trip, I had no money or a job- but somehow i raised the money. When i decided to leave college, had excellent grades and a personal recommendation of a PHD to continue studies in Psychology to pursue counseling children. The Lord told me to leave and move to Texas, which also cost a lot of money. During that year He also told me to go to Africa, the most expensive of the trips, while also paying to attend the Academy. He came through every time! During my time at the HA I became best friends with Bryce, and upon graduation we began pursuing what the Lord had clearly communicated to both of us to be married that next summer. When we got married Bryce had the promise of a job, but we had no jobs or income and had just moved! Imagine how that felt for my dad.... But we had faith! We knew that the Lord directed us in a way that never seemed to make any SENSE to anyone that didn't understand our faith and our calling. There have been many many times of this- most recently calling us to pack up and move across the Country when we made awesome income, to pursue a dream of something more- a dream of residual income, to be able to be the senders we have known He has been preparing us to be for our whole lives! Every account of faith, every agonizing event of our marriage (not the marriage, but health struggles and such) have brought us to where we are to understand where we are going. He wanted us to learn steps of faith in small amounts, then larger and now we know we can do anything He calls us to! His mercies have carried us each and every day and it only gets better each day.
The Lord tells us to jump, and now it seems our will fights only a small amount before we strap in and say AWESOME LETS DO IT!
Each member of my family is in the exact same spot in their life, knowing they're called to jump and getting ready to leap off that cliff. Today I told dad we were mid-air waiting and would see them on the way. What a GIFT! It really hit me, and people I'm really not talking about my own family here, I'm talking about YOU, about us! We have the ability to JUMP when He tells us, He has prepped us, we knew it had been coming, it is terrifying! He never said it wouldn't hurt, or it wouldn't cause anxiety, or that it would be comfortable! He just said JUMP and I WILL CATCH YOU! He does not fail! Here's what I say to you, if it is difficult to look to Him and feel comfort, look around you, WE ARE MIDAIR! We are HERE, when you jump you are not alone, we are there with you! You know who were cliff jumpers? The disciples! The people Jesus called His friends, those willing to die for Him, those imprisoned in other countries for His name, He tells each of us when it is time to jump and our job is to trust that He has an incredible reason. Guys we were not created for THIS world! We have so much fear and worry about today, about tomorrow, about money, and yet none of those things will carry into the life we were actually created for- HEAVEN! Don't get so caught up in regular routine life that you miss your chance to jump and feel the rush of adrenaline when it is ALL up to Him to carry you through it!!! Look around when you're there, you are not alone, we are right here soaring through the air struggling with those same anxieties, but we KNOW from experience what seasons wait on the other side of that scary jump, the Lord wants to send you on to His incredible plan and purpose for your life but He cannot do it if you will not first JUMP!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

I am such an Israelite. I mean really, I know I cannot be the only one that silently judges the Israelites a little bit when reading the old testament, seriously come ON people, He parted the red sea! AFTER the plagues, how could you EVER doubt God after any of those miracles? I often think if I had been one of them I surely would not have doubted God and would have worshipped freely and with excitement through each trial knowing He had some crazy amazing way of coming through for us.

Yet I look back in my own life and find so many of the same type of moments- moments where there was no other way but God. He was the only one that could have orchestrated the events that have taken place in my 27 years. The way I came to know Him was a miracle in and of itself. My dad was an alcoholic and a drug addict, when i was just over a year old he had multiple heart attacks and chose to go through treatment. While he was there my mom was invited to a church bible study while out smoking and walking the neighborhood with me and my older brother. She decided to give it a shot, she gave her life to Christ and he followed almost a year later after much hesitation. The Lord had my family set to know Him from the beginning but neither came from churched homes and were so very lost. God is a big God. My dad is the only one from his recovery group that never relapsed and it has been 26 years!

Bryce and I recently had a discussion about the way the Lord has orchestrated our lives, that they have never fit into anyone's typical box and mostly made no sense to anyone. But we have followed the voice of God each turn and found that He blessed the choices we made and our lives have blossomed and continue to reach new heights. I have always lived with the principle that I would rather be uncomfortable and barely making it and following the will of my Lord then to live outside His will in comfort. There is NO life outside His will for me. It is free will on my part, but His plan is so much better than mine! His ways SO much better than my own design! He doesn't put things together the way i ever imagined, but looking back i can see how some momentary painful things turned into the biggest blessings in my entire life and how they are setting me up to fulfill the calling I've received.

I deal a lot with anxieties, feeling totally swamped by responsibility and providing for our family and getting things done in the perfect timing, making decisions in the best interest of now four children. This is an area I have been greatly working on lately, seeking help wherever i can get it! But the best place? The bible. I woke up feeling overwhelmed this morning with the things i needed to do today and Bryce just gently reminded me i needed to go have some time with my bible and focus on the Lord. It changed my entire heart toward the day! Just being reminded of the gracious and beautiful character of Jesus first thing in the morning reminds me of how small my anxieties are but also that His grace encompasses all of them and whisks them away if I will just share them.

I was doing the dishes tonight after dinner, frustrated that they never end (right) reminded of all the events of the day, most of them feeling like getting knocked a step backward when we've been fighting to push against a powerful wind to press on to accomplish our dreams. We know our dreams don't match the world, we know we think in a different way, that we don't make sense for working so hard to change our lives and those around ours- but we also KNOW without a doubt that this was His design and we are to walk faithfully forward.
As I'm listening to worship music washing dishes my thoughts were wandering on the day wondering what in the world the Lord is doing, why would He call me so far from home? I'm desperately homesick, and our life there made sense. It had gotten comfortable and easy, and we knew that the Lord never called us to stay comfortable- thus we knew the shaking was coming, and boy has it! This move has been a ride. But how could I be so certain of His call on my life one moment and feel like He's forgotten me the next? I know I'm not the only one who goes there with their thoughts. Finances are tight and we all wonder where is He? He called us here, but why would He do that if He intended to leave me here to suffer alone and away from home? Just as the Israelites constantly saw the beautiful promises of God come to fruition and yet somehow continually felt forgotten and left behind.

Has God shown Himself faithful to you time and again over the years? Has He given you clear direction and spoken to you? He will not leave you! Don't let yourself slip into feeling like an Israelite! He never left them, the promised land was still waiting for them. Don't delay your promised land out of fear and doubt. The only one that pulls away from your relationship with Him is you, so if you feel far away know that He has stayed where He was and is waiting for you to turn to Him! He desperately wants to give you His grace and take your anxieties and fears and pull you into the cover of His wings, trust me they are big enough to cover anything you may have in your life. I don't care if you go to church or not- church in fact often seems to forget the simplicity of His love, grace and forgiveness. He wants YOU where YOU ARE. He has a beautiful plan and direction for you, full of grace and love and forgiveness and He waits to extend it anytime you are ready.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Discpline : Your kids

I've been really contemplating this subject for the last few days, feeling like the Lord laid it on my heart to share some thoughts with you on discipline. It may be long, but I promise making sure you're on the right track with your kids is worth the time.

This is definitely not going to be a blog written about the types of discipline i think a parent should use, that is totally a personal decision, hopefully one made using the bible- but again they are your kiddos, you know them best.

My heart is actually to address the importance of discipline in a culture that believes indulging selfishly allows us to lead a fulfilling life.

The past few months I have had a unique opportunity through a part time job to really watch parenting styles. In trying to keep being a stay-at-home-mom but also knowing my children had a weakness in not knowing how to play with other kids- I got a job working at a health club in the nursery where i can bring my girls with me and watch peoples kids while they exercise. The club I work at is a premiere club, so the members pay a high monthly membership and have access to a lot of reeeallly nice stuff. Thus the type of people that come in and out of nursery are varied as far as income, life experience, age, and definitely parenting styles.

It has come to my attention, however, that parents think they are loving their child more by allowing them so many freedoms and not standing firm with any rules. I have seen children that hit and kick and spit and throw so many fits (these are 7 and 8 year old's) and when you tell their parents they are not even surprised or even sorry that their child treated you like that! It honestly amazes me.

Trust me, having three myself, I understand that standing up to your child is not comfortable, convenient, fun or relaxing, however ignoring the problem is only going to make for horrible displays of defiance in public places. Not to say my children haven't done their share of public displays of defiance, but I can assure you if I state " If you scream and throw a fit one more time i will take you to the car " you'd better believe I WILL do it.

My mom always taught me, don't say you'll do something you have no intention of carrying out. Even if you didn't mean to say it, or the punishment is harsh, you have to keep your word and learn from those mistakes because your children have to know you mean business, you train them to respect you and to trust you by keeping your word with discipline.
I appreciate that advice so much now, and I've seen what happens when i don't do what I've said I will.

When we're getting older and dreaming about marriage, having children, we imagine those well behaved beautiful kids that everyone wants to be around and watch. The ones that can sit still in church, don't interrupt, eat their meals, don't lie, hit, or steal and always share. We want the children who clean up their messes, wash their hands, and use manners each time they request something. We want to take peaceful children to the store and have people say "oh my your children are so well behaved!" We want smiling, happy, loving, intelligent children. BUT generally we DON'T understand that EVERY one of those things are TAUGHT. 99.98 percent of children have to be taught those behaviors through consistent discipline. That involves attention and resolve, but it can be done and is not as bad as you'd imagine.
I personally think dealing with a child who is constantly throwing fits and fighting for their own way is much more taxing to deal with then the time it takes to teach a child as young as 8 months how to begin behaving.

A good place to start is thinking about what you're teaching your little ones with behaviors of your own- do you eat all of your food and expect them to as well? Do you use your manners? Do you make sure you're choosing a good attitude even in rough situations? Can you sit still when someone is speaking for a longer period of time? You are your child's role model, if they can't see it in you they definitely won't see the benefit in learning it themselves. When we say one thing and act a different way themselves "because I'm the mom" that seems really untrustworthy and like we cannot follow our own advice and rules, therefore they can be broken but only by someone who holds authority. I think that contributes to kids having issues with authority, they are not taught why the rules are a little different and so they believe it's a "i want this power over you, or I'm better than you" thing and they really defy that. I know parents have good intentions with that, because really as an adult we should be able to make whatever decision we want, but with little prying eyes that question everything we do we just cannot afford to say "because" anymore. They need to understand why. They need to know we can spend the time explaining the differences in our lives and theirs when it really confuses them. When we pass it off and don't actually address it,the question is still there it is just now accompanied by the feeling that we have no time for them, we don't care that it bothers them and we're just going to keep doing it. It does not communicate respect to dismiss your child's inquiries.
My mom also made sure to teach us early on that even as children we deserved to be respected as well, but all too often parents and adults do not respect children, thus leading them to confusion and frustration because they do not hold value any longer when they feel they have something important to add or ask. Somehow we are surprised that they don't already know that "obvious" piece of information so they feel inferior and stupid for wanting the answer.

I know I have written before about the importance of what we speak over our children, it is absolutely vital, but we also need to make sure we're respecting, loving and disciplining them.
Many parents want to avoid telling their child "no" so often, and so they find ways to distract them or put away the object they're tempted to touch, anything to keep from telling them "no," the problem i see with this is the importance of learning how to say no! We HAVE to learn how to say no to others, and that things that belong to other people need to be asked before touched, things that are dangerous especially need to be taught or else children will have no understanding of risk and danger! We cannot spend our parenting indulging what they want by removing the things they cannot have and distracting them with gifts and toys and things we keep buying to pull their attention away. It does not teach them how to make wise decisions and rewards intrusive behavior with gifts.

Guilt. Parents do a lot out of guilt. I have seen more parents give their children anything they want from guilt about a divorce, or daycare or whatever they feel guilty about they then overcompensate by buying the child anything they want. Taking them out to fast food every night, letting a five year old listen to Justin Bieber and watch Twilight, buying them every toy they ever wanted and making sure they bring them to show (not share) other children. I do not think buying your kids stuff is bad, or letting them choose new things to experience, but are any of those healthy habits for your kid? What are they learning? When they are mad, they get what they want, when they know how to make you feel awful, they manipulate you into getting them stuff. Those behaviors are not loving to your child, they are teaching them unhealthy ways of thinking and that they can manipulate a situation to get what they want.

Children are born sinners like the rest of us. You can see at just a few months old, once they are cognitively making choices, they start manipulating situations. I don't mean to say they're little con artists trying to make you do what they want, but they know that when they cry you will come get them. So whenever they want you to come, they cry. They may not need fed, changed, played with, burped or anything, they just know that when they cry you will come. Obviously that is good as well as sometimes frustrating, they learn to count on you and that when they are in need you will be there. They also learn, as they get older, that when you walk away if they want you to come back they can cry. They don't need anything, you just played with them for 30 minutes and you need to make them lunch, but they have learned they can tell you they "need" you to come. So starts teaching them the difference between "need" and "want" and the importance of learning to be independent an entertain oneself. It starts from birth and if we can't be consistently on it from that day on our children will catch up and speed ahead of us and then catching up to them is very difficult!

To become healthy children, the dreamy ones i already talked about, they need consistency and discipline, which teach them their world is safe and they are loved. Kids push boundaries to test and make sure they are still safe, you will still keep them accountable, and they can relax and know you've not forgotten them. A child who tests boundaries only to find they don't have any feels insecure and acts out because they have no idea who will catch them when they make a huge mistake and often no one does, they just clean up the mess and cover it all up. They cannot see any barrier between themselves and floating off into oblivion never to be found again and so they desperately kick and yell and spit and beg that someone let them know they are accountable and loved and required to act as part of a healthy family. A child who is disciplined is loved, a child left to their own devices, given whatever they want feels neglected and often cannot adjust well to new things, feels lost and often acts out in defiance.

Over time I have found that even providing small discipline (sitting in time out for hitting) consistently and doing what I tell them I'll do, these children I've experienced at work have really opened up to me about their life, the things they like, and after months of hating me they have come to be happy when they come in and know they'll be with me two hours. I don't mean to say I'm so great and everyone loves me, moreso that consistency somewhere in their life makes them feel safer and like I care about their life.

Bryce reminds our children often- and I LOVE this- "You only get to choose one thing and that is your attitude" Because a child may not get to pick their own food, their own clothes, their own bed times- but they do get to choose how they will react to those things and that is where the character building comes in, that is where the discipline of not being free to choose everything teaches them life is NOT fair and they'd better choose a good attitude and enjoy the small things they get to choose. As they grow older they get to be responsible for more, but not until they prove they can handle it and that they know how to make wise choices.

I know this was lengthy, if you held with me the whole time- thank you! To all of you soon to be moms, or brand new moms, discipline is a good thing to start thinking about right now. The things around your child, mostly at home, will shape them into the young people they will become. We control what those things around them are- so make sure you project forward what you're teaching your child and what it will look like in five years. If you want well behaved kids, it starts now with your brainstorming how to teach them to be well adjusted young people. We are shepherding hearts, teaching little ones how to become healthy happy adults, it is vital that we think through how we raise them from birth to see that we're on track for their best chance of success!
Much love and blessings to all of you parents, it is HARD work and you will fail and lay in bed counting your own mistakes, but it is the most important job on the planet, the least recognized, but the most influential in a persons life.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why do we nag?

I've been thinking a lot about this.

What is our role as wives? I know we act like our role is to pick apart outfits, clean up messes, maybe nag a little about doing all the housework alone, never getting candle lit dinners and chocolate. As women we hate that we get labeled a "nag" and are regarded as always complaining. Why is this? Why ARE we always complaining? I have a couple of ideas, though they probably won't be what anyone wants to hear.

1. Maybe we complain because we want something done? HA! That sounds simple enough right? Do any of you have a husband that responds positively to constant complaints by doing everything on your nag list? I sure don't! I wouldn't think that would be an easy task, to constantly want to bless and help a complaining woman. The bible is specific about this trait in women "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife" Proverbs 21:19. Ouch right? I don't know about you but the stuff i catch myself starting fights and nagging about is usually things I could have accomplished myself in fifteen minutes and saved both of us the emotional stress. In my experience all complaining and nagging accomplishes is making your husband feel like dirt, wasting an hour arguing, and having no real change to show for it.

2. It is also quite possible that we are just trying to manage everything. Sometimes we look at our husbands like they would drown without us there to constantly take care of everything, but is that even the truth? I know in my own case, my husband is MORE than capable of handling everything without me. Sure I have had more practice juggling a lot with housework and the kids, but on days he has at home with them I always come home to giggling and stories of epic adventure, where he somehow got them to eat something they won't even try for me and they slept for two hours and haven't fought for more than a few minutes.
It's control. I HATE when I'm not controlling something. That is a difficult thing for me to admit, and I'm not the kind of woman that bosses her husband around kind of control, the kind where I've got everything micro managed to keep it all in balance- things that are my job really; cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, mailing bills, doing laundry, all that stuff you're doing as well. If i can keep it all balanced just right than I can stay on top of all of it and feel accomplished. That also means that when someone, like my husband, comes into the mix and throws it off by asking me to sit down with him for a while ( why is that so hard?) I just get frustrated because it will back me up on my list for hours (heaven forbid right)! Thus it can turn me into a nag because I'm constantly talking about all the "stuff i have to do to manage this house" and making him feel like I don't think he does anything to help. That is definitely not how i feel but by always explaining away why i won't take a break I am inevitably making him feel like he is less important than all of my tasks.
 Like the story in the bible when Martha is cooking dinner for Jesus and the disciples and Mary chooses to sit and visit with Jesus instead of helping her sister. Martha gets frustrated and asks Jesus, " Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work myself? Tell her to help me!" The Lord answers, " Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her." (Luke 10:40-42)  I feel like this goes for spending time with Jesus, but also with your husband and family. They are more valuable than the tasks that need to be done. Though some of us express love in our service, if the one we are loving receives love with quality time and physical touch, than our acts of service are actually painful for them because we ignore their need to accomplish our own goals.

Over the years I have been at a lot of baby showers, three of my own ;) and wedding showers, and at each there has been a time when the experienced women share their thoughts and advice. Each and every time I have heard by more than one woman, " Don't worry about cleaning the house, you won't get to the end of your life and say to yourself  'gee i wish I'd spent more time doing chores.'" I don't think that means keeping your home clean is something you shouldn't care about, but I do think the value of it needs to come after the care and quality time with those you love most. After all, our calling in this world is to go out and spread the love of Jesus, and that is done through more ways than cleaning and micro managing.

Since I moved across the Country I've really had to step out of my comfort zone to meet new people and try to make friends. If you know me very well, my family are my best friends and I generally feel complete with that. But the Lord is seeking to stretch me out of that small bubble and reach out to others, so he moved me! Anyway, I've had the opportunity to pick up a lot of things about the marriages of other people and the struggles they have. One thing is common throughout, it seems the women are always trying to be Eve! What I mean is, wasn't it arrogant and out of place for Eve to think she knew better than Adam and pointed him to the apple? As women I have generally noticed that most of us are trying to lead out husband around on a leash showing him what we think he should buy, eat, how he should exercise, when we will give him sex, what vacations he should work overtime to pay for and heaven forbid he spend his own money! UGH that is our job! Am I even a little bit right ladies? I know this is a struggle for me too, as it is human nature for us women to want to struggle for control. "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Genesis 3:16

So on the other side of this what do we have? How do we get things done, mention when we need help, and relinquish the control we think we have? There has to be a better way of communicating with our husbands than nagging and there has to be a better way to respect them in our attitudes and actions. After all, "However, each one of you must also love his wife as himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33

The Lord put us together to do more than procreate. We are intended to be a dynamic team, and inseparable force, a representation of Christ's marriage to the church, hope that unconditional love can be fought for. We were meant to bring each other UP not pull each other DOWN. Adam was created first, and before Eve he was given a job, a life calling and a goal that was specifically made for him. I believe our husbands are that way as well, before us they were given a calling and something to do- we were added to that to become an asset, an encourager, to bring something to the table that wasn't already there. We see our husbands weakest moments, the most vulnerable fears and concerns are gently laid in our hands and ours alone. It seems like abuse to be constantly nagging at the man who is trying to lead us to the Lord, accomplish what he's been called to do, and is laying down his life for our family. There has to be a way that we can be as we were created to be, to gently hold his heart, bring words of affirmation and confidence, assure him he can take on he world and turn it upside down if he wanted to. If we're not doing that then who is? Their boss? nope. Their kids? unlikely if they are young. Their parents? Maybe a little. But it was only given to YOU as YOUR job to stand by him.
He is an eagle, ready to learn to fly. He knows he was created for greatness somehow and that he was meant to soar but he cannot fathom HOW that will happen. Are you going to be the rope that ties his feet to a root in the ground telling him he can't do it? He won't succeed so why try? Are you the woman who stands at the door and scoffs at every idea and threatens to do something irrational if he doesn't do what you want?
Or will you be the woman who builds her Eagle a perch from everything around her, builds it with care and structurally sound, building supports and stairs and even a railing in case he needs to hold on one last time before he tries to fly. Are you going to be the woman that builds her marriage with encouragement, confidence, hope and love so that when he is finally ready (not when we tell him he is!) he will have a structure so beautifully built that he will KNOW he can do it!!!

It seems harder than it is. A simple decision. What kind of wife will you be? Will you let go of your own ideas and thoughts of what he needs to accomplish and let the Lord whisper to him the greatness he was born for? I want to be the woman that works endlessly to build a foundation of love and understanding for my husband so that when it comes time for him to walk through that door to his own potential I will be ready to help him learn how to fly!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013



  1. With impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing.

   This theme comes up in the bible over and over, usually in context to how purified and beautiful the gold and silver had to be in the old testament for the temple, but it also comes up a lot in reference to us going through the refiners fire.
   Psalm 66:10 "For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver."
   Isaiah 48:10 "See, I have refined you, though not as silver, I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
   Jeremiah 9:7 " Therefore this is what the Lord almighty says: 'See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?'"
   I hear over and over again how hard life is for people, how nothing goes the way they want it to, how could a good God let all of this happen to them when they have believed in Him? 
   Whoever said the fire wasn't one of the best parts of the process? I truly believe that walking through the fire has been the best and worst times of my life. There is no denying how painful refinement can be, your character is tested at every turn and the ugly seems to pour out of you nonstop for a while. In reflection you wonder who are you? When did you become the person focused on so much negative? Take heart, the Lord has BIG things for you- that is why you are being refined and the unwanted elements of your character are being burned out of you! 
   What is the purpose of this life? To glorify God- most believers would say- to tell others about our gracious and loving God. Sometimes we have ideas what that will look like and when it is different than we thought- when it is painful and makes us sour- we start to wonder if maybe we heard God at all, was that Him? Did i make that up and somehow i am now on the wrong path? Most of the time, in my experience, that is the voice of the enemy I have allowed into my heart. It is those times at my darkest, during the hottest part of refinement, that I wonder why did I go this way? 
   Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who willingly chose to obey the Lord and quickly found out it meant they would stand in the middle of the fiery furnace. The Lord protected them, and no doubt they had gone through refinement just as you and I do, before they were brought to this choice. The strength of their character was the prelude to this momentous story of obedience to the one true God. 
   We fight the fire. It's true right? We HATE it. We thought "Yes! I am ready for this God, test my faith and make me strong!" And when He did, we whined. Right? I know I do not only speak for myself. It NEVER looks like we think it will and yet we still assume we know better than God what our "test" should look like! 
   The fire may be every single person in your life disagreeing with the direction you know the Lord has lead you on. It may be that you have the support of those you love but every single thing has gone wrong since the day you decided to walk in obedience. Maybe the Lord told you to have faith and quit your job, or move and now you are looking at your checkbook wondering how you can manage. Maybe the ministry that you serve has changed and you don't see how you fit in anymore and so you wonder if you should leave. 
   I don't know what your fire looks like but I can tell you this: how you choose to walk through it will decide where you come out on the other side. Are you fighting refinement? Do you wish you didn't have to go through it and thus you have dug in your heels and refuse to go forward and only wish to go back? You will stay in that fire longer, until you give up the fight and see that the Lord has good things for YOU and the people you are called to reach on the other side of that fire! Refinement is painfully awful at times, but when it is finished the product is beautifully near flawless and seriously more effective at capturing an audience than the hot product or even before the fire. 
   Stop and think, what does God have for me here? What am i focused on? There are people watching you handle the furnace, they may be little people you are raising each day, they may be people at your job or ministry, or just people on the street. It is easy to see when someone i walking through the fire, but what is absolutely remarkable is watching someone walk through it with grace and love knowing the other side holds for them a beauty beyond imagining. Look around, know that you're in the fire, and willingly surrender what you hold tight to the Lord and know He does not intend evil for you- He wants to refine you in this situation in this time for a reason you and I do not yet understand.

   Daniel 12:10 "Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand but those who are wise will understand."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our God is fighting for us always

I've been missing home bad lately, and my dad sent me this song that is changing my life everyday....

Open up our eyes by Elevation Worship (I encourage you to listen!)

It's really got me thinking....
"Our God is fighting for us always, our God is fighting for us all"
Brings me to tears every time! I feel as though my heart could burst at the sudden overwhelming feeling that He is most absolutely fighting along side me!
I have said often lately that our life is headed somewhere huge, we can see the big open gorgeous feild full of beauty and relaxation and everything we've ever dreamed we'd do for the Lord- but when we look down we see that we're in quicksand and we're just peddling as fast as we can to stay a step ahead and keep on fighting. He is FIGHTING FOR ME! He is right there next to me kicking His legs saying " you CAN do this Kaylee FIGHT!" and I am encouraged enough to kick a little harder!
Where are you in your life? Are you stuck in the quicksand knowing you were made for more but you just CANNOT find that place you fit? Kick KICK KICK! He is right there with you kicking all the way.

" Greater is the One who's in us, greater is the One who calls our name. Stronger is the one within us, stronger is the one who fights for us HE WILL NEVER FAIL!"
You have HIM fighting for you and even when you fail He WILL NOT! It goes directly against His character to give up on you! So what are you afraid of? What are you desperately feeling alone for? What are you striving for but just cannot make headway? HE IS FIGHTING FOR YOU! HE WILL NOT FAIL AT FIGHTING FOR YOU! You keep your head up and trust in the Lord and He alone and He will NOT fail you! Your God is a MIGHTY God! Tread that water, hang on to that rope, start digging a set of stairs into the wall of your hole, wherever you are start FIGHTING. The devil can only get a grip on us when we STOP FIGHTING. God will fight for you even when you cannot but His grace can only be applied to you when you come and sit as His feet and ask His help. Like the prodigal son, the Lord waits for us to return from our mess and He will welcome us home with open arms, the fatted calf, His best because He has waited long hours for our return and He NEVER stopped fighting!

Let it go guys, Fight with the Lord but let go of the fear, anxiety and worry- it has ruled your life long enough! He can do a miracle through you- just hang on and push forward, dream big and GO GET IT DONE! We live ONE life, and we focus on tomorrow- but what we have is TODAY always today... You fight through today and know you are never alone......

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

Happy New year!
   I always think people make a huge deal about the "new year," like somehow this year will be the answer to all of life's big problems. As if it is going to solve everything and finally they will be happy and enjoy their life.
   I find this interesting, reflection is good don't get me wrong! I just find it sadly cultural that we tend to line out all the things we didn't do that great and then decide January first that we need to set ourselves up for being happy by getting organized, drinking less and getting a gym membership.
   Resolution by definition means "a firm decision to do or not to do something; decision, determination, resolve, solution."
   I actually think regularly making a firm decision to change something that's not working for you is a great idea- but what is behind it? It seems to me we often make these decisions because our year wasn't as great as we'd hoped and so THIS year is going to be GREAT, BECAUSE I'm changing it all.
   The one things I don't think I've ever seen on a new years resolution is "To change my attitude" or "to choose not to be offended by anything" or "to choose joy NO MATTER the circumstance" "to give unconditionally and love unconditionally" but each of these would root out the bitterness and negativity or self deprecation and replace it with a good attitude, a happy heart, and person that is so wonderfully whole and complete that people flock to them, want to be around them and want what they have. But what they have can be anyone's if we would only choose it!
   If we first chose to change our attitude we would come to find that we naturally WANT to get in better shape and when we see ourselves the way God sees us the gym membership is not for looks or our own skewed view of wanting to fit in- it's because we want to be healthy! We want to treat our body like a temple of the Holy Spirit and take caution to what we allow in it; making sure to keep in good shape for longevity and the ability to sustain a busy and consistently active life in blessing and serving our family and others. Fitness becomes exciting because we see how God made us to function and fall in love with the endorphin rush! It frees our mind from guilt and gives energy that surges throughout the rest of the day. Fitness is an incredible goal- but not because someone judged you- because God made your body to do incredible things and once you decide and know that- then you can really soar getting in shape and finding an activity you're crazy about!
   When we look around at the chaos in our life and decide we need to get more organized- it takes action to take control of our home and rearrange it. We have to commit to small daily activities that will change small things but eventually our habits will form and we will naturally reorganize things until we find a working function for our life. An example from my own life; when we were first married we moved into a nice three bedroom house. I had NO idea how to keep that HUGE house clean! It was so difficult to find a rhythm and seemed to me that it took all day just to get one thing done. Now, after each addition of a new child I have actually become much more efficient at keeping my home clean and organized and am actually the most organized now than ever! It seems backwards, because we all know i have NO time now- but had all the time in the day before Lucy was born. But now my life requires a bit of routine and so slowly the new habits began to form as i changed my attitude and forced myself to do more chores regularly until my natural instinct is now to be actively doing something all the time. Not that it's healthy to be a Martha- especially not replacing Jesus, spouse, or children! But it is necessary, as in Proverbs 31 to be a wife of noble character, to  find a way to get all of our chores done and spend quality time with each member of our family! It is possible, just choose to do one extra thing each day- write out a calendar you can see and check off the days you've done the assigned chores, that way you can see that you're getting better! Also, listen to something inspiring while doing your chores, a sermon, an inspirational book on CD or audio, something that is positive and uplifting. If you are a stay at home mom, your home is your ministry so accept your failures and find simple solutions for them; for example I LOVE the kids toys to be organized but some days they get out EVERY toy and it would take me hours to put them away where i like- so i have a toy cube wall with colored baskets and the kids and I just put them away in the baskets and slide them into their slots- that way the toys are put away but also look nice and organized even when they are not. I also sometimes take toys out if they're getting overwhelming and rotate them back in another time.
   Ladies, I do want to touch on something I hear from women and even men a lot. Often when we have kids we start wearing sweats all the time and not showering till late, not wearing makeup, and "letting ourselves go." I remember before Bryce and I got married this was his biggest concern with me, that i would have children and just get frumpy like most moms. I hear women say all the time that they don't know why their husband isn't interested in them after a few years- but honestly I wonder what they have tried. Men are visual, they want to look at you and be instantly amazed at your beauty- but it's quite difficult when we take no care for ourselves or their feelings. I think this puts a large rift in the marriage because a man cannot find a way to ask for this to change, and the wife is so sensitive she gets hurt and angry if he does find a way.
We have always tried to keep communication open and gentle enough that if a suggestion was made this way we could gracefully listen and try to change it. We are committed to the same person for our whole life- but if we wish to maintain the same level of excitement, attraction, and desire that our husbands seek after our hearts to win them every day, we REALLY need to step up our game! He needs to KNOW we love him, we need to BE captivating! He can't continually be visually captivated by a woman in sweats and an oversized t shirt without even clean hair- we really cannot expect a man to "love us as we are" if we cannot love ourselves enough to see the importance of taking care of ourselves.
   Is this making sense? By no means am I trying to place the importance solely on our looks, I do not believe this and I certainly don't think it is what makes us beautiful. It is honor for him, self respect, joy and kindness all wrapped up in keeping ourselves a beautiful package for him to unwrap. Aiding in keeping our husbands eyes solely on US not on the women of our culture who are taught to flaunt it all and virtually be naked on commercials and billboards. If we want our men to focus on us and struggle LESS in this area we need to accept the responsibility to step it up and take care of our bodies- exercise, eat right, get dressed up sometimes, be excited and happy and all those things he fell in love with. You can have his attention back- you just have to get to working for it! We cannot choose how they act toward us, or what they say if they need us to try a little harder, but we can control how we react and make a "resolution" to step it up and be the best we can because our spouses deserve it. Sometimes, with a brand new baby, this meant i got dressed and put makeup on and nice clothes five minutes before he walked in the door- but still it was done :).
   I hope you are encouraged and hear my heart, we are all heavenly created and beautiful, we have the power to change our WHOLE year just by changing out attitude about it and becoming determined to have a joyful attitude through every rough spot we hit this year- because we all know every year has them!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6