Friday, December 14, 2012

A very Merry CHRISTmas

I love a good commercial, especially the ones that really tug at your heart. The hormones a woman experiences right after having a child really ignite the emotion. Just watching a carters commercial on TV brought me into a complete meltdown. All the moms know the one I am referring to, with the quote at the end that gets you right in heart. “Because the day I became yours, you became mine”. This commercial truly moves me every time I see it. Mainly because it is the best description I have heard to describe the feeling as a new mom.

 It is hard to put into words the feeling you have when you know you are experiencing something you have dreamed of your entire life. Ever since my daughter was born I have been in awe of the amount of love I am filled with. I truly enjoyed being pregnant, well until the very end.  I loved feeling the kicks and all the movements. The positive test results, ultrasounds and the amazing sound of their heartbeat are all part of the most amazing experience of my life. But nothing compares to the moment when you see your child for the first time. It is rare that I am speechless but in that moment I could not utter a word.  All I could do was just stare into her precious eyes.

Motherhood is certainly an experience that is filled with all sorts of emotions.  Fear, exhaustion, joy and pure happiness all mixed in at the same time. Learning sleeping patterns, feeding schedules and understanding the tiny cries are all part of the daily learning curve. Experiencing parenthood with Byron has also brought in a whole new dynamic into our marriage. After delivery Byron went with Landry to the nursery because we both decided beforehand that we wanted one of us to be with her at all times because we did not want to miss a moment.  The nurse, Byron and Landry came back into the delivery room after she had her bath and all the necessary treatments. I was still in a state of exhaustion but I immediately noticed the huge smile on the nurse’s face.  She looked over at me and said “This daddy is in love, I do not think you will have trouble asking him for help”.  She was not wrong. Byron jumps at the chance to change her diaper, which is funny considering he had never changed one before. We have loved doing this “parenting thing” together. It is crazy how much of your day is spent just staring at your child.  I have officially become one of those mothers constantly taking pictures and completely consumed with thoughts of my child. Of course I know it cannot always be like this. Children grow up and our lives will not always be focused on every movement our child makes. However, like a wise friend told me right before I had her, from the day she is born until your last day on earth you will worry.  I know that is the full truth.  Anyone who has children can relate, regardless if you gave birth to them or not, there is no greater love than the love you have for your child.

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. There is a “magic” in the air. Now more than ever I feel so blessed with my precious family.  I realize even more how much Christ truly loves us. Being a parent you immediately know that you would do anything for your child. This experience has taught me so much and has been a reminder of just how much God loves me. I think the love for your child is the closest thing to God's love we can experience. I have also been thinking a lot about all the people in my life that have already gone to be with the Lord. So many of the Christmas traditions I cannot wait to share with Landry were passed down to me by my grandparents. My grandmother always said I should have been born in a different time. I am so old fashioned at heart and at Christmas time it is really brought out in me. But I think Christmas does that to everyone in a way. It is the only time of year when all traditions are brought to life and it is not cheesy or too mushy because it is “the most wonderful time of the year”. It brings out the kid in all of us. But more than anything it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is so important to teach my children to remember it is CHRISTmas. I was so fortunate to grow up in a home where this has always been the focus and it has truly molded my life in a way that I will be forever grateful for. I know Christ is in my heart and no matter what life throws at me God is on my side and his plan is in the works.  I want this for my children. I want to guide them in the same way my parents guided me.  And Christmas is such an opportunity to show your children what life is all about and what their focus should be.  Of course Landry is too small to experience the joy of Christmas this year but having her  here with us has definitely reminded me to be forever grateful for my parents and grandparents that taught me some amazing traditions to pass down to my children. I hope for my children’s sake they learn to appreciate them like I have.  I hope to teach them Jesus is the reason for the season. And the joy you fill at Christmas should be felt year round.  I plan to have a very Merry Christmas this year and I hope to remember to carry this joy with me for the rest of my life. I pray I can be an example of God’s love to my children so they can live filled with the love of Christ.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perfect Timing

I have always been one to try to map out a "plan" and sometimes that plan changes but I give myself a time frame and decide I have to complete this "plan" by this date. Rarely does my timing line up with God's timing. Yet every time things do not go as "planned" I get upset. This week I had a professional goal I wanted to hit before our child arrives this month. At one point I thought I had gotten there and even began to celebrate but as it turns out I have a little further to go. This is okay and I know I will get there but it is going to be in God's timing, not mine. However, I did not feel this way immediately. I was angry, disappointed and even stressed. I reached out to my encouragers that I always call during a crisis in my life, had a long talk with my husband and most importantly finally allowed myself some quiet time with God. By the end of the day I realized that I set myself up for disappointment. I did this by not allowing myself to let go and let God. My life is in his hands and his plans for my life are far greater than anything I can map out for myself. I also realized satan wants to take our joy. 

This is by far one of the most exciting months of my life. I am going to become a mother. That means more to me than any professional goal ever could. And focusing on anything but that at this time seems so small and unimportant. I began to realize I need to be thankful for this reminder to rely on God. I also learned that I will not give up on my goals. A verse that really had an impact on me is...

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Pretty powerful verse. I decided to start planting more seeds and continuing to put in the work because I do believe I will surpass my goals if I can remember to follow Gods plan for my life. God revealed to me that the largest growth takes place when things are not going your way. It is when you are down that you are able to see what you need to do and how you need to trust in him. A quote a friend sent to me was "You do not determine a mans greatness by his talent or wealth as the world does, but what it takes to discourage him". By letting this disappointment discourage me so much so that I would give up would be such a loss for my future and for my families future. This is a situation where I have to rise above even if I do not really feel like it. It has also been a huge lesson for me that I want to teach to my daughter. Life does not always go the way you want it to, especially when you want it to. But if we live for God and continue to trust in him it will go the way it should. 

In my business you have to be self motivated and determined. A Vice President in my company once said "all VP stands for is that you refused to quit when everyone else did."  I need to remember why I am doing this and who I am doing this for. I have been blessed in so many ways. My dream of being a stay at home mother came true. That is one of the biggest blessings in my life. Why I do this is so much stronger than any goal or time frame I put on myself. God knows what he is doing and even if I do not understand it I have to remind myself daily to trust in him and his timing. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Sun Always Comes Back Up

When Byron came home and casually mentioned that a hurricane was headed in our direction the next week I did not really know what that meant. Being from the mountains of North Carolina I am best prepared for a snow storm. Any other kind of natural disaster seems foreign to me. Watching the news over the next few days we watched and waited on word on if we were evacuating or not. Byron left for work on that Monday and told me to pack a bag for a few days and get everything ready because we were probably going to be leaving that afternoon. I found this to be very inconvenient. However, Byron called me a few hours later and said it would only be a category one hurricane and we are going to stay put. So we head to the grocery store and stock up on food and round up our fellow coasties friends for dinner and wait for this "minor" hurricane to start.

When we woke up the next morning everything seemed so calm and I started to wonder if it was even going to become anything at all. Later that afternoon the winds started with the heavy rains and then our power went out. At this point I am still thinking just another tropical storm. I have learned every time it rains in New Orleans it floods. This is our new normal. However, when the power did not come back on and we were having to live by candle light in the smoldering heat without any cooked or refrigerated food for the next couple of days I decided Hurricanes are for the birds. How annoying is this? Being 32 weeks pregnant only added to my annoyance and I started to complain, a lot. By Thursday Byron decided we needed to go to the other base and stay there until we got power again. We had both had enough of living in the dark and sweating every ounce of bottled water we drank.

 Byron's work place quickly became the shelter for all the families stationed at the Comm Station. I looked around and saw all the kids sleeping in sleeping bags and laughing. I walked into the kitchen and saw all the wives combining resources and preparing meals for everyone. All of the men of course finally had TV again due to the generator and were able to catch up on the start of the football season and everyone there was smiling. Living so far away from home it is difficult to be away from family and friends and I don't believe until that moment did I realize how lucky Byron and I are down here. We have found a home away from home. We have found people with common ground, they too are away from family and are living the military life where at times the lack of flexibility tends to "annoy" you. I also realized how fortunate we are to be part of the military. I am so proud of these men and women who have volunteered to serve this country. They protect us from terrorist, yes, but also from natural disasters. They guard and keep this country safe. They go out there when no one else is able and save lives. We saw so much devastation throughout the week. It turns out although Hurricane Isaac was a category one it hung around for so long and kept spinning it caused damage of a category five in some places. So many families lost their homes. To them this was their Hurricane Katrina.

With just a few minor damages and a week of being placed out of our home we made it back safe and sound. The power came back on, along with our ac. We cleaned up the mess, went to the grocery store and went back to normal life pretty quickly. We were so fortunate and blessed to be able to do that. So many families just a few miles away no longer have a home to go to. When that really sinks in I feel guilty for thinking that I was a victim in any way. God showed me so much over the last couple of weeks. I am so proud to be part of the United States Coast Guard family. I am so glad God reminded me to focus on what really matters in life. I pray that I am able to stay positive and not let the inconvenient days distract me from seeing all the good in my life. Throughout the hurricane I still had food, shelter and people that care about me. I still got a paycheck, thanks to Arbonne, one of the biggest God sends in my life. I have so much and hope that I am able to remember this when my child comes into the world next month. I want to teach her that life does not always give you sunny days but eventually the sun always comes back up.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Small Town, Big Hearts

I am from a small town in North Carolina. I always say God kissed the earth and called it Boone, North Carolina. When you grow up in Boone a part of your heart stays there. It does not matter if you move away forever and you come back whenever you know your soul needs the fresh mountain air or you know raising a family anywhere else would be an injustice to your children. When Byron joined the Coast Guard we were so excited about the adventure, of the unknown. Yet at the same time,  we both knew there was going to be so much we would miss about “home”. Not only is Boone beautiful but it is full of beautiful people. When there is something to celebrate like weddings and babies the warmth and love you feel from the community is amazing. Even more, when tragedy strikes and the dark days come the entire community pulls together and helps you get through it as best you can.

It seems this year there has been a lot of tragedy in my small town. It seems that there is more tragedy there than normal. Then I realized I felt that because we all know everyone and we all hurt when a fellow Boone native hurts. We all cry and mourn the loss and we never forget. Life is so hard and when tragedy strikes it makes you latch on to your loved ones and hold on for dear life. But no one really understands unless you are the one that has lost someone. And losing someone when they are young and have so much life to live is so hard to understand. It is impossible to not ask God why? Why did they have to go so soon? Why am I still here without them?

At 26 weeks pregnant I feel my precious baby kicking. I feel movement and life and nothing in the world is more exciting to me than the life that will soon arrive. Byron and I feel blessed beyond measure. We are overjoyed with this blessing and I wake up every day with a new sense of excitement that I had never felt before. The moment you find out that you are expecting the world looks different. You see the world from a parents view point. You look at what you are bringing your child into. So much of this world is beautiful but at the same time there is so much evil and heartbreak as well. I would love to protect my child from anything that could ever harm her or cause her pain but that is impossible. All I can teach her is how to deal with it and where to put her faith. Everyone who is brought into this world will be taken out. Sometimes it is from sickness, sometimes from tragedy and even worse sometimes by another’s hands that derives from pure evil.

We are all born with a good and evil in our hearts and we have to choose which path we will follow. We have to choose how we value life. In all honesty it is a simple choice. It is not always easy but it is simple. And for those who choose good and choose life truly break when a life is chattered.  There is sincere compassion for another human being. I want to teach my children how sacred and special life is. How to value it and take care of it. How to guard their hearts. When tragedy strikes there is one verse that always consumes my thoughts and they are the only words I know to speak to those suffering from a loss…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

A peace that passes all understanding. Only through Christ can we find that kind of peace. Without Christ there is no peace. There is no hope. There are no bright days. Without him your heart can turn very dark, very quickly. Life will beat you down, Satan comes in to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). He wants to break you down so much that you will not recover that you will turn from Christ or never really find him in the first place. He wants you to focus on the anger and the hole in your heart. As Christians it is normal to ask “why?” but we have to trust in him. God does not want us to go through dark days. When we are broken so is Christ. But this world is full of evil and at times it seems that evil is winning. At the end of our lives is when we look back and see all that we have gone through good and bad. It is when we can see where God was able to get us through the dark days and bring us bright ones again. But as a Christian it will not be until we get to heaven will we see the full work of God in our lives and the love, grace and mercy that Christ is. Until that day when we see all the loved ones we have lost, until we see Christ we have to survive on faith. We have to trust in him fully. And even more we have to show that love and faith to the world. We need to bring others to Christ so they can have the peace that passes all understanding. So that we can all rejoice in heaven. So at the end of our lives we can see more bright days than dark ones. As long as we are in this world there will be tragedy and death. It is unavoidable. My prayer is for  peace for all the precious Boone families that are going through heart break and loss. I thank God for our community and for his grace and love shown through his followers. I pray through tragedy others are brought to Christ and in heaven we can all celebrate together. I love my Boone family and will always be praying. I pray for more bright days and for peace that will pass all understanding.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I do not care for politics. As a Christian to some it should be black and white which “side” you should choose. But when you look at the Bible it does not fall under a specific party. However, what the Bible says about sin is black and white. What am I? I am a Christian. Who do I vote for? The person who is the closest to believing in what I believe. There is only one thing that anyone should ever hate and that is sin. Because sin is what causes so much hurt and destruction in our society. And more importantly we are all guilty of it.

                                  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

I cringe when I hear Christians claim that others are greater sinners than they are. We are not the one to judge. We are here to witness and show God’s love. We need to live our lives the best we can and serve God. By serving God we love other people. No we do not support their sin, nor do we agree with it. But we should never approach the issue with anger and hate. We are to be Christ like. We are to show them with love how much God loves them. If we as Christians would do this can you imagine the impact it would have? I want my children to grow up in a society that knows Christ. I want my children to know the love of Christ. Not the impression that those that are not saved have of Christians, but most importantly of God. God is love. He loves us all. We can all have him in our hearts. We can all be saved. We can all feel the pure joy and peace when you have him living inside your heart. That is what we need to be passionate about.

So before you take a stand and say something and speak anger towards anyone. As a Christian think about it first, read your Bible, step back and ask yourself…What would Jesus do? We should always stand up for what we believe but we should also always do it in love.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

I grew up in a home where my parents knew that if we always felt loved you could handle just about anything. There are four children in my family. My brother being the oldest, I was next in line and then our twin sisters came along. One of my sisters, Betsy was born with sacral agenesis. Basically what that meant for her is she was born without the bottom part of her spine. The spine is connected to a lot of the key nerves in the body. This effected Betsy’s growth and development. But when you are a kid all you know is that your sister is really small. She still gets on your nerves, borrows your clothes without asking and is your constant playmate. As her siblings we never doubted in Betsy’s ability to be normal. Because to us she was normal. She was our sister. The older she got the more we learned that the world sometimes thought they had the right to make her feel less than she was. As the older sister I took on the “motherly” role. This at times came out with severe anger. I told off a lot of people growing up. I made sure if I was around and someone even thought about staring or pointing I would be on the attack faster than they could get words out. I know this is not the Godly way to handle ignorant people but I found it very difficult to control my temper. However, Betsy always found a way to be the bigger person. Always.  What her family sees in her is what she knows is the truth. Because what we see is what God sees, perfection. God makes no mistakes. He had no intention of bringing Betsy into this world with a fully developed spine. He knew she was bigger than what the world tells her she is supposed to be. Everyone who knows Betsy quickly forgets about her disability. You cannot help but fall in love with her. She is addictive to be around and lights up every room. I cannot imagine life without her as an inspiration. I could not be more proud of the person she is.

The darkest time in her life is what most would expect, her teen years and it rolled into her college years as well. For the most part high school was a success. She had lots of friends and even made the cheerleading squad, proving once again she can do anything she sets her mind to. But college was a bit harder. She no longer had her family around as her constant support system and on a big college campus people see her as a stranger not as Betsy. What is worse is that they saw her as a stranger with a disability. I remember being shocked at the response from her fellow students. To me Betsy was Betsy, disability or not. What I learned during this time is how the world places you on their scale. You have to be a certain height, size, shape and look. You also have to fall into their specific standards for what they rate as “good enough”.  I think in many ways we as her family are blessed because our outlook on disability is far different than it is for most people. We know not to stare or point. We also know that more than anything anyone who feels different despises pity. Why in the world do we think they deserve pity? I know more than anything this is what will get to Betsy. Pity what? That she is small? Do you think she does not know that? Why is being a petite person a bad thing? And why does the world think they are better and can talk to her like she is less of a person because of her size? She is a 24 year old grown woman with a masters degree. And guess what? She has started her own ministry. She travels around the world and speaks to churches, schools and events. She constantly shares her testimony about how God has done amazing things in her life. How the world tries to beat her up but at the end of the day she knows where her standard lies. She is out there fighting this battle against the world proving she is better and has more worth and guts than anyone has ever given her credit for. And why is she doing this? To change the world. Because my sister Betsy really believes people can change. If just one child is saved from rejection, laughter and teasing because of her story it will be totally worth it. If by raising enough money to send a doctor to a poverty stricken country where children with disabilities do not survive without the proper medical care, it is all worth. But most importantly, for anyone who thinks they can justify aborting a child on the sole purpose of “they have a disability and life would just be too hard”. Is Betsy’s life really not worth living? Of course no one will say that is the case to her now. But somehow when that child is still in the womb they are considered to those who are pro choice that we have the right to choose if they should be able to live or die? According to our superficial standards of what life is about, we find it to be too difficult for them. In reality it is too difficult for us. Because our take on life is that anyone born into this world with a disability are looked down upon and pitied. My sister Betsy is determined to change the opinions of this world. It is time for us to sit back and actually think about what we are saying. It is time for us to recognize that life is a gift and it should not be in our hands to determine the quality of life we feel everyone should be rated on.  My sister, with her disability has done more in her twenty five years than most people do in their lifetime. To her this life has a purpose. To share God’s love so everyone knows the pure joy you find when he is in your life. The perfect body and the acceptance of the world is not what it is about. The world would be an amazing place if there were more Betsy’s in it. So next time you are considering justifying abortion for any reason. Stop and reconsider the life you are cheating the world out of. They are made in the eyes of our creator. He knows what he is doing. I think it is time for us to allow him to handle things. 

Please follow my sister at:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Vision to Reality

Isn't it amazing what a quote can do? Once an inspiring quote is posted in the form of a media website, text or email it can get spread like wildfire. We are inspired and then pass along this inspiration to others. Then two hours later we get right back into our daily grind and forget all about the vision that popped in our head when we were reading it. Most of the time, the ones that really get us are the ones that would require us to step out of our "comfort zones'. It is great to pretend we are actually going to take the steps to reach our "vision" of what we want in our lives but there are only a few of us that actually end up doing this. We want change, we want greater things for our life and our future. Why do we not just do it? Well, because it is easier said, or read, than done. One that was sent to me this morning by an amazing friend (that knows exactly what I needed to hear during this time in my life), is..

"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten."

Wow. That is not comfortable at all. It is too accurate to be comfortable. That is inspiration. We have to be forced out of our comfort zones to fulfill what we want to in this life. That is true in every aspect. This is the time of year where we do our "New Years Resolutions". Where we promise ourselves that this is the year that we will accomplish our goals. One little slip up and we back track all the way to where we started. So many times we barely make any ground at all. I have to remind myself, does it matter if you start in January or is it alright if you try again in April? I think it is. I think instead of resolutions, why don't we call them goals? Why don't we constantly try to fulfill our goals. The only problem is, that we get stuck in what our "normal" is. We have to make sacrifices in order to get there. Sometimes they are minor, like giving up fried food, other times they are heart breaking like realizing you have to walk away from a relationship that is only dragging you down. It is a scary concept, especially if it is something that you really desire for your life.

"If the size of the vision for your life is not intimidating to you, there is a good chance it is insulting to God!" Steve Furtick

Powerful, very powerful. We have to want God's plan for our life, not our own. His plan is intimidating but it is HIS plan. His plan is far greater than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves. The older I get the more I realize, satan works really hard to steer you away from reaching God's goal for your life.  Along the way there are "friends" that will criticize and lack understanding that ultimately YOU will be the one that is able to find peace in your life decisions. Because God's plan is rarely the popular choice. The rewards however, they are popular. Because the reward is living a fulfilled life. The dark days will bring light. At the end of the journey is when you are able to look back and appreciate the dark moments. That is when we will appreciate stepping out on faith and allowing ourselves to be intimidated. That is when we will find the joy in our lives and be able to fully appreciate and recognize it ourselves. Living outside of the comfort zone and constantly living in inspiration is what will get you your goals and allow you to live out the vision God has for your life. That is a an amazing reality to live for.