Monday, September 29, 2008


This picture captures our sweetheart. She is happy and sweet and loves giving big smiles.

September 12 was my Papa's 77th birthday, and part of the celebration included getting out his old Model A Ford. The girls--especially Marianna-- loved it! I miss him so much, but celebrating his life is something I love to do.

Our little bit is already four months old! You can see that she's still tiny, but she's looking more like a big girl every day.

Our church had a community block party Sunday night, complete with pony rides for the kids. This was a breakthrough moment for Marianna, who up to this point has refused to ride a pony. As you can tell from her face, it was a hit.

Adrienne got in the fun with this little goat. She enjoyed most of the festival from her stroller, but we wanted her to have at least one photo op moment.

Marianna LOVED the slides...and believe it or not, this was the smaller of the two she went down. Overall, a very momentous day for our formerly timid two-year old!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


It’s been a little while since I’ve settled in to write, and not because of a lack of things to share, but rather a lack of time in which to sit down and write them! I need to give a good update soon, but suffice it to say the girls are great—keeping me entertained, busy, fulfilled, grounded, and exhausted =). Nathan is wonderful, and I continue to be grateful on a daily basis for his friendship, love, and partnership in the parenting venture! But the more detailed account of the day to days around our house will be for another day. Today I have something else I feel impressed to share.

A year ago as we were immersed in the unknown, waiting on Poppy to come, I wrote almost constantly about what was happening. The ups and downs, the things I learned, the emotions that battled it out, raging and subsiding in irregular patterns—all of it was there, post after post, acting as therapy for me as I walked the journey one day at a time. Then Poppy came, and for a little while, I detailed what it was like to walk that road of grief, tinged with joy at the thought that she was now with Jesus. But what I feel like I have not done much of is tell you how the grieving process drew to a close and eventually ended.

I don’t want to say anything on this subject before first acknowledging that grieving is an intensely personal experience, and I don’t think any two roads are ever exactly alike. What I experienced may bear similarities to what someone else went through, but when it comes down to it, only God truly knows and understand it all. For me, I did much of my grieving before Poppy was born. In the months after the diagnosis, I had to deal with that reality on a daily basis, grieving the loss of normalcy, and the loss of not being able to raise the daughter that I was carrying. Then, when Poppy came and went, a whole new wave of grieving washed over me. Burying a child is not something you can ever be ready for, and no amount of gearing up can get you to the place where you have the strength to step up and face it. No, I found that you’re only given what you need right at the moment it is needed. That’s just how God works, and having experienced the peace and strength that comes in moments that seem unthinkable, I have to say I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the months following Poppy’s death, after the adrenaline and intense sorrow had passed, I realized I was walking in uncharted waters. I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel, but I felt God telling me to give it all to him—the good days, the sad ones, the anger and hurt, the joy and blessings, all the things I didn’t understand and all the things I had learned. I just took it all to Jesus, asking Him to walk beside me, hold me when I was hurting, comfort me when I didn’t understand, wrap His arms around me when I felt the loneliness, and ultimately, take my hand and lead me to the place He had for me. The road I walked was not a straight shot, but it was heading in a direction.


Grief is not a place that you park. It is not a destination. I believe that with every season of grieving, Jesus desires us to reach a place of complete, total, life-renewing healing. I don’t have to go through life as one of the walking wounded! Instead, Jesus has given me the freedom to pursue healing, and eventually attain it. I can’t give you an exact day or time—it’s much to gradual for that—but what I can tell you is that now, nearly 10 months later, that the wound is closed, and I feel like the healing is complete.

I really love the concept of healing. I feel restored, yet there is always a mark to remind me that I’m not the same person I used to be. I don’t suffer from a gaping wound, but scar is not something I would replace even if I could. Poppy changed me, and grieving for her was something that I HAD to do. It wasn’t optional. But it was also something I had to release. To continue clinging to the grief would have crippled me in every area of my life, and it would have fallen short of the liberty, free from the bondage of grief, that God desires me to live in.

I wanted to share this because I know the lies Satan tries to spread. I know there can be guilt associated with letting go of the deep-rooted emotions that come with any tragedy. But I also know what God has done in my life. I have nothing to flaunt because nothing was done in my power. It is only the supernatural healing that Jesus brings that I can boast about. That healing has given me new life.

Galatians 5:5 “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a big gift

Recently I was working on some Beth Moore homework for the Daniel Bible study, when I came to some questions I had a hard time answering—but not in the way you would expect. This particular lesson was focusing on the driving force that our culture can have on our sense of self-worth, and each question was designed to illuminate how a low opinion of yourself can cause you to steer off course without even realizing why. I completed the lesson and I was definitely impacted—just not in the way Mrs. Beth had probably intended!

The big eye-opener came as I considered these questions, flipping back through the card catalog of my memory to try to come up with concrete memories of feeling insignificant, unloved, or of little value. I scanned early-childhood to the present and, shockingly, came up empty handed. Until being pressed to write something down on paper, I hadn’t really considered it, but as I sat there in my chair, armed with my pen and ready to write a novel, I found I had no material to work with.


How had I managed to get through my life with a firm, conscious, unshaken belief that I was instinsically worth something, that I was loved unconditionally, that while definitely not perfect, I was valuable? I say all of that at risk of being thought down right, stinking prideful, but I hope you see what I’m getting at. It’s not that I’ve gone through life thinking I’m God’s gift to mankind! Goodness sakes, God forbid I ever take the first step to even begin down that road. Rather, what I’m saying is that I have lived my life feeling secure in who I am, without being plagued by feelings of low value or worthlessness.

Of course the big question is, WHY?

Before thinking of it for even 5 seconds, I knew the answer. My family. Most notably my mom. I grew up in an environment where love was not doled out based on performance, talents, intellect, or anything else. I was simply loved for who I was, and that love and acceptance was infused into everything I did. My days were filled with affirmation, not only on what I could do, but on who I was as a person. Never did I feel my personality needed molding, my shape needed altering, or my abilities needed honing in order to gain love. Instead, I grew up believing it was okay to be me, just as I was, because my mom loved me, my family loved me, and most importantly, God loved me.

Examples popped into my head, one right after another, allowing me to see how intentionally my mom and others had fought to instill in me the sense of my God-given worth in the face of a culture that seeks to demean and belittle. I remember mom and others showing an interest in the things I enjoyed, praising me for any abilities I had, without criticizing those I was lacking. I remember her telling me, a chubby little second grader, that I was the perfect size. I remember her screaming wildly in the stands as I played basketball, cheering my heart and determination when there was very little skill worth mentioning. I remember her encouraging spouts of individualism as I overtook attempts to do my own hair and pick out my own clothes, believing all the while that I had accomplished both with raving success, with only old photographs left to belie that reality. Just a few memories in a pool with a myriad of others, yet I hope you see what I’m saying: I didn’t walk around thinking I was the hottest thing on the block. I simply believed that it was okay to be me because of all of the encouragement I received doing exactly that.

I don’t think I have ever recognized the value of that gift until now—the priceless value of self-worth, acceptance, and love. And the more I think about, the more I realize that’s probably one of the greatest gifts my mom and family ever gave to me. They gave me the freedom to accept myself and to feel secure and loved in who God created me to be. I never had a hard time questioning God’s unconditional love for me, flawed as I am, because my family had already lavished their unconditional love all over my life, faults and all. They taught me that we are all valuable, not because of what we do or how smart we are, but because we loved by God. It is HIS love that gives us value.

So what’s the point?

I walked away from that study, not only with a sense of deep gratitude and humility, but also filled with a passionate desire to do everything in my power to instill a sense of self-worth and value into my girls. I don’t want them growing up feeling that they only have value if they are pretty, talented, popular, intelligent—just fill in the blank because the list doesn’t end! I want them to grow up knowing that they are valuable because the God of the universe created them, and loves them, and wants them to be His. I want them to know that no matter what tv, music, movies, friends, or anyone else tells them, they have self-worth just as they are. I know that it’s not a one-man job, but I also know that my mom made an impact on my life too big to be put into words. All I’m saying is that I want to do everything I can to show them through words and actions that they are special. I want them to grow up believing that God has a purpose, bigger than anyone’s foresight or vision, to use them to make a difference for Him. It’s no small order, but then again, I don’t have a small God. I pray that with His help, He can show me how to be a mom to my girls, just as my mom was to me. What bigger purpose could God call me to than that?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pray for the Stanfields

I know many of you who have tried to check on Kenzie this morning are wondering what's going on, so I wanted to let you know that she just sent a text saying that her blog, email, and facebook have all been removed! In her own words, she is "freaking out", as I can only imagine! Her blog in particular is a chronicle of her entire journey, and I know to lose that would be devastating. On top of the physical and emotional toll the past week has had on her, this is definitely a blow! Please be praying for continuing guidance for her doctors as they try to regulate a medicine that will stop her contractions while allowing her to feel comfortable, and please pray that her blog, email, and facebook will be able to be recovered!

If you haven't been praying for Kenzie Stanfield, I ask that you check her blog and lift her and baby Faith Clare up to Jesus right now. She has been struggling against preterm labor since Wednesday, and she needs your prayers! We know that God is the giver of Life, the one who ordains the time each of us enters the world, and He has the power to stop these contractions! I also know that He is the one who gives perfect peace in the darkest, scariest nights of our lives. Please pray that He will wrap His arms around this family, comforting them, protecting them, and delivering them from all attacks of darkness.