Write Your Story

I went to my friend’s Grandmother’s funeral years ago, and the legacy she left for her family changed my life. Her children and grandchildren stood on the stage of this big church in Abbotsford, which was filled with her loved ones and admirers, and they shared stories from large binders- stories that she had written and journaled throughout her life. Binderssssss- what a treasure this family had now, to be able to read their mother and grandmother’s writings- in her own words, in her own handwriting, from her perspective.

I went home that day, as an engaged woman, and decided I would do the same thing for my future family. I remember going out to Chapters to find the perfect journal, knowing it would eventually be filled and I would need a new one like it one day. I found a large black leather-bound journal, brought it home and decided when I would begin.

I brought this journal of mine to the hotel I stayed at with my family on the night before I got married. The first thing I did on the morning of our wedding day, was write my first journal ‘entry’… I could feel it was the beginning of something so special to me.

I wrote on our honeymoon, and on our homecoming as a newly married couple. I wrote through some challenging seasons at church, and I wrote through family struggles. I wrote about when Koby said ‘let’s start a family’.

I remember pulling courage from deep inside my heart, to write after our first miscarriage. I had previously written that we were ‘trying’… little did I know what the next entry would be. Devastating- I remember crying on the pages.

I wrote about my pregnancy with Jacob- all the exciting parts… finding out we were pregnant, what his first kicks felt like, and when we found out he was a boy.

I wrote about his birth story, and brought the journal to the hospital with me too.

I wrote about being a new mom, and the challenges that came with it- marriage, church-life, etc.

I wrote about June, being pregnant with a 4 month old (!!!), and the expectation I had for my baby girl. I wrote again at the hospital, just after she was born.

I wrote about Jed- how we tried for a few months to get pregnant with him and decided not to find out his sex until after he was born. I wrote from the hospital, in the snow storm on the day he was born.

I wrote about moving houses, and moments when I felt God speak to me. I wrote about big moments for Koby and for me too.

I brought this journal with me to the hospital when I knew I would be giving birth to Joseph too (you can read his story here). I wrote through tears again.

And I wrote through Judah’s traumatic pregnancy. I wrote out the scriptures we were (are!) standing on. I wrote about the hope and the heartache.

Here I am again today, writing in this most treasured item in my home. It would be the one thing that would devastate me to loose- I know my kids will look back on my blog too (since it has caused me to slow a bit with my journaling!) and I pray they are so glad to hear the story as it happened. I even write and tell them what they’re wearing as I write, what’s happening in the world, and what it’s like living in these days we’re living in.

Today I am writing out my prayer for them as we enter into 2018- what I hope and pray for each of them as individuals. Some things are easy to write out, and some take huge amounts of faith for me to even put on paper.

I pray that these words I have penned would be a gift to them for years to come. That they would read these stories with fondness, and that they would feel it so deep in their heart- how much I love them and how much they are adored.

I encourage you mamas… do something to pass on your story to your kids. Every family has a story to be told, and the pain and the good is all apart of it. When they are old enough and wise enough, they can read about the days where their memories may be faint.

Maybe you need to start by writing a letter to your kids on their birthdays. Maybe you need to start journaling too. But whatever you do, know that what you are experiencing, is their story too. It’s a treasure for sure.

XO


The Best Christmas Ever

‘WHAT JOY for those who trust in You…’ Psalm 84:12

I want to remember these moments forever. Finding our tree, seeing the lights at the Stanley Park Christmas Train, celebrating Christmas morning, all with Judah in tow- was the best Christmas ever! The faithfulness of God blows me away, and these last few days have been filled to the brim with such JOY!

I will do a post soon on how I have learned to document moments since the night before we got married… I want to leave our story behind for our kids to read for years to come- hence this post!

Here’s a peak into our Christmas season, and coming soon will be my ‘Top 9’ from 2017… its SO good to reflect back, and also to anticipate forward!

All ‘tree-hunt’ photos were done by my talented friend Julie from Julie Christine Photography

Dude fell asleep on the train 🙂
We got to host our first official Christmas Eve dinner, so I made an ‘edible’ centrepiece- inspo thanks to Joanna Gaines!!
Best appie in my opinion (and easiest!): a charcuterie board! Made it pretty with some fresh cranberries, rosemary sprigs and thyme too.

I didn’t actually take photos of PEOPLE (#facepalm), cause we had way too much fun!!! I absolutely loved being able to host- having my home filled with family and food and laughter is one of the things I have always dreamt of!

I’ve decided that next year I’m tossing the ‘trendy/pretty’ packaging and getting my kids their favourite kind of wrapping paper… cause its way more fun than this!!!
Also the only photos I took on Christmas morning (#4kids)!

Christmas Day is always spent at my amazing inlaws- my mother-in-law cooks ALL day long, and we relax and enjoy! She also surprised us with matching PJ’s… photo opp!
Boxing day… need I say more?

Was indeed, the best Christmas ever 🙂

XOXO


‘A Thrill Of Hope’

I am a music lover, and a singer, and a lover of lyrics. When I can connect with a song’s lyrics, I want to keep singing it for weeks on end, and usually those lyrics get deep inside my heart.

So of COURSE, I adore Christmas time for these reasons! I get to sing Christmas Carols for weeks on end (without people thinking I’m a crazy person while grocery shopping!). I remember growing up in my large crazy Catholic family, that Christmas Eve was always the time to break out the Christmas Carols- my aunt had these old lyric sheets that she would hand out to everyone, and we’d sit together and sing. It was magical to me.

This Christmas season feels like the most special Christmas ever. Its Judah’s first Christmas at home, and our other kids are at the funnest ages to experience everything that the season has to offer. I am writing a few pieces this month on the blog, that come out of some of my favourite Christmas Carol lyrics… so here is #1 🙂

There are a few things that I pray would always be at the forefront of our Christmas experience as a family, and one of them is HOPE.

God sent His only Son, Jesus, as a baby… the ‘First Noël’… a baby was born. He happened to be the Saviour of the world, who is Hope PERSONIFIED.

I also think babies in and of themselves, represent so much hope. New life. New beginnings, new discoveries. SO much potential.

I remember when I miscarried my 1st baby, early on in the pregnancy, I still felt so much hope ahead of me.

When Jacob, June and Jed were born, I felt that same hope. They were fresh and new- waiting to be discovered.

Then we lost Joseph- you can read his story here– just 2 weeks before Christmas, and yes, I STILL felt hope. God was so near to my broken heart. He carried us through that season so wonderfully.

And then Judah. Ohhh Judah. You all know the story- there was SO MANY opportunities for me to loose hope, to give up on it, to leave it behind.

But I CLUNG to hope with all that I had. Hope that he would live. Hope that he would be able to eat. Hope that he would be able to smile at me one day.

‘A THRILL OF HOPE, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn…’

The word ‘THRILL’ is described as ‘a SUDDEN feeling of excitement or pleasure’. Just as Jesus entered the world in a THRILL OF HOPE, we have experienced this ‘thrill’, time and time again with Judah. He ‘suddenly’ doesn’t need eye surgery to see. His brain bleeds have ‘suddenly’ resolved. He can ‘suddenly’ hear.

Here’s the crazy thing about a thrill though, as Lysa Terkeurst writes in her book The Best Yes, ‘every thrill has an element of risk’. Even a ‘thrill of hope’. It takes a risk to hope.

With every breakthrough we have experienced not just with Judah but within life in general, it could have been so easy for us to pass by these moments, and not realized the moments of hope, that give birth to MORE HOPE. Sure it was a risk to HOPE for this little 25 weeker to even just LIVE. But we chose to hope, which gave way to hoping for so many other things.

I pray you feel encouraged to HOPE this Christmas season. And that you place your hope not in people or in things or in situations, but that you place your hope in the One who created hope. His word says that ‘Hope does not disappoint’ (Romans 5:5). Because even if and when things may not go according to OUR plan, hoping in Him still works it all out.

I pray we go through this Christmas season (and LIFE as a whole!) noticing every time there is a THRILL OF HOPE. Cause they are there… daily… we just need to open our eyes to see them.

Happy 1st day of December friends!

XO

 


Go-To Tuesday – All Things Whistler

Us Liesch’s are big fans of little getaways. After Koby and I got married, we loved taking short trips that were within driving distance, and have now made it a tradition with our kids! A few times a year, we will try to plan a quick little getaway- but here is our FAVOURITE Go-To spots that are only a couple of hours from Vancouver.

Ever since we spent our honeymoon in Whistler at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, we have fallen in LOVE with Whistler and all that the village, AND our favourite hotel has to offer.

We have been back almost every year- including a little ‘attempted’ getaway while Judah was in the hospital! This past trip was definitely one of the most special times, as we got to surprise my parents and bring them along too. Whistler in the fall, is a must-see!

So what’s so great about this place we love?

WELL… Whistler Village is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. Most of the village is closed to cars, so its a beautiful walk at any time of day- great shops, coffee, restaurants, and our favourite hotel happens to have the best spot at the end of the village, right at the base of Whistler mountain.

Let’s talk food…

Our favourite breakfast spot by far is Crêpe Montagne – great coffees and breakfast crêpes.. the 2010 is our fav!

Our favourite lunch or dinner or anytime spot is Splitz Grill… THE best burgers that you can personalize any which way you’d like!

Our ‘Go-To’ for a casual dinner is always pizza and beer in our hotel room, and so our favourite Pizza spot is Avalanche Pizza… actually, I think Avalanche is my favourite pizza place, PERIOD.

Our favourite spot for a beer or appies is located right at the base of Whistler Mountain, and happens to be inside our hotel (I like how I call it ‘ours’ as if we own it! But it seriously feels like home to us!) is Dubhlinn Gate… best pub in our eyes!

Lastly, if you’re wanting a bit more of a fancy spot, or even just the BEST Oysters in town, we recommend Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar. Best service and amazing food!

Ok obviously we like to center our trips to Whistler around food! HAHA! Besides food, when we bring our kids up with us, we spend a lot of time at the Whistler Olympic Plaza Playground (which is conveniently located right beside one of the Starbucks’ in the village #parentshighfive), which is located in Village North. We also spend a LOT of time pool-side… more on that below!

Many people have asked us ‘what is there to do in Whistler in the fall?’ and let me tell you- we have gone to Whistler in EVERY season and there is always so much to do! There is SO MUCH to do with kids too- you can find out more over at Whistler.com!

Like I said- we fell in love with Whistler, and the Pan Pacific back on our honeymoon. Whistler is also such a romantic spot for a getaway- take a stroll through the village and then enjoy some hot tub time… need I say more?

This last trip, we had the opportunity to stay at the Pan Pacific Village Centre location, and were again blown away by the hotel itself, the staff, and the atmosphere they have created. One staff member even stopped us in the hallway as we were on our way to the pool, and ran to get 3 kids-sized robes for my babies! How sweet is that?!!!

 

The Village Centre location has an amazing pool area, which you can see how much our whole family LOVED! They have not one, but two great hot tubs to choose from too. Their gym area is great too- had everything I needed to fit in my workouts while away! We usually stay at Mountainside, which you can read a little more about here!

Our suite included a beautiful kitchen, spacious living room with unreal VIEWS (as you can see!), and the comfiest beds and beautiful full bathrooms too.

We love the Pan Pacific so much that we plan on going back for years to come! And now I am dreaming of Whistler and snow and pizza and hot-tubbing…..

XOXO


Seasons Change

‘Blessed are those whose strength is in You… They go from strength to strength’  Psalm 84:5-7

The last 15 months have been eventful for our family! To say that ‘we never thought we would be here’ would be a huge understatement.

Before last July we felt STRONG… God was doing great things in our Church, and frankly, we felt honoured to be used by Him in ways we never imagined we would be!

Then Judah was born – It was surreal. We’ve never experienced so much joy and so much pain all in the same moment. The Joy of having a new son, the pain of seeing him sick. We didn’t know if he was going to go home to heaven, or come home to be with us.

The journey was slow, MUCH SLOWER than expected… but by Gods grace, we’ve moved through that season and are discovering a new normal, on the other side.

During the storm, God never stopped speaking. However, His direction came at about the same speed as Judah’s recovery – slow but steady.

At first, we thought we might move closer to my family in Winnipeg and were praying about starting a new Church. After spending some time there this past summer, it didn’t feel right in our spirits and we knew God had something different.

Now, by Gods grace, we’ve discovered that original ‘tug’ to start something was rooted in a desire to build Church from the ground up… but that didn’t mean WE had to be the pastors!

So the news is:  For the next season, we’ve made a prayerful decision to partner, as volunteers, with Justin and Jennifer Reimer as they build VIVID CHURCH. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to help build Church from the ground up in the great city of Vancouver.

That being said: We can’t express enough gratitude to our incredible Relate Church family. You believed in us when no one did. You watched us practice, fail, and get back up again so many times. You supported us in ways, especially when Judah came along, that we can never repay, or say ‘thank you’ enough for. You will always be a massive part of our story.

Looking back, it all started when I found ‘home’ there… Koby and I met there, we got married there. I GREW UP there- from a single, 20-year-old, to a grown up (hopefully HA!) 34-year-old. I made life-long friendships there, that grew into family. I met Jesus there- time and time again, in deep ways that my heart will never forget. I gave my whole life there- to this place and these people. I poured my heart into everything there. I found my true-self within those walls, and within the people of Relate. I found my passions and discovered what made my heart break. I learnt that my talent wasn’t just to be spent on myself. I found out so much about the heart of God.

So to the fabulous people that make Relate Church all that it is- I love you with all of my heart and am SO thankful for each and every one of you. I pray God’s abundant, richest blessings over your lives. May you increase in the knowledge of Him, in your love for His House, and the total utter joy that He brings. I will always be cheering you all on. Thank you for accepting us and loving us and allowing us to be us- always.

Pastors John + Helen… Words can’t describe what you’ve meant to us. As we grow and mature, we understand more and more the sacrifice you made so that we could discover our purpose + have a place to call home. We’ll never stop looking way up to you! Saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t quite cut it.

The life of a believer is a journey from STRENGTH to STRENGTH, so we pray that this is what people remember when they think of this part of our journey. ‘They went from strength, to strength’. So here we go!

All our love,

Koby, Jenna, Jacob, June, Jed & Judah

A few photos of our days at Relate … Yes, I wore some crazy things 😉 There is more hilarity over on Koby’s Instagram


#MarriageMonday – Love & Marriage Through Trauma

I have had it on my heart to bring this blog post to you for a while, regarding this subject that is oh-so fragile. Many of us have been through ‘stuff’ in our marriage- whether that ‘stuff’ was self-inflicted by one or the other, or whether that ‘stuff’ was unforeseen circumstances- marriages, like individuals, will go through STUFF!

The bible encourages us in James 1 to ‘consider it an opportunity for GREAT JOY… when troubles of any kind come your way’. And it goes on to say ‘for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So LET IT GROW, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.’

SO MANY people have asked Koby and I how we have made it through this season STILL MARRIED… and sometimes I had to ask myself! Its most definitely by the grace of God, but at the same time, we felt that we were living IN this very scripture- we had to let our faith be tested, and let our endurance grow… still do my friends! We knew we were going to have our moments. We knew we needed each other, and others as well. We knew we needed God to get us, our marriage, and our family, through the trauma of a very premature, sick baby, and a 6+ month hospital stay. And friends, we didn’t do it perfectly, and we are still, and always will be, working on it!

Through our own journey in this, I have discovered many new friendships who have also had to navigate their marriages and families through some TOUGH stuff, which is the biggest reason why I am so excited to bring this post to you- it features 3 of the strongest mamas/wives I know. I pray and hope that whatever season you find your marriage in, that these words will bring encouragement and hope to you today!

I asked these 3 wives, to answer this one question-

‘WHAT IS ONE THING THAT HELPED (OR IS HELPING!) YOUR MARRIAGE MAKE IT THROUGH THIS SEASON?’

Meet Jessica…

‘When Ronnie and I were told that Lewiston wouldn’t make his first birthday he was just over 2 months old at the time it was the biggest blow any parent could ever face. We didn’t have a choice to not get through. I mean yeah sure you can throw up your hands in the air but we ain’t quitters. We got through and are getting through because of a pact that we made together after getting the most horrific news a parent could ever get. We promised that no matter what, we would weather the storm, we would communicate, and we would choose joy. We would remain faithful to God and trust him in all circumstances. Hard to do when weight of the world is bearing down on us. It isn’t always easy but we are making it through and I am thankful for that.’

I had the privilege of meeting Jess, my ‘instagram friend’, face to face this past summer while we were both visiting family in Winnipeg. Jess is THE MOST raw, honest, real chick I know, that has the MOST genuine faith in Jesus I have ever seen. Jessica and Ronnie live in Calgary, and have 2 babies- sweet Swayzie, their 2-year-old daughter, and amazing Lewiston, who is dancing to Justin Timberlake in heaven with Jesus. PLEASE do yourself a favour and go discover the Olstad’s story over on Jess’ Instagram, as well as visit their website Love for Lewiston and support them in any way you can! I adore you Jess!!! #12sleepstillHAWAIIIIIIII

 

~ ~ ~

 

Meet Laesa…

‘I’d say the one thing is constant communication. And I mean constant. We tell each other everything. Everything we experience together, and even apart. Feelings, thoughts, fears. When we are in “hospital mode”, we take time each evening to debrief the day. We ask each other hard questions, and we give each other space to feel whatever they need to in each moment. Its important to recognize that communicating isn’t always talking though- sometimes communicating is sitting still, its physical touch, its being aware of the others body language. And in that, its our constant.’

Laesa has been a ‘church friend’ of mine for a few years, but most recently has become one I have grown close to, as we share similar, yet different, stories. Laesa and James are from Surrey, and are the proud parents of Noah, and Evelyn, who was born at 31 weeks with a Congenital Heart Defect and has been capturing the love of many ever since. They are 2 of the greatest and wisest and strongest parents I know- follow along with their journey over on Laesa’s Instagram as they continue to navigate an extensive hospital journey with sweet ‘Baby E’!!! You’re amazing Laesa Kim XO

 

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Meet Michaela…

‘I still remember the first time our daughter, Florence, was hospitalized. She was on the regular floor, the one and only time. After that, she always stayed in the intensive care unit. So, the third floor was luxury! We had a cot for ourselves, our own room so we could eat takeout, and they even brought us baby food for her, since she didn’t have a feeding tube yet. My husband and I both stayed over. We shared the cot. We snuggled and laughed and even kissed a little. We CLUNG to each other. We were terrified, but our baby girl was going to be okay. We knew it, and the doctor was hopeful. We didn’t have “rounds”, just a friendly visit from our pediatrician. 

It all changed when she was 13 months. She almost died, and we did too. At least, that’s how it felt. I was sure I wasn’t going to make it through the night. It was the most traumatic event in our lives, apart from her death. It was the early AM hours and we were alone in the PICU waiting room. Saltines and hot water. Stiff plastic coated couches. Eerie fluorescent lights. And down the hall, they were trying to stabilize our baby girl. That was when we realized we may not win this war. 

There is nothing more intimate than being with your spouse in a traumatic moment like that. The journey of being parents to a medically fragile child either pushes you together in desperation our pulls you apart, bit by bit. Either way, most parents are scared. They feel out of control. It can manifest in different ways in a marriage and we certainly had our moments when we were both reacting in fear and brokenness and taking it out on the other person.

Somehow, we made it. Somehow, we are still making it. It’s grace, for sure, it’s supernatural, too. Our faith in Jesus has carried us, but not always because we’ve asked God to. Others prayed for us. Their prayers carried us. Because we were silent. For a long time. Prayers and utterances barely escaped our lips. We couldn’t believe the nightmare was our story. We are still picking up the pieces. 

Our love for each other survived. 

We respect the other’s grief journey because it’s not the same. 

We are a team, but our hearts experienced the trauma in different ways. Learning to hold space for the other person is so important. I’m just processing a lot now and going through postpartum anxiety because of it, meanwhile, my husband doesn’t quite understand it. He’s not in my place. He’s not the mama. But his patience and love for me is carrying us through it. 

And it goes both ways.

I don’t need rescuing and neither does he. We do it together.’

Well before I was even pregnant with Judah, I discovered Michaela’s journey through some friends on facebook. Though I have yet to meet her face to face, Michaela has been a constant source of HOPE to me through life with Judah. Michaela and her husband Jay discovered that their beautiful first born baby girl, Florence Marigold, at just 3.5 months of age, had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that would graduate her to heaven not long after her 3rd birthday. #FlorenceMarigoldinBloom ‘s story, and that of Michaela’s #mamagrief , has reached far and wide and now with a 3rd sweet boy on her hip, Michaela writes in the most beautiful and honest way about their journey on her Instagram and also on her oh-so-lovely website, MichaelaEvanow.com .

 

~ ~ ~

 

Happy #MarriageMonday friends!!!

xoxo

 

 


‘Dear Mom’ New Mom Edition

Dear New Mom,

I pray that you have 3 minutes without a crying baby, a cup of coffee, and a fresh top-knot while you read this… heck maybe even a coat of mascara? One can hope!!!

You know all that advice you got when you were pregnant, and how there is now a quadruple-portion of it coming in right now in these early months of your child’s life?

MY FIRST MOMENTS WITH JACOB… I REMEMBER BEING AFRAID TO UNWRAP HIM!

 

You know how tired you are? Like, how you never knew you’d feel THIS kind of tired?

And you know how you feel a bit distant from your husband cause he’s off to work all day and gets to talk to adults and you’re house-bound with the poopy, snot-machine?

And how you didn’t know that becoming a mom would actually make you feel a bit lonely?

Oh and… you know how you never dreamt that it would be THIS hard, but you also never knew it would be THIS good?

How you never understood or felt love like this- this love for that sweet babe that you birthed (in whatever way), and have been sustaining (in whatever way) 24/7 since their arrival- how this love runs so deep that it makes you think ‘crazy’ things like being willing to do it all over again?? CRAY CRAY.

I get it, girlfriend. I do.

See here’s the thing- sure, I may know a thing (possibly just one!!) or two about being a mom now with these 4 crazies I have. I have birthed 5, and I have felt intense pride and love and joy, and pain and loss. Those feelings that only a mother really knows. Cause something that was IN YOU, came out and is now an extension of your heart, living on the outside.

But can I tell you the truth? 6.5 years into this whole ‘mom’ thing, and I STILL feel like you. I still feel NEW.

I don’t say that to discourage you, but rather the opposite. Cause you’re doing this, in all your newness, and trying your best to figure out how to wean and how to feed and how to sleep train and how to this and how to that.

So am I! I’m in this newness with you-  I’m learning how to help my youngest stand, and how to help my oldest not be so nervous for grade 1. You’re learning to let go of your first born not solely breastfeeding anymore, and I’m learning to let go (a little) of my only girl who’s off to her second week of Kindergarten. #cueTEARSSSSS #STILLcrying

We’re in this together- I’ve got your back. Yes I’ve been there… those sleepless nights, where your thighs are burning from standing to bounce-squat (cause you’ve gotta get that workout in somewhere right???) that teething fussy baby. And I’ve been there when you are soooooo tired that you can’t even think straight and your hubby just wants to ‘connect’ with you.

Ohhhh I’ve been there. Girlfriend, you are amazing. Let me say this to you- YOU ARE AMAZING.

All these things you are reading about, and all this ‘gear’ you’ve got just so you can make dinner and have a happy baby… all this advice that you have filtered through and all of this effort you are putting into now raising a human… YOU ARE AMAZING.

What you’re doing- physically, mentally, emotionally- is a GIFT. Not just to your baby, or your husband, or even to yourself, but to this world. You are a gift!!!

What we get to do as mothers, and who we get to be, is SUCH A GIFT. A privilege, an honour. It’s also the hardest and best work you will ever do. I ain’t kidding. You already know this too!

The one thing I DO have after only a short 6.5 years that you may not yet? I’m seeing some fruit. Some of the fruit from this gift that we get to be, and these gifts we get to grow!

You will realize after the years go by (the more you have, the faster it goes- TRUST ME), that all of this goodness that you are pouring into this tiny life, you reap a reward on it. And heck- all the ‘mistakes’ you’re making? There’s so much grace. SO MUCH GRACE. After all, your first is kind of like an ‘experiment’ anyways (sorry Jacob). But the rewards? Oh friend…. one reward might look like a little boy gazing up at you while you brush his teeth and mumbles ‘I wahd do mamah’ (translation: ‘I love you mom’), but ohhhhh that’s a reward.

And I have yet to experience the rewards of having your teenager call you for advice. Or watching that BABY of yours walk across the stage to accept her diploma. But I know it’s coming.

It DOES go by so fast. And I know IT SUCKS to hear that when you are in the thick of it and have just changed your 6th diaper in the last hour, but it’s so stinkin (no pun intended) TRUE.

Friend, you’re doing a GREAT job. I’m so proud of you, that it brings me to tears. You have blossomed and changed this year into the BEST you have ever been. I’m FOR YOU, I’m WITH YOU… God sees you and STILL KNOWS your desires and dreams and loves you and pours His grace alllll over you!!! Know that He is your biggest and loudest cheerleader in this whole moming thing!!!

And I will leave you with this…

IT ONLY GETS BETTER. For real.

And don’t worry- you’ll get used to being tired… that’s what coffee is for 🙈

XO


The Back-To-School Prayer

Here we are- already into the week where school starts for the year here in BC, and I can’t help but want to speak these words, and pray this prayer over my babies as they head off into another year! Here is my heart 🙂

PHOTO FROM LAST YEAR- where has the time gone??!!!

God I thank you for Jacob and June. I thank you that you have graced them for everything they are walking through right now, and everything they will walk through this school year.

I thank you God that as Jacob and June begin this school year, that you are ahead of every step that they take. Thank you that you are for them, you are before them, and you are right beside them every day.

I pray for good friends and life-long connections. I pray that they would be a light to their friends, their teachers, and everyone who encounters them. I thank you they will be a friend to the friendless, and that they will recognize the need in others.

I pray for them to have the courage to make wise decisions, and that they would face a challenge head on with their confidence in you.

I pray that you would surround them- that they would learn so much more about who you are, and how good you are. Holy Spirit I thank you that you help them, and comfort them. I pray that they would find joy in learning and that their minds would expand for the things you have created, and that their hearts would expand for the people you have created.

I pray that they would know your grace, receive it, and give it away like candy.

I pray they would see your people, and situations that arise in their every day, through your eyes. I thank you that you bless them, and make your face shine upon them.

I pray for good days, great fun, and new friendships forged.

In Jesus’ name…

 

XO


‘Dear Mom’ Preemie-Mom Edition

Dear ‘Preemie Mom’,

Allow me to begin this letter to you, by telling you that YOU ARE AMAZING. You know how we always refer to these little champs of ours as ‘fighters’ and ‘miracles’? Well girlfriend, THEY GOT IT FROM THEIR MAMA!!! You too are a fighter AND a miracle!

Seriously though- it takes a special kind of mom, to be a preemie mom.

You are special because despite your feelings of guilt that you think its all your fault that your baby came early, you are still showing up, still getting out of bed, still caring, still loving, still fighting for your little fighter. YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

You are special because you spend hours on end, just trying to feed a tiny little mouth, with milk that perhaps you also spent hours on end and months on end pumping from your body, just to give your little one the best you knew how.

You are special because of the positions you contort your body into, just to get your son to sleep.

You are special because you rock your fussy daughter to sleep, sometimes for hours, every single night.

You special Preemie Mom, because you are also a ‘nurse’, even though you never wanted to, or thought you would be one- especially to your own child. But can I just add that WE GET TO be ‘nurses’ too? Cause the other option is too sad to even think of. We get to care for these fragile babes of ours- we get to be trained on how to do all their special things- WE. GET. TO. And you get to be a mom on top of it too!

You are special too, because of all those tears you have shed, and do shed, on the daily. Tears of frustration, of tiredness, of fear, of thankfulness- tears of letting go of what you thought life would look like, tears of LOVE- SO MANY TEARS!!!

You are special because you administer meds, change tubing of all sorts, do stretches and strengthening activities, and do whatever on earth it takes just to get that babe to swallow. Period.

You are special because you get to all those specialist/therapist/dr’s appointments. Maybe a tad late, but you get there!

You are special because you work SO HARD at trying to make life as ‘normal’ as possible for your other kids and your husband.

You are special Preemie Mom.

I see you worrying about the future- all the unknowns of what may lie ahead for your sweet baby. I see you in all your fatigue, drinking all that coffee, just hoping for something to get a bit easier. I see you in the shock of another new diagnosis that has now changed the course of your entire family’s life. I see you in your thanksgiving of this day you get, and I also see you looking back and not knowing how to process all that you have been through.

I see you- because I AM YOU.

And let me just put my arm around your shoulder, and tell you that WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER. We share in our experiences, though totally different from each others, but somehow we ‘get’ each other on a deeper level. I am here for you, and you for me. We get to be part of this ‘club’ that we knew nothing of before- this club of WARRIOR MOMS, that have so much more to give.

You have so much more in you Preemie Mom… KEEP GOING. I love you, and I cheer you on today, and every day that follows XOXO

FEATURING PHOTOS BY YINGER PHOTOGRAPHY AND STEPH SCHULZ PHOTOGRAPHY