Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What You've Been Waiting For

I am finally going to sit down and write about our latest, and greatest, news!

Honestly, this has been a difficult post for me to share. With all that has been happening in the world and in our own little community, I've suffered from some guilt at how happy I am to be pregnant. I've felt selfish to be celebrating when so many are grieving so much. I've also been treading carefully because fear has been attacking me relentlessly. It's like there is no end to the horror that the mind can conceive and we all know how far my imagination can race.

So, I have battled all these things (and more) and walk in peace, knowing that the Maker's hand is upon me and this pregnancy.  Fear has no place in my heart, so I combat it not on my own strength.

It's been no secret that I've had baby fever since my darling Spencer was born. When I was holding him in our hospital room, gazing at his beautiful face, deep inside I felt a wanting for something of which I was unsure of. He and his big brother are such miracles to me, so my want for another child was nothing to do with dissatisfaction or ungratefulness. They are such bright lights in our dark world and I just knew they needed another sibling.

And no, we weren't trying for a girl. I'll say this once. God knows what our family needs. Simple as that. Yes, the odds of us having a daughter are against us, so it's a good thing our family is excited about a baby! Wesley is adamant that we need a girl and that God should pay attention to his request (I promise I have not been feeding him any sort of girl talk) but he tells everyone who asks him "God knows what our family needs!" And just yesterday he prayed for the baby and said "God, you know what our family needs!" We've explained to Wesley that we aren't going to know what the baby is until he/she gets here in the spring. Wildflower season. :)

So the story:
Back at the end of June I was spending a week at Zephyr (the camp that I love) shooting some pictures and hanging out with my home girl Abby (she's pretty much the coolest of the cool). That week was fun (and yes, exhausting. I've become out of shape to the camp life of 17 hour days) and busy, I was feeling a little "off". I wasn't feeling queasy, but I was feeling some discomfort in my lower abdomen, a stretching feeling. Once or twice, I stopped to sit down because it felt really weird. I thought about calling my doctor and seeing if I could come in early (as I was due for my annual check up in a few weeks). My last night at camp, I bought the boys a few trinkets from the camp store and the husband a t-shirt. (You can never have enough Z shirts in our house). But as I was checking out, I felt compelled to buy a stuffed animal for the baby. It was a weird thought, and I told myself "what baby?? you don't know ANYTHING yet." So I followed my instinct and bought a darling little raccoon with a Camp Zephyr shirt...for the baby. The baby that I wasn't even sure was there.

 From Zephyr, I caught up with my family at my in-laws house and headed to Houston to see my parents and my brother and Jamie for the weekend. We had a fun family weekend planned and I was excited to spend some time with everyone. That whole weekend, I knew something was up. I was still feeling sick and thought maybe I was just off. In my heart, I felt like I was pregnant, but I didn't want to get excited or take a test just yet. I knew it was REALLY early still. I pushed it out of my mind and decided not to do anything about it yet.

Monday morning, I woke up feeling sick. I felt like I NEEDED to take a test. A few months back I had bought a 2 pack of pregnancy tests and had a negative. I tossed the second test into the drawer in my bathroom and forgot about it. Until that Monday morning, the 2nd of July, when I dug around for it and finally saw two pink lines. One was so faint. So barely visible. I freaked. I wandered around the house. I decided I needed to take another test. Haha. So to the store I went, with both boys in hand. I picked out a test, went straight home, and saw clear as could be "pregnant".

Nate's wrapped "gift"
I was excited to tell Nate. So I wrapped up the test, cooked a nice dinner and waited for the husband to get home. When he saw the gift on the table with a fresh bouquet of flowers and dinner ready, he seemed a little confused. I told him "your father's day gift arrived finally. I'm sorry it was so late." He got excited and started opening it (as I was shoveling food in my mouth as I was beginning to get nervous). I finally made eye contact and he was just grinning, with shining eyes, and test held up high. "Are you serious?? Really??? We're gonna have a baby?!"

Then we plotted ways to share with people. First our parents and my brother and Jamie. Then with friends.

My doctor says I found out early. Right at 3 weeks. Which I don't know if I agree with her date calculations. I just know when I'm pregnant. I found out early with both boys. I was only sick with one of them, but i've been sick sick sick with this baby. Nauseous to the extreme. Exhausted. Emotional. The symptoms of pregnancy started to manifest themselves early and with full force. We knew we needed to tell people before they guessed, because I was (and still continue) feeling badly.

It's all so wonderful. We are overjoyed, completely grateful for this child.....I'm just so thankful.

We aren't going to find out what the baby is. We have all the "baby" equipment that we need. Swing, crib, pack n play, car seat, stroller, etc. We have nothing pink, of course, and if it is a boy we'll need some clothes because the seasons will be reversed. But I know we have everything we need to take care of a newborn. We are just going to pray over names and paint the nursery (I will do a post on that later with some design board ideas---some of you have seen my Pinterest boards) and just pray for a healthy, happy baby. A great pregnancy free of worry and stress and a healthy delivery for me and the little bird.
Roses from my mom
Spencer has been clingy and sensitive to the max. He does not want anyone but his mama ALL THE TIME. His mood swings have been exhausting, so I'm just praying for peace and calm and joy for our house and his little heart. He definitely knew before I did that something was happening. AND he is definitely entering his "testing boundaries" age and I am doing my best to be disciplined and consistent, as you know how tiring the first trimester is and I've jokingly told Nate "Ohhhh just give him whatever he wants." :)

My parents came to visit the weekend after we shared the news with them. Mom brought me three dozen multi-colored roses (my favorite) for me and the baby. I also bought the baby a  pair of baby TOMS. Impulsively, yes, but I wanted to get something special because I probably won't be buying much of anything until the baby actually arrives. Some paint for the room, but beyond that, not much else.
baby TOMS (neutral grey-Wes picked)

Nate and I want to implement date night with the boys. One on one time with each other. He takes one, I take one and we spend quality time with them one on one. I never want them to feel neglected or swept aside during seasons of immense change. They are so special and so unique and so necessary to the dynamic of our family. God knows what we need, so we just praise God for how far he has brought us and for what adventures lay ahead for us. This little baby is so loved already.

This kid was made to be a big brother. The Throne Warden.
Look at the face of this adorable big brother-to-be. The High King.

My husband. I love him. (And those banana muffins)

I am feeling so undeservedly blessed. .....jade

Saturday, July 21, 2012

{faraway friends}

I feel as if the last two posts have been a little heavy for you, my friends. It's honest, is what it is. My heart has been so heavy with grief and burdened so deeply.

BUT I offer you a happy moment. (And yes, I promise a detailed post about baby number 3 soon. It is the brightest parts of days lately and we cannot stop thanking the Maker above)

No. The happy moment that I am addressing right now is the one that my darling oldest son was able to share with his long time friend Kya. She and he met when they were but wee 15 month old babies. The amount of pictures that these two have together is ridiculous. :) He has more pictures with Kya than he does with his baby brother.

About a year ago, K and her beautiful mama had to move to the hill country where her mama found work. It's been a rough year for us all as we have missed living life with them. They are what you call Forever Friends. The people you feel most comfortable with. Family. Nate and I are blessed to have several of these kinds of people in our lives. Beyond thankful.

Anyways, our visit with T+K this week was short and so bittersweet. I'm just so glad they were able to be near us, even for the briefest of days.

I love this picture. They are so happy just being together. Aren't they just beautiful?

Even though Kya is driving across the country soon, we know we will get to have visits and skype time.

Thank God for face-to-face time on our iphones, right?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Far Country, Batman

Obviously, last night was the midnight showing of the newest Batman flick The Dark Knight Rises. The cute husband and I had tickets to see it with our pal Jamie, my bro, and the rest of our geekery obsessed friends. My brother couldn't make it up from his town to see it, so I sadly sold his ticket off. Then, the week became progressively more emotional and tired for us (one of our beloved friends was in town visiting to say her goodbyes as she is flying off into the sunset to teach at an amazing school in Redding, California) and I was feeling increasingly fatigued as I am officially entering my 7th week of pregnancy (wow, I haven't even blogged about this sweet little baby--see how my life has been frantic and non-stop busy!?!) I will not list my woes of the week for you on here. It's not my place to complain or grumble. These are just seasons. Seasons.
All of that gibbering to say, the cute husband, Jamie and I handed off our tickets to various friends. We were just too tired. Too emotional. Too overworked. And simply not interested in falling asleep during a movie that we REALLY want to see. So here's hoping we can see the movie one evening in the next week before we hear spoilers of some sort.

While some of our favorite friends were sitting in their seats watching the movie, a time zone behind us, another group of fans were sitting in a darkened theater about to have their lives dramatically altered.

Most of America woke up to the news that a man opened fire on a theater full of Batman fans. There were pre-teens present. There were younger aged children. There was even a 3 month old baby who was shot. And let's face it, if it's a nursing infant, chances are a lot of us moms would take the baby with us, feed it, and enjoy the movie while the baby sleeps. No harm, no foul. At least, it SHOULD be that way.

As I sat reading the news this morning, I was just appalled. Frustrated. FURIOUS. And heartbroken. My friend Melissa sent her son, husband, and one of her son's friends to see the midnight showing last night. I don't know what we all would have done if something like that happened to us. If Wesley had been older, I would have brought him along with us (he loves Batman and rightly so!) and let him experience the magic of a midnight showing (guilty of being a midnight showing obsessed fan)..Not to mention all the other people we love that attended across the states and ALL the people we didn't even know who attended.

I'm just frustrated. What has happened to us? It's an ugly truth knowing that we walk not in safety, but in the reality that a gunman can open fire on us at any time. At our schools. In a grocery store. At the mall. And now, let's add movie theaters to the mix. These places are supposed to be guarded. Safe. Secure.

But truly. Our world is fallen. It is lost. It his often in a state of unrest and upheaval.

When I am thinking of all these things, dwelling on the darkness, crying into my pillow at night, I am gently reminded that this is not it for us. This land that we live in is the far country, not our home. Not our home. Obviously I am sensitive to bad news as my last blog post was grim and bleak, so the news that innocent comic book nerds (and let's face it, I would be friends with everyone in that theater) were GUNNED down in cold blood.

No. This can't be our home. We were created to be so much more.

I can't deny how I praise God that I can raise my children with hope and faith. And while, yes, we are not safe from the evils of this world, and no, I can not protect the innocence of my children forever, we walk in truth and peace because our hope is not for this world, this far country, but for the land of the living, where the High King dwells.

(yes, I am about to bring an Andrew Peterson song up....again)

AP's song "Far Country" is ringing loud and clear in my heart right now, as I grieve those who were lost last night. I grieve for them, yes. I weep for them. And I pray for their families with as much fervor as I can pull forth.

And I pray that there will be light in their life so that they too can catch hold of the hope that is waiting for them.

Watch this video, listen to the words. My favorite part comes at the bridge (is that what it's called?) about  2:32ish. The lyrics just break me into pieces.

And just for good measure, I will post the lyrics here for you:

Andrew Peterson
"The Far Country"

Father Abraham
Do you remember when
You were called to a land
And didn’t know the way

‘Cause we are wandering
In a foreign land
We are children of the
Promise of the faith

And I long to find it
Can you feel it, too?
That the sun that’s shining
Is a shadow of the truth

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

In the dark of the night
I can feel the shadows all around me
Cold shadows in the corners of my heart

But the heart of the fight
Is not in the flesh but in the spirit
And the spirit’s got me shaking in the dark

And I long to go there
I can feel the truth
I can hear the promise
Of the angels of the moon

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

I can see in the strip malls and the phone calls
The flaming swords of Eden
In the fast cash and the news flash
And the horn blast of war
In the sin-fraught cities of the dying and the dead
Like steel-wrought graveyards where the wicked never rest
To the high and lonely mountain in the groaning wilderness
We ache for what is lost
As we wait for the holy God
Of Father Abraham

I was made to go there
Out of this far country
To my home, to my home

Edit: My friend Stacey (who's husband was also at our local midnight showing last night--he actually got the ticket off of me) re-posted this incredible blog written by a woman named Marie who was actually in Theater 9 in Aurora last night. She took her daughters to see the movie and they escaped safely. PLEASE read her account. I urge you to do so, friends. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Fear and Grief

I know, I've been a bit MIA from my blog lately. I've been traveling quite a bit and playing the catch up game with some weddings, family and portrait shoots. My inbox is 500 emails full and my laundry JUST got put away today.

But truly, none of that matters to me much right now. My lovely friend Stacey posted a blog today about a local photographer (who is AH-MAZINGly talented) who has been through some recent tragic events, and her blog just broke my heart into a million pieces.

I heard about the sweet little boy who died last week while I was at Zephyr. I was in mid-conversation with a friend of mine outside the office at camp when my phone buzzed (I get news alerts directly to my iphone). I glanced down at the headline and my heart stopped. "Boy Killed While Reaching for Object on Mantle" I instantly opened the article (very rudely, as my friend was still talking) and read the words and trembled. Being at camp for the week shooting pictures, I was missing my babies tremendously. Then reading about a horrific accident happening to a little child while I'm away from my babies......well, it was just too much. I went to my room and cried. I wanted to desperately hold the boys. I wanted to fix every problem in the world. I wanted to rid the earth of all tears and pain and sorrow. I wanted to fix everything. EVERYTHING. And I wanted to scream.

Then, after I was reunited with my boys, I read more on what happened to the little boy, Avery. I was devastated. And it has been weighing heavy on my heart still. I've been a wreck ever since I read that headline. Cuddling my children closer, crying everyday. Living in fear that the same kind of accident could happen to my beautiful, little wild things.

Grief. And fear. They have been strangling my sensitive heart.

Avery's story isn't the only one of pain and loss that I've heard this week. Another mom lost her 15 year old son to pancreatic cancer. And yet another mom is battling with her daughter (who is Wesley's age) in a fight against a brain tumor.

Not a single one of these stories is insignificant. And they certainly aren't stories. They are lives forever changed.

And so, here I sit, trembling and near tears, grieving so much and battling the enemy's arrows that would pierce my heart.

I'm reminded that though we grow weary and faint, we who hope in the Lord will not stumble and fall. We will fly high on His mercies. And though our flesh may fail, God is the strength of our heart.

I'm not at a place where I can sit here and say fear has left my heart and my home, but I sit here confident in the Maker's hand over us, guiding us to that place of peace and trust. My tears and my grief are not lost on my Lord. He steadies me and provides for us.

Yes, I pray ever more earnestly for my little wild things. I pray for protection. I pray for their health. I pray so ardently for their hearts.
But I will NOT allow my fears to leak into them. I will pray for courage. For determination. For fearlessness. And most of all, for conviction.

Pray with me as I battle the toxic lies of the enemy. And pray for these families whose lives have been altered so painfully. And please, move in action to bless someone this week. Take the time to be loving and courteous and passionate and courageous.

<3 jade..

PS you can read Avery's obituary here (written by his amazing mother)