Friday, October 28, 2016

Clean Slates

Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

Do you ever wonder what might have happened if Adam and Eve had not tasted the fruit from the tree in the garden that one very fine day? I do. I've thought about that story many times and wondered how things would be different. What would my life have been like? Would I have even existed? Without the fall, someone somewhere along the way wouldn't have made that one decision which ultimately led to the birth of me... or others.

Of course, Eve has been the bearing of many bad jokes or cause to blame that I've heard over the years.

Oh that Eve...these birthing pains are ... OW!!!

Q: Why was Adam created first?
A: To give him a chance to say something.

Besides the bad jokes or crazy excuses, I feel it's also easy to point blame for things on someone else. When an argument pursues in a marriage, we might blame the whole thing entirely on the other person. If we are upset at how we were angry at our kids, we might blame them for annoying us. It's always easier to blame others rather than admit fault in ourselves. Instead of looking outwardly at others, we need to look inwardly at ourselves.

What is the current state of our heart at the moment? Were we really angry about another situation and in turn taking it out on our husbands? When we yelled at our kids this morning, where did that anger really come from?

The Bible challenges us to look at our hearts. In the book of Proverbs 4:23, it says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." 

Instead of the using the "Blame Game" this week, let me challenge you to first look inwardly at the things you are really thinking and feeling. Those words and feelings that come out during a heated moment are coming from the current condition of one's heart. It may be time to reflect, renew, and rest in Jesus in order to change it. Let's go to Jesus to wipe that slate clean and begin again.

Lord, I come to you to humbly forgive me for what I said and did earlier this week. Please come forth and create in me a clean heart so that I might be able to love others in a way that brings them closer to you. Amen. 

Every Friday, bloggers from all over set their timers and begin writing for five minutes. They are given a word prompt to use in their writing and they write freely with their thoughts. It may not be perfect or grammatically correct 100%. But it's pure, raw, and real. If you enjoy this sort of thing, come join us at

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

If you look at the leaves in the trees, each one has a story. They all have their own patterns, colors, and things they've witnessed. Some have suffered through disease while others have been picked on by birds. Some have been rained on, shaken by strong weather, and yet they've made it through. Others weren't so fortunate and broke down to the ground before summer ever started. Some enjoyed more sunlight than others. Some were better protected depending on their roots or where they grew up. Whether each one experienced a tragedy, adventure, or big part of history, they are noticeably different.  Yet, they all have a story to tell. 

Some are colorful...


or brown. 

Some have holes all over...

are noticeably messed up...

or are dark on the outside. 

Some parts are hidden...

while others show it all. 

Some seem completely amazing and you can't even tell that they may be ugly on the inside.

Some are toxic...


or maybe even dull.

Some have character...

are interesting...

or pleasant to look at all day long. 

Some are wrinkled.

Some are smooth.

Some are curved...


or round.

Some are fun.

Some are full of heaviness inside. 

Some are large...

and some are small. 

Some are quick to fall. 

Some hold on to the tree for longer. 

Some just exist

Some know their purpose

while others don't know where to start. 

No matter what, they all long to be accepted. 

Just like the leaves, we long to be accepted too. 

Thankfully, we've been accepted by the Tree of Life... the One who continues to stand strong no matter the changes in season. We all fall down. But as long as we look to the One who overcomes it all, we end up staying alive. It doesn't matter what we've done or where we've come from in our past. It doesn't matter what we look like or who's sins are bigger. 

And each of us, like the leaves, has a story. We were made with a purpose. One of my purposes in life was to be a mother of many. Your purpose may be something entirely different. Just like we accept the leaves for their beauty, we should accept the beauty that makes each of us unique in the eyes of God. Let our lives tell the story it was made for by our Creator. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

What a Little Perspective Will Do

       After little sleep from the night, the alarm went off at 4 a.m. My husband and I scurried to take showers and head out the door to CHOA for our son's cleft palate surgery. As we made our way through early morning traffic, we sat mostly in silence. My heart was pumping and I felt complete anxiety over knowing my son had a big operation in front of him. At only 11 months of age, this would be his second surgery. Jonathan has struggled through this first year of his life learning ways he can eat with a cleft affected lip and palate. The surgeon said his palate is wider than most cases he's operated on and will take more work at fixing it. Nonetheless, we had been waiting and anticipating this surgery as part of his long journey he will face being born with this birth defect.

     Not much talking was happening between my husband and I in the car. I felt far from cool, calm, and collected. Will it hurt badly when my son recovers? Will the anesthesia work all of the way? Will he be okay? All sorts of thoughts came across my mind.

     Just as expected, we arrived on time and checked into the surgical waiting area. As we sat there looking on to our smiling son, I glanced around the room at the many children in pajamas and comfortable clothing waiting with their caregivers for their name to be called. Many little ones were fussy and tired. Part of their fussiness was the rumble in their stomachs from not eating for so long to prepare for the anesthesia. A little boy near us kept waving to Jonathan. He smiled so sweetly and his parents smiled along with him.

     As we exchanged smiles, we began talking with the little boy's parents. They were waiting for their son to have a surgical procedure. He was born with cystic fibrosis with a life expectancy not to exceed past the age of 40. As the parents discussed this child's condition, my heart sunk. Sometimes, God brings into our life people who have trials much bigger than our own. It takes a little perspective to help us realize that what we have on our plate in front of us could be much harder to deal with than another issue.

     God was testing me that day as I sat there in that waiting room. There were children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and others with down syndrome. To put it bluntly, my son's bilateral cleft lip and palate sucks. It's a huge challenge we work with each day. But at least we know there are ways to repair it. At least he can walk, talk, and do other things with his life. He may live until his 90s or he may pass away for another reason tomorrow. However, there are parents out there living and knowing the clock is ticking fast for their children. They know their children may never grow to experience certain things in life because of their conditions.

     Perspective can do many things for us. It helps us to realize that we can make the most of each day when we realize each day's potential. It helps us to remember that our faith in God should be bigger than the fears that surround us. It helps us to open our eyes with empathy and take a walk for a moment in someone else's shoes. Let me challenge you today to live with a perspective that allows for growth in your faith and hope for the future.

     As I write this today, I want to bring awareness of World Smile Day. There are children and even adults that were born with a cleft defect. However, they don't have the funds to repair it. Organizations such as Smile Train and Mia Moo Fund help to provide the needed funds to assist in those needing repairs. While my son has been able to have the surgeries needed so far, my heart breaks for those who haven't had that chance. We've experienced very challenging feeding issues this past year. Thankfully, we have had the chance to improve those conditions for him. Please consider looking into one of these organizations and get involved in some way. Because as you know, every kid deserves a smile.

Every Friday, the Five Minute Friday writing group sets their timers for five minutes and starts writing with one chosen word. This week, I wrote a bit longer including two weeks worth as I started on this last week and never had a chance to finish. This is a great community to join. Anyone with a blog and a desire to write may join. Come check it out at

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cleft Palate Surgery

It's been awhile since I've shared any updates on Jonathan. We are a week away from his next surgery (Sept 12th). This time, they will be closing up his palate. We will go up to CHOA the night before. And he will be staying one night after the surgery as long as he eats well afterwards. This next one will be another big step in helping improve his eating and over-all well being. He'll be able to eat more solids as well.

He did loose a lot of weight being that he hasn't been able to eat solids very well yet and is only eating what I pump. Being close to 10 months of age, it's hard to sustain his weight without the extra calories normally given through solids at this point. He's in the 6% for weight. So the goal is that he will be able to start taking in more soon after he has healed from this next surgery. We may need to start supplementing formula to help too.

Please keep little man in your prayers and be sure to email me some pics if you are sporting your t-shirts. I haven't been on Facebook in awhile but you are welcome to email me your pictures to

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement with our little man. He is such a happy little guy who doesn't let this stop him from enjoying life.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

When We Stay Humble

It's such a freeing feeling when we can live our lives in a way that doesn't come across that we have everything together. When we admit our weaknesses to others and share the realness of life, we connect in a deeper way. I've been in relationships with others where it seemed like we could never share on a deep level our authenticity. Everything came across as "fluff" and "perfection." And do you know where that got us? Not very far. In fact, those kinds of relationships leave a person feeling like they are very neutral and fake.

God wants us to put it all out there. He knew we needed community and honesty. He didn't create any of us to be perfect or prideful. It's all pretend as no one can be perfect, except Christ. We all have our strengths, but also our failures. And when we are willing to admit it with others, we can have better conversations and much more enjoyable relationships.

I love it when I go to someone else's house and they don't feel like it needs to look "Pinterest Perfect" just for my arrival. I know they live there and will have bills out on a counter top. Or they have some dishes near the sink. I love it when it's real life and there's no need to feel perfect. I can look around and say, "Yep, that's my life every day!"

I love it when someone doesn't have to have it all right. They don't need to look, act, or be perfect in order to be them. They can admit their screw-ups and moments when they had meltdowns. We can both laugh and agree that we've had similar days. When we are real and genuine, we can relate. When we sit there and point fingers at others in their missteps as though they weren't perfect, it becomes superficial.

I read this quote recently that said, "True humility is staying teachable, regardless of how much you already know." When we are around someone who always has to be right, thinking they are higher than others, and act prideful towards others, they can be a real drag. There is no chance of even being responsive as it's too difficult to make any conversation with them. Those who know something already or even think they know will still listen to others. It's like speaking with a child and when they are excited to share their knowledge, a good parent listens while getting excited along with them, even if the parent already knows it. If a parent begins to talk over them, showing they knew already or tries to correct the child's moment, it's a real disappointment.

I have this wonderful Aunt who always listens and gets excited when another person talks. She is very empathetic and understanding when you talk with her. She's an easy person to have a relationship with, but also someone I feel that I can go to when I'm unsure of something as I know she carries with her great advice. This is the kind of relationship we all desire. To be heard and to be real is the best kind.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to be authentic. People assume that being a mother of a large family means that I have it all together. There are many days I fall apart. I have meltdowns and moments where I don't even know how to handle a situation. I get anxious, worry, and have so many imperfections, it's actually kind of funny.

In a world filled with social media and sharing only our best, it's easy to assume everyone else out there has it all together. Instead, we need to admit we are all messing up every day. We all have kids who have inconvenient meltdowns or cereal nights where we just don't feel like cooking. Or we have days where we feel like the monster from the other side. But we also, recover and pick back up our own two feet. And until we readily admit we just don't fit that expected, perfect mold that the world wants us to think exists, our relationships with others will sink.

It's easy to get in that prideful mode as we all at times think we are superior to others in one way or another. If I were honest, if someone compliments our family's manners in public, I sometimes get a little prideful thinking our family is something else. I really have to remember that although I just love my family, we also have our troubles too. In order to build better relationships, we must admit fault, even to one another. And then move back to being humble.

So next time you feel like you need to have it all together, DON'T!!! Having humility in our relationships with others makes us honest and true. And with that, we will be a better friend to others.