HOME

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where I am with you.

Home is where your story begins.

It’s good to be home.

There is no place like home.

Home Sweet Home

There are hundreds of different quotes about home when you search on Google or Pinterest. It’s hard to pick just one. There’s a sign on Etsy I’ve been wanting to buy for our office that reads, “It’s so good to be home.” Home: it means so many things to so many different people. If you surveyed a hundred people and asked them what home was to them you might get a hundred different answers. Some answers would be positive and some would be negative depending on their history and what experiences they have gone through.

I have been blessed to grow up in a good home. My mom and dad raised me in a home of love and support. My dad worked and my mom stayed home with my brother and myself. The thing I remember most about growing up is family dinners (we always sat around the table together to eat the dinner my mom fixed is every night) and Friday nights we always went out. It was usually something simple like eating at a family restaurant and playing putt putt or going bowling. But I still remember those evenings out all these years later.

I moved out of my parents’ house after I graduated high school and lived on campus at my college for 5 years. 3.5 of those years were spent in the girls’ dorm and 1.5 of those years were spent married to my college sweet heart. For the first 4 months of our marriage we actually lived in the girls’ dorm because I was the resident director. It was out little joke that my husband got married and moved in with 60 girls. But the apartment was completely separated from the girls’ rooms and the only thing Jordan shared with the residents was the front door.

Then my husband and I moved down to an in campus apartment and continued to work at our alma mater for a year before having our baby girl. We then transitioned to a mobile home owned by my grandparents until we could find a more permanent residence. This permanent residence ended up being my husband’s childhood home. His mother was remarried in September of last year and we moved into her house in October. We were wanting to move to the area anyways so the timing could not be more perfect and we did not even have to house hunt. It was a blessing for us for sure!

So now we have been in this home for right at a year now and it made me think about home. Not a house where we live but home. I asked Jordan what he thinks home is and he said wherever you and Abigail are. It made me think of Lilo and Stitch when Stitch says, “Ohana, Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” My family is my home. We may move every year to a new home, but if I’m with my family then I am home.

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Moments after getting to the apartment from the hospital with our newborn baby. We were home and a family of three!!

I like making my house pretty. I love waking the aisles of Hobby Lobby and dreaming on Pinterest about what projects to do next. I already have plans for every room of the house and whether we ever get to them or not I will keep dreaming about redecorating. I also enjoy a clean home. No, my home will never be spotless. It will always be a bit cluttered with way too many things and the table will always have yesterday’s mail on it, but I like knowing the house is clean. Like bathrooms are wiped down, floors have been vacuumed and mopped. It feels good to live in a clean house. And while I spend a lot of time each week cleaning, doing laundry and decluttering my house it still isn’t home unless my family is there. I am very much a home body and so is my husband. On any given evening or weekend we will be home watching tv while Abigail wiggles around on the floor. And I am glad we like being home together.

Home is a hard thing to define. It is not about the physically house you live in and how nice or not so nice it is. We lived in an old trailer for a year filled with roaches and water leaks, but we still called it home because that’s where my family was. I am thankful to have a nice house now, but no matter where God leads us as long as my husband is with me I will be home! I would say kids too but hopefully one day we will be empty nesters and our children will make homes of their own with their spouses.

I want my home to be a place of peace and rest. I want my family to want to come home because it is a shelter from the crazy world. I want them to be able to find contentment at home. I want our home to be a place of love – unconditional and sacrificial love. I want our family to grow, not only in number but spiritually and emotionally as well. I want us to be unified and open with each other. I want this home to be welcoming to others – to anyone who steps over our threshold to feel relaxed and welcomed in our home. I want this home to be filled with laugher and memories. I want our home to be led by Jesus first and then I want us to follow Him whole heartedly. I want Jordan and I to grow in love and wisdom as we raise our children in this house. And I want our children to want to come home and know they are loved in this home.

Home is…

A little girl’s laughter after being tickled by her Daddy.

A kiss goodbye as a husband leaves for work.

A gentle look from a mother as her child plays on the floor.

A child’s curiosity over some new object she found.

A husband relaxing on the couch.

A wife calling everyone to the dinner table.

A family snuggle to end the day.

A home is…

That stain on the carpet from a child kicking over your drink.

Running around in your underwear as you get everyone ready.

Burning the toast because you got distracted playing.

Having too much on the to do list but still choosing to play or nap with the baby.

Making up with your husband after telling him to pick up after himself for the 100th time.

Quiet evenings with your spouse when the baby goes down to sleep.

When the tiredness sets in because it’s midnight and that baby won’t go to sleep.

Changing countless diapers and keeping up with poops.

Home is a thousand little moments that make life perfect.

Life isn’t always great and happy and lovely every single moment. I get tired, frustrated and worried, but with my family beside me I know we will face all life holds together. My family is my safe spot. They are my home sweet home.

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Second Round

We have not been through as much with Abigail as a typical special needs family would have been, medically speaking. Abigail is healthy and happy, and there is not a single thing wrong with her except she is behind developmentally. We have not had to go to the hospital with her. But in December 2015, when Abigail was just barely 7 months old, we went to Children’s hospital to get an MRI done. The doctors were concerned that the connections from the back of her brain were not functioning as they ought. Her vision was awful back then as she could only look up and not track objects.

I still remember that day well. Abigail had to fast, so we woke her up early to get one last feeding in thinking she may nap in the two plus hour trip to the hospital. Well she did not nap. We were in Atlanta traffic with a tired, hungry baby and two stressed out, worried parents. We arrived and somehow got directed through the parking deck and down to the radiology department with enough bags to spend four nights at the hospital (I tend to over prepare for things).

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Abigail getting ready to get her IV in. Yes, they give them tiny hospital robes to wear!

Abigail was still pretty happy for all she had already been through so that made us feel better. But then they came to put her IV in, and it quickly went downhill. Because she had not ate or drank her already tiny veins had shrunk even more and the experienced nurse tried and failed about three times before finding her vein. By the first poke, my drained nerves could not handle my crying infant. There was already too many people in the crowded room, so I just stepped outside before I yelled at the nurse and tried to pull her off my screaming child. I boo-hooed like a baby by myself in that hallway. I remember a sweet nurse walking by and handing me a tissue.

The nurses left the room and said we could tell her bye before they sedated her. By this time I was already ready to leave. But I put my big girl panties on and hugged Abigail goodbye, telling her it would all be okay. Jordan and I stood on either side of her as they put the sedation medicine in her IV. It took about 30 seconds for her to go under, and they wheeled her out saying they would not leave her side. We were left in an empty room, while our unconscious infant was wheeled into the screening room without us. Oh we both cried like babies!!

It took over an hour for them to do the test, so Jordan and I got out of there and went and had lunch to help us calm down. Then we came back and waited for them to bring her back. She came back on the gurney half asleep, but doing great. They let me pick her up and nurse her and I was the happiest mom to have my baby back in my arms. We soon left and returned home. The results came a few days later saying everything looked great and we had nothing to worry about.

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How they brought her back to us. It looks much worse than what it was, but she looked so small and pathetic as she was still under.

Then today our neurologist told us that she wants to schedule another MRI at Children’s within the next two months. She wants to see how Abigail’s brain is developing and make sure nothing new has shown up. But all I could think about is how awful that day almost two years ago was and I do not want to go back. We were naive then and did not realize how emotional the process would be, but now we know.

We know we could be going through a lot worse. We know Abigail will be fine. We know it is just general sedation and a quick MRI. We know the Children’s staff will be great with her. But we also know it will be a hard day. It will be a day full of tears for everyone. And we know we do not want to see a two year old experiencing two MRIs in her lifetime. But this is what is best for her, and the only way the doctor knows the proceed. So reluctantly we will take out tired, hungry toddler to radiology whenever the date is set and we will see if they can hopefully find us some much wanted answers! But even if this test yet again reveals nothing, we will be thankful for Abigail’s health, progress and that she is apart of our little family!!

Thus Far

David

I love the Old Testament, and right now I’m reading through 1 & 2 Samuel. In 2 Samuel chapter 7, God has just revealed to David the Davidic Promise of how he will always have a relative on the throne for all eternity. David goes in, sits before the Lord, and says, “Oh Lord, who am I and who is family that you have brought us thus far.” I obviously cannot relate to how David felt at this moment, but I can repeat those words. “Who am I oh Lord, that you have brought me and my family thus far!” I was reflecting today where the Lord has led me in the last 10 years. I would never have planned any of it, but I am thankful to be here and to know God has brought me thus far and He will continue to lead me and my family!!

When I was fifteen I got serious about my relationship with Christ. I knew it was something more and that relationship needed all of me. God needed all of me. So I made the decision to jump head first into my relationship with God and I never looked back. There have been lots of times of doubt, struggles, and fear but God has been with me every step of the way! I had my life all planned out by the time I was a freshman year of high school. I had always wanted to be an elementary school librarian (my dream since second grade) and I planned to go to college at Berry in Rome, GA. I like plans and hate change so when I make my mind up it does not change a lot, but low and behold God had other plans for me. I had already applied for Berry and a few other choices by my senior year. But my friend was looking into a school named Truett-McConnell for a soccer scholarship. The ironic thing was this friend did not have a relationship with Christ, and to apply for Truett you have to have a written testimony. She even asked me to write a testimony for her. Needless to say I had to explain that was not an option. But because of this friend I found myself at the TMC table during a college fair talking to the admissions rep. The rep was great at her job and convinced me to tour the school and meet the librarian there. I was so excited to meet a librarian I agreed to come visit the next week.

My mom and I went to TMC to meet with the Admissions team and take a tour. The weather was awful and I had to sit in my moms lap while taking the tour so I would not get wet. An eighteen-year-old riding around a college campus on her mom’s lap was not a good start to the tour. But the last stop before we went home was the library. I do not even know why but I told the librarian I would be there in the Fall. I went home and applied to TMC that night and was accepted in the following weeks. I was going to TMC to major in Education to get one step further in my dream of becoming a librarian.

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Me as a little tiny Freshman. The hair cut was a huge mistake!

Truett-McConnell changed my life in many, many ways! I wish I had the time and space to write everything, but since I don’t I will just have to hit the highlights. The first and biggest thing was that God continued to change my plans. I felt God tugging at my heart and leading me into ministry but I struggled because if I heeded to Him all my plans would be shot. I had already changed schools (which was a marvelous decision) and now He was taking away my only other dream. But by the end of my fist semester of college I was ready to surrender my dreams to God too. It is a story in itself, and everyone who knows me calls it my FROG story. Maybe one day I’ll share it with you too, but I accepted Gods call to ministry, changed major to Christian Studies, and again never looked back. Three years later I graduated with a Christian Studies degree, and I pray to use my calling to encourage and disciple women all my life!

But not only did I receive a whole new calling and a degree there, I received a husband and a child. My family grew there, literally. I was not even planning to get married going into college. Having a family was not a thought for me. I just was not one of those girls who dreamed of marriage and family. I guess I figured one day I would get married and have kids, but it was not something I desired. I liked living my life, and growing closer to God, but as always God had other plans for my and my mystery man.

Jordan and I both became Resident Assistants for the 2012-2013 school year. That was fated to bring us together, though I am not sure exactly how. We could not be more opposite. He was your typical athletic, popular, blonde hair jock, and I was your shy, dweeby average nerd. We did not hang out in the same circles (mostly because I never left the all girls’ dorm and he never left the all boys’ dorm), we did not share the same interests, and we had no clue the other existed though we sat a couple chairs apart in most of our classes the semester before.

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I think this is our first picture together at the TMC Hoedown.

But the summer we came to school for RA training we got to know each other and kept having weird, awkward encounters around campus. One time we passed each other in the stairwell and just stared at one another for about a solid minute without saying anything. I practically ran back to my dorm room mortified! Oh, to be a young college kid again. So after a lot awkward encounters, and a lot of volleyball games later we both confessed we liked each other for some reason or another and we became, as the kids say, ‘official.’ That was September 4, 2012. We both knew after two months of dating we were going to get married. Jordan proposed in June the following year and then in February 2014 we were married.

Our first year of marriage was probably kind of weird looking back, but we did not think anything of it at the time. Our first home was a small apartment inside the all girls’ dorm where I resided as Resident Director. So Jordan lived with 60 other girls for about four months. Then we moved down the hill to another on campus apartment to become the Resident Directors to more college kids. Six months into marriage I was pregnant and sick as a dog most days. Again, not the life I had planned but I would not trade these things for the world. They have made me who I am today.

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The day we left our ‘first home’ aka Otwell. I had lived there for three years by then.

Soon after Abigail was born we left TMC. It was a sad farewell, but we both knew it was time to move on. This is when the adventures with Abigail started. At two months we knew something was wrong with our child, and it has been a journey since. I will not go into details because I have told Abigail’s story so many times, but she is yet another thing we did not plan. We planned the having a baby part, but not the ‘your baby has special needs’ part. No one can plan that.

I could tell story after story of how God continues to change our plans. How we have interviewed at countless jobs for Jordan’s ministry position and yet have been turned down for one reason or another. I could tell of the tears that have been shed or the questions we have asked God as to why He continues to change our direction and path. But today I want to celebrate where God has brought us as David did all those years ago. I want to thank God for the life He has led me on. I want to praise His name for His faithful and continual care and provision for us. We have never been without what we need. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He may not seem like He is always there or that He is listening to our pleas for answers and direction, but He has a bigger plan than I could ever dream or imagine. So while we are in the unknown in so many areas of our life, all I can do is trust God to see us through, and remember how far He has brought us thus far.

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My family! We are BLESSED!!!

Delight in Your Children

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What is it about your children that makes you so proud of them? I remember playing a newly wed type of game with my family when Abigail was only about three months old. One of the questions was, ‘What are you most proud of?’ It was a no brainer for Jordan and I. Abigail won hands down. Even at three months old, when she had not even barely moved yet, we were so proud of her. We were proud of her beauty, of her sweet smiles, and the fact we had come as far as we had with her at that time.

Pride in your children is like none other. And today I was reminded of how proud I am of Abigail. We laugh at her a lot about how ‘lazy’ she is, and how she does not do anything. But as the physical therapist was talking to me about Abigail’s improvements these last couple of months my pride in her was like none other. She has been working so hard. You can see how she strains to try to sit up, and how she wants to reach out for things that interest her. She is trying so hard to roll over and sit up. Her progress amazes me. To remember her at 6 or even 8 months with zero interest in anything, and now to see her laughing at a balloon we bought her for Valentine’s Day it makes my heart smile.

Pride in your children makes you puff out your chest and say, ‘Yes, that one is mine.’ Pride in your children makes you smile when you see them conquer that fear or when they succeed in the challenge that was facing them. Pride in your children makes you linger by their bed at night to watch them sleep and see how much they have grown since that day you brought them home. Pride in your children allows you to fight for them like you would never fight for anyone else. Pride in your children makes you celebrate their successes and cry in their defeats. Pride in your children is to have a delight in them.

As I write this I am thinking about all the things I am proud of about Abigail. I think I am going to write a list in the next days to look back on in the tough times of frustration and tiredness. I love lists. I love having tangible evidence of my thoughts and memories to refer back to at any time. In what ways are you proud of your own children? Tell them those specific things and ponder them in your heart. Some of my proudest moments of Abigail’s that I can recall are the moments she ‘stood’ for the first time, the time she said ‘mama’, and the time she handed me a toy. Her first birthday party and her dedication. The way she behaved on the day we had her MRI and the first time we gave blood. These are such simple things, but when I think about them they mean so much to me!

I hope Abigail always knows how proud Jordan and I are of her. Right now she cannot grasp that, but I know she knows she is loved and well cared for. She trusts us fully and depends on us for everything. Her smile and joy are contagious. I am so very proud of my little blonde headed love. She has come such a long way, and I am excited to see what her future holds!


“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”

Psalm 127:3-5, NIV