July 25, 2012

the one where I pour our my heart in thanks... for social media.

During Olivia's last fever episode I posted this picture on instagram:




Several women commented on the picture, and prayed with us for Olivia. {Thank You.}
As I've said before, the twitter and instagram communities have been good to me. They have loved me well.
One particular commenter was Becky. Such a sweet lady, with a sweeter heart. She left this: "They went to Vanderbilt and she was diagnosed." Hold the phone. There was a momma out there, with a baby with similar conditions, that went to the same hospital we're going to, that.was.diagnosed. A spark of hope. Hope that we won't hear the V-word, virus. That was a huge blessing in and of itself.




As you can see- Becky so sweetly texted her friend, Marisha, to find out what the diagnosis was.
This girl was seriously blessing my heart.
We emailed back and forth a bit, and then she gave me Marisha's email address. My hearts almost burst with gratitude.
I emailed Marisha, her response was simple- she thought it would be easier to explain over the phone. We were finally able to connect last night. Y'all, she is amazing!
She explained her daughter's history, her diagnosis/treatment and a little bit about their experience at Vanderbilt. Hearing her description of her daughter's episodes was like listening to a recording of myself. So surreal. But wonderful to know that I'm not the only mother watching her child go through this. She calmed any anxieties I had, and all but confirmed my suspicion that Olivia does, indeed, have Periodic Fever Syndrome. She told me how wonderful the staff at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital is and how they had (and continue to have) a great experience. Seriously in that 30 minute conversation, she blessed my socks off.

My point in all of this is two-fold:
1. Praise God for this phone call. That has completely re-shaped my outlook on next Thursday. Praise God for Becky, and for Marisha. Two incredibly sweet ladies, who've shown me the love of Jesus in this season.
2. The internet/blogs/twitter/instagram, social media in general, is not just a place to go and chat it up. It's not a time killer, and it's certainly not pointless. God is using these avenues to reach people, and we should be too. Goodness knows that the enemy is. The garbage that's out there is dizzying. It's coming at us from every angle. But that doesn't mean that social media is bad. We can choose how we use this outlet. Because of twitter, instagram, and more specifically- the She Reads Truth devotionals I was brought to these 2 women and through a series of small actions I was given a sense of peace about Olivia's health that I haven't known since last fall. So next time you see a tweet about someone not feeling well, or going through a trial- take time to respond with encouraging words. And when you see someone on the mountain top- praise God with them for His blessings. He is the same God in the valley that He is on the mountain top.

*** HUGE thanks to Becky and Marisha- you two have blessed my heart beyond words, and I love both of you for it.

July 23, 2012

Olivia vs. Milk

... or maybe it should be titled Milk vs. Olivia.


*** Disclaimer: This post contains talk about bodily functions of toddlers. If you have a squeamish stomach or aren't a Momma- you may want to stop reading. There, you've been warned. ***



Olivia is the thirstiest child I've ever known. She always has a cup within reach.
Her drink of choice? Milk. Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, regular milk- she loves them all. Problem being, milk in excess causes tummy troubles for our girl.

At her 2 year well visit our pediatrician was a little concerned about Olivia's potty habits. She often has a tough time going #2, and our pedi was worried that if it continued we would see problems when we potty trained Olivia. (she'd associate pain with going to the big girl potty, thus making it a kicking screaming fight to get her to go) Luckily, I was blessed with a child who virtually potty trained herself. Praise the Lord. But we did experience some difficult days where she would go to the toilet and sit, try to go, have no success, and get up. Repeat 50 times. She was so constipated.

A couple of weeks ago I started to be concerned about how much pain she was in and how the difficulty she was having. I didn't want these tummy troubles to interfere with her potty progress. So I called the doctor's office and talked with our P.A. she said that what we feared was coming to fruition and that if we didn't act fast, Olivia might sustain some real damage to her bowel.  She recommended that we put Olivia on Miralax, limit her dairy intake and remove milk from her diet all together. She has to take the Miralax once a day for 6 months, to give her bowel time to repair itself. We also have to give her calcium fortified vitamins and push calcium-rich foods. Once she is going regularly again we can try to introduce a soy, coconut, or almond milk.

So, my question to you Momma's with lactose-intolerant kids, or kids who just won't drink milk-

What foods do you have success with that are high in calcium?
Which alternate milk do your kids love? Soy, almond or coconut?
Any tried and true ways to make 'em go?

July 20, 2012

That time I did a devotional online...

64 days ago I joined a group of lovely ladies who were doing a devotional together using the YouVersion Bible Application.






I detoxed, then I surrendered, and now I'm praying.
These devotionals have been such a blessing to me. Just like I knew they would be. They have held me accountable for reading His word everyday. Something I've never been consistent in. They have revealed many truths about myself and my life, and taught me some invaluable lessons. I'm so grateful for these things.
But I'm most grateful for the not so obvious way it is changing me. The way He is changing me.
I've said before that I struggle with community. The whole letting people in, and reaching out thing is hard for me. Like crazy hard. I want to make friends, but I'm paralyzed by fear of rejection and judgment.
This community is helping me to work through that. It's easier to comment on a picture, tweet, or a blog post from behind a computer screen. A lot easier. That fear is lessened a bit by the anonymity of the internet. I've 'chatted' more openly with women in the last 64 days than I ever have. These women have become a huge support system. When I was having a tough day, Kayse sent me words of encouragement. When Olivia was sick, countless women prayed. {Thank You from the bottom of my heart- we are due for another episode next week, so let's keep praying for health} When Olivia went to day care for the first time, Amanda blessed my heart and nearly brought me to tears.
And in returning His goodness, I selflessly have prayed with and for people I only know through my computer screen. It has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. There is no greater way to say 'I love you' than to pray for someone.




The Lord has opened my eyes to so many women. Women that have amazing hearts for God, women who are hurting, women who are on the mountain top. They are all bringing Him glory and I want to hug them all around the neck and hold their hand as we pray and praise together. Seriously y'all, I wish we could sit down with each other with our hearts and coffee cups full.
If you have reached out to me I want to thank you. You have no idea how much easier that has made all of this for me; truly, you were Jesus to me and I praise Him for you. Thank you, friend.


**if you have no idea what I'm talking about hop over to the She Reads Truth website and click the "What?" link under the header. It explains how this all got started and how to jump in to the studies.
Seriously, do it- I promise you won't regret it.



July 19, 2012

Today I'm not here...

Today I'm guest posting for Cassie
over at Two in Diapers!! 



Hop on over and join me.

July 18, 2012

a letter..

A letter to the child at the store...
From my heart to yours...

Dear Little One,

I want you to know that I see you.
I see your sweet, compassionate nature- underneath the mask of frustration.
It must have been really embarrassing when your mom was yelling at you. I wish she had just taken a moment to listen. My heart was breaking for you.
I heard it too; when your mom said you were 'so annoying' and told you to 'just shut up.' I hope you know that you are so special. And that you have many gifts to give this world. You have worth, you matter.
You are not stupid, annoying or any of the other untruths your mother spewed upon you.
Hearing her speak to you literally caused me pain. Sweet baby, my heart aches for you. It aches for the pain and fear you must live with. I pray for you every night. I pray that you stay strong and sweet through your trials, I pray that you are delivered from them, I pray that if I ever hear something like this again- I stand up and say something, I pray for your momma too. But mostly, I pray that someday you come to know Jesus. Because- He loves you far more and far better than anyone here on Earth could ever hope to. For, all the days were ordained for you were written in His book before one of them came to be. He knows you. He loves you. He has a plan for you. 


I love you,
He loves you more,


The lady that smiled at you, and then cried.

July 12, 2012

letting go.

Y'all. I'm a hot mess.
This post may be a bit of a ramble, and if it is - I'm sorry; I've just got to get all these words out of my head.

Olivia starts day care on Friday.
No big deal right? Wrong.
Olivia has never been cared for by any one but me, her daddy, a grandparent or the church nursery.
My palms are getting sweaty.



Here are my worries. In list form because lists make type A people happy, and I can't form coherent thoughts, much less sentences.
  • My Olivia, she's a delicate thing with a sensitive heart. How can I be sure that her teachers and class-mates will be sweet to her?
  • Weighing in at a whopping 24lbs. at 28 months- she's TINY. Like, can still wear dresses that are size 9 months, tiny. She barely weighs enough to sit in a front-facing car seat. These 'normal' kids are going to trample her. 
  • She's an only child. What if she's the bully?
  • Olivia has recurring fevers, that require close monitoring of her body temperature and swift action in the event of a fever. Will they monitor her fevers the way we do?
  • We just learned that she has a milk intolerance; and the child seriously loves milk. Will they make sure she doesn't drink milk? (a post on that soon)
  • Is she ready for this? Am I?
 I should add that this facility came with a glowing recommendation from a good friend who I trust completely. Also, during our visit to the facility Olivia played well and seemed to have a perfectly lovely time; she loved the teachers. I'm clearly not sending my child to the wolves. I know that. But in her 2 years, she's had some hard times. And I've held very close because of that. I've been what one might call over-protective. I'm not ashamed of that fact, and I never will be. Olivia is an articulate, funny and compassionate child. But my momma-heart can't help but worry.
 
My stomach is in knots. I keep praying and trying to give it over to God. I keep reminding myself to have open hands. After all she's not mine, she's His. And He loves her far more and far better than I could ever hope to. But, goodness is that ever hard to do. I just finished my second devotional study with the She Reads Truth ladies. This study was called Living the Surrendered Life. I'm trying so hard to surrender my fears for Olivia's safety and health.

July 6, 2012

She calls me Momma

  

I play many roles in my life.
I wear a lot of hats, and it's easy to get caught up in it all.
I'm a believer, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, niece, grand-daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, co-worker... I'm sure I'm leaving some out.

But to this girl, I'm simply 'Momma.'
To this girl, it doesn't matter what happened during my day or how long my to do list is.  It doesn't matter what the weather is like, or what side of the bed I got up on.




She's quick to flash a smile. And even quicker to give a hug. She is the kind of person I dreamed she would be. Compassionate, sweet of spirit, loving, joyful, and full of life. When I was pregnant I prayed that the Lord would use her to bring Him glory. And let me tell you, if her little personality is any indication- He's going to use her in big ways. There's something special about that girl, almost electric.

She reminds us to slow down. To take a moment to enjoy the moments we are blessed with, to savor them. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life- the grown up stuff and yet, somehow, her tiny hands manage to wrangle our hearts. 



Daily, I am reminded by her how preciously fleeting life is. I swear it was just yesterday I snapped this picture on our front lawn. She was only a couple of weeks old, the picture above {where she's sitting on the blanket} was taken in the exact same spot. Somehow almost 28 months have slipped by. My heart can barely believe it's true. But as I check and re-check my calendar I can see that it's true. In the checking off of lists, we have missed out on moments. Not anymore. I want her to be as inspired by my life as I am by hers; and I pray that she continues to reminds us to stop. To hold her hand as she walks, instead of picking her up and walking- even if it takes so much longer. Because the hand holding only last so long, and the sweet moments on the front lawn will turn to preschool graduation photos and {Lord help me} someday I'll be taking pictures at her high school graduation. I pray we don't loose a moment.

July 5, 2012

Fourth of July... The Recap.

Our 4th was spent in the pool with wonderful friends.
My best friend from high school was able to come home for the holiday and we got to spend a lot of quality time with her. Such a blessing.

In the afternoon, we swam and I grilled hot dogs.
I failed horribly at taking pictures- I got 3. I had good intentions. Really.



Olivia and her "Amia"


Watching


A girl and her daddy.

I hope your 4th was as blessed as our's was. We are so proud to be American's and to get to live in this great nation!!!

July 4, 2012

Fourth of July


... and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Happy Fourth Y'all!

July 3, 2012

10 ways to really love a momma...

Recently a dispute began between a close relative and myself.
I'm not happy about my part in it, but in my heart I know that I did what was in the best interest of my baby girl, and my family.  Nonetheless, the whole thing got me thinking of the ways someone (who does or doesn't have children themselves) can love a momma of small children. I think this should be in memo form, handed out to all who visit a friend or loved one in the postpartum wing. It should also be in made into a brochure and put in those little acrylic stands in the waiting room.





10 Ways to Really Love a Momma:
  1. If you think about her text, tweet or instagram her. It might be just the encouragement she needs in the middle of a particularly difficult day. The other day when Olivia was sick, I was blessed beyond words by some women I'd never even met through their words of encouragement on instagram. They truly touched my heart.
  2. Show her grace. If she can't meet you for lunch, cut her some slack. It's probably not because you aren't important to her- her babies are just more important. As a mom and wife, I dedicate my energy to my girl and my husband. If, after I have met all their needs, there is some Sarah left over- then and only then can I take time and energy from them. Sorry if that makes you mad some day. 
  3. Make her a casserole; show up with coffee. This one's pretty simple. Sometimes a Momma is tired, and the last thing we want to do is cook.
  4. Lend an ear.  Mommas are not immune to needing to talk; if anything we may need to do it more often. Letting your momma-friend talk to you and showing genuine care and concern for her will mean more than you can imagine.
  5. Be kind. She's probably not feeling great about herself after having that baby. she may even have vomit in her hair with that sick toddler. (Heaven knows, I was a wreck this past week.) Compliment her anyway.
  6. Offer to babysit. Again, pretty simple. Mommas a time out too.
  7. Make an effort. If you want to see her, call her up and see if she's available. As a mom I find it hard to carve out time for myself to spend out of the house. 
  8. Tell her you love her. When you become a mom your reality shifts. How you relate to people changes. It's important for her to know that you still love her.
  9. Love her babies. Notice the little things, talk to them too, hug them. The quickest way to warm a Momma-heart is through her babies.
  10. Pray for her and with her. That's all.



July 2, 2012

The time I decided I hate a picture of my girl...

As a mom, I take a lot of pictures.
My poor iPhone; it's a good sport. At one point it had over 3,000 pictures. Thank you, Steve Jobs, thank you.
In 2 years I'd wager to say that I've snapped 30,000+ pictures. Oh my.
And I've loved them all. Until yesterday.

Enter this snapshot.




At first, I found it funny. Sent it to no less than 3 people, posted it to facebook, and had a good laugh at how we "had our hands full." It is, however a perfect depiction of our Olivia. The girl will not ride in the car without a 'maz-gine.' She loves magazines. She loves words, something I pray continues into her adolescence and teen years.

Then, while showing the picture to my mother-in-law, something in me shifted. The Lord used this picture to speak to my heart.

At 2, we don't talk a lot about the world's expectations. Sure we tell her she's pretty, smart, sweet, compassionate, precious.... the list could go on for days. But we don't dive into the tough stuff. Thank goodness, because I've got a few things to learn myself before I go imparting any knowledge. But the words on this cover scare me.





Please Lord, keep this garbage out of my sweet girl's heart. I need her to know that she is more than the headlines. More than the homecoming court. More than the head cheerleader. It doesn't matter how 'bikini ready' her belly is, what the labels in her clothes say or how much money she has. I pray that as her mother, my example glorifies Him. That, at a very young age, she understands that she is the daughter of a great King who loves her just the way she is. A Father that created every wonderful thing about her, and loves her to the width and depth of the universe.


"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4

Mama's hug your girls tight.