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We Are Ready

Colby Ellison,

We are ready for you!  Yesterday was November 12th.  Your due date is now less than one month away.  I’ll just be honest, your daddy and I both think you are going to arrive before December 12th.  Maybe this is just wishful thinking?  Or maybe you agree and want to make this happen as well?  As we have prayed for you, talked about you, and prepared for you, we both totally agree…we are ready for you!  Here are the top 5 ways I know it is time for you to get here:

1.  We have accepted the fact that our lives have changed.  For the past several months I have said…”Oh boy, things are going to change when baby arrives…it will be so different…I don’t know about all this…”  Last Sunday I began to enter into this stream of thought again and your daddy was quick to put a stop to my rabbit trail of emotions.  He said, “What are you talking about?  Things have ALREADY changed, we are ALREADY living differently, now we just need to get Colby here so we can truly enjoy all of the change together!”

I tell you what boy, you’ve got one smart daddy.  Although I think you will enjoy all of my crazy thoughts and desire to talk about everything, I think we are both better off with the level head your father provides in the little moments each and every day.

2.  I’m just about finished having people stare at my ever increasing belly.  I am convinced if I placed a hidden camera on my stomach, everyone would see, people have stopped looking into my eyes, and instead stare at my stomach!  Now don’t get me wrong, I love carrying you and having you with me all the time.  But, I am ready for others to see YOU and not just be amazed at how large a white woman’s stomach can become.

When I pass people on the street they say “Gwo van” which literally translates into Big Belly.  But, I have been told by friends here in Haiti, that is a compliment and a way for others to share in my pregnancy excitement.  I believe this to be true, but something about my U.S. routes makes it very difficult for me to feel complimented when someone calls me Big Belly.

3.  Our list of “to do’s” before your arrival has but a few items left to check.  It’s almost like in college when I would study for finals and a point would always be reached where I would realize I have studied all I can, it’s time for the test.  In a strange way, that’s how I feel with you right now.  I don’t plan on excelling with straight A’s in the world of motherhood, but all the “prep” I can do has happened, now it’s go time!

4.  My heart longs to sit on the couch with your daddy, one of his arms around me, and the other holding you.  I’m ready to share your kicks with him.  I’m ready for the 3 of us to be completely together.  I feel selfish sometimes getting to feel all your movements all the time.  I think this may be the first step in me being willing to let you go one day.  I want you and your daddy to get time together.  Now, not all the time, but I think I’m ready to share…just a little bit.

5.  Lastly, I’m ready to be finished with the “hippy hippy shakes.”  Some people would describe the way I walk today as a waddle.  I do not think the term waddle sounds attractive in the least.  But, as I walk up and down the hills here on the mission property, I have one little tune that plays over and over in my head…

 

You my dear boy give me the “hippy hippy shakes.”  Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time for dance parties when you arrive, but today, I’m ready for my public hip shaking to come to a close.

Enjoy your last few weeks before coming into the world.  Let’s work together to try to make your entry into the world as quick and pain free as possible.  Rest up little man, I hear there is nothing quite like the marathon of child birth!  We love you Colby, and just remember we are ready for you!

-Mom

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The Count

THEY say November is a month where it is easy for people to become depressed.  While I’m not sure who THEY is, I can see they may have a point.  A variety of environmental factors, as well as highs and lows of the “holiday” season in general can cause this unfortunate circumstance.  A HUGE way to combat the struggle with the “dreary days” is to count your blessings! -My summary of Ann Voskamps blog.

You may already be in the process of intentionally counting your blessings throughout this month of Thanksgiving.  I have been slightly behind in recording my blessings, but thought I’d do some joy seeking today and share a few things I’m thankful for on the blog.

1.  Pumpkin Spice candles, Candy Corn, and anything fall!  Fall is by far my favorite season, and although I may have palm trees in my front yard and banana trees in my back yard, you can guarantee the feeling of fall is still present in our home.

2.  Phone calls with my sisters.  This afternoon I was blessed to have some time to chat with one of my sisters.  I hung up the phone so thankful for the sisters the Lord has given me.  Although we are so opposite in so many ways, our differences just make it more fun when we are together!

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3.  Restful nights.  Daily life is draining, no ifs ands or buts about it.  When I can fall asleep and wake up to ridiculously messy hair, I know I have slept well and have reason to be thankful.  I have a sneaky feeling I’ll be singing a different tune here soon.

4.  Worship songs in Creole.  At church yesterday I was reminded at what an incredible God we serve who hears and understands us!  Now that I can understand most songs in Creole, I feel like I am closer those around me  It is then my heart delights to know the Lord does not struggle at all to understand my words, he knows them before I even speak!  He gets me!

5.  Laughter.  I cannot get enough of laughter!  There is nothing better than those unexpected moments when laughter just takes over and there is no way to stop.  Unless of course you are sitting in a quiet church pew, then it’s not so great (this may or may not have been me yesterday.)

6.  My handsome husband.  The longer I carry the son of my husband, the more I am convinced I have been blessed with one amazingly good lookin’ man!  No need for gag reflexes, I won’t get all mushy here…but dang ya’ll, he’s cute!

trey

7. Letters.  I love a good hand written letter.  I try to be intentional in writing them, and I am always encouraged to receive them.  The thought and time put into a hand written note can change someones day…even their week or 2!

8. Baby Books.  This momma has had her nose stuffed in one baby book or another since learning we were expecting.  I do not even half way pretend to have any of the parenting world figured out, but I sure am thankful for those who have taken time to write and explain things of this unknown world to help keep this soon to be momma calm.

9. Blue toe-nail polish.  I can’t explain it, I think I am addicted!  I know it’s not “classy.”  I know it does not blend well with most of my outfits.  But the spunk and personality I feel when I see my feet (which is pretty difficult these days) is well worth it.  I love blue polish!

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10.  Baby kicks.  This boy inside me is quite the mover.  I love feeling his little nudges and knowing all is well!

11.  Mountains.  It is a blessing to live in the mountains of Haiti!  I have seen some of the most breathtaking views and would not trade it for the world.  EVERYTIME I see the mountains I am reminded of Psalm 121, I guess the Lord knows I’m a visual learner so he gave me a mountain view to always remember He is my one and only help!

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. (Mountains)
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Thanks for reading some of my blessings…now go write down some of yours, I promise you will not be dissapointed!

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Recipe Exchange

Cracker Barrel, one of the only restaurants in my home town.  Every Friday night my family could be found enjoying some “Southern Homestyle Cooking” at this timeless restaurant.  Biscuits and jelly while we waited for our meal, homestyle chicken-n-dumplings, and why not finish it off with a pancake for dessert!  Now, I don’t order like this every time I eat at Cracker Barrel, but those are my three favorite items on the menu!  It is for this reason I became beyond excited when I stumbled upon the recipe for Cracker Barrel Chicken-n-dumplins a few days ago.

Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumplings

Ingredients:

*2 Cups of Flour

*1/2 teaspoons baking powder

*1 pinch salt

*2 tablespoons of butter

*1 cup of milk

*2 quarts of chicken broth (I used a 32 oz box, and added 4 cups of water).

*3 cups cooked chicken (I used about 8 frozen chicken legs).

Instructions:

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.  Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.

Roll the dough out thin onto a heavily floured work surface.  I went real fancy and used a plastic cup as my “rolling pin”.  Once the dough is flattened, cut the dumplings into squares about 2″ x 2″.  They do not have to be exact.  Place the cut pieces of dough onto a floured plate.

Bring the broth to a boil and begin dropping the dough into the broth.  It’s okay if extra flour falls into the broth, it will thicken the broth.  Cook dumplings for about 20 minutes and then add chicken to the pot.

I am pleased to say our little Haitian home enjoyed the southern comforts of Cracker Barrel tonight and it sure was tasty!  I highly recommend this recipe, but be ready for a flour filled kitchen and lots of time on your feet.  I think it is safe to say, in this particular season of pregnancy, I will not be making dumplings again.  I need your help…

I love cooking for my man and serving him in our home.  But I am not up to being the next Pioneer Woman right now.  I’d choose chinese take out and chick-fil-a every night if we lived in the U.S. (probably a good thing we’re in Haiti right now.)  So can you help me…

What is your GO TO recipe for a quick fix that the whole family enjoys?  I’d love to hear from you!  Basic ingredients, quick prep, and easy clean up.  You can leave your recipe in the comment section of this blog, or post it under our link on Facebook.  After all, couldn’t we all benefit from a new tried and true recipe?  Let’s hear it!

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Finish Strong

1.  Standing in the light of the setting sun, the silhouette of a young pregnant mother, hands resting gently bellow her growing belly.  Her hair blows slightly in the breeze as the wild flowers in the field dance around her to the music of creation.  Her expression perfectly content.  Her peacefulness is contagious.  As the daylight gently approaches the darkness, all seems right with the world.

2.  A large growing belly, feet swollen after a day of work, and a body incapable of staying in one position for more than a few minutes because nothing feels “just right.” Mothers eyes are puffy and her hair, full of “fluff.” In the midst of the physical change, her heart grows heavier day after day.  A time of change is quickly approaching.  Her baby nudges her again in the womb, the time is coming…

Day after day I find myself jumping between these two pictures.  At times, the moments of pregnancy beauty are too much for me as I stare at my changing body in the mirror amazed by the work of our Lord!  Other moments, after tossing and turning and forgetting one more little detail, I wonder how in the world anyone ever survives pregnancy with any strength remaining to be a mother.

A little more than 34 weeks, I am approaching the “finish line” of this 9 month journey.  As I begin to truly envision and anticipate the “end”, I do not consider it a coincidence that a lot of what I have been reading recently has focused on the importance of finishing strong.  Yet again, when I need to hear something, the Lord definitely makes it known to me in a variety of circumstances.

A few days ago as I cruised the wonderful world of blogs, I was encouraged by a friends journey through physical fitness.  In her post she wrote of her dislike for running, but her love of the finish line, the success of the journey.  Talk about a beautiful picture of our lives!  Thanks Tracy Hodges.

The finish line of my pregnancy is in sight, but, you know what?  The race does not stop at the finish line.

Today, I see my “finish line” as delivering a healthy and strong baby boy.  However, when our little man takes his first breath, our race in  the journey of parenthood will have just begun.  If you have ever ran in a 5k or other race, you know the next opportunity for a race is just around the corner.  What is your “finish line” today?  Are you ready for the next race to begin?

Scripture teaches it is the Lord who is our strength day after day (Psalm 59:16).  We need not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6).

Throughout the week I have been considering what it means to finish strong.  This morning I was blessed with a sweet encounter with a dear woman of the Lord.  As she held onto my arm, shaky hands and aged eyes, she spoke words of wisdom and truth to me I will not soon forget.

“It’s all about the altitude honey, both physically and spiritually, it’s all about the altitude.”

In short, keep your head up and keep pushing forward.  Nothing is accomplished by sitting down and giving up.  As our conversation came to a close, my heart warmed as the Lord had used her words as confirmation.  I left our conversation with a determination to dig down deep and find the strength for these next weeks of pregnancy.  But, more importantly, I felt my head lift high as once again I was reminded of the importance of seeking the face of my Savior day after day, because He is ALL I need.

We are all partaking in a race.  Some of our “finish lines” may be closer than others.  Some may not want to reach the finish line in fear of what the next race may hold.  Look around you and notice the races others are in.  Be an encourager to fellow runners, and be encouraged yourself.  Some miles may feel like the wildflowers in the wind, while others miles may be more puffy eyed from the difficult journey.  Whatever your race, finish strong, dear friend, finish strong!

Hebrews 12:1-2- Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the same and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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Something Missing

Blue walls, lime green curtains, stuffed animals, and precious onesies.  Personalized bibs, diapers, pacifiers, and car seats.  Picture frames with cute little sayings about our precious family and our little baby boy.  His crib sits with matching sheets and adorable bumper pads.  His little high chair, baby seat, and play mat are all pieced together sit in different corners of his room.  The letters of his name line the dresser, waiting to be hung on the wall.  Yet something is missing…

Day after day I find myself sitting, rocking in his precious room.  A room his daddy and I have chosen and planned specifically for him.  Yet, the reality remains, something is missing.

As exciting as it has been to pick out the perfect stroller for our little man, and to dream about going on walks with him, it is not complete.  I love feeling his kicks and little movements all throughout the day, but the void still remains.  The picture frames are adorable, yet there is no face to place inside the frame.  Something is missing, he is missing!

I can look at all the baby stuff in the world, design the cutest room, and pick out the best diaper bag there ever was, but without our son, it is all empty. This momma to be has been feeling the emptiness recently.

I don’t want to look at an empty crib anymore.  I don’t want to see little outfits with tags perfectly in place and not a stain to be noticed.  I don’t want to see an empty swing with no baby to fill it (peaceful or crying).  I don’t want to see his precious name written throughout our home, and have no face to put with this special name.

There is a longing, a tension, the already…he is ALREADY our son, he is ALREADY in our family.  But, the not yet…we do NOT YET know him, I have NOT YET held him in my arms and looked into his precious face.

44 days, this is how far we are from our “due date.”  I hold this number loosely.  We could meet him sooner, or we could meet him later.  But, nevertheless, we are closer today than we were yesterday, and in this my heart swarms with excitement.  Every night I dream about our son.  Some dreams are me messing up big time as his momma, other dreams are filled with laughter and love as I envision our family.  He is indeed on my mind, all the time!  It is in this time of waiting, this time of realizing that something is missing, our son has not yet come that I remember a quote I read a few years ago:

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—
is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the
friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties
you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no
human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with
heaven, if Christ were not there? ” -John Piper

Everything is set in place, it is as it should be in our home.  But, Colby Ellison, is not here.  Although I have never seen him face to face, there is an ever present awareness that he is not here, and we long for him to be!

This small picture into my current hearts desire to meet our boy has caused me to return to another missing factor in my life.  My life is good, our family is healthy, our daily needs are met, I am satisfied in my relationship with Christ.  But, He is not here, physically.  His presence is felt, and I know He is with me. (1 Peter 1:8-9)  But, there will come a day when I will see my Savior face to face.  When the things I have read in His word come to life. When the daily choices I have made for His name will make sense.  When the lonely places in my heart will be fully satisfied in His presence where there is fullness of joy! (Revelation 21:4)

If I could do a toe touch right now, I would!  When we recognize something is missing, we long for it all the more.  I am so glad there is something more to being a mom than big bellies, leg cramps, and empty cribs.  I am so glad there is more to being a follower of Christ than reading the Bible, going to church, and serving on short term mission trips.  There is a face, a person, a relationship, a reason…a SON! (Isaiah 7:14)

Wherever you find yourself today, take heart.  There is SO MUCH MORE than what we have today.  Cling to your Savior today, the time spent thinking of Him and being in His presence today will only make our reunion with Him so much sweeter!

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