Wednesday, November 20, 2013

darling daughters

(Sisters. Best Friends.)

My darling daughters. It's late. I should be sleeping, but I cannot rest. My heart is sad, because your hearts are sad, and it's a fact that mama's hurt when their babies hurt. In three days we pull away from the only place you have both ever known as home, and tears are falling daily at the thought of saying goodbye to all that you love. To all that is comfortable and familiar to you.To all that has made you, you. And it's scary.

And my secret is that I'm scared, too.

I have NO idea if we have made the right decision. All I know is that I see God's hand everywhere, and I felt more pain at the thought of saying 'no' to God, than I did when I thought of saying goodbye. So we go, and it feels like your lives are over, but I promise you that they are not. In fact, your lives are really just beginning. In Ohio your roots dug in deep, grounding you to your God and to our family. But in Kansas? In Kansas, I pray that you learn to fly.

Because here's the thing.

You're still you. No matter where you go, you are still you and we are still us. And God is already there, so what is there to fear? And even though it looks like nothing good could possibly come of the next three days, when you feel despair my darling daughters, I want you to remember the cross. Remember that once the entire world lost hope, too. And when it seemed like everything was darker than dark, really, the miracle was just beginning. Because on the third day, Christ ROSE from the dead! And it was nothing the world could have ever imagined, but it was EXACTLY what this broken world needed. It took death for the new life to come, and it's the same for us. We are saying goodbye to the old, so that God can create something new. But we have to go all in. No holding back. We must give our all, if we desire God's hand to be over all.

And I am thankful, my darling daughters, that God gave you the gift of each other. The road is so much more bearable if we do not have to travel it alone. Lean on each other. Support each other. Make each other laugh when you only feel like crying. And when you think you might have lost your way, just reach out your hand. Your sister will be there to grab on tight.

Girls. Remember where you came from. Remember the people that you love, this place that you love. Store the memories up in your heart. Memories of porch times and frog catching, learning to ride your bikes around and around the circle and cookie baking with the big girls. But remember to leave room for new people and new places, too. I promise you that your heart is big enough to hold it all, both the old and the new. Remember that God KNOWS the plans that He has for your life and remember that God is good. He can be nothing else.

My darling daughters, a new chapter is beginning. And with this new chapter comes a new setting, a new cast of characters. But your story remains the same. God is only adding to it, making it more rich, and more beautiful, and more vibrant than the chapter before. One day you will have the pleasure of looking back and seeing how God has woven your story together, page after page, but today is not that day. So today we just grab hands, and press on. And we remember that the miracle is just beginning.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

the one on hats

For 31 years I have worn hats.
Many years and many hats. And it's funny, because I'm not really even a hat girl. Sure, some of the hats I wore well for awhile before tossing them to the side. Some of the hats I tried out were attractive and suited my personality, but others were a complete bust. A totally wrong fit. Not the look that I was going for at all. And some of the hats I timidly tried out in the past, I still wear today. Now a completely comfortable fit, they are a part of who I have become.

I wear the hat of 'wife', and I do believe that hat suits me well. Sometimes wife looks attractive on me, and other times not so much, but I am learning as I go that it is not really about how I look in that hat anyway. It's about him, the other half to my whole. My partner. I don't wear the hat of wife to make myself look good. I wear my wife hat for Boss. To bring warmth to his life.

I wear the hat of 'mother'. Definitely a hat I tried on timidly at first, but now you couldn't pry that hat from my head if you tried. And sometimes my mom hat is frumpy, and it flops to the side, and certainly there are times it has seen better days. But sometimes my mom hat is so colorful and bright and I know in my soul that the best years are still to come. I love both versions of my mom hat because they are me on this journey, and I will wear that proudly all the days of my life.

I wear the hat of 'Christian'. You notice that I place this hat third, and not at the top of the list where it rightly belongs. This in the name of honesty. Because the truth is that my Christian hat gets pushed down. Every day. All the time. It's somewhere at the bottom of my increasingly crammed closet, but I do make sure and pull it out for special occasions. Like Sundays. And when I need something. I definitely wear my Christian hat when I need something. And it fits awkwardly, like it's not actually sure if it belongs on my head or not, but I slap it on anyway and hope that it fits 'good enough' to fool the masses, without ever really stopping to consider the fact that it does not fool God.

I wear other hats, too. I wear the 'homeschool mom' hat and the 'mom of a big(ish) family' hat. I wore my 'foster parent' hat for seven years. I have tried on the 'photography' hat and the 'runner' hat (that was perhaps the funniest hat of all), before deciding that neither hat was for me. I have worn the hat of both 'nursing mother' and 'bottle mother' and honestly, I liked both looks (gasp, to admit that in written word). I have never worn the 'have your child on a schedule' hat. I should wear the hat of 'homemaker' and 'cook' more often than I do. I wear the hat of 'reader' quite often, because other's hats always seem to be better looking than my own. I dream of wearing a 'writer of words that people read' hat. And if nothing is looking quite right on any given day, in any given season, at any moment of the year, then I go shopping for new hats. Because heaven forbid I should leave the house with a naked head. Because then people might see the exposed me, and then they will know. If I don't have a hat to hide behind, then people will know the truth: that I have no clue who I am.

For 31 years I have worn hat after hat, all in the name of finding myself.

And then yesterday, this:

"I stopped trying to find myself and decided to seek God." - Mark Batterson from his book All In.

To think that it really could be that simple. That there really might be a divine reason that I actually don't look good in a variety of different hats. To think that less really is more, and God really is more than enough. To think that in the releasing of the hats is where I would find God, and in Him is the very me I have been searching for all along. Oh, goodness gracious, the freedom I think I could find if I could really let it all go.

And simply seek God.

It's worth a shot, I do believe.

Lookout, Kansas, my naked head just might be coming your way.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

the story of kansas

(Image found HERE)

So. Have you heard? Our family is moving to Kansas.

Oh, goodness gracious. Kansas! Three weeks from today, our family of six will pack up this darling duplex and head west to a state that never before existed to me outside of the Wizard of Oz (one of my girlies favorites, thanks to their Grandma).

I wish we could go to a cute corner coffee shop, grab a cup of chai tea, and I could share with you all of the incredible ways God has made himself known in this move. For sure and for certain, I've never known His presence more than I have in these past several weeks. It's a crazy peace that I have, despite the sadness of saying goodbye to our home and our family who will remain in these Ohio hills. But the way that I see it.... is that sometimes you just have to jump. In order to make room for God to work, in order to chase a crazy dream, in order to be obedient to God's call, sometimes you just have to jump and trust that He will catch you on the way down. So, we're jumping.

The crazy dream began nearly a decade ago.

 Boss and I were newly married, our oldest was then a one year old baby, and we were already tired of climbing this worlds never ending ladder. We were tired of the long hours spent on things that held no meaning, tired of spending our days, hours, minutes on gaining possessions we are promised will pass away. We longed for purpose. So, we flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico and there we found what we were looking for. We flew to Albuquerque to become house parents, to live with children who were not our own. Children who had been handed a rough lot in life and who needed the love and structure that only God's design of the family can fill. We served in Albuquerque for two years under the direction of a good man. A quiet leader with a sparkle in his eyes. Ivy Harper taught us what it meant to be selfless, to spend your days giving away the best that you had to offer to a hurting world. Ivy has passed on from this world now, but I wish that we had told him how his leadership greatly impacted our lives. How he shaped our vision for the future. I wish Ivy could know how he touched the life of my husband. From the very first time that Boss sat across from him in his home office, he knew that one day he wanted to lead like Ivy. And when he came to bed that night he told me as much. But we were young, and restless (and more than a little bit foolish), and after almost two years we moved on. We moved here, to our home in Ohio, where we have served with Mid Western Children's home for the past seven years. Mid Western is more 'home' to me than anywhere else on this earth, and our years here have been some of the best of our lives, I'm sure. But the dream of leading never left Boss' heart.

Fast forward to the middle of this past September, and a few crazy connections and one Christian Chronicle ad later and Boss had applied to be the CEO of Carpenter Place, a Christian children's home in Wichita, Kansas. Two days later they called for a phone Interview and two weeks after that we were heading down as a family to visit Carpenter Place in person. And all I can say is that God was there. We saw Him all over the campus, in the faces of the people that we met. And while our hearts literally broke at the thought of leaving 'home' and the life that we have built here, there is no denying that God was saying GO. So when they called to offer Boss the job, we said YES.

During his interview they asked Boss 'why Wichita'? And Boss answered, why Houston? Why Albuquerque? Why Pleasant Plain? Because we go where God calls. We try and follow His leading. We jump and trust that He will catch us on the way down.

That's the story of how Kansas came to be. That's the story of Boss' dream come true. And we are confident that right in the middle of the United States is right where God wants us to be.

So, we jump.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

made for more

It's that time of year again. The time of year where the Boss man heads back to work, big yellow buses begin to roll by, and children everywhere head back to the classroom. Unless you are one of my crew. And then you stay home.

When Boss and I first made the decision to home educate (over four years ago, now), we knew there would be things we would be asking our children to 'give up'. The special first day of school excitement, the holiday classroom parties, skipping with a best friend to the playground after lunch, and the general feeling of goodness that comes with being a part of something that is larger than yourself. And sometimes when I think about it for too long, even four years later, I still get sad that my children are not a part of those things. I worry we have scarred them in some way by keeping them from the traditional American way of life.

But then I am reminded.

Deep in my heart I am reminded that my children were made for more than this world. They were put here for a purpose, to embrace their calling as a Christ follower should they choose to give Him their lives, to fulfill the plans that God has for them. Plans that include knowing God more and more each day and pointing others to Him on their journey. My children were not put here to get caught up in all of the current cultural trends, to be swept along with the world as it spins madly around and around again. And for all that my children have had to 'give up', there is one thing that they have gotten to keep. Each other. Our family does life together. Every single day, all day. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it. And that is what I love most about this journey of home education. I love that we do it together.

I know there are those who do not believe home education is for them. And personally, I am good with that. We all have different stories, different heart stirrings, and I believe if we are committing our ways to the Father he will guide us in the direction we should go. But for us, homeschooling provides the hope that we can hang on to our children's fragile hearts. For us, homeschooling allows us the day in and day out opportunity to mold the little people God has blessed us with into men and women of big faith. Soon enough our children will fly the nest and our steadfast prayer is that they will fly stronger and more assuredly because of their years spent in our home.

This year our focus is books, books, books. We will squeeze core work in, too, but the majority of our time will be spent with our noses in the cover of a good book. I want my girls to read solid stories about ordinary people who turned their lives over to an extraordinary God. I want them to see that God has had a plan all along. For his creation, for the people that lived in Bible times, for the country that we live in today. And I want my daughters to be inspired, to know that God has a plan for them, too. We will read about Christopher Columbus and Anne Frank. George Washington and Helen Keller. We will see how God continually uses faithful people to fulfill His purposes time and again and really, is there a greater lesson that my children could ever learn? I don't think so, and I am excited to see where this year will take us.

I don't know where you are in the story of your own life, but I want to dare you to dream BIG. To hand the writing of your story over to the very Author who created you in the first place. It is our prayer and the focus of our family this school year. The constant handing over of the pen, and then handing it over once again. And who knows? The beautiful chapter that we (you) have been longing for might only be but a page away.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

on making it count

Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. (Hope Floats)

And that's where I am in life. In the glorious middle, striving and hoping every single day to make my days count. My middle finds me in Ohio, married to a really good man. A really good man that I do not deserve. He folds laundry and sweeps floors and washes dishes and changes diapers and earns the paycheck. He tells me that I am beautiful and he dances in the living room with our daughters and he makes our boys smile. I take him for granted and I shouldn't. My middle finds me the mama to four children, and my oldest is nine and most days pass too quickly for comfort. Because the only thing growing faster than my children's bodies are their feet, and the screen door swings open as they exit with the early morning sun and it doesn't swing back shut until that morning sun is setting low. And there are bellies to be filled and baths to be had and then it is off to bed with a kiss and an I love you. And as another day passes I wonder aloud, did this one count? Did I make the most of my day, my time, my life? Because you only get one. One life to make count. And the truthiest truth is that most days I feel like I didn't. I slept too long or sat too long or spent too many minutes reading about other's grand lives while wishing mine was something other than what it is, instead of determining to make my one life the happy that I dream of.

I read on a sign today that bold change requires bold commitment. And I want that bold change in my life. In the story of our family. Not change in our setting. Our setting is my happy place. And not change in our cast of characters. I wouldn't trade my family and friends for the world. The bold change that I long for is a bold change inside of me that spills outward and up and all around. The bold change that takes someone (me) from merely existing through life to fully embracing it. Because I am tired of busy and debt and extra weight. And I am tired of snappy tones and frustration and discontent. And I am tired of just 'waiting' until this or that happens and then and only then can our happy begin. Because our happy is now. Right here in this glorious middle. And I fear we are living some of our very best days and we don't even know it, because we are living our days in this world that is spinning out of control.

In the heavenly realm the first are last and the last are first. Less is most definitely always more and God is always more than enough. He is everything. But most days I don't choose to live with a heavenly mindset. I choose to get caught up in the current of our culture. Our world where the first and the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most important and where we can never have enough. Of what, I don't actually know. I live in a realm where God seems nice, but it doesn't seem like he is really real. At least not in an alive and active kind of way. So I walk around in this world where we have it all wrong, and I continually bump my head as I try to turn myself around. Because this world I am living in is exhausting and in the inner most places of my soul I know that I was made for more.

And so that is what I am seeking. This more. This more of God. And scripture says that if I empty myself before him then he will fill me up. And that if I seek him I will find him. And it will take bold commitment but it will be worth it for bold change. Bold change in this glorious middle where I currently find myself, so that at the end of my days I can find that they did indeed count.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It's official. I am 31. It's going to be a good year. A growing, hungering after the beautiful and good kind of year. I can feel it. A year of 'less of me, more of Thee'. That is what my restless heart longs for. To know God more fully than ever before. I am ready for this adventure of 31. Bring it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

birthday week

(the Boss man.... also known as my date.... also known as my husband)
So. It's the week of my birth, and there is nothing I like more than celebrating a good birthday week. This week has already held many spectaculars.... sleeping for nine hours one night (with just one feeding snuck in there, also known as my baby is a rock star), sharing a pizza with my family, serving the Lord and the people of South Cumminsville with friends last Sunday, participating in national ice cream day (also known as I love Graeters), going on a little shopping trip with my boys for birthday pretties (also known as Target makes my heart happy), lunch out with my mama, a clean house, and tonight is date night. That dashing fella you see in the picture there is taking me downtown for dinner and dancing. And then I hear there are going to be fireworks over the river at dusk. Maybe he will even hold my hand! A girl can dream.

It is my birthday week, after all.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

glass half full

A summer afternoon rain is falling, lightly tap tapping against the windows.  On the stove sits a flickering candle, filling our darling duplex with scents of cranberries and orange. Light quilts are tucked around, soft piano music fills the air, and my littlest love is resting peacefully on my lap. And for the first time in weeks, my heart feels totally and completely full. Full of goodness and hope and joy.

I am, by nature, a glass half full kind of soul. But for the past several weeks my cup bordered on empty. It made no sense. God had answered our prayer for a new home, and a new baby boy was in my arms. Boss and I celebrated ten years of love in May and we are constantly surrounded by good, good friends who inspire us on a daily basis to live life sold out for the Lord.. Our four children are healthy and happy and growing .

I could count my joys, but I could not feel them.

I just hadn't felt like me. Not since we brought our little one home from the hospital some two months ago. Some might have called it the baby blues. Some might have said it was exhaustion wearing me thin. And I don't know what it was, but the longer my cup bordered on empty, the greater my thirst for more became. And I began to feel as though the life I was living did not matter in the grand scheme of things.

On paper my days are nothing significant. I have no grand title or degree. I am a mother.  I nurse babies and wipe bottoms. I put peanut butter on bread and I peel apples. I correct character in my children and wipe away tears caused by hurt feelings. I visit with friends, spend too much time on the Internet, and avoid doing the laundry at all costs. This is how I spend my days. And recently, although I adore my children completely, my life was feeling like not enough. Like perhaps I was made for something more. So I would sit on my couch and nurse Luke, and as the milk flowed, so did my feelings and sometimes my tears.

And then yesterday, THIS....

Somebody said that there’s this restlessness among the next generation of women, that they fear more than anything – wasting their lives. I’ve felt that before. Feelings can last for years but they can lie and change your forever.

So, look — There’s no fear: You aren’t wasting your life when you’ve poured out for eternity — wherever you are.

There’s no fear: You are doing something great with your life – when you’re doing all the small things with His Great love.

There’s no fear: You aren’t wasting your life – when you aren’t wasting opportunities to love like Christ.

- Ann Voskamp (A Holy Experience)

And just like that my cup began to fill once more. Because with every bottom that I wipe and with every apple that I peel, I am pouring out and into my children. And the small things don't have to remain small when a big God gets involved.

The point of this season of my life, is to point my children to Him. In all things. And that is more than enough.

So today our Luke is over the two month marker. The new baby fog has lifted and I am ready to carry on, each day discovering a bit more of what it means to live a beautiful life. And I am full. Full of goodness and hope and joy.

Monday, July 22, 2013


So. She turned nine, which means I have now been on this journey of motherhood for nine years, too. I remember clearly the night she was born. I labored hard for twenty two hours before they finally placed her in my arms and I became a mother for the very first time. Of course she was perfect, all pink skinned and blinky eyed. The love was instant, but the confidence that 'I could do this' took time. At twenty one years old, I wasn't ready for all that becoming a mother would require of me. I wasn't ready to be up all night (because someone had to watch her to make sure that she kept breathing), and I wasn't prepared for all of the time and the energy and the sacrifice that goes into growing and nurturing a tiny person. Most days I felt inadequate, a girl who still needed her mother, instead of being the girl who was the mother.

But the love was always there, the constant that kept me going, determined to get this mothering thing right.

And over the years that blinky eyed girl turned into an inquisitive toddler, and then a precious preschooler, and now she stands before me, stunning, at nine years old and reminds me that we are halfway through our journey of being mother and daughter. And then I remind her that our journey together is not half over. She very well may leave our home in nine more years, but I will be her mother forever and ever, no matter how old she gets.

Some days I still feel inadequate. Our issues are no longer how to get that pink skinned baby girl to sleep through the night, but rather how to get our growing girl to always walk in the light. Gone are the days where I just wanted silence, and in their place have come days of teaching our daughter to use her voice for good. To speak boldly for the Lord. The fragile, innocent infant is no more, and in her place now stands our nine year old girl. Her heart is still fragile, but her body and mind are strong. Her innocence slowly being stolen by the sin in this world. And most days I feel like a mess. I am too strict on some things, frustrated when I should have been patient. I don't spend enough time investing in her life, and I use the words 'not now' and 'later' far more than I should. I blink and she's another inch taller and another month has passed us by. And I just want to go back. Back to the days where she was my baby. But time has taught me that there are no do overs. There is only today.

So today, I do the very best that I can. Today, I hug her a little bit tighter and for a little bit longer. Today, I look her in the eyes when she speaks to me and I care about the things that she cares about. Today, I laugh at her jokes. Today, I don't say 'later'. Today, I love her nine year old self with all that I have. 

And together, we journey on.

Happy ninth birthday to the girl who made me a mother. There is no one else that I would rather journey with.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

dear children

My Dear Children,

Today was a good day. A quiet Sunday. We worshipped God this morning and your dad did yard work. We picked up Subway for lunch and everyone was happy (minus Em. Subway is not her thing). After lunch you played outside with your friends. I am not sure what you played, but I am sure it involved frogs and Ninja Turtles. Maybe a little bike riding. Your dad spent his afternoon building a shelf for our new(ish) home here, while I nursed your baby brother and napped under my favorite patchwork quilt. Sunday afternoon naps are the best. Remember that. We had dinner with our friends and neighbors, and before we came in for the night daddy took us for a ride in the golf cart. All of us. Now that our family number comes to six, two of you must stand. It is usually you girls, but you never seem to mind. Tonight we rode as the sun began to set. The soft rays burst through the clouds and it was beautiful, so we stopped by the office to stare for awhile before moving on. We drove over the dam, around the lake, and up the lane. All around us were deer, and bunnies with white cotton ball tails, geese, and squirrels. We all liked the bunnies the best. As we drove home along the road the fireflies began to dance and I noted in my heart what a charmed life I lead. It was just an average Sunday, but it was our day. Another day in the story of this life that we are living together. And I just wanted you to know that today's page held beauty and contentment. I am so very grateful to be your mother. I have dreamed many big dreams in this life and not all of them have come true. But this dream, the dream of our family, it has come true and my heart is so full when I think of your dad and of you four, my dear children. I love you. I always will.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Party Picture Post (Messy Style)

(smashingly seven)
(sparkly eyed seven year old)
(happy birthday happening here)
(cool cup)
(mama's sweetheart)
(singing of the birthday song)

(seven is so sweet)

 (the gang)

 (silly string)

(cool whip cuties)

(caught red handed)

(still smiles)

(messy madness)

(human ice cream sundae. sprinkles please.)
(messy party success)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Life Lately

Life has been busy in our little world. The good kind of busy. The busy that involves the daily doings of raising four children, sharing conversation and community with friends that we cherish, and really just celebrating life. All the many parts of it.

Somewhere in the span of the calendar pages turning, Boss and I celebrated ten years of marriage. A decade of love. To be honest, the night we had set aside to celebrate together did not go as planned. Luke was two weeks old at the time, we were tired, and we both said things that we should not have said. But at the end of the day, there is still no one else on earth that I would rather be sharing my days with. Both the good days and the bad ones. For me, Boss is it. And I thank God that he feels the same way about me. We ended our anniversary with I'm sorry and I love you. And I looked into the eyes of the man that I love and I prayed for many decades more.

Two weeks after our anniversary, this little fella turned one month old.

Luke is such a sweet little love. He reminds me most of his biggest sister, as he is a content, quiet little guy. Unless he wants to eat. Then he makes sure you are aware of his hunger. For the first time ever I am committed to nursing, and I will say that I love seeing my tiny guy begin to fill out. Our bodies are awesome and this entire process of pregnancy, birth, and then nursing my infant for nourishment reminds me every single day that there is a God. The way he designed the creation and sustainment of life is nothing short of amazing to me.

What else?

Yesterday this sparkly eyed girl turned seven. Seven years old. Kate was our most challenging child during the first two years of her life, but she has grown up to be the most charming and delightful little girl! She is a wonderful daughter and the very best sister. I love her so much and I am blessed to be her mama.

Jack is now potty trained. We started working on it the very same week that we brought Luke home from the hospital. You know. Because I had nothing else on my agenda. But I am so proud of my biggest boy! He may or may not have recently gotten in trouble for showing every single person that he meets his new underwear (which involves dropping his drawers for all the world to see), but in his defense, Batman is pretty cool.

And then there is Emma. She is such a help to me! The perfect oldest child to our crew. Lately she is maturing so much and growing up before my very eyes. I am thankful she is mine.

 So that is a glimpse into the life of our family lately. Our life that is good, and sweet, and exhausting, and challenging, and hard, and wonderful all wrapped up in one. And I am thankful for all of it. For every one of our days together.

Recently our church family lost a wonderful man. Boss and I often list the couples ahead of us in this life that we admire, that we want to grow to be like and to model our family life and marriage after. Only two couples ever make our list. This man and his wife are one of those two couples and my heart is so saddened over his passing. But I will tell you this. Knowing him and now watching his wife tread through these dark days so gracefully, most definitely makes me want to know God more deeply. Knowing them makes me want to live each day more fully. Together. As a family.

I know that the Lord is at work. All around us and in our family. And I am so very thankful for this life that I have been given and for the people that I am blessed to share it with.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Loving Luke (A Birth Story)

On May 16, 2013 my heart grew just a little bit bigger when I held my fourth child for the very first time. A boy, our second son. Our Luke.

That morning I rose early. I knew I was going to  meet my new son that day and my mind would not rest. Boss and I lingered as we readied for the day, making the bed and putting away laundry. We talked of how when we came back to our home in the next two days that we would be coming back as a family of six. We talked of how adding Luke into our lives made everything in the world seem a little bit better. A little bit brighter. More complete. We finished dressing and packing our three older children for their time away at Grammies, and then we came together as a family and prayed. We thanked God for his creation of family and we thanked him for the new blessing that we would be welcoming that afternoon. We asked him to keep us safe while we were apart. And then our children left. And I cried (smile).

Boss and I checked in at the hospital at ten am, prepared for our induction to start at eleven am. Upon arrival we learned that we were looking at a two hour wait and we were told to come back at noon. Boss and I got some breakfast, we alerted friends and family of the delay, and then we sat quietly, content to simply be together. It was crazy how much love I felt for that man in those moments. A decade of love seemed to pass in the blink of an eye and here we were welcoming baby number four. Crazy.

We arrived back at the hospital at noon and I was taken into a room at twelve thirty. Room 3103. Now forever a sacred place in my heart. I looked at the empty isolette that would soon be holding my new son and I began to get excited! Boss and my darling friend were brought back shortly before one and by one thirty Pitocin was started and my bag of waters was broken.

 Luke did not tolerate the Pitocin well. With many of the contractions his heart rate would drop. The machine would sound and my heart would drop, too. The Pitocin was turned off and there was talk of a C-section if Luke continued to not tolerate labor well. My sweet nurse rolled me onto my stomach in hopes that that would help things to progress more smoothly. I believe I laid there for around two hours resting and praying that our baby boy would remain strong. I greatly wanted to be able to push him into this world.

Around five thirty pm things began to feel different and I knew that we were getting close. One of my most favorite parts of child birth is when the room becomes busy. When people start bustling about, preparing beds, and tying on scrubs for delivery. There is an energy to the room at that point and it always gives me the spark that I need to press on when I am beginning to feel the most weary. The doctor I had that day was super great, my nurse super kind. My friend was smiling by my side and Boss was whispering sweet nothings in my ear as they prepared the room for delivery. It was a grey day, cloudy, but just as I began to push, the sun poked through the clouds and warm rays of sunshine poured through the hospital window and filled room 3103 with a sweet glow. Boss whispered to me that since Luke's name meant light, he loved that just as our light was about to fill our lives that light was also filling the beautiful space around us.

As with each of my other children, I pushed for just a brief moment in time and then I was holding my new son. At five fifty pm, Luke Wesley took his first breaths and my life changed forever for the better. For the next hour Boss and I snuggled Luke and marveled at him. We took in the blink blinks of his eyes, counted his tiny fingers and toes, and found him to be absolutely perfect and amazing. Our precious baby number four.

My absolute favorite moments of that day were when our older children entered the room and took in their new sibling for the very first time. They each had a different reaction, one perfectly suited to their differing personalities. The first moments we spent together as a family of six were not perfect. I did not get the perfect picture. Jack was unimpressed. Yet still, they were my favorite moments. Ones I hope to close my eyes and recall for years to come. Because in those moments we were us. The new us, for the very first time. Our perfectly imperfect family. My dream come true.

Luke has added a new sweetness to our lives.

He is such a tiny little guy with a quiet, easy going spirit and soulful, inquisitive eyes. As with each of our other children, it is hard to remember that we ever lived life without him. Sometimes, when we are out and about, I want to pinch myself. I count the four little people that belong to me and I know that I am living it. My dream come true. And I am convinced that life does not get better than this. Loving Luke has been easy. It's as though it has always been.

Welcome to the world, Luke. Our lives are forever better because you are now in them.