Mirror and Sky

I didn’t use to be so worried  about wrinkles. Which made sense because I didn’t have any. I think for a very long time I was actually convinced that I would be the one person in the history of time who would grow old without ever having to buy wrinkle cream.

A few months ago I was getting ready in the bathroom and Ellie walked in and said something funny. I laughed and then gasped at my reflection in the mirror. Were those…? I mean, surely not. I’ve worked out all the details. No gray hair, no wrinkles, no belly fat, no stretch marks. And I accepted the latter two as payment for my babies. But the Lord and I had not come to any definitive conclusions about the rest of it.

Imagine my surprise a few days later when I found not one, but three gray hairs.

Clearly, it was time for intervention (and by “intervention” I mean “shopping).

I headed to Sephora because they are like a therapist but with more lipstick choices. I found a woman who seemed to have made the same pact with God about aging but apparently had better moisturizer than I did. She walked me to the back of the store and introduced me to an eye cream that smelled like dead fish. I wanted to embrace the dead fish because once my teenage skin came back it would seem like a small price to pay. I bought the fish stuff, along with a few other “must-haves” for the rewind process. I’m not going to say I didn’t give it a fair shot, but approximately 45 minutes after I put it on, I still saw some wrinkles and I gave a monologue that would have made Solomon seem optimistic in Ecclesiastes.

Stupid wrinkles. They’re just around my eyes a little and mostly when I smile. Actually, I’m not even 100% sure they are wrinkles. They might just be my face.

Whatever.

They smell like fish now.

My thought process for a few days went something like this:

“I’m old. I’m practically on the doorstep of death. I need to deal with it.”

“Who cares what I look like? I mean, the Lord doesn’t look at the face. He looks at the heart.”

“Well that’s good. But unfortunately, everyone else looks at your face and yours is old and freaky looking. And I would be much more concerned about your arm fat than your wrinkles. You can give up smiling forever but your arms are going to have to move.”

“I’m so vain. I need to get over it.”

And on and on. And then on a little more because why not go for broke, you know?

I know I’m not the only one who has been through this, and I also know that it’s inevitable. But I guess I never realized I was going to be included.

Truth be told, I don’t think it’s even about face lines or gray hairs.

I just don’t want things to be moving quite so fast.

I meant to take a picture of Charlotte’s tiny little baby feet hanging off the rocking chair the other day and I took at least 15 photos, bemoaning the way the angle was making them look so big. I scrolled through a couple and looked up at her again, and in an instant I realized they were wholly representing what existed. Her feet are chubby and delicious, and I kiss them every single day. And somewhere in the kissing and the shoes and the towel drying them after bath time, I missed the part where they changed.

The camera doesn’t lie, and neither does the mirror.

My heart says, “It will never change,”  but the reflections tell me otherwise.

I sat in the moonlight all alone that night and whispered to Him, “Why?”

Why do you let me love things as they are only to tell me they won’t stay?

And as the blushing bride, ever well-intentioned, I realized my mistake as soon as the words left my mouth.

All this dark night, and you sit in the moonlight asking why.

I’ve been holding it all too tightly. Shoving feet in tiny shoes and scrutinizing the way the hours are robbing me of what was beautiful. I missed the way He lit up the night for me.

His moon.

His love.

His painting of my hair and ticking of the clock.

His spectacular plan that I’m so tempted to forget in favor of wrinkle cream and doubt. I get the sense that I’ve been treading water for a long time, asking Him to give me something that feels better.

I spend more time looking for my reflection in a mirror, rather than in the night sky. I want to drink deep of the landscape He has blessed me with. Not from behind a camera, trying to clip and edit until it matches my heart, but as a woman who can see the stars spilled out and believe Him.

There is beauty in the believing, isn’t there?

It’s a warm summer day today, and I have a feeling my backyard will be full of noises and patches of light tonight.

And as it often does, the wind will pick up the swings and move them back and forth while I cry out for them to be still. Tonight I will watch them and I will smile.

And instead of worrying about the swings, I will thank Him for the wind.

Constantly moving.

Always nudging us toward our home with Him.

Jesus, You make it all unbearable beautiful when we dare to look. Thank you for the mercy that sets us all free to love you in return…You are Everything.

And also, Jesus?

I don’t want to smell like fish anymore.

Amen.

Remember the Question About Charlotte?

First off, I am so glad I asked for help with the blog stuff because you all are brilliant and there were about ten million ideas I am going to incorporated that I hadn’t thought of…thank you!!!!
In other news, awhile ago I posted asking who you all thought Charlotte looked like and then I forgot to post *MY* opinion :) A sweet reader sent me an email asking if she had missed it and I remembered I hadn’t scanned in my *evidence* :)
Since she was born, most people say she is a Smith and I do see a lot of Todd in her. BUT, we were at my sister’s house for her son Tuck’s birthday a few months ago and I saw a picture of her hanging on the wall from when she was a baby. I don’t have a copy of that particular photo but I dug through a stack of others and I pulled out a couple…
What do you all think? Do you see it???? (That is, if you can look past the rug…..wow. Mom, dad? My eyes are burning.)
I love my sis Jenn…if you follow me on Twitter you know where to go get a good cup of coffee and meet her when you are in town :)  
ANNNNNNNDDDDDD drum roll……

Seriously, even her mannerisms are like Jenn’s. Hopefully she gets her artistic talent!!!!
On a side note, I found some other photos I need to scan in…in my next book I talk a lot about some hard times in my childhood and I came across a few images that I think will convince you I was a scary, scary looking seventh grader. YOWSA. 
I will be telling you all more about the book soon…I am so excited about it, and I can’t wait to share more!!! I want to wait until I have cover comps though, because I happen to heart the cover :)
And no, it does not involve a school photo of me…
:)
love to all!
A

Sweet Charlotte Girl…

You have my sweet nanny Kelsey to thank for these…is Charlotte not the most delicious baby? I can’t get enough of her sweet face and chunky little legs. So grateful to be her mommy :)  
I am tempted to ask you who you think she looks like BEFORE I post some baby pictures to support my case…thoughts?

I love this girl :)

Life as Usual

***Edited to add that I am praying for each and every one of you who have left requests, and I also wanted to thank those of you {many of you!!!} who recommended the angelcare movement detector. Todd and I went to Babies R Us today and it’s charging up….what a great idea!!!! THIS is why I love being a blogger…welcome to the place where mommies put their heads and hearts together!!! thank you! xoxo***

Hello all!

We just got home from Toronto yesterday (we did 100 Huntley Street and they are the nicest people ever). If you decide to brave the interview, just know that my hair is psycho and I nod maniacally throughout. Watching yourself on video is even worse than hearing your voice on an answering machine. Most of the time I never watch or listen to anything I’ve done for this reason, but I always pray God will use it to speak to other people despite me and my bizarro hair.

It was the last trip for awhile and I feel like I can exhale just a little bit. It was only one night away but i still cried in the hotel room:( I seem to be doing that a lot lately.

And unfortunately for my waistline, room service almost always accompanies crying. Reason number 2 I don’t watch my interviews.

So anyway, I’m so glad to be home. I have a Bible study on Wednesdays with other moms and I just love the women who are in the group. The kids also have a great time because there are several homeschoolers and they all come so it’s a blast. They just do spelling bees and geometry while braiding each other’s hair. Actually they trade animal bracelets and based on what I saw today, my little Kate is a sly shark. She is a stinking riot. The other day the girls were talking about their tithes and Abby decided she was going to give 20% so that Jesus could have 10 and God could have 10. Then Ellie said she was going to do the same but maybe give another 10% because she didn’t want the Holy Spirit to feel left out. At that point Kate (money clenched in fists) replied thoughtfully, “Well, I think I will give God just my hugs and kisses” and proceeded to hold onto her cash. She did eventually give it back to the Jesus jar but I’m not sure she got the whole “joy of stewardship” thing.

I haven’t talked about Charlotte recently on here…so sorry! I need to download some pictures as well so you can see how she’s growing. Honest to goodness she is the sweetest baby you could ever imagine. She just loves to be with you and will lay her little head down on anyone’s shoulder and snuggle in. She smiles all the time and she has this calm, gentle, loving personality that makes her so hard to put down. I feel like she’s really different from the other girls at her age because she is just so content all the time. I’m glad I got a super easy one as my fourth!!! I’m so grateful for every bit of her I get to enjoy, but I’m sure that others who have lost a child would agree that there’s a bittersweet feeling that comes along with seeing her grow and wondering what the other child would have been like. The girls have been talking a lot about Audrey lately and I think they sense it too.

On a related note, I’ve been struggling with a lot of fear related to Charlotte. I was sharing with my sister in law the other night about how Charlotte has started flipping over to sleep on her stomach and for awhile I would go in every half hour and put her back on her back. Again. And again. And again. I could feel myself starting to panic whenever I walked into the room, my mind telling me that she might not be breathing anymore. Finally, after I had done this more times than I can say, I felt the Lord stop me midway over to her and say gently, “Angie. How long will you do this?”


So instead of turning her over I sat on the floor and prayed. And prayed. And prayed.

And then I closed the door behind me and took Him at His word. I know that God is good, and that He doesn’t go off duty and let things just fall apart. He has a plan for Charlotte, and whatever that plan is will not be enhanced by me obsessing over every single thing I think I can do to control her safety. It’s appropriate to be cautious and responsible, but I can’t let myself believe that it’s up to me…but that is so hard.

So, there’s a prayer request if you don’t mind :)

I have a few more announcements coming up (no, I’m not pregnant :) ) and when the time is right I will be so excited to share with you…but you can rest assured that as wonderful as they are, there are most certainly (GULP) prayer requests that will go along with them!!! Let’s just say God has a sense of humor, and when I tell Him I’m too scared to do something, He finds a way to drop me right in the center of the fear. I know that’s where He is, so I’m jumping, but it is a scary feeling…especially with my hair being uncooperative. It just makes it all harder, you know?

Incidentally, I despise secrets (I actually got ticked at Todd when he planned a surprise party for me the first year we were married. Hasn’t happened since.) so I will definitely fill you all in soon!!! In the meantime, will you also ask the Lord to give me peace?

I have a feeling that some of the stress is coming from the work I’m doing on my next book-it’s bringing up some difficult memories but I hope there will be great fruit in the end. Right now it kind of feels like squashed bananas and rotten apples :)

I know I have said absolutely nothing of value in this post, but I really just wanted to say hello. As always, please feel free to share any prayer requests you have in the comments and know that you will be prayed over. I honestly can’t tell you how much it means to me when I ask you all a question and then I get to read all the great suggestions and thoughts…it makes this feel like a community and I love that :)

With love and gratitude,
Ang

Boxes

They’re everywhere. And I am really trying to avoid the fact that they aren’t unpacking themselves.

The important thing is that we are in our new house, and as I type Todd is reading Bible stories to the girls (Abby, Ellie and Kate are sharing a room) while Charlotte is quiet.

That last part is noteworthy.

Some days are better than others but in general she just has a hard time around feeding. She has reflux but the suggestions I got from the doctor don’t seem to be helping and it stinks to see her so frustrated. I am nursing her but she isn’t really good at it yet so I’ve been bottle-feeding her breast milk most of the time. We have given her formula as well but that’s pretty sketchy. As if on cue, she just started screaming. It was right before Adam’s rib got yanked out.

So, anywho, where was I?

Oh yes.

Reflux.

Any thoughts? We have tried cereal in her bottle and the medicine the Dr. gave us (I forget what it’s called and I would need to stand up and walk to find out, so let’s skip it) but she still seems upset. Feel free to email me or leave any suggestions you all have in the comments so we can all read them. As it turns out I am wide awake in the middle of the night and can stop back and catch myself up…:)

As far as life in general, we’re doing great. Blessed to have a wonderful house and incredibly sweet neighbors. We have received four plates of homemade cookies so far and have spent hours outside chatting. It is the kind of neighborhood where people just sit on their porches and drink coffee, waving to all the people who go by. I asked one of the neighbors if they had ever had any problems and she said that the teenagers get into mischief in the summer. When I asked what she meant she explained that they occasionally flip garbage cans upside-down and don’t stop fully at the stop sign. Then she told me that she and her friend used to sit outside and launch tennis balls at anyone that didn’t at least slow down. Her friend even ordered a siren online and they would turn it on to scare the speeders. I’m still laughing about that one.

We are completely surrounded by girls so the kids are loving it. They invited several of them in and went to play upstairs and a few minutes later I heard “Mighty to Save” in three part harmony and I decided we needed to have a chat about homeschooling.  I did make Auntie Annie’s orange rolls for them all and I even transferred them to a plate to make them appear homemade. Bonus.

So, as you can see, I haven’t had much time for blogging, what with my baking and all.

I just wanted to stop in and say hello and pretend I had some adult interaction…anyone?

Before I sign off from this incredibly inspiring and insightful post, I do want to mention something more serious and I hope you all will join me in praying for my dear bloggy-friend Sara. Many of you know her as GitzenGirl, and if you don’t know about her I hope you will click over and share some life with her. She is an amazing lady and she is going through an extremely rough time. Her father passed away unexpectedly and due to chronic illness she isn’t able to travel (or even leave her apartment for that matter). I can’t imagine what she’s going through and I just wanted to ask you all to be in prayer for her and her family. Sara, we are all loving you from afar and asking the Lord to comfort you in ways we can’t. Your dad sounds like a hero, and now I know where that spark in you came from. Praying, praying, praying…

As always, feel free to share your prayer requests here and know that the Lord is listening.

He is, in fact, mighty to save.

:)

Love to all,
A

A Few Things…

I am so glad you loved those photos as much as I did!!! I have had several people comment about what a precious idea it was to have the pitcher with the cherry blossoms and the bunny, and I wanted to make sure I told you that I had nothing to do with it!!! Tammi was the creative bug and I just stood in about 2 feet of grass while mosquitos bit me to pieces.  Several people asked if Abby had already broken her arm and the answer is yes! Once again, creativity at its finest :) She didn’t have the neon green cast yet, it was just in a sling-thingy but seriously! You can’t tell at all!! I’m going to pay her thousands if she can do the same with my baby weight…

I wanted to give you all another update and ask for some prayer for next week. You might remember that we had put our house on the market last year and finally sold it. We found another one we loved and really felt like it was where we were supposed to be. Unfortunately, the floods happened and the people who were buying ours couldn’t because the people buying theirs lost their home (Did that make sense? I’m not getting much sleep).  We were so devastated for the family (and so many families) that lost their (s) it just wasn’t a big deal about ours. We were safe and sound and apparently moving wasn’t in God’s plan for us.

And then, a few days later, our buyers accepted another offer on their home, but the one we were going to buy had already sold. We had a few days and a wonky market to try and make a big decision. Todd and I were committed to putting ourselves in a position where we could be better stewards of our money and there just wasn’t much out there.

So, we had a little heart to heart and we decided to just blow off the whole “God leading us” thing in favor of a rustic mansion on a 100 acre farm in the Tennessee hills.

Not really.

God surprised us with a beautiful home in a safe, wonderful neighborhood with lots of trees and children. It is cozy and peaceful and we can’t wait to call it ours. It turns out that several others felt that way as well, and despite the fact that we didn’t even put in the highest offer (there were several…and at least one that was well above ours), we got it!!! Because we had no contingencies, they took it in place of the others.  Not everyone has the opportunity to do what we are doing, and we are extremely grateful to be able to be debt free as a result of our downsizing. Other than our mortgage, we are free and clear!!! YIPPEE!!!!

Until I talk hubbs into buying me that Range Rover I’ve had my eye on…uh, NOPE.

All that to say, we are praising God for His faithfulness to us. We are blessed to be able to make some adjustments in our lifestyle and share what we are given. It isn’t anywhere near what others are doing in order to serve the Lord better and I don’t want you to think I am saying it’s this huge sacrifice…it’s honestly not. We are together, we are healthy, and we will have a lovely place to be together and share life. How amazing is that? We are moving next week and as excited as we are, it’s still stressful to pack up a house and four children…we appreciate prayers for all to go smoothly and especially for the girls to adjust well. We will be farther from my mom and dad and their friends and they are struggling with all the change that’s been happening.

I am praying that the Lord will continue to draw us near to Him and burden us for those who have so much less than we do. Audra just got back from Africa and we have talked for hours about what she saw there and how it impacted her (I’m so incredibly proud to call her my friend…). I want to write about it in more detail but we have had great conversations about simplifying life. I actually want to pick your brains about how to do this in a society like ours, so stay tuned for a post where you can contribute.

Also, could you pray for my friend Adrienne? I have mentioned her here before…she has three beautiful adopted children and is now pregnant with her fourth. She has been having complications and is now on hospital bedrest. Her baby boy seems to have stopped growing and although she is only 26 weeks, they are trying to decide if it would be better for him to be delivered. There is a lot that seems up in the air and I just can’t imagine dealing with all of that while having your three young children at home. She and her husband are wonderful and I know they would appreciate your kind words and especially your prayers on their behalf.

Finally, I want to leave you with an image I think will move you.

It may move you to tears.

And ladies, I do hope what I am about to show will not cause you to stumble in your walk.

Deep breath…

Wait for it…

I don’t really know what else to say.

You all have a great night…that is, if you can shake the image of the gold chain.

And also, baby? Bill Cosby called.

He’s gonna need that sweater back.

~Ang

The Cartwheel

Last Sunday night we went to a dinner party to pray Audra off to Uganda (she leaves on Friday with the AMAZING organization Sweet Sleep). Todd and I were inside talking to her about the trip while all the kids at the party played outside in the yard. For some reason I kept saying I felt like I needed to go out there and I just had this kind of unsettled feeling about being inside. Well, a few minutes later we heard this ear-piercing scream and someone came in and told us one of our kids was hurt pretty badly. I remember that everyone looked white-faced as I ran down the steps and several people were saying that one of the girls had broken her arm.

By the time I caught up with them, they were in the front of the house and Audra’s husband Shawn was carrying Abby. She was crying and begging me to save her, and when I got a good look at her arm I knew why. Oh my WORD. There was a wonderful man at the party who is going on the mission trip and it turns out he runs Vanderbilt Children’s O.R., so he called and let them know we were on our way.

The car ride over to the hospital was one of the hardest times in my parenting life to date. Sweet Abby kept asking me to pray for her and sing hymns to her and Ellie was completely beside herself in the backseat. She was more upset than Abby was, and at one point she asked hysterically if she could die so Abby could live. Awful. Awful. We kept explaining that this happens all the time and that we were going to get her fixed right up, but unfortunately, their experiences haven’t always ended up that way.  All the while I am looking at Abby’s arm and trying my best to act like everything was fine and the truth was I was just trying not to pass out.

The weirdest thing is that she was literally DOING A CARTWHEEL when she broke it. There were all these people around and they said she landed on her feet and then stood right up and looked at her arm. She could tell it wasn’t right so she ran to Uncle Shawn and asked what was wrong with it. I think it hit her then what had happened and she screamed. I just felt so helpless.

Vandy was AMAZING. Every single person we came into contact with was fantastic and they made a pretty scary experience as calm and easy as it possibly could have been. Randomly, one of her doctors went to the same high school as me in Cincinnati and we were there at the same time but we hadn’t known each other. I just felt the presence of the Lord there and we all made it through, but it has cracked open a tender spot in me that I am struggling with.

I am a worrier by nature, and the first to admit that my thoughts can run away from me if I don’t get a handle on them. I believe the enemy preys on me in this way, and has for most of my life. I know I’m not the only one who can get caught up in all the horrible things that could happen to my family. I also know that the Lord I have given them to does not want me to fear the way I do.

I love these girls (all of them) so much, and in the most profound, tender way. Each of their spirits have such deeply carved sweetness and goodness that I find myself trying to protect them in ways I know I can’t.

I can’t shake the images I have of that moment when I knew one of them was hurt but didn’t know what had happened. What a mother feels when her child is in danger is a powerful, awful thing. And it doesn’t  help when the worst thing that could happen actually has happened to you. I don’t want to live my life in this place of worry, but like I said, I am struggling.

This past week I took Charlotte to Children’s hospital for a scheduled ultrasound so they could make sure she didn’t have any fluid in her kidneys (she had some there when I was pregnant and they expected it would  remedy itself). Unfortunately, the fluid was still there. The technician did not seem at all alarmed, and completely put me at ease about what she was seeing so I don’t believe there is anything we need to be worried about.

I left the hospital clinging to her and looking back and forth at least three times before I crossed a completely empty road. I checked her buckles repeatedly and drove under the speed limit. I talked to the Lord about my fears and He gently urged me to remember that her life was not determined by any of my precautions, and that while I need to be a mindful parent, any sense of complete control is a sham.

When we were taking Abby to the hospital, she reminded me of what the Lord calls us to do. She sat with me, full of fear, and she spoke to Jesus. She asked Him to heal her and to be with her. She told Him she was afraid and that she needed Him. I sat with my arms around her, wiping down her sweaty head and kissing her little cheeks and it occurred to me that this really should be my ultimate goal in parenting. I need to love them well enough, true enough, and deep enough that they will let me hold them while they call out to Him. What a beautiful image; we as mothers get to be the holders while our children commune with the great One.

I’m sustained by that truth right now.

I have been a terrible blogger and I apologize…my arms have been busy and my heart has been a little restless. I know I’m not the only one to feel this, so as I write these words I am praying for all of the mommies out there who have had to face the moment where they can’t “fix” things. I’m praying for all the mothers who have heard a doctor tell them that they won’t get to hold their little ones again. I am asking the Lord to reach down to all of us as parents and remind us that we are the arms of Christ with our babies. May we never take that for granted, and may we never forget the Father Who loves us enough to let us weep with Him.

I wish I could just invite you all over for some coffee and hug on you. I know from the status of my inbox that many of you are hurting and processing your losses today, and I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone.

After a few hours in the E.R., the doctors re-set Abby’s arm, and judging by the pictures, it’s almost as good as new. It has actually been a joy to be able to help her do things she would normally insist on doing alone, and last night I was giving her a bath while we talked about how she was feeling. She had her little sling up on the side of the tub and she made a comment about how it stunk that she was hurt but that she was remembering that she didn’t have to do things all by herself. It struck me that I do the same. Woundedness brings a desire for communion with the Lord if we allow Him into that place, and I am grateful for that.

As I wrapped her up in her towel, I could hear Charlotte cooing from her bouncy seat in the other room.

I looked Abby square in the eye and told her I wanted her to make me a promise.

“What?” she asked.

“When you get your cast off, honey, I don’t want you to be afraid of doing cartwheels.” I looked her square in the eye, my hand on her arm. “What happened here doesn’t always happen, and if you let it make you scared…”

I listened to Charlotte for another moment.

“Well, baby, you might just miss out on a great cartwheel.”

She smiled and gave me a one-armed hug.

I can’t wait to see her do it.

Sweet Charlotte Girl

Well we are all officially in love.

Which is why I have been completely negligent on my blog and I apologize…it’s hard to get inspired to do anything but look at this sweet girl’s face :)

I just wanted to hop on and tell you all hello-I feel like you are friends and I haven’t done a good job of updating you on life lately! In short, all is well. And we aren’t taking a second of it for granted. We are letting life slow down, keeping computers and phones to a minimum, and enjoying respite from the busyness. I know you all understand (and most of you probably haven’t even noticed I’ve been gone!) but I still want to say hello.

(Hello!)

(This was taken at my niece’s softball game on Monday…she’s 5 days old here! And don’t be fooled. I still look like I’m seven months pregnant but the sling placement is working in my favor :) )

I promise to put up some more pictures of Charlotte soon, and can’t wait until next week when we will have some professional ones done. She is the most laid-back, gentle-spirited baby I have ever met and I think she is going to be perfect for the little newborn photos.

Oh, and by the way…in the event that you don’t follow me on twitter, you might not know that we changed her name at the eleventh hour. We actually sent it off to the state under Charlotte James and then changed it to Charlotte Olivia :) . It suits her perfectly and we just love that name. Luckily, none of my friends monogrammed anything as far as I know… :)

There is one thing I really wanted to share with you all and ask you to pray about. About nine months ago, a sweet girl from my church went into pre-term labor and delivered baby Lily Grace at 21 weeks. She didn’t survive, and Todd and I had the bitter honor of participating in the funeral service and spending a little time walking with them in their grief. Lily would have been their first child and it was devastating. Holly got pregnant again several months ago and her water broke when she was about 16 weeks. She has been at the hospital since then, fighting for her son Austin’s life. I went to visit them a few weeks ago and everything was going really well-there was a lot of hope that she had reached viability and that they were just trying to get her as far as possible.

The night I delivered Charlotte, she went into labor (at 27 weeks) and the doctors couldn’t do anything to stop it. They were optimistic based on his gestational age but after about 35 minutes (due to a lack of lung development), Austin went to be with his sister Lily in heaven.

To watch a mother put a second child in a grave within a nine month period was one of the most tragic things I have been a part of, and my heart is broken for them. Because Holly’s husband Michael was injured at his job a few months ago, he has been out of work and they are struggling with financial implications as well as all of the horrific emotional side of things. When I was in the hospital visiting them I asked about Lily and Michael mentioned that they were still paying on her funeral expenses etc., and it made me sick to my stomach.

I want to mention this here for two reasons. The first is that you all are a glorious community and I would really love for you to reach out to Holly and Michael if you have been through anything that you feel like would minister to them, or if you just feel led to connect with them. I know they are strangers but we all know (and I have experienced) the value of feeling loved by people who just want you to know they care. I have been so blessed by emails and prayers over the past few years and I just know this couple would be as well.

If you are in a situation financially where you feel like you could help them, I would love to ask you to do that. I know there are situations ALL around us where people are in need but I want to mention this in the event that it pricks your heart and you want to contribute. One of the things I take very seriously about having a platform of any kind is that I want others to be blessed through me and to know that it is the Lord Who did it. I have a paypal account (angelac519@gmail.com) and if you would like to help with this situation, please send me any amount you would like and just put “holly and michael” in the subject line. Also, please include your email/home address so that they have a way to contact you. They didn’t ask me to do this (in fact I don’t think she even knows I have a blog) but I just feel like it’s something I need to do.

If you want to email them, their address is jmphelps23@yahoo.com.


And most importantly, if you could join me in praying for this couple, I would so appreciate it.


Blessings and love to everyone…


Ang

All Is Well

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that we came home yesterday and have all been soaking Charlotte in. I haven’t even opened a computer in days so I apologize for not touching base sooner but I did want to stop in and tell you thank you for all of your prayers over the past few weeks…we are more than overjoyed to have her in our arms and appreciate that people have cared for our family enough to walk through so much alongside us.

I am not going to be online too much (any guesses as to why?!?!?!?!) for a bit but I will try and get some more pictures up here so you can see her in all her red-headed glory :)

We are so in love.

Now back to the smell of newborn…ahhh…

Ang

Introducing Charlotte

Hello everyone. This is Jessica and I just wanted to quickly post that Angie had Charlotte last night at 10:38. She weighs 5 lbs, 13 oz and is 19 inches long. She has strawberry blondish/red hair and is simply adorable! She has sweetest little face and the cutest pouty mouth and button nose.

Both she and Angie are doing great. They thought they were going to have to monitor Charlotte for a few hours, but she was doing so well, that they brought her in to Angie much sooner!

Here is Angie when she first got to hold her. I LOVE her joyous smile. So awesome.


And the proud parents

Audra and Charlotte
Angie, Charlotte and me

It was a birthday Angie will never forget. Please be praying for Angie’s recovery and that they will get to come home soon.