Random Goodness.

Hello everyone! {AKA, the few who stick around even though I’m the most unpredictable blogger on planet Earth. Thank you.}

I hope your Christmas and New Year’s season was beautiful and that wherever you are you are enjoying the “recovery” period. January is typically a slow month for writers and artists so Todd and I are loving being at home. He’s in the studio this week recording for a new Selah project (YAY!) and I’ve been trying to catch up on the odds and ends of life that remain from the insane Fall we had. There has been a lot of writing and planning for talks I have coming up next month, but a majority of the time I’ve had off has just been spent focused on the kiddos. We had gotten behind in schooling, so we’re playing “catch-up,” which will be the pattern that likely continues until they graduate. It has been something that has really stressed me out in the past but the Lord has given me a peace about it, reminding me that as long as I’m keeping my focus where it should be, the rest will fall into place.

When I say “fall into place,” what I mean is, “their hearts are stronger than their long division skills.”

Any homeschool tips or encouragement from those of you who are farther down the road is always appreciated. Please feel free to share in the comments section so everyone can see them-I get a lot of questions about homeschooling and know any thoughts you have are helpful!

I’ve really needed this time to breathe a little and let the Lord speak to me. There have been some significant developments that have come as a result of it-mostly just revelations about what I need to be doing better and where I need to simply accept the grace that the Lord is offering and be grateful instead of being a control freak. I’m praying He will continue to speak as I write-the book I’m working on is taking more out of me than I anticipated. I chose a topic I was interested in and committed to it before I fully realized that it was an area that God needed to do some work on in me. Oh, pruning…you’re as scary as you are beautiful.

And because I am taking major liberties on the “randomness” of this post (are we calling it that?), let me add a few things I am loving right this moment.

1. The fact that I have a desk at home now. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen it…I love her so much it’s unhealthy.

2. I have become obsessed with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. I’ve painted everything in my house that stood still long enough.

3. Speaking of paint, we finally got around to painting our Master Bedroom (we have been wanting to since we moved  in. A few years ago. Whoops.) I chose a gray color that I will heretofore refer to as “perfection.” As Todd and I sat in the middle of the room last night at 3 a.m. watching it dry, I told him I would like to paint my entire life this color. Oh, you want to know what color it was? I can’t remember….darn. HA! Just kidding. I spent enough time doing research to know that you need a community of friends before you choose the right gray. It’s called “Revere Pewter” by Benjamin Moore. I’ll try to instagram a photo of it if I ever get to making my bed.

4. The book “Sparkly Green Earrings” by Melanie Shankle (aka Bigmama). You really should consider ordering it. Actually you shouldn’t consider anything. Just click right here and make your day happier. I will give you your money back if you don’t love it and laugh/ tear up the entire way through.*

5. The fact that God really is faithful, and He really cares about the details. More on this soon, but it’s just been a joy to watch Him work in ways we could never orchestrate to show us that He’s involved and that He is trustworthy.

6. The music of “All Sons and Daughters.” Lately, my favorite song is “Reason to Sing,” but that changes every half hour.

7. Joining Jess for our 10th book(!!!) for our Bloom book club over at (in)courage. Here’s the announcement of the book we chose! We sure would love for you to join us, and know that even if it’s a topic you’re intimidated by, you are in good company. The best part is doing it together and learning from each other. In answer to your question, no. I don’t have any idea how my hair is 10 feet long. I sure do need an appointment to fix that, since it’s been about 6 months since I did (yikes).

Winter Bloom Book Club Introduction from Bloom (in)courage on Vimeo.

 

I think that’s all for today, but I’ll be back over soon to say hey. I have been trying to write a post for a few weeks about #5, but it’s been harder than I thought it would be, and I’m working through it. Hopefully I can be an encouragement to you all through it, but it’s been a rough road. No need to worry-all is well. Just processing some parts of my faith walk that I’ve been ignoring and now I feel like the wound is (finally) being stitched up a little.

Love to all of you in the meantime~

A

*=This statement is a lie, but don’t let that stop you from ordering.

Choosing Joy

First of all, if you homeschool you really should take some time and read through the comments on my last post. It is a PHENOMENAL wealth of helpful information and I am still making my way to a bunch of the links. I’m actually really surprised that there were so many curriculum suggestions that I hadn’t even heard of…so fun.

Just wanted to pop in tonight and say a quick hello. I’m in the middle of a busy week doing some book promo and getting ready to head to the dotmom conference this weekend. If any of you are going, please make sure and say hey. Would love to connect in real life:)

***

Along those lines, I really want to ask for your prayer for my friend Sara. I have never had the privilege of meeting her in person but she was a HUGE help with Bloom and has remained someone that I have loved chatting with online and getting to know a little through email and twitter. As many of you know, she has been confined to her house for several years because of disease, but recently she has taken a turn for the worse. Hospice has been with her for a few days and they anticipate that very soon she will be with the Lord. Jess gets updates a few times a day from Sara’s sister and it is devastating to hear what everyone is going through. Sara and Jess have become close friends and Jess got to go to Sara’s house with Elias and Adeline and I can hardly look at the pictures because they are so recent and it breaks my heart that she’s leaving this life.

Sara’s father passed away suddenly last year and she told Jess to tell me that she was going to find Audrey and introduce her to her dad because he loves kids. Oh, the tears of those words. I can barely even process what that feels like.

I know what Scripture says and I believe that it’s true. Better is one day in His courts…

But tonight I am aching for Sara’s family and all of those who she has blessed with her beautiful, selfless, Christ-centered life. She has chosen joy even in the worst of days and her example will be with us long past her breath. There are so many negative things about being online, and so many “downsides.” But the truth is, the other side is amazing. Sara has been in community with my dear (in)courage sisters and has “attended” my church alongside us through Crosspoint’s online services. It has been real relationship and it has been an honor to be a part of.

I’m reminded tonight of the power of a willing servant to impact a watching world.

If you would like to read more about Sara, please click over to her site. It is being updated by her family members and close friends. Also, Jess has been doing updates as well so check over there as well.

And please pray for everyone involved…and that the weight of glory would replace the burden of grief as we anticipate her homecoming.

We love you, Sara.

May we choose joy at every opportunity and display the heart of Jesus as beautifully as you have.

With deepest affection and many tears~

A

A Little Announcement…

Exciting news about my book “What Women Fear” has just been announced!

Click here to find out more about it…we would love to have you join us! So honored and also so excited to share this with you all in a more intimate way.

Blessings and love,
A

He Loves You

I wanted to be there, no question.In fact I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Three years ago I was a few months on the other side of losing my Audrey and it was time. Time to head to the hospital.Time to watch life start again.Time to rejoice for others while allowing my heart to mend in the process.

I found the room where he would be born, and little did I know that this room held a beautiful reminder of a promise.

I am always good, love.

Hours, agony, and exhaustion gave way to the moment we had all been preparing ourselves for. It’s time.

Oh. It’s time.

The doctors reached, the momma cried out, and I felt my fingers tighten on my shirt as I watched him being born.

A baby. Just a sweet little 8 pound reason to keep believing that God was still on the throne.When just weeks ago I had stood in a cemetary and said goodbye to the red hair and the tomorrows that yesterday swallowed up.

I wanted to be there, no question.  In fact I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

It’s been three years, almost. And my eyes start to burn and my jaw wants to tighten because it means that time keeps moving on without her…and why? Why does it insist on doing so?

But here I am again. The same hospital. The same momma that says “Happy Birthday” when her babe is born and loves and loves because she doesn’t know any other way. I came to support her, and to see what it looks like when hope comes bursting through the seams of life.

It won’t be long now. Her body is saying it and the doctors are agreeing. She is ready to start life all over again, and as her face flushes and her heart pounds, she screams out just as the doctor pulls her new daughter from her.

And there, on a bright morning in Nashville, I watched them lay the sweet, waxy, pink baby on her chest and there was no more screaming and no more fear or pain. It was all gone away, and in its place was this child. This promise that everything that hurts that way will be redeemed, and it feels possible here.

The baby doesn’t scream at all, and what might be nerves give way to the recognition that it seems to be her newborn nature to simply be still. The doctors smile and laugh and bundle and then Jess holds her perfect Adeline for the first time. All eyes are wet with love and relief, and I do a good job of celebrating. It’s so easy to celebrate when you’re with people you love and rejoice easily over. And the room reminds me that it doesn’t always go the way it has gone.

Sometimes the babies get to go home with their lullabye-singing mommas and their head-over-heels smitten daddies.

Sometimes, often really, they get to watch her sleep in her cradle and have whispered conversations about whose nose she got and why her hair makes those sweet little circle shapes and oh, how they want to devour her.

I know it happens, because it has happened to me.

What right do we have to a love like this? A love that says “yes,” before it knows anything other than “mine.”

And yet, I also know the other.

And as the nurses left and the baby rested and all lights were dimmed and peaceful, I wanted to hold her just for a moment. Not long enough to remind me of everything but long enough to feel Him.

I needed to feel Him.

She was, I thought, about this size. But no, of course she wasn’t. She wasn’t anything like this, and she never would be.

But who am I; this tender-hearted witness to the love that came down?

Not just here, and not just in life.But also in death.

We have no say in the matter, really.

We love as deeply as we are carved, and when the day is done we rise to see another.

I didn’t get to see the life I wanted with her.

I brush my face against Adeline’s and a part of me wants to whisper, “Do you know?”

Of course she doesn’t.But one day I pray she will.

That she will know me as the one who found the right hospital room despite all of the wrong turns I could have made between Audrey and her.

That she will know that I will love her the way I love her brother and that she will always remind me of the day love made sorrow stand still and rest in the truth.

But oh, how I miss her.

My tiny, pink-flesh and damp-haired baby girl. I never got to see your eyes, but I will. And I will know every part of who you are and what mattered more than everything I could see.

Because I have a God in whom I trust, in spite of the two very different rooms.One that rejoices, and the other that mourns.

How could this God be so?

Are you wondering why? Why would a good God let this baby have this and that baby have that?

I am here, friend.

And instead of asking why, might I offer a simple solution that I believe will answer the true question. I’m not sure it ever was “why” in the first place, but maybe “Who.”

He is my most intimate friend, my most respected Father. He is the One who carries the sun to it’s place and remains as faithful as rain falling down, down, down

Into the place where you thought nobody would remember.

He does.

Not only that but He loves you. He loves you. HE LOVES YOU.

I lost her. I cannot see her again in this life, but I am not tormented as I was because of those three words that tell me I have nothing to fear.

He loves me, loves me, loves me. Over and over and upside down and in every way I can’t get my arms around.

And this new little love shows me breath and smile and tears. I have lights of my own, this house full of blessings.

I have enough to know that what I don’t know is safe.

One day I will meet He who says it is so. I don’t know that I will ask the questions I think I will. What’s the point of why when you have the Who?

I might just bow down, down, down…And before the King I will whisper with the stillness of heaven’s peace-if I can stammer the words. Sweet, sweet girl…how I have wanted to hold you again.

I wanted to be there, no question.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


*To read Adeline’s entire birth story and see pictures of her, please click here*

Capturing Memories Through Scrapbooking

I have often marveled over my friend Jessica’s scrapbooking. I wish every one of you could sit on her couch and page through her albums. Since we are reveling in wonder over Charlotte, I invited her to guest post today. I hope you enjoy seeing her work as much as I do.

Scrapbooking is to me as sewing is to Angie.

A healthy obsession. :)

When I had my son, Elias, two years ago, scrapbooking took on a whole new meaning.

Suddenly, I felt responsible for telling HIS story. After all, he was too young to do it – or even remember it.

I found myself writing notes about his day on a calendar hanging in his room.

I took pictures of all the little moments – snuggles, diaper changes, playtime, etc.

I scrapbooked.

I have worked full-time since Elias was six-weeks-old, so my scrapbooking style was simple, but incredibly meaningful. I created pages like these:

It was all about photos+words.

Soon people began asking me how I was able to juggle full-time work, motherhood, marriage, church, etc. and still find time to scrapbook.

“You make time for what is important to you,” I replied.

But their questions got me thinking. I began praying for a way to help other moms discover my method for fitting scrapbooking in the midst of a busy schedule.

Soon, I developed an idea for an online scrapbooking class called Don’t Blink: Scrapbooking Your Child’s First Year, and I emailed a proposal to Big Picture Scrapbooking, the internet’s largest online scrapbooking class site.

I didn’t really think they would say yes. Afterall, I’m not a famous scrapbooker – just a scrapbooking mom, who loves putting photos and words together on pretty paper.

But they loved the idea and Don’t Blink was born! The class is self-paced and includes helpful hints, an audio file from me and dozens of layouts for inspiration. It is accessible online and there whenever moms can squeeze in a few minutes.

With Charlotte’s birth, I have once again been reminded of the gift of scrapbooking newborns.

Her birth story.

Her personality.

Her little hands and feet.

I couldn’t help but make a layout with the photos I took after Charlotte was born.

While I know I will never forget being there, this scrapbook page will last longer than me. :) I hope someday it is something Charlotte will treasure.

Do you scrapbook or journal to chronicle your kid’s stories? What are your favorite memories you have captured? I’d love to read them in the comments! And, if you have any questions about my BPS class, I’ll do my best to answer them.

To enroll in Jessica’s Big Picture Scrapbooking class, Don’t Blink: Scrapbooking Your Child’s First Year, click here. While I will probably never be a scrapbooker, I love, love, love what Jessica shares in the class- and all the layouts are simple and amazing. They are also offering a coupon for 20% off – just use the code blogblink at the check-out. (expires 12/20/2010 and is not good on any other classes)

Love,
Angie

Elias is on his way!!!

***7/13 update***Everyone is doing great…I haven’t downloaded my photos yet, so if you want to meet Elias, please go to Jessica’s blog…they have posted several videos and pictures of the sweet pumpkin pie.  We are going to head over this evening with the girls, so hopefully I will get some more photos then.  I just wanted to thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement while Jess was in labor/delivering.  I know I don’t know all of your faces, but you have been my friends for months, and I am so glad you walked this with us as well.  I am grateful for you…each of you.  I can’t wait to squeeze your necks in person one day and tell you what you have meant to me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  


***Elias is here!!!!*** He was born at 5:03 am and weighed 8.36 pounds…he is absolutely adorable. We are all exhausted but just so grateful that he is here and that he is healthy. Jessica is doing well. We are trying to decide who he looks like, but we aren’t sure yet. Thank you so much for your prayers during the night…I will post photos after I get a good nap:)

***12:00 a.m. update*** Jess got an epidural and she is resting..she was on a really high dose of pitocin, and just was not progressing. It was really, really bad pain…she was UNREAL. We are so proud of her hard work, and she is comfortable right now, which we are so grateful for. If you are still awake, please keep praying for her. It is going to be a long night but we are so excited to meet him!!! Come on Elias!!!

***10:40 update*** no baby, not progressing much…wow, jess is amazing. please keep praying…she is in so much pain but she is so determined.
please pray for:
-her headaches
-her labor to progress
-no more medical intervention unless totally necessary for hers/elias’ sake
-her pain level
-pockets of rest
-a baby to come soon!!!!!!
thank you so much for your comments…we are reading them and they are encouraging to all here…i will keep you updated after she is checked again in the next little bit…
(original post below)

Sort of.

My friend Jessica was admitted to the hospital last night to have her sweet baby boy. I got a call at 5:30 am and headed over. She is not progressing as fast as she was hoping, so I am going to ask for your prayer for her labor. She is going naturally (like me…uummm, not really. I asked for the epidural when I hit the 7 month mark. I was willing to drag that thing around for two months if it meant no pain…..:)). Jess is a TROOPER. Here’s the quick version. They had to induce because she had developed hypertension as well as pre-eclampsia. She got into the hospital around 7 and they didn’t get a room for her for two and a half hours. She had to have her IV placed 4 times before it was successful, and then after a few more not so pleasant moments (involving faulty catheters), she got about an hour’s worth of sleep. She was wanting as little intervention as possible, and unfortunately they have had do give her pitocin and magnesium sulfate. It’s not fun stuff. She hasn’t been checked in the last few hours, but at last check she was only 4-5 cm. She has a really bad migraine right now, and it is so hard to see her hurting so much. Her contractions are only coming every 7-8 minutes now…
I am one of her birthing coaches, so I am here for the long haul tonight and I will keep you posted as there are updates. She and her husband Matthew are also posting on their blogs if you want to check in there for updates. If you are new to my blog, Jessica is the friend that kept you all updated while I was having Audrey.
Please pray for her labor, for her husband, and for me as we support her today.
More to come…
Thanks for “being here” with us…you are so appreciated.
Angie