10 Oct

The Lord has worked in my heart, helping me to adjust and to slowly find my place. We are building relationships with our church family and are so thankful for what He has accomplished over the past twenty two months. I really have been getting adjusted to the idea of life three and half hours from the only life I’d ever known before moving to New Jersey on that final day of 2012. This is the only home we’ve ever known as a couple. It’s here that we unpacked our wedding presents, where I stood amazed at two pink lines that changed our lives forever, and where we welcomed our sweet baby girl last year. It’s here that I’ve learned to cook, to keep house, to serve Him in the daily tasks that often go unseen by anyone yet must be done. Having LG has helped me to feel more at home, she keeps me busy and my mind usually doesn’t have much time to dwell on being far from family.

And while Caldwell is our home, the place where God has called us to serve, I find myself homesick, tonight.

Longing for dinner with my parents in their dining room, for a chat with my Granny or for a shopping trip to Harford Mall with my Sissy. I’m missing my Mom Mom and my Mamal. I want to take my little cousin to Chic Fil A and then to Bouncy Place like we always did before she gets too big to enjoy it. I am craving the things that life used to be.

I am homesick.

It usually hits the hardest after I’ve been home recently or after I’ve spent a good amount of time with family, which have both happened in the last few weeks.

It came silently, but strong. The emptiness in the pit of my stomach. The sadness as I think of the things, the time, I’m missing with ones so precious to me.

While my heart aches for home, the Lord reminds me that it is neither in Maryland or New Jersey.

Home is Him. Home is Heaven.

My heart will never be truly satisfied until I trade my cross for a crown, but in the meantime my Savior longs to be my Sustainer.

He wants to hold me when I’m lonely. He wants to dry my tears when I cry.

I may be a hundred and fifty miles from the embrace of my Daddy, but nothing separates me from the comfort of my Heavenly Father’s arms.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

What comfort there is in knowing He is near when everything else seems so far away.


Dishes, Diapers & Diligence

16 Sep

She wouldn’t settle and it’s not usually like her to fuss more than once at night.

I sleepily pushed the button to illuminate my cellphone and it read 3:09 AM.

I tried nursing her, but still she whimpered. We rocked and nursed and rocked and nursed and finally she drifted off. Putting her back into her crib, I wondered how long she would last as she normally sleeps snuggled between Daniel and I from midnight on, but I wanted to see if having her own space would help her to rest better.

5:15. I stumbled into her nursery, scooped her up and brought her into our bed. The air was chilly, and I thought maybe the warmth was what she needed.

Still she cried. Knowing that Daddy would need to get up and going in just an hour or so, I took her down to the living room to rock her in the recliner and give him some peace and quiet for his last few minutes of sleep.

Though my eyes were burning and my mind was filled with thoughts of the busy day ahead (Sunday, the day of rest, is our busiest day, it seems!), I gave her a few teething tablets and we rocked some more. I knew being awake most of the night was going to make for a very long day, but my sweet girl needed me and there was no place else I’d rather be than cradling her in my arms and bringing her comfort as she struggled to sleep.

Being a wife and a mama has been such an enormous and ongoing lesson of selflessness and of learning to put the needs of another before my own. Most days, I do it without thinking about it, but others find me struggling to be diligent.

Kitchen sinkChanging diapers and doing dishes.

Mopping floors and planning meals.

Laundry and laughing with Lovey Lou.

Changing more diapers and doing more dishes.

I only get one chance at this and am I so convicted and challenged to do it right.

To give it my all.

I want to “train up (my) child in the way (s)he should go.” {Proverbs 22:6} I want to “look…well to the ways of my household.” {Proverbs 31:27} I want to be a “crown” to my husband. {Proverbs 12:4}

To do these things, I must be diligent.

As I read, Proverbs chapter 12, it screamed diligence over and over again. Verse after verse challenged my heart in this area.

The dishes aren’t going to do themselves.

Laundry needs to be washed, folded and put away.

Meals must be planned if we are going to eat well and spend wisely.

The little girl tugging on my skirt tail is only going to be little once. I only get one opportunity to teach her, to hold her, to love her, to point her to Jesus.

No one else can spend time with the Lord for me.

“He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread…” v. 11

If I’m going to look back twenty years from now and be satisfied with how I did in my role as wife and mama, I must till my land.

Tilling takes work. It takes time and energy. It takes diligence. It takes doing what needs to be done even when my flesh wants to sit down and do nothing!

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.” v. 14

I’ll only get out what I put in, and I can only put in what is needful if I’m where I need to be with Jesus. Without putting him first, dishes are a drudgery, I grow impatient with sweet Londyn girl, and frustrated by the ever-growing pile of laundry.

Verse five is so simple, yet SO profound.

“The thoughts of the righteous are right..!”

When I am seeking His righteousness, my thoughts are right.

When I’m thinking right thoughts, I am thankful for dirty dishes because I know they mean our bellies are full. When my thoughts are what the should be, I am grateful for laundry as it means we have clothes on our backs. Most importantly, when my thoughts are right, I am praising the Lord for the privilege of being the one to teach and train my daughter rather than seeing the constant attention she needs as a burden.

Being diligent has a lot to do with having a schedule and sticking to it, but it has even more to do with making sure my heart is pursuing my Potter so that He can make this worthless lump of clay into something useable.

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” v. 27

It is all too easy to be slothful when I’m focused on self, but it’s almost impossible when I realize how precious “the substance” I’ve been given is.

He has so graciously given me a husband to love, a baby to raise, a home to keep, a ministry to serve in.

All of those things are so very precious to me and all of those things deserve my diligence.

Lord, help me to remember that, “In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” v. 28 Righteousness comes from You, alone, for my righteousness is filthy rags. I need your righteousness to think right thoughts which will lead to right actions and the ability to be diligent in the tasks before me. Whether it be rocking a fussy baby at three in the morning or doing a sink full  of dishes, I need You! Oh, how I need You!


I’m Back.

12 Sep

I’m back.

It’s dark and quiet, the only noise the hum of the air conditioner that runs to cool our bedroom as we sleep.

It’s September. Yet the temperatures soared to over ninety today.

The last time I wrote here, my sweet baby girl was only a month new. Tomorrow, we are three weeks away from celebrating her first birthday.

Oh what a year it has been.

A year of the highest highs and lowest lows, I believe I’ve ever experienced before.

Her early months were filled with nursing, nursing and more nursing. Her tiny jaws just weren’t powerful enough and made eating a laborious task for her and her exhausted mama.

I spent every hour on the hour feeding my itty bitty baby. Laundry piled in baskets. Dishes overflowing in the sink. The house unkept. (So much for being Homemaker of the Year.)

The last few months have been tiring in other ways. Nursing is still frequent, but no longer difficult. In fact, it’s probably one of the few things we’ve found our groove in. I am so grateful that the rough beginning has faded into such a precious experience, one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Eleven months and one week have passed since that rainy October evening and yet I feel as if I am still there.

Not physically, for all but seven of those (fifty!!) pregnancy pounds are gone, but spiritually.

I’ve drifted so far away from Jesus, and I miss Him. I miss this place where I spent many a midnight sharing what He was teaching me through His Word.

She arrived three weeks early, and maybe that’s why the entire year has felt so overwhelming. Maybe I didn’t prepare enough. I underestimated just how much a baby truly does change everything.

Here I am, exactly where I’ve longed to be.

Married. Mothering. In ministry. 

And sadly missing sweet fellowship with the very One who gave me my petitions.

I have everything I prayed for. Waited for. Weeped for.

But I’ve put the blessings before the Blesser.

My Londyn Grace is my world. Caring for her consumes me and it should. I believe wholeheartedly that motherhood is a sacred calling, but that’s just it a sacred calling calls for communion with the Savior if it is to be fulfilled adequately.

I didn’t notice the absence of my time with Jesus during the newborn days, but now I am painfully aware.

As she asserts her independence and showcases her strong will a little more each day, I am aware of my need to be in Him that I may train her in His ways.

I didn’t imagine we would already be dealing with the testing of boundaries and breaking of rules, but we are, and oh, how I need His help as I try to teach her right from wrong.

My husband deserves a wife that seeks first the kingdom of God so that she can be the wife and ministry partner needs.

He works hard to give me the opportunity to stay at home. A clean house and a meal prepared are important, but what matters most is that my heart is right so that I am able accomplish the lengthy to-do list that awaits me each morning.

My church deserves an associate pastor’s wife that is deeply in love with the Lord not one who is simply going through the motions.

So as the past year, my first year as a wife and a mama, slips into my second one, I pray that you will find me here more often, again using this place as I testament of what He’s doing within and without in my life.

And He certainly has a lot of work to do within.

She’s asleep…

10 Nov

but not in her bassinet. She doesn’t like her swing or her crib. She likes to fall asleep on Mama’s shoulder and scoot her way down to my chest before she will rest comfortably. My hair is thrown into a messy bun. As for a shower, I’m pretty sure my last one was on Tuesday. Laundry baskets are full. There are dinner dishes in the sink, but I hold her and rock her anyway. I feel the softness of her skin and smell the sweetness of her breath. I admire her tiny fingers and precious little nose.

A month has passed since the midwife put this little girl on my chest for the first time and many a night since then she has slept peacefully there.

Yes, my house is messy, my arms are sore, and I don’t think I’ve ever known this level of exhaustion, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. For as quickly as this first month has passed, I know that the next eighteen years will do the same. Before I know it, I’ll be lying in bed wishing for just one more night with my baby sleeping in my arms.

So with greasy hair and a grateful heart, I praise Him for this gift and kiss my Londyn girl again.



7 Oct

I listened to the pounding on the metal roof of my car.

Everything outside was drenched with the early morning rain.

And as it fell I was soaking my swollen abdomen with tears.

Tears of anxiousness. Tears of joy. Tears in fear of what the next few weeks would bring.

Would my little girl arrive safely? Would I be strong enough to labor at home, naturally, like I planned? Would my family arrive in time to witness the miracle of birth? Would I be a good Mama to this precious gift?

When the thumping of the droplets seemed to lessen, I ran, well, waddled, for the back door of our large green two story.

I dried my face and tried to tuck the fears and anxiousness away, after all, she wasn’t due for almost two weeks. I prepared the ingredients and placed dinner in the crockpot.

Before continuing with other housework, I sat down on the couch to quickly check my email.

Then it came. First a trickle.

Standing up, it flooded the hardwood beneath me.


My water had broken.

My baby girl was ready.

I shook with excited and fumbled for my cell phone.

“Babe…I think my water broke.”

“I’ll be right there.” Thankfully our church is only two blocks away.

I called my Mama and quickly typed a text message to my sister and close friends.

He came in the back door. His wet shoes squeaking across the kitchen floor, he found me standing in the same position I had called him from a few minutes earlier.

We looked at each other, knowing our lives were about to change forever.

The midwife came. 2 centimeters and she could feel sweet Londyn’s head.

I showered through increasing contractions, and Daniel prepared our room.

The midwife returned. 4 centimeters. Active labor was in progress. This baby was in a hurry.

I didn’t want him to leave my side. He reminded me to breathe like we had practiced in our classes. He massaged my back as the pain intensified.

Moving from the bathroom to our bed and back again. I fought for the strength to do this. The pressure of our daughter’s head was painful and the pain brought my breakfast back up again.

“I don’t think I can do this,” I groaned while Daniel changed the sheets he had just put on the bed not even an hour before.

“Yes, you can. You’re doing great, Love,” he encouraged.

I questioned how far away my parents and sister were.

They were stuck in traffic, but only twenty minutes away.

I stretched across the bed resting on the comfort on my own pillow between contractions.

My Mama and sister entered our room and I felt a wave of relief. They made it.

I asked to see my Daddy. He peeked his head into the room, “Hey, punkin.”

Our conversation was cut short by another contraction. The pressure and my desire to push was incredible.

Daniel kept telling me not to push yet. The midwife echoed his words.

My Mama rubbed my back. She offered her hand, but I didn’t take it. I wanted my hands free.

The midwife checked again. 8 centimeters. After only 3 hours of active labor.

He helped me off the bed and supported my weight as my legs felt weak and heavy. Back in the bathroom, I continued.

“You can push, now.” I received the permission my body was aching for.

I pushed twice before my midwife ushered me quickly back to bed.

On my hands and knees, she admonished me to push through the next wave of contractions.

I hesitated.

“Push your baby out.” she requested again.

I moved to my side. The burning was unlike anything I had ever felt. Moaning, I bore down and heeded her request.

Before I knew it, my midwife lifted our baby to my chest.

I remember saying, “Hi Baby. Hi Beautiful. Hi Sweetheart.” over and over again.

She was perfect.

She was sunshine though the skies were gray outside our bedroom window.

Arriving nine days before we expected her and making her entrance in just under four hours of labor.
Londyn Grace. Our Sunshine.
Lord, we are so grateful for the precious gift of our girl. 
Thank You doesn't do it justice. We pray that You'll 
enable us to raise her to love and live for You!


12 Sep
Autumn’s chill has arrived. 
It came suddenly. 
Last week, Summer’s humidity still hung heavily in the air, but this week brought change.
The sun is setting earlier bringing cooler temperatures with nightfall.
An extra blanket on the bed. A sweater instead of sandals. Mums blooming. Leaves falling.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

As Summer fades into Fall, I think of the seasons of my life and how things have changed.

My first Summer as a wife is behind me. It passed quickly with the busyness of ministry. 

While the last several Autumns found me longing for marriage, this one finds learning what it means to be the wife my sweet hubby deserves and soon learning what it means to be a good Mama to my baby girl.

The season of singleness that seemed to last forever while in the midst of it is over.

And I now look back on it as a season of preparation.

Preparation for marriage, ministry and motherhood.

I didn’t know that when those things came, they’d come nearly all at once, but He did.

He knew the exact moment when He would transition me from one season to the next, and He knew what I would need to be ready for the change it would bring.

The years of singleness felt long when in the thick of them, but I now see how each one molded and shaped who I am today.

When school started last week, I wasn’t in the classroom for the first time in eight years, but rather preparing a room for a our precious daughter.

I believe those years of lesson planning and paper grading taught me valuable lessons for this new season of life.

The time I was able to spend with my grandparents in that season taught much, as well.

I’ve always been drawn to those older and wiser than myself. It’s always been easier for me to build relationships with them rather than those my age.

I now see how that has helped me to establish friendships with the seniors in our church giving me a place of ministry in their lives.

He knew that I’d be where I am today, and lovingly gave me years of training that I might be ready for it.

He’s placed me in this season and will enable me to flourish in it if I’ll only seek Him.

Yes it’s full of change, full of lessons to learn, but it’s also full of blessings I am so thankful for!

Looks Like…

28 Jul

PopPop and I…this past Christmas

his mansion is almost ready.

He’s been sick for so long, and yet he never complains.

From heart problems resulting in a bypass and pacemaker to cancer and then dementia, he has faced each trial with patience and grace.

A man of few words, but clearly a man of strong faith.

She’s stood by his side for fifty eight years, caring for him like no one else. Even though his memory has faded, he still knows her, his bride.

Please pray that the Lord would ease his pain and make his final days peaceful. Pray that He would comfort my grandmother, my Mama and her siblings as they prepare to say goodbye to their husband and father as only He can.

The passing of a loved one is never fun for those left to mourn, but praise God for the Christian death is not final!

Heaven is waiting for the saved because of the Hope found in Jesus.

Pop Pop only gets to go a little earlier than the rest of us. We’ll join him before too long, and spend eternity together!

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:8


The hospice nurse says that based on the signs he’s showing he will probably go within the week. We will head to Maryland tomorrow after church. Thank you for your prayers!