My Thankful for 2015

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Last week our family had a restful and happy Thanksgiving Day. It was so good, I didn’t even think to take pictures, as crazy as that may sound. And, though Thanksgiving has passed for this year, I wanted to share my “thankful” for the year. This is what I shared at our church’s Thanksgiving service, so if you heard me there you can go ahead and return to your Facebook feed. 🙂

A little over two years ago, our second daughter was born. At that time, my doctor told me I would probably never carry a baby past 32 weeks.

The months preceding Abby’s birth and the year following her birth were full of trials. It seemed like one trial after another. We did our best to press on, obey God, and trust Jesus that He was sovereign and using everything for our good and His glory. But it was a struggle. Toward the end of last summer, we found out we were expecting Baby Paul. Because we hadn’t moved into our new house yet (or even put in an offer), and because we were anticipating another 12 weeks in the hospital with a preemie, the news was a little overwhelming. I was praying one day about Baby Paul and felt God saying to my heart, “This is a reward”.

I had stayed up late one night researching possible medical interventions that could help Paul make it further along. That was overwhelming too. Operations, procedures, limitations, bed rest, risks, medicine, hormones…it was all overwhelming and I didn’t know what course we should take. I prayed again and God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

So, over the next several months, we did our best to Trust in the Lord, seek His direction in all our decisions with Baby, and acknowledge Him. Right away, many came along side us and began to pray for Baby. There were at least two women from my Bible study who really carried our burden every single day.

From early in the pregnancy Dan and I started praying that Baby would not be born until after our church’s annual Fur Rondy talent show.

He did.

We also started praying that Baby would not be breach. He had been breach through most of the pregnancy. At our 20-week ultrasound he was still breach and it was around that time that I became convinced that he would not flip. Though I asked our Bible study prayer group and my husband to pray that Baby would flip, I eventually resigned myself to the likely possibility of another breach baby, which would mean another c-section baby. I prayed about it one last time and fully surrendered it to God. A couple of nights later, Baby flipped and stayed head down for the rest of the pregnancy.

Baby was not a c-section baby. He was not even early enough for me to be stuck on magnesium or antibiotics. In fact, in answer to many, many prayers, Paul was born completely naturally. All the hospital did was provide ice chips, a birthing ball, and someone to catch Baby. (They even offered to let me do that, but I was a little distracted at the time).

My last big prayer request was that I would be able to hold Baby right when he was born. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, but I prayed anyway, and asked everyone else to pray too. I didn’t get to hold Lydia until she was one day old. I didn’t get to hold Abby until she was three days old. Words cannot describe how badly I wanted this. The closest I can come is “desire of my heart” (see Psalm 37:4). Words also cannot describe how happy I was the moment the picture below was taken. Or any time I see this picture. I know I’ve shared it before. I will probably share it again. This was one of the happiest moments EVER.

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God is so kind.

Paul was born at 35 weeks.

He came home with us from the hospital without spending a single day in the NICU. Our transition to having a baby at home was the easiest we’ve had yet and Paul has continued to be such a content, sweet, cuddly, cute, precious baby boy. He really feels like a reward. 🙂

I am so thankful that God is so kind. That he leads us when we seek Him and He blesses us when we obey.

Gobbles is in the Oven

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Paul woke me up early this morning so I tip-toed downstairs with my Bible and had a nice quiet time in front of the fireplace before taking the turkey out to rest. By the time Dan came downstairs, morning prep was almost finished and we enjoyed some nice snuggle time with Lydia before the others got up.

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Now the kids are fed and running around to burn off their breakfasts before our big turkey dinner. They’re excited for the turkey (only because we’ve hyped it up so much), the dessert (because every tooth in each of their little mouths is sweet), but mostly for the friends we’ll be seeing today and that Daddy has the day off from work.

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We are looking forward to a day together to rejoice and reflect on all that God has done for us in the past year. He has been so kind. Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and the blessings of the Lord on your day, your meal, and your year ahead.

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#Thankful365

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A year and a half ago I started a project that I called “One Year of Thankful”. It was so good. Every day I chose one thing that I was thankful for, and I took a picture. I kept those pictures in an album on my Facebook page and still look through it to remember what went on that year. It was hard to believe when the year ended (on my 27th birthday) and I didn’t “have to” keep taking pictures.

Day 366 I told Dan, “Do you know what I’m thankful for today? I’m thankful that I don’t have to edit or upload any more pictures!”

Yes, the project was great, but the uploading pictures was so time consuming that I couldn’t keep it going.

Well, November hit and suddenly everyone was talking about Thanksgiving. I love hearing what people are thankful for. I love it even more when there are pictures. And, as wonderful as this season is, I don’t want to limit my thanksgiving for this month alone.

Seven months have passed since “One Year of Thankful” ended and some things have changed. Namely, I have a smartphone. I’m so old-school I’ve never even had texting, much less a phone that doesn’t flip or slide open! But I recently discovered a new phone plan that cut my bill in half and with it I got my first smart phone. So I set myself up an Instagram account and I’m taking advantage of my new technology to launch a new thankfulness project, #thankful365. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, I’ll be back to posting my thankful pictures (almost) every day. I’m not committing to every day right now because, well, life happens, and I’m going to go ahead and let life take it’s priority over blog projects. Also, I’m not putting a one-year limit on this one. AND, I’m not necessarily going to try to do this alone.

I’m inviting you to join me. Post what you’re thankful for and give it the #thankful365. I’d have so much fun seeing your pictures too.

So here we go, one more week until Thanksgiving day with all it’s goodies, and one more week before I start another journey of becoming more thankful. Will you join me?

Taylor Turkey Day 2014

Last Thursday Dan’s family traveled to our home for our Thanksgiving celebration. I had been warned by many (including my doctor) not to do too much, so we had to be strategic in our planning. I started the meal preparation on Tuesday and did a little each day leading up to our feast.

Thursday morning we wanted to attend a local church service, so I planned accordingly. Dan and I love being efficient, and this day was definitely a success. By the time we left for the service we had the cranberry sauce and dessert made, potatoes in the crock pot, sweet potatoes ready to throw in the oven, and the turkey stuffed and roasting.

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We enjoyed a beautiful service and took our time visiting before heading home. Car troubles changed our plans slightly so we had extra time to get the meal together. After a small lunch, Dan carved the turkey (which was smelling delicious by that point), and I made my first ever successful batch of gravy. We scooped out the stuffing and mashed to potatoes and put those prepped sweet potatoes in the oven. Then I headed upstairs to nap until Dan’s family arrived.

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By the way, does our turkey look strange? A friend gave us this tip a while back: if you cook your turkey upside down, the white meat will be much juicier. We tried it once and it turned out great, so now we’re hooked. Although, this year my entire turkey was over cooked so the white meat was dry anyway. Good thing that gravy turned out!

Then the fun part, family arrived. We piled up our plates and enjoyed the food while we visited and were entertained by our food-loving Abigail and ever-social Lydia.

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After dessert, we spent the majority of our evening in the living room. Lydia made us laugh until we cried by dressing up and dancing all around the living room. Books were read and stories told. Everyone got the first glimpse of this year’s ornaments made for us by Dan’s Gramma.

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It was a wonderful day and a wonderful night. Dan’s parents spent the night (much to the girls’ delight when they woke up the nxt morning!) before making the long trek North.

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Our Thanksgiving weekend continued on over the next few days and we set up our Christmas decorations, did some Christmas shopping, and enjoyed having Dan home for four days in a row. It was a perfect weekend to celebrate God’s goodness to us and our many blessings.

My Thankful for 2014

When Lydia was not yet one year old,  I started a tradition that I hope to continue with each of our children.  Instead of creating a Baby book by hand (I’ve never been much of a scrapbooker) I designed a photo book online.  A month or so ago, I continued this tradition with Abby.  This is really irrelevant to the rest of my post except to explain the pictures.  The pictures used in this post are taken from Abby’s little book.  Moving on.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, our family has taken time to reminisce on the past year and share some of the things for which we are the most grateful. Lydia’s favorites have been Sandy rides at Meijer, and the color pink. Some of Dan’s top blessings have been God’s provision for us with a new home and job, and Abby’s long awaited homecoming last December. Abby’s only “Thankful” has been food. Although, she is, in general, pretty happy about everything.

Today I thought I’d share one of my “Thankfuls”.

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About a year and a half ago, we were still living on campus at Dan’s college, and I was pregnant with Abigail. Since we didn’t know why Lydia had been born early, we didn’t know whether or not Abby would follow in her footsteps. It was a struggle not to be anxious. Would Abby be born early? Would she be born earlier than Lydia? Would she be born too early to survive?

Frequently I would lay in bed at night praying over these questions and God would bring to mind Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” It felt like a Word from God assuring me good things for Baby, but not answering my questions about when she would be born.

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As it turned out, Abby was born early. She was born earlier than Lydia, and she stayed in the hospital far longer. She had more issues to deal with and was a puzzle to the doctors. There were even nights I wondered if she would ever come home.

Finally, last Thanksgiving Day, Abby had two surgeries that allowed her to come home. Her surgeries were Thursday and we brought her home Sunday morning.

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Shortly after Abby came home, I was holding her one morning as I sat in my glider. She was asleep and I was praying for her and asking God what specific things I should be praying for her future. Among other things, I felt led to pray that Abby would bring joy to others. Abby wasn’t even smiling yet, and the prayer didn’t spring from anything I had observed in her character, only what I thought the Lord had in mind for her future.

Soon Abby learned to smile, and since then she has rarely stopped. Others have observed, and I agree, that she is simply the happiest baby we’ve ever met. A week or so ago, as we were tucking Abby in one night, Dan commented that, “Our family wouldn’t be the same without Abby. We have more joy because she’s here.”

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This year, among a host of other things, I am thankful that God gave us Abby: that He created her and protected her, brought her home, and had a plan for her future. Even while I was laying pregnant in bed anxiously praying for an unknown future, God could already see far beyond the pregnancy, the hospital stay, and even past today. How reassuring it is to know that a good God holds our futures in His hands, and the futures of our most loved ones as well.