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Some may call us crazy

We received a call late Tuesday night informing us that our daughters birth mom was expecting again and she wanted us to adopt. My mouth dropped as I listened on the phone for all the details. She told me she is due early February and doesn’t know the gender yet. My heart leaped out of my chest and my nerves began to go into overdrive. We have a 7 year old, 2 year old and 5 month old so the thought of bringing a newborn into our family activated my anxiety. 

After hanging up the phone I called my husband, who was out running errands for our upcoming thanksgiving road trip. I laughed when he answered and said, “you will never guess who just called me!” After telling him the details he laughed too and asked when they needed an answer. We had 24 hrs. I didn’t sleep much that night. 

The entire trip down to Nashville was filled with us going back and forth, asking each other ALL of the questions.  Both of us willing to answer this call if it was God calling us. Was He calling? 

Fear set in and we decided to tell the agency we couldn’t do it at this time. We went to bed that night, silent, both praying. Secretly asking for a divine intervention. 

We woke up the next morning both feeling like we made a mistake. We didn’t know HOW we would do this but we knew we HAD to do this. It is too important to us, too important for our family, too important for our Amelia. 

So we said YES, a shaking yes but an obedient yes. Yes to Gods plan and ours. Yes to His Glory. Yes to this child. Yes to love on our precious Birth Mom. Yes to our daughter. Yes to crazy. Yes to the unknown and yes to help. 

We can’t do this alone. We have to walk this out with God every step of the way and we need you, Our friends and family. We need your prayers that God will pave the way clearly and one that only brings Him glory in this. We also need financial help. Would you be willing to walk along side of us in this? If you aren’t in a spot to donate we completely understand that and would love your prayers. We know God will provide the way. 

Much love and a million thank you’s

Click HERE to Support us. 

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How to have Joy through the Wait 

Her tiny fingers hit each piano key with such intensity and passion, unable to gracefully move from one key to the other with out lifting her hand. Blue painters tape destiguished each key from the other to aid in the learning process.  Her eyes followed the notes intently on the page trying to hit the right note. When the wrong note was pressed her fingers would flex and a large sigh would exhale from her lips. A larger more experienced hand curled around the keys upscale from those tiny fingers. Setting the example of how to hit each note with the correct finger. The tiny fingers stretched to reach each note and out of frustration she would stop trying to play correctly and start playing the easy way, with one finger. The teacher urged her to keep practicing the proper finger technique until she perfected that section, but the child only wanted to learn the other sections and quickly move forward.  The larger more experienced hands stopped and placed their hand over the students to stop them from continuing. The teacher looked into the child’s eyes and explained, “playing with one finger may seem easy now, but we must learn proper techniques so that you will be able to play correctly and effectively when the pieces get harder. If you move forward without learning what you need to now, you will eventually have to go back and relearn, causing this to take much longer than expected. It is better to take your time now and perfect the section you are in.”

“God loves the process.” I have heard this phase so many times in the last few years from family and friends. I would immediately want to roll my eyes but would stop myself because deep down I knew the truth. God not only loves the process but he also loves when we are filled with joy through the process. 

That is so much easier said then done but if we try remember the story from above it will help us understand the meaning of the wait. Most of us have something we are waiting for or a promise that we are holding onto. We want to reach that promise or destination as fast as we can. What we need to try and remember is there is a purpose for your wait. God is trying to teach us some valuable lessons that will help us down the road. He doesn’t want us to get to our destination unprepared and ultimately fail because we did not have the right tools to succeed. 

Moses led the Jews out of Egypt toward this promise land. God led them through a 40 year time of testing. If God took them to the promise land before they were ready they would not have had the tools or the faith to achieve Gods plan once they arrived. (Joshua 1-24)

We ultimately want the easy road, the quick fix and a fast microwave meal. God wants us to savor the moment, slow down and learn as much as He has for us so we may achieve the final and greater goal. The moment you are in may be hard and full of mourning, financial troubles or you may be in constant survival mode. It’s hard and I’m with you on all accounts. I want to get out of this moment as soon as possible, but I also want to learn everything He has for me as well. I want to be able to use this and have it not be wasted. When we know there is truth being taught through our waiting we can choose to have joy trump our anxiety. Let us stop, breathe, inhale His truth and exhale His love that he has for us and others. 

Hold on my friend. His promises are true, He always keeps them and He is with you every step of the way. 

  

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Bathroom Fixer Upper

When we move into our house in 2013 it was in need of a little TLC. The house had been updated from some of the original 1960’s decor but still had the original cabinetry, base boards and pink vanity and tub in the bathroom. 

  

 

The bathroom was one of the first rooms we tackled in our TLC project. We are on a pretty tight budget so everything we did was at low cost. We tried the vanity in white & black but I never loved it. The other day I found a beautiful dark grey paint in the basement and decided to paint the vanity once more. I’m crazy and love to spontaneously add projects to my already busy day.  Once I have an idea in my head, it bugs me until I have implemented that idea.  

  

When we moved in I had painted the walls this pretty blue color, added hardware and new sinks and vanity. I loved the color but the space seemed to dark (insert new idea into my brain). I decided a lighter paint color was a must. So I packed up the kiddos at 8:30am and headed to our local Menards. I usually browse the “reject paint” section for an amazing deal. It is usually located on a shelf in the back of the paint section. You can find paint for $5 and under. Amazing!! Someone else’s reject is your fixer upper gain. I have found many of the paint colors in our house in that section. This time I was not so lucky but decided to splurge and buy a gallon of the color of my choice anyway. 

  

I started painting while the kids napped, I was just going to do the trim but they kept sleeping, so I kept painting. If you have to stopped mid project, one thing you can do is wrap your brush and roller in foil and stick them in the fridge. They stay perfectly moist with paint so you can pick up where you left off at a later time. 

  

Here is the finished project!

  
  
  
(Old picture of a church from the first town we lived in, Oconomowoc, wi) 

   

(Old hook we found in the house to hang hand towel)

  (Where I hang my necklaces) 

  
 (Found these amazing sinks at Restore)

   
 
(Basket to hide the TP) 
Thanks for visiting! 

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5 Things to do after a Miscarriage

First off let me just start this post off by giving my deepest apologies if you are or have experienced a miscarriage, either personally or through a close loved one. This post is not an easy one to write and one I wish I didn’t have to write. But, since going through six miscarriages myself, it has become one of my missions to help others overcome their miscarriage. I experienced my first loss in 2008, just 7 short months after we were married. It was an unexpected pregnancy that resulted in an unexpected loss. This type of loss never occurred to me as a young woman. My expectation was crushed as I laid on the bathroom floor clenching my fists to my stomach. I sobbed trying to figure out how I was going to tell my family and sobbed that I never had the chance to tell my friends. I was overcome with so much quilt thinking it was something I could have prevented. I layed there on the cold ceramic floor, helpless, as I thought of everything I could have done differently. While my husband slept soundly in bed my mind went back to the very moment I told him we were expecting. It is a moment we will never get back. A moment that is now tainted by excruciating pain, not joy.

Through the years I have used this blog to share what God has done through each of these miscarriages. God has brought me to a place of not only understanding why he allowed me to experience that type of pain but also to a place of thankfulness. I wouldn’t take back a single loss because each loss brought me closer to Him. That thankfulness didn’t come easy and it took a lot of work. I hope I can help you get there too.
One thing I wanted share today is 5 things to do after a miscarriage. This post doesn’t address what to do medically after a loss but it does address the top 5 of things that helped heal my soul.


1. Share the Loss with you Husband.
Not only share the news with him but also share your heart with him. Sharing the news with your husband is one of the most important things to do. There may be some temptation to hide your miscarriage, especially if you didn’t get the chance to share that you were pregnant. The enemy wants us to believe that by hiding this you are being strong. But that is the complete opposite. When you let the light touch your pain it allows the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. Once you share the news with your husband make sure you also share your heart. Your husband is not going to understand how you are feeling. He doesn’t have a uterus and will never know the feeling of having a tiny human inside of you. He won’t know the right words to say or the right actions to make you feel better. He may even say the wrong thing. Be honest and open with him with what you need and offer up a lot of grace. He WILL however experience pain but it will look a lot different than how you express your pain. That is why it is very important to talk with each other. Make sure you establish a safe atmosphere where nothing is off limits. You two need to know your feelings are not only honored but trusted.

“and the two will become one flesh.’So they are no longer two, but one flesh”

(Mark 10:8 NIV)

2. Share your Story.

This is similar to the last point, I highly recommend sharing your loss with a close friend, a family member or writing your story out. When you allow loved ones to walk along side of you during this time they become your support, someone to lean on when the path gets rocky and surrounded by weeds. There may be hesitation to share because you don’t want to show emotion or you are afraid of the uncontrollable sob, but crying is therapeutic. Its messy but it is healing. If you are not ready to share your experience with others I would recommend writing it out on paper. Write it as if you were telling a story. Try to remember every detail, every thought and every feeling. There is nothing off limits here. This is for you. Ask the questions you are afraid to ask, say the things that are too hard to say out loud and voice your pain. Let the pen flow with out hesitation.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2 NIV)

3. Mourn/grieve

You need to allow yourself to grieve this loss. It is a loss no matter how far along you were. I lost many of my babies at 6-8 weeks. I was early but I not only lost a living human being with a heartbeat, I lost the hope and dreams I had for this baby. Your feelings are real and they are seen and heard by God. He understands what you are going through and grieves with you. There are many ways and stages to mourning. It is wise to know the different stages in the process so that you can recognize which stage you are in and understand each stage is normal and appropriate for the healing process.

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

(2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)

4. Be with God.

I thought about putting this one first because that’s the churchy answer but I want to be honest and real with you. I didn’t want to talk or be with God right away. I was upset and I didn’t understand why he would allow me to go through such pain. At some point I reached out to God and that is what matters. Start by being silent and allowing him to speak to you. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions and expect answers. Cry out to him and voice your pain, he understand. Just be and let Him heal. Many times I wasn’t ready to talk with him so I would sit and listen to worship music. I would let the words seep into my heart until it would burst and then words would come crying out.

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

(Psalm 34:17 NIV)

5. Hope.

Never give up hope. With most of my losses I came to a crossroad. I had a choice to make, I could give up or hold on to that glimmer of hope. Don’t ever let that hope fade. God has a plan and reason for this pain. He won’t let this pain be wasted and will use it for his glory. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Hold on to that truth.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)


I pray you have been blessed by reading this and know I am praying for you. If you need someone to talk to or ask questions I am here to listen or help. Feel free to reach out! Much love my friend.

-Audra

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Raspberry Jam and Refining my Soul

Recently, my family and I visited an apple orchard close to our home called HoneyHill Orchard, in hopes of picking some scrumptious apples.  My girls love apples so much that I need to always have one on hand.  And I frequently find half eaten one’s randomly lying around the house with tiny bite marks in it from my youngest daughter, who doesn’t like the skin but insist on still eating the apple like her big sister.  Upon our arrival to the farm we quickly learned that we were 4 days to early for the apple picking season. In our attempt to be spontaneous we forgot to check the schedule. So we picked raspberries instead.  My family isn’t too fond of raspberries but will eat them on occasion.  I find the store bought fruit rather tart and shy away from eating them all together.  Since we were there I decided to live in the moment and let my family pick as many as they wanted for the experience.  My middle child ate more off the bush than she put in the bucket, but this momma wasn’t complaining.  It just meant I didn’t have to feed her lunch!  Just kidding of course!

  

  
My youngest got involved too! “Let’s Taco about how cute he is!”   
 

We picked about a 1lb of raspberries and then headed home.  I knew that we would not be able to eat the whole pound so I began researching jam recipes.  I found this Old Fashion Raspberry Jam Recipe and decided to try it.  Thinking it was a somewhat easy process I talked myself into making my very first raspberry jam.  I ran to the store for some mason jars and then began the process while my youngest was napping.  

  

I rinsed the berries and added them to a stainless steal pot.  

   

 I began mashing them until they were in a liquid form.  (Confession:  I used my daughters ikea utensil for the job since I didn’t have an adult size version 🙂 It ended up working out perfect.) 

  
 
Then, I added the warm sugar to the mix and then started the sterilization of the jars.  (note: I forgot this process and would probably work better if done ahead of time)I learned a couple things during this process of making jam.  

  1. I didn’t have proper canning tools but I made it work this time.  Next time I will be a little more prepared and maybe attempt this at night when all the kids are asleep.  
  2. God was showing an amazing refining process that looks messy at first but comes out so sweet in the end.  

This past year God has been and still is working on refining my soul.  Pulling out the bad things inside of me such as rejection & comparison of others, needs vs. wants and my will over His,  just to name a few.  There are so many more but I won’t go into that now!  Youre welcome.  But what that looks like sometimes is a hot mess with lots of tears, the ugly kind.  To begin to pull these things out we have to ask God to reveal these things within us and then let God change us. Hopefully when He’s done something far sweeter will be present.  I would love to get into each of these awesome qualities of myself but for now I want to just focus on the process because that is where I am now.  God loves the process.  Don’t be afraid of the process.  It may take a long time and it could look really messy from worldly standards, but to God it is beautiful.  Embrace the mess, embrace the hurt and go there.  God wants to bring us somewhere more fruitful and nourishing so that we may be fully ready to be used for his glory.  When we have impurities attached to our soul it is hard for it to be used properly.

 

The raspberries were picked with dirty hands and contained lots of bugs, in that state they were not going to get used or eaten by my family.  But a little journey into an unknown messy process turned into the sweetest jam we ever tasted and we will be able enjoy it all year.  

  

   

 

Turning a worn out Vintage find into a Little Girls Treasure

Ever since my daughter graduated out of her crib she has been in her very cute ikea bed.  It had me at “expandable bed.” You see, this amazing bed goes from toddler bed to in-between bed and then to a twin bed.  The ikea mattress comes in three sections and you add or take away depending on your desired length!  Did I sell you yet? Here is a picture from when we first bought her bed.

alivias-bed

Yes I was in love with this bed and envisioned my daughter in this bed forever! Well not forever but at least till she was a pre-teen.  Recently my daughter let me know that her bed was too “kiddish” for her now and she wanted a big girl bed.  All my insides screamed as I heard her say “big girl.”  Say it’s not true!  She can’t be there already, just yesterday we transitioning her into this amazing bed.  I didn’t want to just drop everything and go out and purchase her a new  bed just because of this confession & I would admit I was still in denial.  Then, one day I randomly stopped off at a thrift store to see what treasures I could find, and treasures we found!  I ran into this beauty!  A very beautiful vintage twin poster bed.  (Don’t mind my not so beautiful garage! )  I loved every inch of this bed and wished it came in a king. The details are stunning. 

I wasn’t sure if this would fit the “big girl bed” criteria, but I took a chance and bought it anyway.  It was in great shape and too perfect to pass up.  Upon her inspection she fell in love!  I gave her three options, we could leave it as is in its beautiful original color, paint it white (always my go to) or paint it a fun color.  She picked it option three, paint it a fun color.  Together we went to the paint store and found the perfect color, a pale pink called “pink beach” by the nautical line. We used the armor hammer paint in satin to eliminate fumes and shine. It took about three coats to completely cover the wood finish. The light color brings forth the detail in the post more and the hint of pink adds some flavor to the room with out an overwhelming color.

Here is our finished product and she loves every part of it. Also, this is probably the only time her bed will be made so I had to take a picture (or 10) of course. 😉


   
   

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Missing our Target

The young boy grabs his jacket off the hook and runs after his dad into the crisp morning air.  The sun is just peaking over the pine trees casting glimmers of light onto the dew in the grass. His rain boots squeak as they follow a much larger & aged pair of work boots. The sound of the rustling leaves in the trees above his head tells him winter is right around the corner. And on this day this boy’s father is going to teach him to hunt for their food. The boy watches his fathers every move as he pulls out the bow and arrow from his bag. He sees the target and quickly runs to set it up a few steps in front of them. When the boy returns the father gives him a lesson on handling the bow and arrow, pulling the string back close to your mouth and holding your breath for steadiness, aiming at the target, waiting for the right moment and then releasing the string from your fingertips. The father steps back and watches the boy take over the weapon. He stays quiet as he attempts to follow the instructions. The boy struggles a bit with positioning but fires anyway and the arrow lands 2 feet in front of the boy. Frustrated but determined the boy picks up another arrow and fires again with the same results. Each arrow coming a little closer to the target but not meeting it. Eventually, the boy caves and ask for help from his father. He nods and the boy releases his grip and allows his father to come behind him and guide him in each move.  The fathers hands wrap around his sons and he bends down to his level. As they set the bow to aim at the target they both pull back on the string and with an exhale they both release the arrow together. The arrow not only reaches the targets distance but it exceeds it, going over target into the woods far off in front them. The son turns to his father questioning him, upset that he didn’t hit his target once again. The fathers lips curl up on one side as the boy complains, as if his actions were somewhat cute and humerus. With a small chuckle the father sent his son into the woods to look for the over shot arrow. Head lowered and tear filled eyes the boy set out for the woods, watching the ground as his rain boots dodged sticks, leaves and uneven grounds. About to give up the boys head lifts as he sees the overshot arrow. His mouth dropped in shock, the back part of his hand wipes away a falling tear and he sighs as his hands fall to his side and his knees hit the ground. He looks up into the heights of the pines and his little lips curl with the same exact smile. “Thank you” leaves his mouth and he turns back to see his father standing right behind him. “Did you see what happen father?” and the father responds to his boy as he knelt down next to him and laid his hand on his shoulder, ” I know. I saw the deer in the distance as we were practicing. When you let go of control and allowed me to help you, I helped position the weapon to hit prize, not the target.”

The boy and his father knelt down together, arms around each other, in amazement of what just happened. His father looked down at the boy and quietly said, “I’m proud of you son. You’ve done a great job today.”

………
Just like the son in this story we set our eyes on the targets we set up for ourselves.  We go about life thinking we have control and making decisions on our own. When we miss those targets we get upset and question God. He wants us to see that sometimes missing the target gets us the prize, His plan and will for our life. His plan is better than our plans, we just have to let go and have faith that where God leads us is somewhere far greater than we can imagine or plan for ourselves.

Allow God to come in and guide you today. Allow him to lead your steps and bring glory to his kingdom. Whatever that may be, know that missing the target we set for ourselves may be failure to this world but it isn’t failure from Gods viewpoint. It is setting us up for Gods ultimate plan, a far greater plan than any man of this world could create.   Our only task is to believe that God knows what He is doing and stop trying to figure out his plan and purpose for our life. We need to only trust that He will align us with a much bigger target than our own.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

(Col 3:23-24)

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:13-14)