Chocolate Smoothie Muffins

***Updated to correct my silly mistakes! (Sorry about that! Oops!)***

When you see the list drone on about gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free….do your eyes roll back in your head, too? Ok, good! I’m glad I’m not the only one. Well, maybe my eyes roll for a different reason & that’s usually because I want to add TASTE-free to the list! Am I right?

My sweet sister was a foodie. Not just a foodie, but a successful food blogger who had an amazing ability to take a recipe from mundane to mouth-watering. Watching her process through all the different recipes & work out how to make things taste amazing was quite a sight to see. I learned so much from her!

One thing she taught me was that allergy friendly doesn’t have to mean disgusting. So this is my quest! In our extended family & friends we have quite a list of allergies to contend with so it is fairly mind-blowing. Are you ready for this list?

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • soy
  • egg
  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • sugar (did you know that was possible? Me either.)
  • pineapple

….I feel like I’m forgetting something…..????


Anyhow, so the adventures of birthday cake, Japanese food, simple breakfast, & even soup are not quite so mindless & easy. There’s no running to the store to grab something last minute & there is no premade birthday cakes (that I have ever found) that are safe for all the littles. Did I mention that I work for a health company & that we are really big on eating clean? Add that into the mix & you know that we do a lot of cooking around here!

My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me & they are YUMMY but…they are green. Have you ever tried to get a picky eating 3 yr old to eat a green muffin? Yeah, it’s not gonna happen. I’ve tried! Also, the original recipe, although amazing, had a few too many steps for this busy mama…simple is my groove! If this was going to work, it was going to need some tweaking. After several batches, I have settled on a new favorite. (I may or may not have 5 or 6 sitting next to my computer right now. *wipes away crumbs*)

Without further ado, I present the Chocolate Smoothie Muffin!

Oh! One warning, the finished batter will have a slightly odd color but it will all work out in the end. Haha! Don’t be afraid!

Chocolate Smoothie Muffins


Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats(steel-cut works too!)
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup coconut sugar or your favorite granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder(I like the Trader Joe’s brand)

Wet ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup(NOT the sugary kind!)
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 ripe, large bananas
  • 2 eggs(or chia seeds)
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line a muffin tin.(I use a mini-muffin tin so they are bite-sized)
  2. Put 2 cups of old-fashioned oats in your blender (Vitamix) and blend until the oats achieve the texture of flour. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl (I like to use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment for a good smooth blend).
  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the oat flour. Gently mix until incorporated, set aside.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender & blend until smooth & fully incorporated.
  5. Pour wet ingredients to dry mixture and stir to combine (making sure there are NO lumps)!
  6. Fill each well in your muffin tin with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes(10 minutes for mini-muffins) or until toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back when touched.
  7. Let cool for about 5 mins to set.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Almond Meal: You may substitute equal amounts of ground flaxseed or old-fashioned oats (ground into flour).
  • Coconut Sugar: You may use any granulated sugar of your choice! I am still learning about sweeteners, but if you wanted to experiment with stevia (or a similar product) I recommend using a variety that is meant to be a 1:1 substitute for granulated sugar. Also, if you don’t want to use the maple syrup, you can use 1/2 cup coconut sugar & reduce the almond meal to 1/4 cup.(This keeps the dry/wet balance)
  • Almond milk: you may use any non-dairy milk to keep the recipe dairy free. Or you may use regular milk!
  • Coconut Oil: You may substitute vegan butter (like Earth Balance), regular butter, or ghee!
  • Eggs: For vegan version substitute the 2 eggs with 2 TBS ground chia seeds and 5 TBS water, let sit while you prepare the dry ingredients. 
  • Storage: These freeze really well so if you make a large batch & want to save them, just let them cool completely & pop them in an air tight container & freeze them for another day!
  • Dress it up! Eat these as is or pair with some coconut whipped cream & fresh berries or serve them hot with ice cream & you have a full blown dessert! Yum-O! (and the kids will never know they are eating spinach!)
**If you have any questions on how to make modifications or trouble shooting, leave me a comment or shoot me a message. I’m happy to help however I can! Also, if you try any modifications, leave a comment to let me know how it turns out.
***Thank you  Joy, Food, Sunshine for the amazing starting point! I hope this modified version makes you proud! She has some really great recipes so you should really check it out!

Purple & Red….this is raw, y’all! (trigger warning!!!!)

I grew up in the country, 15 mins out of town, 3 miles off the main road, down a dirt driveway lined with pine trees & a dried up creek bed. I spent my childhood climbing trees, running barefoot through the gravel all summer long & playing(read:50% play, 50% fighting) with my big sister while we waited for our parents to get home from work.  It was a happy childhood full of games, laughter, boundaries & moments I will treasure until my dying day.  Our parents taught us to eat well, play hard, love hard, work hard, drink water, love our home-grown veggies, to love to read, & to take care of each other…even when we didn’t get along.  And you know what, that’s what we did!

I remember one particular summer when we were old enough to play cards & were not really interested in climbing trees anymore.  We spent nearly every day playing the card game “speed”. We completely destroyed at LEAST 2 decks of cards that summer & I’m sure there were very few people who could beat our fast paced play.  It was fun! I sometimes wonder how we didn’t get bored, but we didn’t! We just.kept.playing. Thinking of that Summer makes me smile…deep.

My sister. My hero. Brandie.

My sister was patient with me. She loved me & I always knew that but I was troubled for some reason. I was the kid who shot attitude at my parents every chance I had. I was the child who got good at lying because I could get away with hiding my pain, trouble, & mistakes.  I wasn’t scared. I was ashamed & I didn’t know how to change that. I was the child that got spanked & gave that “is that all ya got, mom?” kind of look. (When I look at that paragraph I wonder how my parents let me live beyond 12????) But you know what, I always knew I was loved & both my parents & my sister made sure I heard it at every turn.

As adults, my sister & I had our differences. We had seasons when our relationship was strained & challenging. We also had seasons when we spent solving the problems of the world. There was a season when I was THRILLED to live across the driveway in the same apartment complex as her & my brother-in-law. It was a season of finding excuses to eat meals together, go on walks, go shopping, watch movies, & talk & giggle into the wee hours like we did as children. Thinking of that season makes me smile….deep.

When I moved to Japan for a couple of years, she & my mom came to visit me. We traveled the country together. Japan captured our hearts at a young age & we were changed forever. We laughed as the Japanese made silly comments about the “3 foreigners who must be 3 sisters”…we even laughed out loud a few times & made sure they knew we understood Japanese before they said something they might regret! We ate amazing food & saw as much of the country as we could in 2 weeks. Our feet were sore, our hearts were full & I was thankful to have shared my life so far from home with the 2 women who had known me since my first breath. Thinking of that season makes me thankful….deeply thankful.

When I came home from Japan & was lost in reverse culture shock, she held me…& handed me her tiny, beautiful baby boy to snuggle so I wouldn’t cry. His smile melted my heart (still does!) & his baby smell filled my mind with hope that I would again find my place on this side of the ocean. We laughed. We cried. We dreamed of going back to Japan someday so she could show me where she had lived so many years before. And she watched me fall in love with the man who would, someday, become my loving husband. Thinking of that season makes me smile…deep.

She was there for the birth of my older 4 children. In the room for 3 of them, in fact. She paced the hall as I labored. She cried when they put my babies on my belly for the first time. We kissed those sweet baby cheeks, smelled that amazing newborn breath & snuggled them all night long in the cold hospital rooms. She & my mom taught me about being a new mom & all the things that no one else will tell you about those early days. Thinking of those days makes me weepy but happy….deeply happy.

And then…it all changed.

“She can’t join us for Thanksgiving because she has the flu.”

“She can’t join us for Christmas because she has the flu, again.”

“They found something, but they don’t know what it is yet. I’ll let you know when she talks to her doctor.”


Not just any cancer. Pancreatic cancer.

Purple is for pancreatic cancer.

I had never known anyone who had pancreatic cancer, but I knew in my gut that it meant her time was short. I was afraid to research, but I somehow just knew. And it scared me more than I could express

How do you prepare to say goodbye to your first friend? How do you prepare to watch them suffer? How do you explain to small children that their beloved auntie was sick….& she wasn’t going to get better until Heaven?


2 years. That’s so much more than we thought we would have. We thought she would be gone before her next birthday, but she fought hard & lived every day to the fullest. We made new memories. We rebuilt our relationship where it had been weakened by life. We ate good food. We laughed & cried & giggled for hours just like we did as children. I went to chemo with her once & watched her losing hair before my eyes. We talked about the realities, fears & things we would miss about growing old together.  (I promised I’d yell “You kids get off my lawn!” 2x…once for her & once for me! And we laughed until we cried because that would make me look even crazier! But I’ll do it…because she would love that.) Thinking about that final season makes hot tears stream down my cheeks…

“She’s gone.”

Those words still sting. Somehow I thought they would never come…but they always do, don’t they?

Her cheeks were cold the last time I saw her beautiful face. She wasn’t there anymore & it was time to take my first steps on this earth without her there to cheer me on. I didn’t want to do that. Not ever.

It’s been a little over a year now. She never got to meet my youngest daughter who is her name sake. She would’ve loved her sassy little smile & happy countenance. My baby girl reminds me of her sometimes. She knows where she wants to go & she never lets anything get in her way.

Saying goodbye to my big sissy has changed me. I’m not sure I can explain it, but I know that I am not the same & I never will be the same again. I think about her every day. I sometimes wish I could call her & just hear her voice again.  I’m forgetting what her voice sounded like. I can’t remember how she laughed.  That is harder than I thought it would be.


I think she would be proud of how I’ve used the pain to grow. I think she would be happy that I found something to empower me to take control of my own health & to help others do the same.

People are starting to figure out what I’ve found to protect my body. I’m pretty sure some people don’t like it or approve, but I hope they will see that watching my sister walk this horrible path taught me that I couldn’t take any chances. I now have to live with, not only grief, but with the big red mark in my family medical history.

Red is for my health.

My gut health matters more than ever. My pancreas needs support. My immune system cannot be left to fend for itself.  My gut bacteria have to be ready to stand & fight so stupid cancer doesn’t stand a chance in my body & my mind can stay sharp as I age. My kids need the same. They carry that red mark too. They have to be set up to live & not just roll the dice & hope for a long life.

Please, please don’t just write me off. Please don’t write off something that just might make ALL the difference.

What if….

What if this could change e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.?

This is why I do what I do. Because I care. Because I want to live a long life. Because I want others to live long lives. Because I know that God made my body to fight so it can kick cancer’s butt without me even knowing about the battle! God knows the number of my days & I am thankful for that. But that does NOT mean I can sit idly by. I will stand. I will fight. I will share what I’ve learned & am learning. I will keep researching. I will keep learning. I will take care of my body. I will pray that others see the value & join me.

She would like that.

And someday, I will see her again. I will laugh with her & walk the streets of gold with her. I will sit at the feet of Jesus with her.

My sissy. My hero. Brandie.

My “why”…my sister.


Kurichan’s Japanese Sesame Dressing

     A while back I heard a quote from Hippocrates “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”  This resonated with me so profoundly that I find myself thinking it almost every time I begin preparing food for my family.  With so many preservatives, hormones and….well, junk in the food we can buy off the shelf, I have begun a journey of trying to duplicate some of my favorite items.  My goal?  To achieve the same (or better) flavor, and skip the junk! 




     The following is a recipe requested of me almost on a weekly basis.  Thus, I figured it would be the perfect recipe to introduce myself to you all.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.



     Being married to a  wonderful (and handsome) Japanese man and having lived in Japan for a few years has afforded me the great privilege of expanding my tastes and recipes.   A traditional Japanese meal may have 5 or 6 small servings of a variety of foods, carefully balanced in protein, starch and heavy on the veggies. In many cases, each of those 5 or 6 items may have their own kind of dipping or drizzling sauce.  While that, at first, may seem cumbersome, let me assure you that the explosion of palate sensations is well worth the abundance of tiny little dishes that it requires! 

     Among their favorites is a light and flavorful “Goma Dressing” (“goma”=sesame). It can be drizzled over steamed veggies, a fresh green salad or even a grilled chicken breast.  It can also easily cost you $6 for a 4-6oz bottle and come loaded with high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, and several other preservatives and sugars….all of these things I’m quite certain would’ve made Hippocrates sick to his stomach. So, one day I decided it was time for me to have a go of it.  Here is what I came up with. (Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE to tell Japanese people I made it and giggle as they look at me in disbelief!)  Enjoy!






Yield: approx 4-5 servings


1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds*

2 1/2 Tbls sesame oil*

1 Tbls white distilled vinegar

1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise (found at most Asian grocery stores. You can use a whipped mayo, but the flavor and texture will not be quite the same)

1Tbls granulated sugar

1/4 cup milk (can substitute plain soy, almond or coconut milk for dairy free options)



*Tahini paste may be substituted for fresh ground seeds and sesame oil but add a little more milk as paste will thicken mixture…and, again, this changes the texture and flavor a bit.



Start by grinding the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle until they are powdery and fluffy.



 Carefully pour ground seeds into a mixing container and add sesame oil.  Stir until seeds are wet.



 Add remaining ingredients in the order listed (this will keep the vinegar from souring the milk) and stir until well blended.



If mixture is too thick, add more milk (1 Tbls at a time). If too thin, add more mayo or ground seeds. Chill for at least an hour to allow flavors to coagulate. 

Store in refrigerator for about 5 days.  Mix well before each use.

And then there were 5…

Well, the last few months have left me feeling a bit like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand.  *wipes forehead*  The end of a crazy pregnancy left me feeling dizzy most days and just plain sick other days.  Then, the glorious (but by far NOT glamorous) day to welcome our newest family member arrived.  So, now we have made the transition from a quiet family of 4 to a slightly more chaotic family of 5.  I know it sounds completely insane to many people, but we couldn’t be happier and never imagined the joy that our new little one has brought into our lives.


It has been a strange mix of emotions as we have learned how to manage the insanity of being outnumbered. Haha, I never could’ve imagined how difficult it could be at times, but that has only served to draw me to my knees to seek wisdom and strength from the Giver of all good things.

To say that I am tired would be too obvious, but the reality is that I love my life.  I wouldn’t change a single thing.  I wouldn’t take anything back or even change the timing of it all. 


Each day is full of new challenges as I continue the journey of homeschooling, housekeeping, marriage and simply life in general.  The days of a quiet cup of tea while meeting with the Lord and pouring over His Word seem like a distant dream. However, I am encouraged as I am reminded of how short these days are and how quickly my children are growing. It seems only yesterday I was holding my oldest in a tight swaddle as he slept and I wondered how in the world I would manage this new role as a Mother of even one child.  And, now, here I am with 3!  


Perhaps the most shocking thing about this journey has been the reactions of people when they see our family, or when they ask of our future plans.  When #1 arrived, everyone was thrilled and kept asking when #2 would come along.  When #2 DID finally come along (really #5 when considering our 3 that live in Paradise with Jesus) people spoke often of the perfect balance of 2 kids and the blessing that we had “one of each” to really give us a full experience in parenting. But, this time around, the most common thing I hear is “Are you guys done???” Sometimes the simple question is posed with gentleness and an open mind, while other people can hardly contain their disgust at the thought that we might want more.  

Pardon my own disgust at this approach, but the Scripture calls children a blessing and a sign of God’s favor and I choose to think of them as exactly that.  Ok, I’m getting my feathers ruffled a bit, but it is so sad to me that people can’t contain their judgement when looking at the family that I so dearly love. *sigh* And, while I know it isn’t that simple and that there are many valid reasons one might state for said judgement, that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

So, my response has become vague and simple: We will love and accept as many children as the Lord will give us. But, Lord forgive me if my inner rebel gets the best of me sometimes when I sense judgement from people and follow this with “Well, we actually hope to PAY to add children to our family someday since we have long prayed to adopt!” 

Ramblings aside, my sweet baby is sleeping but probably not for long so I must tend to the screaming mountain of laundry that awaits in the next room!  

*takes a deep breath*

Aaaand, I’m off and running again! 🙂

A Bit of Rhema: On Loving One Another

“…love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” 2 John 1:5b-6

A question often posed and seldom answered in a practical, “take responsibility for your actions” way: “What is love?” And here is the answer.  Can it be any more simple than this???  It is a definition of loving one another that I have never taken note of, yet, in the moment my spirit was awakened to it, my thoughts on loving my neighbor were forever changed.

Loving my neighbor is here defined as walking according to God’s commandments.  We can best love each other by living a life that pleases and honors the One, true God.

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God…” 2 John 1:9a

And John continues by using this definition as a way of “proving” our salvation.  I can claim love, but do I obey Christ?  I can claim Christ, but do I live it out practically by loving people?  What an eye-opening truth about love!  A re-enforcement of the command to love God above all else, and in so doing, we fulfill the second: to love one another.  It seems clear then, that, although the Christian life is NOT to be lived or defined by formulas and rituals, that Christ gave us a simple equation to satisfy our human need for a formula to live by: If you love Me, you will obey My commands.  And if you love Me, I mean REALLY love Me, you will fulfill My second most important requirement of you.” (John 14:15) No long list of dos and don’ts.  No shame.  No bondage of slavery to some nagging being trying to control me. No! Rather, a list of the freedoms available to me as I live a life characterized by love…a Love that is a WHO, not just a what.  A love that runs screaming at the top of its lungs “Love me!!!!!!  You will be ruined for anything else!!!!”

It can clearly, therefore be reversed to say that, if my life does not consistently testify of my love for God through my love for people, then I must evaluate if I even truly know the God I claim to be rescued by.

O Lord, may my life ever be marked by, first, a love for You, void of any self-preservation or consciousness.  And, second, a deep love for the people You gave it all to rescue! Love, I am truly undone….and there is no going back! 🙂


Snuggling with my boy

Taken at Home

A Paradigm Shift Moment….

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25

These words strike me on a deep level. It is the message I was taught in the middle of the agony of my third miscarriage. It was a paradigm-shift moment in my faith and it ushered in a revival of the soul.
How, in the midst of my deepest emotional valley, could I begin to say and believe that God is good? I mean, He could’ve prevented it, right? But here’s the point: God IS good. If I only loved my children when they behaved, then there would MINIMALLY be a 50/50 ratio of love to loveless. (And all the parents say a resounding AMEN!) So, if I can view my children with forgiveness and faith in who they are, in their immaturity and selfishness, with almost no wisdom of their own, how can I not trust the Lord in His infinite love, wisdom, and maturity? If I don’t let circumstances determine my love and commitment to my husband, why would circumstances determine my faith in the Lover of my soul? My Creator and King? My Lord?
With that in mind, we must acknowledge the two ways this verse might be interpreted and applied. The first is probably universal at a glance: God does good things for the people who’s lives please Him. Isn’t that the first thing that came to your mind? Well, while that may hold a nugget of truth within it, what about the times when that doesn’t seem, in our finite understanding of both our circumstances and of God, to fit or circumstances? Maybe it has nothing to do with what we might receive from Him, but have everything in the world to do with simply gaining an understanding of Him. An understanding that resonates in our spirit that God IS good regardless of my present circumstances. And maybe, just maybe, I can only understand His goodness when I resolve to wait on Him and seek Him….
Just a thought……

Counting days

So here I sit, with my belly so big I can barely reach the keyboard and breath at the same time. How is it that time in pregnancy flies by so quickly…until the last few days??? Haha, it’s a silly thing to complain about, but I really miss bending over with ease!

What a journey this has been. It’s easy to forget what miracle this little girl truly is. A year and a half ago, I would have laughed in your face had you told me that I would have such a problem free pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just imagining it all…not just this pregnancy, but all the tears leading up to this time of my life. I feel like the woman I was a couple years ago almost doesn’t exist anymore. I have learned infinitely more about myself than I ever thought I would in a lifetime…and even more importantly, I have learned infinitely more about my God than I ever dreamed. There were days that I felt completely rejected and betrayed by God and now there are days that I am in such awe of Him that I can hardly utter a prayer for fear that I will ruin that sense of awe. How can such a huge change happen in such a short time? I still don’t fully understand.

As I look back on it all, I remember a few moments that I’m certain were pivotal and I’m not sure if words can truly capture them, but I’ll try. A Sunday when I knew that the Lord was calling me to stand in front of my church and, tearful and trembling, give an impromptu testimony of what the Lord was teaching me in my bitter and hurt state. I found myself begging the rest of our church family to let go of whatever it was that they were holding against God or each other and to stop allowing fear or anger to control their lives. Uttering the words brought conviction on my own soul that I still had so much to release into His capable hands and yet, it seemed that the Lord was showing me, through my own testimony, that He was going to follow through on His promise to never leave nor forsake me. It was as if He was using my own words to reaffirm His promise of deliverance to my still frail and fragile heart.

Again, about 6 or 8 months later, I found myself sitting in church. This time it was a church we were visiting. I was praying and suddenly felt a fear come over me that I had never felt before. And then, a question. The kind of question that every parent dreads facing. The kind of question that Abraham must have asked while walking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice. “Will you completely release all of your rights to your child’s life into My hands? And if I choose to allow the end of that life, will you still trust Me and follow Me?” It was as if I was sitting there in the church service and my precious son was dying as I struggled with this question. I felt compelled to go peak at him through the window of the classroom door….and in nearly hysterical tears I did and stood watching helplessly yet relieved to see him happily playing and laughing. My answer to the question? I knew I couldn’t go look at my son without first releasing him into the only hands that can truly carry him through any given moment of life, and so release is what I did.

Why would such moments of utter and complete brokenness be so pivotal? I can only imagine that they are moments where I let go of things that were never mine to hold so tightly. What is that famous saying from Jim Elliott? “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Whatever the case, I am so thankful for each day. I am so full of life and freedom. I am experiencing the power of my God in ways I never dreamed possible and I am fully aware that it has nothing to do with me…except that I was willing to let it all go.

Oh the freedom and joy of a life lived for a greater purpose than success or money or even happiness! I am truly free indeed! I am forever broken for the good of my own soul….and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

8 weeks and counting

Well, I think it’s been WAY too long since I last posted anything so I thought I’d share some of what has been happening in our lives.

I am now 32 wks pregnant and feeling about as big as a house! The other day my Grandma asked me how I was doing and we laughed together over my first response: “I forget what my ankles look like NOT swollen. I’m hardly sleeping at night because I have to pee 4 times every night. I can’t get a nap because every time I lay down the baby gets excited and starts kicking the living daylights out of my hips and ribs, and, oh let’s see….I can’t really eat much because everything gives me heartburn! Oh, and did I mention that I have almost constant leg cramps regardless of how many bananas I eat or how much exercise I get? So, basically, I’m exactly how I’m supposed to be at this point!” (giggles followed)

It’s a journey, that’s for sure, but it’s a wonderful blessing too. So many people have told me that I’m crazy when I tell them that the 3rd trimester is my favorite part of pregnancy. What can I say? Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s the time that I start to feel like I’m getting to know the baby’s personality and natural schedule. It’s the time that I truly start to appreciate the simplicity of life that we so often take for granted. It’s that time that it becomes a real and present reality that there is a little tiny person growing and developing…not just the adorable “alien baby” that earlier months reveal on the ultrasounds. She has a personality. She has likes and dislikes. She sleeps. She gets the hiccups. She is truly her own wonderfully created person.

What’s hard is suddenly realizing how little time we have to take care of all the details of preparing our home for her to come. It’s been rough to be so busy with crazy and unexpected life situations that I feel like we haven’t been able to just enjoy the pregnancy and the miracle of this little blessing. I just keep reminding myself that, after she comes, her newborn fragility will necessitate a month or so of slowing down and focused family time. (Which, for me, also usually means a MAJOR case of cabin fever!)

What’s amazing is not feeling all of the anxiety about how this will change our lives or how we will be able to afford all that comes with a new baby in our home. I still have anxiety about giving birth(seriously not a fun part of the whole deal) but at least this time I have an idea of what to expect. I still know that my husband and I will be paranoid about her health through her first Winter season, but at least we know how to handle just about anything normal that flu and cold season can throw our way.

This time around I think I have more anxiety about how in the world to help our 3 year old through the whole process. I’m not the most patient mom and I wonder how the early days of total sleep deprevation will affect my ablity to patiently guide him through this major transition in HIS life. I wonder if he will be as excited to “help” as he is now? I wonder if we will get lucky and avoid him trying to hurt her out of pure jealousy or even from trying to “help”? Or will we be among the lucky ones who have a child so protective of the new baby that the only thing we worry about is him hurting someone else! 😉

*sigh* I guess the worrying and wondering of parenthood never really goes away, but rather, it just shifts and changes as the journey continues.

As for past miscarriages and heartaches regarding having children? God’s healing has been complete. My fears aren’t linked to that history, but to the normal emotions of welcoming a new family member. Have I forgotten? Nope, but I think that is God’s way of reminding me of the great and miraculous healing He has accomplished in my life. I know that He doesn’t always choose to bring about that healing by giving another child, but in my case He did….and I am thankful. Those whom He chooses other ways of healing have a much harder road in some ways, but no less blessed or full of wonder. I still can’t claim to begin to understand why these things happen. Nor can I begin to think that I have all the answers. I’ve hurt people along the way. I’ve been angry with God and man. I’ve screwed up and made a fool of myself and others. But I also know that God won’t waste any of it. (Though I am certain I’ve given Him a little more work because of my foolishness.)

So, to those I’ve hurt or wronged along the way, I truly apologize. I pray that you will find it in your heart to forgive me. I am but a foolish little girl with only very little wisdom and I pray that you will be able to look beyond me to see the amazing Savior who has saved and redeemed my junk.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for leading me even when I tried to get away from You. Thank you for healing me and helping me to learn what it truly means to “praise You in the storm” and to praise you in the sunny days. Please continue to grow me and make me into a tool that is useful in Your amazingly capable hands.

This journey isn’t over….just moving on to a new chapter! 🙂

Health and Life!!!!!!!!!

So now what do I do? How do I take this new challenge to expect life and health and wholeness and walk forward in faith?

As we went to bed that night, my husband and I prayed again. We reminded ourselves of what we had learned and we asked for much of the same healing and wholeness that my friend had prayed and proclaimed. What was this??? With our hands on the little “bump” I had already begun to grow I felt something I’ve never felt before. My tummy was hard as a rock, a few inches bigger for a brief moment and then warmth…warmth that seemed to come from somewhere I can’t explain with simple words.

And it was complete. I knew it in my spirit. My body was different again…different meaning pregnancy “sensations” returned. Where hours ago I wondered if there was life, I suddenly KNEW that life and wholeness had been restored. This baby would be fine.

The next morning as we got ready to go to the doctor, my husband asked me if we needed to get a babysitter for our son. My response shocked even me, “Nope. Everything is going to be fine. He needs to see his new baby sister or brother.”

Wow! Where did that come from??? I don’t know, but it was fun watching the ultrasound tech’s response to the same tentative type of questions. Then, as if to reward our faith, it took only a split second to find and clearly see the tiny beating heart.

Life. A new, tiny heart beating strong as an evening wind.

Newness of heart. A new kind of faith, consuming the depths of me like I never dreamed possible.

A renewed spirit. A hope for the future without fear or doubt. And joy like I have never known before.

“The Lord on high is mighty.” (from Ps 93)

…and mighty is HE!!!!!! 🙂