Monday, February 26, 2007

Gig's Birthday Fiesta

Last night we had my mom's birthday dinner at our house. It was a really fun family time. I prayed she would be blessed by the evening. I think she was. We missed you, Blake and Amy! Jonah had fun helping to blow out the fact, before we ate dinner, he found the cake and took out a candle and ate all of the icing on that candle before anyone could stop him! Cake was his LIFE last night....he was so excited about it. He's still talking about cake. And he was singing happy birthday to mom; it was precious.

Jonah has been such a sweetie. He's been sitting on his bedroom floor for the longest time this morning, just reading his books to himself. It's so funny! I'll catch him actually saying what's in the books. We've read Goodnight Moon so much, he's already memorized most of the words! It's really cute to hear him say "night moon, night stars, night nobody, etc....." as he turns the pages. He's talking constantly! And he has no idea how cute he sounds when he pronounces things. We ate muffins this morning; he calls them "mummins." Other "big" news (to us, anyway) - he sat on the potty today! He didn't exactly do anything on the potty, but still, it is a step in the right direction. He has always straightened his legs and not bent them and refused to sit when I've tried to put him on it before, which has only been a handful of times. Why the change, you ask. The kid will do anything if you offer him candy. =) Just this week he has started announcing his business before he does it, so when he started saying "poop" earlier, I asked if he wanted to do it in the potty. One day, something will come out in there! I'm really not in a hurry for it to happen, by the way. Too inconvenient for right now.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


What a blessing to be a part of Beth Moore's conference today in Tyler. I am thankful to have been a part of something so huge today. There were thousands of women gathered to hear the Lord speak through her, and the event was simulcasted to over 500 sites, one being a women's prison, and churches in every denomination you can think of, bringing the audience to a total of 150,000 people....yea God! The topic addressed today was "Straight Talk About God's Deliverance," and is it ever an important one. I fully believe that we will never live out the purposes God has for our lives if we have never experienced His deliverance in our lives. Being delivered is what causes us to fall on our face in humble awareness of His grace and makes us fall in love with our Savior and propels us into purposeful living.

The message of God's deliverance touches home for me.....nothing is closer to my heart. He has rescued me from so many pits in my lifetime, the biggest of all being intense battles with depression and panic. I feel like when I have shared with others before about His deliverance for me in that area, perhaps I have not represented it in the best way. What I mean is that He did not take me out of the valley (or at least right away) but instead taught me how to live victoriously while in it. He is most concerned with those lessons. And I believe He will keep us in the valley a little longer than we'd like to be there (or more often than we'd like) in order to get us to that point where we are actually living abundant life. I know I was a slower learner! In fact, Satan is always on the prowl, so I know I am not exempt from being put in that particular struggle again. But now I know how to LIVE while in the valley! The valleys hold special memories for me. It was then that I learned to have intimate fellowship with my sweet Savior. It was then that I really discovered His love for me in an extremely personal way. It was then that I had my first experiences of really trusting Him - not just saying it but having the peace to match up with the words. It was then that I fell in love with His Word and discovered my desperate need for it. It was then that I realized our true purpose on this earth - to walk so closely with Him that we let Him live His holiness through us so that others can see Him and know Him because of Christ in us. It was then that I was challenged to walk in obedience when every single emotion of mine was telling me not to, and it was then that I saw Him as my Obedience-helper, as I had to walk through some difficult tests and live out what I believed, regardless of the pain of my circumstances. (By the way, those lessons come as we step out in action and obedience - growth doesn't just happen....we make choices that set us up for receiving the growth God intends for us, and we will have to fight for some things. What a privilege to even be able to participate with God on something like that though!)

Everyone's pit looks different, and it doesn't take some huge dramatic event in life to put us in one. My heart hurts for the many young moms I know who are not experiencing any kind of abundant life and are drowning in the pressures of motherhood. Again, everyone's pit is different, that is just a specific one that I see around me all of the time, and I am so burdened for those moms. Life can be full in joy even when it is hard. That is one thing I absolutely know for certain, because it has been my experience over and over again. It wasn't always that way, and I will tell you that I have to work at it like crazy still....I'm having to do that now with my grief over the loss of our little baby. But I KNOW it happens, and I know it is a blessed thing. Joy is right there with me.

I'm thankful for this place to write down these thoughts and process all that the Lord had to say to me today at the conference. I feel most convicted about my lack of sharing with others my testimonies of God's deliverance in my life and even making a point to remember it. When I do remind myself of all that God did for me by His restorative grace, then everything else flows easily from that....ministry/mission is a joy, and difficult tasks and hardships become blessed opportunities for me to respond with holiness and demonstrate my gratefulness to God. I must make a point to do it more! That is the conviction that has prompted this post tonight. I'll stop for now and maybe continue writing on the subject more this week. For now, I have to figure out plans for my mom's birthday dinner tomorrow night and get a shopping list together!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I LOVE 80-degree Weather!

These last two days have been just marvelous. The warm sunshine is so invigorating. I even sat outside in my backyard today in a bathing suit and shorts and did my Bible study while getting a little tan (hopefully)....I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon/kid's naptime! =) I even bought some cute new flip-flops to celebrate the occasion of this warmth!

I had my first Glory Babies meeting this week. It went well. I didn't really talk (I was even surprised by that!), but I know God just wanted me to listen. To hear others' stories. I did not know what to expect going to this. I didn't know if it would be a lot of bitter people or people just stuck in their emotions without having truth affirmed to them. It couldn't have been more different. Those people I met were victorious. They had suffered so much yet had joy. They were actually enjoying the purposes God had for them through the trial. Truth was being spoken. They were amazing people....they made you want to hope. It was a really hard night for me, but so perfectly what God had for me, too.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Working at New Friendships

Last night's girl's night out at Starbucks was good. Probably the most encouraging part of my evening out alone was the 15 minutes I sat out in car before heading into Starbucks, talking to one of my best friends, Kelli. That girl teaches me so much through her relationship with the Lord but has me rolling in laughter too! I love her potty-training stories! But the rest was good too - It was good to meet some new girls...I'm always on the lookout for new friends! There were a lot more girls there than I had thought were coming, so it was kind of hard to really get to know people and have deep conversations. That can be kind of hard for me....when conversation just stays at a surface-y level. But these women are great. They also make a concerted effort to make me feel included since I'm the only non-Pine Cove one, and I appreciate that. One of the girls was talking about one of their family night a week at their house is "naked spaghetti night" where the kids strip down to eat. They just make a big deal out of it, so the kids think it is fun and they eat better.....and there are no spaghetti sauce stains on clothes to wash! I thought it was a grand idea. Today I had lunch with a girl from church. She is somebody that I haven't really gotten a chance to know and I've really wanted to. She and her husband seem like one of the most spiritually-serious young couples I know....really passionate about knowing God more and studying the Word and growing in Christ. I think there is so much I could learn from her. I love to be around young wise people. We brought the kids (she has 2 - one is 4 and the other is two months older than Jonah, with one on the way) to Fazoli's and had a great time....admist spills and little fits.....we stuck it out, yea us! It was such an encouraging time for me today. We have lots in common, it seems, and I love the way she is with her children. I can tell we have the same goals in parenting and discipline and spiritual training, so I really do think I can learn lots from her. Anyway, it is always a journey learning to connect more deeply with people and make new friends when you are new in a town, so I'm thankful for the Lord's faithfulness. I know He will supply what I need in terms of girlfriendships.

This Saturday, Beth Moore is coming to Tyler to do an event....My friend Kate and I are going, and I'm really excited for what the Lord has in store. The event is being simulcasted in a whole lot of U.S. cities, so if interested, check her website for locations. Just for anyone interested, there are churches in the DFW area, Tulsa area, Orlando area, Houston, Lexington, and anywhere I can think of that people reading this may live. Just wanted to share, if you haven't heard about it....It is supposed to be real personal about her own struggles with needing to be delivered from strongholds.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Important Update....

Ok, I realized I couldn't let any of you see those pictures of the kitchen without telling you that that is not the color yellow that is going to stay! We are going to re-paint it sometime this spring....going for a more gold looking yellow...much more muted and more in the family of tans. The color on there now is absolutely not me....not what we were going for. =)

Weekend in Review

We had a good weekend, although nothing went as planned! Yep, God has more lessons in store for me on trusting Him when plans change and circumstances are beyond my control! Jonah came down with a stomach don't want to know the details. But it was awful for him. He has never really had diaper rash, so this rash caused by diarrhea has been a shock to the little guy. He was really sick on Friday, but he is feeling good now. He went to the doctor today, and his ear infections are finally cleared up - praise God!!! We finally found an antibiotic that worked. It's been two and a half months since his ears have been clear, so we were pretty excited about that. I got sick on Saturday and was throwing up everything by that night. Is there anybody who doesn't have a stomach virus? It's really going around here, and it's bad. But my bout with it was very short thankfully. Anyway, all this to say....our friends Holly and Shane Hill were supposed to come and stay with us this weekend, and we were so excited. They were our very first couple-friends when we got married and lived in the Dallas Metroplex, and we miss them lots. However, Jonah, Holly, and their little boy Tyce, all got sick on Friday....just a little bit before they were to come, so obviously, they couldn't come and spend the night. But everyone was doing much better on Saturday, so they did drive to Tyler for lunch. They came to see our house, and then we met our friends Justin and Kate Hooper and their two boys for lunch at Mercados, which I am sure I've mentioned on this blog is the BEST Mexican food you will ever eat. Anyway, the Hoopers, Hills, and us all used to go to church at FBC Euless, and the Hoopers moved to Tyler about a week before we did. We were glad to know of another young family living here when we made the move. It was a really great time with Shane and Holly but seemed WAY TOO SHORT! I was pretty sad saying good-bye....I really miss that girl.

Today has been such a nice day. For the past two days, the weather has been warm and pretty enough to go for a walk. I'm excited! Our latest news....we are joining a gym this week, and I'm thrilled. I'm sooo in need of it. Joel is going to do the paperwork tomorrow, and then I'll be starting to work out again. I'm planning on taking a turbo-kickboxing class, and I'm a little intimidated but also excited for it. I've only done regular kickboxing before, but I'm heard that this is way more fun because it involves dance moves too. We'll see how it goes. The calendar this week is pretty full, and I always like that. Tonight, after Jonah goes to bed, I'm going to meet some girls at Starbucks for a moms night out; they are all wives of Pine Cove directors (which is a huge Christian camp here, for anyone not familiar with it), and all have little boys around Jonah's age. They're all sweet girls, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. All of the mommies know that you have a better chance of having complete conversations and actually getting to know each other if it's away from the kids, so this should be good!

The Lord is definitely teaching me so much right now. I'm so thankful for that. Pain, without learning from it, is just unbearable to me. But He's using a variety of methods to teach me, not just hurt. Because of a project I've been working on, I've been hanging out in the book of Hosea for a while. It is my favorite book because the Lord has used it in such big ways in my life, and so many times, to nurture my love-relationship with Him. I love to be reminded of His perfect love for me and the type of intimacy that He desires to have with me: "In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.'...I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." - Hosea 1:16, 19

I know my sister-in-law Amy would like to see the hall bath we recently textured and painted and the new stuff in the kitchen, and others have asked to see some pictures of the house. So here are a few. I'll have to make sure the other rooms are more clean before I take their picture and put on here! But I'll post more some other time.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


God seems to have the same goal in every single circumstance in life: to teach me to trust. I sense Him saying to my heart all of the time, "Hannah, are you going to trust me with this?" He uses all kinds of situations and experiences to try to teach me this one thing. There are times He'll use the "big" things - you know, the most dreaded events of all, and other times, He'll just use tiny little things, the "bad hair days" of life that aren't so dramatic but still are a frustration. I'll admit that it is typically easier for me to trust Him with big things that really bring pain than the little daily things that get on my nerves. I don't know why exactly - perhaps the pain just drives you to Him, and then once you get a glimpse of who He is, you can't help but put your trust in Him because you realize He is just worthy of it. Maybe I just don't let the "little" things drive me to Him.

God teaches me through both. Currently, I'm in a season of learning to trust Him with something that is pretty big to me and has brought great pain. I would love to share some of the incredible ways God has been showing up as I've trusted Him with this loss; it has been amazing! But that would be a discussion much more appropriate for having coffee with a girlfriend, because I could never write it all down here! I know my posts have been too long lately! I would love to have opportunities to share that with friends. But for now, I will share one example of a "small" thing He's teaching me to trust Him with.......

I was staring out the window watching tiny little snowflakes fall this morning and was so convicted about my attitude towards the weather. I have had a complaining spirit about how cold it is, trying to convince God how important it is for me to get out of the house more and do fun things outdoors with Jonah. And the Lord just gently reminded me that if He's big enough to trust with grief and real suffering, He's big enough to trust about the weather! I may think it's necessary for my sanity to be able to leave the house more during the day, but maybe God just wants me to spend more time at home with my son this week, being available for opportunities God gives me to train him or just enjoy his company without being distracted. I have to choose to trust that God knows what I need way better than I do. It's such a little thing - having 30-something degree weather when you're ready for spring - but the lessons on trust are HUGE. I must, in every circumstance in life, choose to trust that He knows what I need and can be trusted to deliver it, even if it is different than what I had pictured or would have planned myself. Also, He reminded me that winter is important.....I wouldn't be the girl who gets so excited she's downright silly on the first day of flip-flop weather if I didn't have to go through the dreaded cold months first. Isn't that just how it is with life? God's gracious gifts mean so much more after experiencing low, despairing valleys. That is a truth that transcends all difficult circumstances, whether "big" or "small" and reminds me that there is reason to hope - God will bring something new.

This picture of Jonah is at Chuck E. Cheese (or Chuck-Cheese, as he calls it). He's added something new to his list of obsessions: Barney! Despite our discouragement of this interest, he had decided he loves Barney and likes to dance and try to sing to all of his songs on DVD. He talks about Barney constantly, and the thing in life that he is most excited to do is ride the Barney ride at Chuck E. can see the excitement in his eyes! Hey, if it will get him to eat his veggies because "Barney eats carrots", then we'll be ok with this new fascination of his!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Better Days

Things are starting to get a little better, and we're getting back into a somewhat normal routine. Life has still been a very hard journey lately, but I am thankful for how sweet the Lord has been to me, especially through His Word. I have found that I must keep my face in it as much as possible, in order to be able to get through this. My greatest desire right now is that I live with that kind of desperation for His Word ALL of the time, not just in times like these. I really am a person who loves and enjoys personal Bible study very much, but have I been desperate for it? At times, but I definitely can't say even most of the time. I want that though. I believe it's a good place to be. Only when I am absolutely starving for His presence does He really give it to me. I had read so many things lately about how God always revealed Himself more personally to those characters in the Bible that really, desperately wanted to know Him....the louder they cried for Him, the more He "showed up" in their lives. So God is giving me an opportunity right now to really experience that for myself. When I am hungry for Him is when I actually get fed and fulfilled. Hunger is a hard thing, but it is a good thing and the only thing that can lead to real fulfillment and contentment, when it is a true hunger for God. I really want to learn from Him through this, and it can certainly be an intense battle to focus my mind on truth instead of just swimming in my emotion. I'm trusting Him to help me do that.

I love my church - there are so many lay people in this church who really use their gifts and are doing so much ministry, so there aren't many needs that go unmet, I'm seeing. Church is so beautiful when it works that way. Because of there being some wonderful people committed to providing ministries that meet any need I can think of, a support group for people who have lost babies has been going on for the past six years. I am planning to go to that. I've been in touch with some people who work with that ministry, Glory Babies, and I think it will be a really good thing to be able to grieve with others who have been through the same thing. They meet monthly, so the first meeting I will be attending will be in a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to that. I know it will be hard, but I truly believe it will be a good thing, and I don't want to miss what encouragement and healing God has in store for me there.

The warmer weather this week has been such a gift. It has allowed me and Jonah to get out more and do some fun outdoor things. These are pictures of us at the park yesterday where he played on a big, vintage firetruck and at the zoo this morning where he had all kinds of fun. He is such a joy, I wish I could explain what he does for my heart. When I tell him I love him, he's started this week to tell me he loves me back. It has made my week. The words "wuv ooh" are the most precious words I've ever heard! I'm seeing all kinds of new things about his personality....he is such an observer. He notices EVERYTHING, and he comments on everything he sees. He's talking's started to make for some embarrassing moments in public! But so fun. His memory is really amazing me. We'll drive by some place that we haven't been to in months, and he'll recall something about it. It's started to freak me out a little bit. He always shouts out "pizza!" (which is his favorite food, by the way - like his mama) when we pass by Mazzios; he recognizes places now and connects memories to them. Today we passed by another pizza place that we have never been to, and he shouted out "pizza!" It was freaky, I screamed, "can you read?! who are you, child?" I guess he's just started to recognize that word from the mazzios sign. Crazy stuff. At the zoo today, he was so delighted by the penguins....he laughed his head off at the one swimming; everyone there was laughing at him for being so tickled by it. I guess it's one more way he's like his mother....if you don't know, I have a weird little fascination with penguins. It all started with this one King of Queens episode, long story. But they have always made me laugh, so I was proud today when Jonah showed the same love for these entertaining little waddling guys. He was also having fun at the petting zoo part, not scared at all, which sort of surprised me. He is at such a fun age. He's still really into people - today at the zoo when we passed by some other kids we didn't know, he reached out for them, saying, "friends! friends!" It was so sweet. He makes friends wherever we go. Yesterday, he had a whole conversation with the bag boy at the grocery store and today with the man in line behind us at Starbucks. I hope I'll know when the time comes to talk about strangers. Right now, it's cute. One day, it will probably be dangerous! I am so in love with my little guy, I guess I could talk about him all day long. But I'll stop now.

I'll talk about my other man! My superhero husband took time off work last week and whisked me off to Dallas and got a hotel for us. It was great to spend some time with each other. The week before, when I lost the baby, he was out of town most of the week, so it was a huge blessing to just be with him. We ate good food and shopped our little hearts out. (There's no therapy like Banana Republic, IKEA, and Pottery Barn!) It was such a special time for us, and I'm so thankful Joel did that for me. God used that time away in a big way to give me His peace and more of His perspective on this whole loss.

One more thing to praise God for....I had a scare last Thursday and ended up in the ER when I lost massive amounts of blood/tissue in a very short period of time. The ER doc first told me he thought it was a simultaneous pregnancy in my tube (since I had severe pain on one side) and that I was suffering the loss of an ectopic pregnancy. I wish he'd never said that! My doctor called the next day to assure me that that wasn't the case and he was sorry that was ever mentioned to me. They just told me at the ER that my uterus was just shrinking back and had to get rid of extra tissue...that was their final diagnosis, but my doctor told me that wasn't normal, he'd never seen it in all of his years of practice, and the D&C went smoothly and should have taken care of all of the tissue. So there you go, I'm just the exception. He did say there was a good chance I had an ovarian cyst that ruptured. That makes sense, because I had one in high school, so that could be it. It was a difficult ordeal to find the physical effects of this loss lingering on longer than expected - it brings back a lot of emotional stuff, but it wasn't as bad emotionally as I thought. That must be due to people's prayers. But I am a very thankful girl that everything is ok and nothing was seriously wrong. It scared me, that's for sure - the episode was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. So I'm very grateful, and I feel fine now physically.

Thanks again to everyone for the prayers and encouraging words you have sent.