Sunday, April 28, 2013

Last Day for Belly Pics!

Thank you Amelia for taking these!!!

And my FAVORITE! AHH!  Love it!!!

Baby Asher Day!

Tomorrow is baby Asher day!!! Look at this adorable hospital door/home door/ nursery wall hanging that Amelia whipped up for me! She is some kind of crafty talented!

She also threw me a mini shower with all kinds of sweet gifts, most of them monogrammed.

This morning she made me homemade cookies for breakfast and this afternoon helped me grocery shop. Love my sister.

So, we go in to the hospital bright and early tomorrow. Pray for peace, joy, a display of God's glory and health and safety.

We have longed for this day for a long time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Treasuring the Memories

I tend to struggle with my memory these days.  There are certain highlights of the three older boys that will always stick out.  But, every now and then, Eric will throw out the most detailed memory (that should totally be engraved on my mind as well) and I will marvel at how easily the mind can forget.
So, today, I am writing down some precious things that have occurred over this pregnancy...because remembering always points to seeing God and His goodness.
Cade is almost thirteen.  I was curious how he would take the whole pregnancy thing.  He truly wanted a sister; after all, he said he already had two brothers.  Plus, he has a huge heart and I can totally see him doting on a little girl. But, God saw fit for something else, and he was quick to embrace the idea of Asher Tate.  He is an amazing big brother, always setting such a sweet and Godly example for those that are trying hard to mirror his footsteps and yet be there own little persons as well. 
Cade tends to be like me...not overly dramatic or demonstrative when it comes to words and touch.  I know he is tender in his heart, but sometimes, he is so reserved.  He hasn't wanted to touch my belly all that much...part of that may be his age.  But, he is sweet to curl up next to me in our big chair at nights as we talk or watch a TV show together.  He will notice Asher getting all "jiggy" and occasionally place his hand where he is moving.
The thing that has over and over again about moved me to tears regarding Cade and this pregnancy is his willingness to help out.  {Don't ever put your house on the market while preggo.  It is the true definition of insanity.}  Still, Cade will often vacuum for me three or four times a week, unload the dishwasher every morning, take the heavy laundry basket to the laundry room every day, help make lunches, and overall, simply take a load off of me.  He has been a true servant in my eyes these months, and I have not once heard him complain about a single thing I have asked of him.  His attitude has simply been that of Christ.
Eli's response might best mirror my own.  He has such a merciful heart.  When left unchecked, this can lead to fear.  It seems everyday, he places both hands on my stomach, peers up into my eyes, and simply says "Asher."  He is ready to see him.  Like me, he needs to see him.  One day, he asked me an odd question, "If Jesus decides to return and take us all to heaven, will Asher go with us?"  His arms need to literally wrap around his baby brother.  He is ready for his faith to become his eyes.  He is tired of waiting.
Eli has been the most sensitive to how I am feeling physically.  He looks at me with concern if I am not walking well, breathing well, sighing, or on and on.  You can tell he wants to change things for me so desperately.  He has also been concerned that he and his other brothers might have caused this pain for me when they were in my tummy!
All that said, he has his joy moments everyday as well.  He gets excited when Asher kicks, hoping that his little brother will be a soccer player just like him.  He wants him to look like himself.  He is the only child who really wanted another baby brother, so it is fun to see his heart's desires being fulfilled!  He mentions me/Asher in class every morning, and they pray for us.  He has fallen in love with Asher's new stuffed animal frog and wants to "break it in for him."
He wants to be the one to feed Asher.  When we tried to explain that this may not be possible for awhile (umm, think about how horses feed their colts and cows feed their calves,) he burst into, "Wait right there!  I don't know what you are trying to tell me, but I don't think I want to know anything else.  So stop right there!"  I love his innocence.  I love his pure love over this child.
Oh, and Eli wants me to have a "contraption" so Asher will come!  (Instead of contraction.)
Goodness, what not to say about the boy who can not WAIT to be a big brother!  He has matured so much since September when he found out.  I think part of him is mentally ready to grow up and nurture his baby brother.  He has poured out his heart and soul and happy tears on my friends' babies, Lily and Ty, and I can't wait to see his response to his own little brother.
Sam has such a tender heart and he isn't afraid to show it.  What I love about this boy is that he is not afraid to be who God created him to be.  If he wants to lift up my shirt in public to love on my belly, he tries.  (He just gets thwarted!)
He is sensitive to the fact that I am pregnant.  He takes the keys from me, unlocks the front door, and holds it open while I walk in.  I tell him I can do it, but he looks at me and simply says, "Mom, you're pregnant!"
The most hilarious response from Sam is that when he talks to my belly, I have to talk back in "Asher's voice."  Now, this is not your typical voice, but a high pitched baby voice.  If I talk in the wrong range (not high enough,) Sam looks at me like I am crazy and I have to repeat what I say in the "right voice."  He then nods in approval and keeps on chatting away to his little bro.
I was a little concerned about how Sam would respond to having a baby brother because he has been praying for a baby sister for years.  He cried during the revealing ultrasound, but after that, he transferred all his joy for a sister over to Asher.  He couldn't be more infatuated with this little fella! 
That said, he still talks about having a baby sister as if it is going to happen one day.  Eric broke it to him at the breakfast table that unless God intervenes, he seriously doubts that Sam will ever get his sister.  A couple of months ago, I heard Sam ask Cade,  "Cade, do you think God will ever give me a baby sister?"  His desire for a sweet little girl has simply not faded.  It doesn't mean he doesn't adore the idea of Asher, but his heart beats for something else as well.  I don't know what to do with that because this has been a really hard pregnancy and Eric vows I don't need to do this again.
I know Sam will adore Asher and will take every opportunity to show him off to everyone.  He will be a huge helper and will soak up every minute of this guy's life!
I could write a book, but right now, I am like Eli.  I just need to see his face and wrap my arms around him.   

Friday, April 19, 2013

When all else fails, hit him.

My husband may or may not have a black eye.

But, here is my version and I'm sticking to it.

You know those crazy pregnancy dreams?  I have dreamed everything from falling off a cliff to my family being attacked by bears.

Well, the other night, I dreamed that Savannah, our golden retriever, was about to attack me.  She is the sweetest, most giddy dog who has never snipped at a soul.  So, this dream came from way out left field!  She had the ugliest snarl and was about to do me in!

At that moment, I reached out to hit her to keep her back.

And, you all, while in deep sleep, I reached out and whacked my sweet slumbering husband at the same time.

Unfortunately for him, he was facing me.

I thought I hit his shoulder, but oh, no, I managed to hit him right under the left eye.

Talk about a rude awakening.

Pretty sure he is done with this whole pregnancy thing!

The good news is that it took me 15 years to hit my man.

The bad news is that I laughed and laughed after I did it.  {After apologizing, of course!}

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maternity Session

Fourth kid and yet my first maternity session.  I was feeling huge and almost cancelled it.  The weather was a 40 whopping degrees and misting rain.  Pretty sure Todd had to edit the blue out of my lips.

But, I know I will cherish these forever.  Maybe not today, when all I want is this kid out.  But, probably the day after I give birth, when I look into Asher's eyes and see all the wonder that was wrapped up tightly inside of me for 9 whole months.

God is amazing, isn't He?

{Thank you Todd Owens/Todd Owens Photography for these dreamy shots. More to come when I get the CD...}

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Asher (Why I love his name more and more)

I can't tell you how ready I am to put a precious face with his name!  Not much longer!

I came across a Beth Moore weekend event that she did years and years ago.  It was called "The Blessing of Asher!"  Now, that makes my heart happy because most people have never even heard of Asher in the Bible.  And here she devoted a whole weekend to him!  (Knew I loved her!)

There is some amazing info that I found via people's blogs who were able to attend and take notes. (Wish I could find Beth actually speaking about it via You Tube or something!)  According to people's notes, this is what she said in the beginning of the weekend.

Asher means blessed in the Old Testament.  But, actually, there are two words that can mean blessed.  The first is "barak" and is the STATE of being blessed.  In other words, it is positional.  For New Testament believers, we are "barak" because of the blood of Christ that covers us...we have a new identity.

The second word for blessed is "asher."  It means to be straight, level, happy, to go forward, to be honest, to prosper, to go, to guide, to lead, to receive, to be blessed or happy.

Here is the difference between the two:

Barak:  I am blessed     Asher:  I feel blessed
Barak:  position            Asher:  emotion/feeling

Here are the notes from ""

"She (Beth) defined happiness (asher) as “the psychological (soul) awakening to a work of God.” A specific work of God that your soul realizes, and emotionally reacts to. While Biblical happiness is circumstantial, she said, it is not bound by any circumstance. Confused? Simply put, there is no circumstance in which God cannot work! It is not dependent upon how we feel, but how we feel is affected by what God does!"

Here is the kicker:  God wants us to feel happy!!!!  I don't know what that stirs up in you, but in me, I have to question it.  After all, we are to have the joy of the Lord despite circumstances, but pure happiness?  God says yes!  When we delight in Him, we are the most happy!  And through the witness of that pure satisfaction, God will draw others to Himself as well.

I don't believe that we are to pursue happiness, but to pursue God.  Happiness is just the result of that relationship.  If we lived our lives in the pursuit of happiness, it would become an idol for us.  In the Old Testament, the Israelites started worshipping Asherah (a Canaanite goddess) via the Asherah poles because they were desperate for happiness but were not willing to pursue God in order to achieve it.

The whole point is that we can have "asher" moments of blessing and happiness despite the circumstances around us. The Christian life is often one of suffering, but that doesn't mean we aren't blessed or can't be happy.  We can ask God to open our eyes in order to have an awakening to the work He is doing.  We can be assured that it is a work that is bringing Him glory.

I found a few verses that use the word "happy" might be surprised as to how we get it!

Proverbs 14:21 We are happy if we have mercy on the poor
Proverbs 16:20  We are happy when we trust God
Proverbs 28:14  We are happy when we fear God
Psalm 146:5  We are happy when we have God for our help and our hope is in Him
James 5:11  We are happy when we endure
1 Peter 3:14 We are happy in suffering when it is for the sake of righteousness

If our happiness is truly dependent on God and His goodness, then we can truly feel happy no matter what our circumstances may say.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Evangelist: To Be or Not to Be

Eli's soccer coach is always forcing them into situations where talent can rise and fears be stomped out.  Last night was a prime example.  Eli's 10 year old team had to play a 12 year old team...just for the fun of it!

I didn't get to watch (too many kids and too many sports, ha!) but Eric said it was amazing to see some kids cower in fear and others rise to the talent level of the 12 year olds.

And then I proudfully put on my "that's my son" hat when Eric said Eli scored the only goal against the Goliath of those 12 year olds was over 6 feet!

One of the best parts of parenting is seeing the talents and gifts of your children start to rise to the surface.  In these moments, we give God glory and we teach our kids that all good things come from Him.

For Eli, God made him fast.  He can outmaneuver and out quick just about anyone on the soccer field.  We see real God-given talent in this area called soccer and wonder where God will take it.

All the sudden, I had a vision where God had called Eli to play soccer all over the world and that He was going to spread His name through this particular route for our son.

I know, the dreams we dream!

But, then I wondered...does Eli have the gift of evangelism (spreading the good news) or is evangelism a calling for ALL believers?

I can distinctly see in my mind a few fellow friends that have the blessing of evangelism on their lives.  They can simply sit down on a park bench next to a stranger, and the next thing you know, they have shared the gospel, invited them to church, and are getting to know them on a deeper level.

These people are generally extroverts who aren't afraid of what others think, tend to have a special favor with others, and love more than anything to strike up conversations with people they may not know from Adam...for the JOY of it.

This is not me.

But, it might be Eli.

What do you think?  Is evangelism simply a God-given talent for a few chosen or is it the expectation for all believers???

I think it is somehow both.  All are called to spread the good news (for me, in the quiet of my writing) and yet some seem to have a special favor in this area (hoards of people coming to church, ha!)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Darkness is as Light

2013 has so far proved to be one of darkness.  Not necessarily full of grief, but one where we can't see in order to put one foot in front of the other.  It has been a year of seeking God's face and not yet hearing Him say, "this is the way...walk in it."  Our faith has been stretched.  Answers to questions that we were desperate for back in January are still unresolved.  One night in bed, I was crying so hard that I couldn't breathe.  It just all felt so hopeless.  The waiting process has brought about panic, fear, anger, restlessness, and finally, contentment.  We have no answers.  And, apparently, it isn't time for them.

It has simply been a season of darkness.  Friends look at me, say I don't look like my chipper self, and I self implode into a million tears.  I don't remember the last time I felt like myself...both physically and emotionally.

The past two days of sunlight have been warm reminders that there is something new on the horizon.  God won't be silent forever.  The darkness will once again be cast off.

But, right now, He wants me to know that in Him, there is no darkness.

Sure, I know that...after all, the Bible tells me so....but does my soul really know that?

Every soon to be mother cherishes Psalm 139.  We envision God at work on our babies, knitting them in perfect ways as He proclaims their lives as good and wonderful.

The whole psalm is about how God knows everything from the secrets we would never utter aloud to the praises we shout from our lungs.  He knows our thoughts and longs to trade our grievous ways for his way everlasting.  Death for life:  it is always His style.

I think what I have missed up until now about the verses concerning Him forming our inward parts is that these paint a picture that is an illustration for the two verses that precede them (11-12.)

"If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me,
 and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you."

That is the point, and the verses about the mother's womb (13-16) are the illustration of that:

"For you formed my inward parts;
 you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them..."
In the dark womb, God is doing His most beautiful work.  It isn't dark to Him.  He knows exactly who He is creating.  He has been excited about this moment for ages.  He is giddy with delight as He starts the beating heart, opens the eyes for the first time, and listens to his cherished fetus practice breathing.  He sees what He has made...something precious that no one else has ever been given full view to, and calls it good. He has already ordained who this little being will be and how he or she will bring Him glory.  He even writes it all down in a book for the joy of it!
It is in darkness that some of the most beautiful things are created.  It is in secret, where others cannot see His handiwork.  It is a holy thing that He cherishes...only He knows this fetus the way it is meant to be known.  Sure, one day, He will show off His creation that He has delighted in putting so much care into.  But for now, Jesus treasures the riches found in secret places.
God wants me to know...and maybe you, too...that in our times of darkness, He is creating the most beautiful of things.  He hasn't gone AWOL.  He hasn't abandoned.  He still loves completely and deeply.  He still holds all things together.
There is no darkness in Him.  When things seem dark to us, we are to praise and wait.  One day, He will bring forth the most beautiful of things...more than we could ever dream up on our own.
This morning when I looked down into a pot, I saw six precious yellow Gerber daisies on their way up from the soil.  There were only three last fall as they finally gave way to death.  For months, while in darkness and apparent death, I wondered if they would ever come back up.
Three last year.  Six this year.  God is beautifully at work when things seem dark.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Here are a couple of pics for ya, my ever faithful reader! They are taken with my phone, cause that is how professional photographers roll when they are only a few weeks away from having a BABY!!! The boys on Easter... Sam and Eli at speech meet, and Asher making his presence known! We could all use a haircut, but right now I could use a double portion of that homemade lasagna I made last night. Nom nom!