I'm a bad blogger.
And this last year has been a year of exponential growth. Spiritually, mentally, physically.
I want to share it. I want to share the bits & pieces of our daily little life.
My favorites from recent shoots. Our business ventures.
We're on the road to a few new ones and I am excited.
Excited for what's to come.
Reflective of where we've been.
In awe of how we got here.
Our God is so good.
"And then, when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead & multiply what seemed small." -unknown.
I've obviously taken a hiatus from the 'ol blog.
And it's no secret that I'm horrible at blogging. I want to be better. I LOVE reading other's blogs and collecting inspiration. Getting a peak into their everyday. Its like the best kind of people watching. (Don't you love to people watch? Tell me I'm not the only one..)
I had such good intentions. I wanted to do a quick recap of the past year, and then get back on the bloggin' bandwagon. Start fresh.
And then suddenly it was a week later. It's okay though. I was just too content sitting on the couch with my brand new baby. So in love. Bliss. I'll get to it soon. Like next week.
January 10th. Our little worlds were flipped upside down.
That little baby I was so blissfully content to just sit and hold, would very soon be subject to countless, daily doctor appointments, hospital admissions, ER visits, intrusive procedures, she would struggle to merely take a breath. Her life was slipping through my fingers. And I couldn't do anything to hold onto her, but pray. so PRAY we did. Lots of it. The people that God assembled around us were such a HUGE blessing. Far more than they will ever know. Praying life into our baby.
I'm forever grateful. For EACH and EVERY prayer lifted up for our little Scarlet.
I started on a journey in my faith during this time. I can honestly say that I've NEVER felt closer to my Lord. In this new chapter, I started a prayer journal when Scarlet was in the hospital for the second time.
I sat in that hospital room. Alone. Just me and Scarlet.
I peered across the room from the tiny couch bed into her giant, plastic, hospital crib.
The single, recessed light in the corner of the room illuminated the room with just enough of an orange glow that I could see her.
My sweet baby. hooked up to monitors, an IV was punctured into her arm. An oxygen tube in her little nose. A Pulse/Ox monitor around her tiny foot. She struggled to take each breath. Her chest collapsing (literally down to her backbone) on the intake of each. and every. breath. And there was nothing I could do.
All I could do was sit and stare. And pray. Words poured out of the deepest parts of my soul. I think God wanted me alone with her. (Jon had literally JUST started a new job -- like THE DAY we first discovered her health issues. They had already given him SUCH grace by letting him leave during training when we landed in the ER the first time, which would usually result in termination. So he HAD to go to work. So on this second ER visit/hospital admission, once we were settled into the room - around 1am, he left.)
I'm sure that God wanted me alone. So that I would have no one to lean on but HIM. I would have no one to talk to, except HIM. That's where God wanted me. That's where I NEEDED to be.
I poured my heart out. Tears falling from my face as my pen wrote simple, powerful words onto a paper towel.
I've debated for awhile on sharing those words. They came from such a place of dependence and desperation. From a place of God holding me up when I couldn't stand. On my own, I know I would have merely collapsed on that cold hospital floor.
God. Thank you. Thank you for this beautiful, unexpected blessing you've placed in my life. Thank you for the growth she has brought me. Thank you for my marriage & how close we remain despite sometimes hard situations. Thank you for our other 3 beautiful children. And the growth they've brought me & Jon. Thank you for our support system. A people that you've created & surrounded us with. Thank you for your unwavering love. A love that I can't begin to fully understand, yet desire so deeply to imitate. Thank you for your faithfulness. your sovereignty. your plan. To prosper us, not harm.
God my heart is so full right now, yet so empty. I know I am filled to be emptied again. I pray that I bring you praise & glory in ALL situations.
God. Thank you. Thank you for Scarlet. For the 30 days I've been blessed to feel her breath on my cheek. For the 30 days I've been blessed to nourish her. For the 30 days of diapers I've been privileged to change. For the 30 days of unspeakable joy I've felt for her being in our lives. For 30 nights of broken sleep. For 30 days of endless, loving stares. God thank you. Thank you for these 30 days. And if only for these last 30 days, I consider myself blessed to have had them.
Jehovah Rapha. You are our healer. Hear my heart. my soul cry out. Please heal my baby.
God thank you. Thank you for being my everything. For being enough. For choosing death to bring me, us, life. Thank you for your plan. Your will.
Thank you for 30 days.
(10 days later).....the strength I felt as those words poured out of my soul escapes me. And I know that I only had that strength for that particular day. And only due to God's power that filled me. overflowed from me. All glory to God! I understand now, personally, how God can give you strength, for even just a moment. strength that in no way I could have experienced apart from Him.......God, thank you for drawing me near. Thank you for your strength that you equipped me with. Thank you for your protection over Scarlet. me. my marriage. Thank you for your light amongst the darkness. Thank you for the glimpse I had into knowing what it's like to fully believe that You would heal my baby, yet being completely okay if You chose not to. For thine is the kingdom & the power & the glory forever. amen.
I wrote those first words 119 days ago. And now I retype them with a beautiful baby in my lap. She's getting better. Everyday. She's getting bigger. ounce by ounce. She's still tiny. She still struggles sometimes to breath. Her chest still has a small, collapsed spot. A daily reminder of how far she's come. How much she's already endured.
She'll be 5 months on Sunday.
I am thankful.
so obviously this blog has been VERY neglected this year. That goes without saying. But as I am striving in a bad way to make blogging a more regular event (especially in light of what 2010 brought), I'm trying to start it off right by blogging on the very first day of 2011..
2010 was nothing as I expected it to be, yet brought so much [unexpected] joy to our lives on so many different levels. It also brought trials. a lot of them. and heart ache to boot. But nonetheless, 2010 was a year that brought about change. And while I tend to resist [big] change, it was something that God was clearly teaching me to embrace. And with that change, God guided me into a more trusting relationship with Himself, as I absolutely could not have endured 2010 without Him.
But with trials, comes triumphs. And fun times that created lovely memories in the in between.
Twenty Ten in review...
This little cutie was promoted to All Stars. [pictured in her Varsity uniform, just before finding out at the awards ceremony]
The girls participated in Fashion Disaster Day at school -- I actually think they look pretty cute!
We also made the decision and listed our home for a short sale. A decision that was made with MUCH agony, as it was a first home, [we had far out grown it too with these three cuties]. It brought a lot of tears, but in the long run, it was a very good decision.
Oh and we made cookies. And apparently took down our Christmas decor sometime in January as well...
we made pretty valentines.
we went to the snow..
Xander got pneumonia while we were on a snow trip with our churches youth..The trip from Flag to Tucson [where the kids were] has NEVER felt SO long.
Hailey and Evie learned to ride their bikes..
X and I went on a little picnic date to the park..
we had a fun little impromptu photo shoot after a friend's baby shower..
we celebrated miss Hailey's 8th birthday for like a week --here are some highlights..
at the sugar bowl:
before her birthday dinner:
and when we crammed 20ish [maybe more?] of Hailey's pals into our [previously-mentioned] tiny condo:
and made cute magic wands as their favors for her Wizards of Waverly Place party.
I also attended a field trip to the Phoenix Children's Museum with Miss Evie, but sadly forgot to have a camera in tow...
April was busy.
we colored eggs..
and hunted for said eggs..
[this one of Evie might just be one of my favorite pics ever. ha!]
had a beautiful backyard photo session on Easter...which the sprinklers brought to an abrupt end.
Jon brought me home my favorite flowers. in my favorite color. just because.
Evie got her first black eye. unruly bicycle handlebars, I tell ya. The only pictures with it are after she has make up on - and you can't really see it, as it happened the day before her dance class recital pictures. She told us that we needed to call and cancel the pictures because of it. And the actual recital. And her birthday party the following week too.
Hailey was baptized. Words cannot express the joy that overwhelmed our hearts in this moment.
it was magical. Her garden tea party:
we also celebrated at Mimi's
and at her birthday dinner..
on April 28th we moved in with our dearest friends. Our short sale was approved. We packed and left our home of 6 years. Lots and lots of tears ensued. Along with much relief. A weight had been lifted like you can't imagine. I cried nearly the entire was to John and Amanda's, but I knew that this is where God was leading us. And we had to follow. No matter what.
Fast forward about 18 minutes as I pull into the driveway of their house. I received a call on the way there from our realator saying that our buyers had backed out. [this had happened before, mind you. Almost the same scenario - sell, move out, buyer backs out. - when we "sold" this house 3 1/2 years prior.] We continued with moving in, with the plan to relist it and hope that our buyer's job situation worked out and they would be able to buy it in the long run.
April 29th. I realize something. A big something. Something that I missed. In all the hustle and bustle, I didn't keep track. um....
My soul is FLOODED with so many different emotions. Emotions I can't even bring to words. I only know them deep in my heart. Down in my soul. A cocktail of emotions. shaken, not stirred. Emotions of fear, excitement, joy, anxiety, love, grace, with a coated rim of hope.
like I said. God wanted us to embrace change. and be in a place of complete dependance on Him. All security stripped away. I never felt so naked.
we picked peaches at the peach festival..
oh. that's all the pictures I really have for May. I'm not sure if it was that we had just moved, or with everything I just felt so overwhelmed with life. Maybe a combination. But its result was apparently that I didn't pick up a camera for personal use for most of May. And a lot of June. But to sum it up, I ended up being diagnosed with SEVERE reflux that landed me in the ER twice in May. We finished cleaning out our condo and officially sold it to the original buyers (thank you GOD!). Jon started photographing concerts. We announced that I was pregnant. The girls said teary goodbyes to school friends and teachers as they had their last day in that district. I felt emotions I had never felt before. And felt such pain that I couldn't relate to just how my kids were feeling (as I never moved until I moved in with Jon when we married). But Jon could. And he helped them through it. And through being the new kid. But that's part of August. ;)
Okay. I'll be back tomorrow or Monday with the rest of the year. There ended up being FAR more than I had anticipated to "wrap up" our year. But its something that I want to record.
Happy New Year! Cheers to you, 2011!
picnic lunch of cheese & crackers and applesauce.
Xander's Optimis Prime voice.
taking it all in.
witnessing creation cry out His praises.
realizing [again] that I've got everything I need right here and everything I need is enough.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson
happy valentines day lovers.
prettiest breakfast. [source]
pretty balloons. [source]
pretty much my favorite. EVER. [source]
and a little peek at what these little girls were hard at work with this week (all pics straight out of camera -- a little dark, yes.). [see what we did [last year].]
Hailey's: [VERY little help from me]
Evie's: [a little more help from me]
hope your day is full of love.
okay. I'm the WORLD's WORST blogger. for real. I KNOW! I know. I'm really trying to get better because I know how inspired I get from looking at other's blogs and I'd like to think I have a little to offer. only thing is there's SO much going on in our world right now, I've just been doing the balancing act. And apparently, the good 'ol blog is what gives when things get chaotic.
just pretend that didn't happen.
I have some AMAZING photo shoots that I've been working on to blog about [I'm HORRIBLE about blogging photo shoots!], like 4 weddings that never hit the cyber-waves and TONS of personal outings and pretties that never debuted like I intended. And I'm sad about that. I want to get better. I really do. [sidenote: did you used to apologize to your diary when you didn't write for a long time? Just me? "Dear Diary, Sorry its been so long since my last entry..." Maybe its that crazy need I have to apologize for EVERYTHING...hmmm...if you did (or do!) please share. I need to know I'm not alone! ha!..okay. end of side note]. so here I am. starting over. because I get overwhelmed with trying to play catch up and then just get apathetic. And I loathe apathy.
just pretend that didn't happen.
This past week has proved to be INSANE for me. Lots of personal challenges, lots of deadlines, new adventures, and all the stuff in between..and it was capped off with [what could have been] a horrible end, of which I will blog about later..
BUT snow day with the kids was amazing......for the most part [all photos taken with Hailey's point & shoot..so nice to stick it in my pocket and not lug my big momma camera around in the snow...]
[and with p&s cameras, come no view finders. And with no view finders, come out of focus pics..especially when you can't actually SEE the screen b/c of the BLINDING white snow]]..
this little girl lost a tooth the night before...
I know. We make pretty babies.
We did a little sledding...
Xander found a hole in the snow...
and we built a little snowman (the snow was pretty icy as it hadn't actually snowed for about a week)
I know you're jealous of my Sacajawea-like boots. But did my feet get cold (or wet)? No they did not.
and then we had some lunch...packed stuff to make sandwiches. delightful.
at this point the kids were getting REALLY cold (Evie was pretty much inconsolable for the remainder of the trip because snow got INSIDE her boots and made her feet wet. And when your feet get wet, you're DONE.). So we needed something to get them back "into" the snow. And that's when Jon found it. It being Max's "footprint" (from where the Wild Things are)...and we were home free. well, all of us besides Miss Evie.
and then we did a little more sledding..
and then set the camera on a big snowman someone had built days before...and rocked the self timer.
and if you look REALLY closely, you can see just how much Miss Evie is enjoying our trip by this time...
Funny, as she was the MOST excited to see the snow. As patches of snow turned into wide clearings of snow, she giggled and squealed and finally exclaimed that she was so happy that she was happy crying! and I think THAT was the sweetest moment of the day.
and I won't just pretend THAT didn't happen.
my mama just started her blog -- I'm so excited to have a new little window into their world and to share that with all of you...please take a sec to check it out...she's pretty fab writer..
here she is....at the very heart of WHO she is..such a giver. Look at the joy beaming from her soul as all 7 of her grandkids take their first look at all of their Christmas goodies!
[and please take note of our little photog daughter -- walked in with her camera up. LOVE her!]
so check her out...and bookmark it! I have a funny feeling she'll be a MUCH better blogger than myself!