Day 365

On July 3rd, 2012 I found out at a routine 20 week ultrasound that the baby we were expecting in November no longer had a heart beat.  I was scheduled to deliver him still born 3 days later.  3 days!  That meant I had 72 hours to carry around my lifeless baby.  I was dreading the delivery, but at the same time I hated being a walking grave.

72 hours is a lot of time to process.  Naturally, my mind tried to think of things that would ease the pain.  I tried to tell myself the whole thing was just a mistake.  I was never supposed to get pregnant.  It was just a little blip in the grand scheme of things.  I would move on pretending it never happened.  I would go into the delivery room and view it as a surgery to remove something in my body that no longer belonged, instead of the delivery of a child.  I didn’t want to think about the reality of the whole thing, because it was just too devastating.

We checked into a labor and delivery room on the evening of July 6th and there was no escaping the reality at that point.  This wasn’t just a surgery.  This was without a doubt going to be the hardest thing I had ever faced.  All of the things I had thought to myself to try to make this easier, weren’t helping, because they weren’t true.

I delivered Felix the next morning at 6:10 a.m.  Before we left the nurses brought us a pretty white box with mementos of the delivery.  His tiny footprints, a little certificate to let us know the time of delivery and his weight, and a measuring tape to show how long he was.  I hated leaving the hospital with just that little box.  I was supposed to leave with my baby boy.  The cut seemed to get deeper, the hurt seemed to grow stronger.  I was at a loss for what to tell myself to make me feel better, but God knew exactly what I needed to hear.

The next night before bed my husband Josh and I were talking with my mother in law about all that we were going through and the things we felt like God was sharing with us as we looked to Him for help.  In that conversation my husband said the words I needed to hear to release true peace, true healing, and true comfort into my spirit.  Two words that changed my life forever, “Felix mattered.”

I can’t even begin to explain the supernatural mending of that deep cut and the immediate pain relief I felt when those words left his mouth.  The whole thing hadn’t been just a mistake.  I was supposed to get pregnant.  I didn’t have to try to forget about it and move on as soon as possible.  God never intended the pregnancy to end the tragic way it did.  He had a great plan for Felix and even though we would never see him walk out that plan, we knew God could use us to pick up where he left off.  That was the truth.  The truth that set me free.  Felix wasn’t just a blip, he mattered, and I wouldn’t have to pretend that he didn’t ever again.

Tonight, as I wrap up 10kreasons, those two words ring truer than ever before.  Felix mattered, not only to me and my family, but to all of the lives that were touched by this blog.

He mattered to the mother who was mad and bitter toward God about losing her son until she came across 10kreasons and realized that God was not at all to blame for her loss.  He mattered to the people whose eyes were opened to the everyday goodness of God.  He mattered to the lady who needed an answer from God and got it when she read my post that day.  He mattered to the people who have found healing through thankfulness.  He mattered to the readers who had friends or family members that lost babies over the last year that were able to share hope with them by sharing a link to this site.  He mattered to everyone who decided to start their own thank you lists.  He mattered to anyone who read anything I’ve posted over the last 365 days that mattered to them.

He was only here for 20 weeks and never saw the light of day, but Felix mattered.  God used His life to make a difference in the lives of others and to bring Him glory.  God wants to use your life to do the same.  You are not a mistake, a blip, or someone that is just occupying space on the earth.

James 1:18 (NLT) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

You are His prized possession and like Felix, YOU matter.

And now, through tears of joy, it’s time to write my last list.

  • 9,974.  Josh.  My husband of 10 years.  My biggest supporter, encourager and the first to read each one of my posts.
  • 9,975.  Gus.  My first born!  His passion, his fearlessness, his cute face, and his love make it easy to see God’s goodness every single day.
  • 9,976.  Beau.  My beautiful 2 year old daughter.  She is pure sweetness and exudes joy!  She made making my lists so easy.
  • 9,977.  Sunny. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.  I can’t wait to meet my 2nd daughter in December!
  • 9,978.  Felix.  He mattered.  He made a difference in my life and in the lives of countless others.
  • 9,979.  My mom.  I know she took the time to read every one of my posts and has been very encouraging from the start.
  • 9,980.  My dad.  He wanted me before I was born, just like my heavenly father.
  • 9,981.  My mother in law.  One of my greatest supporters!  She introduced so many ladies to my blog.
  • 9,982.  My father in law.  There weren’t too many times I talked to him on the phone over the last year that he didn’t tell me how proud he was of me and how much he loved reading what I was writing.
  • 9,983.  Courtney, Tosha, Zach, Becky, Mindy, and Brooke.  My sibling supporters!
  • 9,984.  My church, Gateway Frisco.  Love the people and love Pastor Robert.
  • 9,985.  My job.  I have the best bosses in the world, Ken & Trudi Blount, and being able to work from home and make my own schedule was a huge factor in finding time to write everyday.
  • 9,986.  My husband’s  job.  He gets paid to teach kids the word of God every weekend!
  • 9,987.  My Bible.  There is no other book on the planet like it and I’ve learned so much studying it over the last year.
  • 9,988.  My new perspective on the goodness of God.  He’s good in the little things and in the big things.  He’s good all of the time.
  • 9,989.  Everyone that has taken time to read the blog.  Friends, family, strangers.  Whoever you are, thank you for letting me share my journey with you.
  • 9,990.  As of today, 29,078 views of 10kreasons.wordpress.com.
  • 9,991.  The world wide web.  10kreasons has been in 59 countries over the last 365 days.
  • 9,992.  I learned that know matter how busy I am, if I make spending time with God a priority it will happen.
  • 9,993.  All of my posts and lists are out there forever.  I’m looking forward to going back to day one and rereading all that God showed me.
  • 9,994.  I discovered that I love to write!
  • 9,995.  10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.  If that song had never been written, this blog would have never been written.
  • 9,996.  Facebook and Twitter.  I was able to share my story with so many people just through social media.
  • 9,997.  Wordpress.  My faithful blog host.
  • 9,998.  We are God’s prized possession.  Each one of us matter to Him.
  • 9,999.  I did it!!  I really did it!!  Such a bittersweet moment closing out something so near and dear to my heart, but I know it’s really just the beginning.
  • 10,000.  Jesus.  My very first list started with Him, so it’s only fitting that my very last list ends with Him.  He is the Alpha & Omega, the beginning and the end, and THE reason I was able to find 10,000 reasons!

Day 364

Day 364!!  I can’t believe tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of 10kreasons.  The project I started 364 days ago will be complete by this time tomorrow evening.

I’ve had several people ask me over the last few days, “what’s next?”  So for those of you who are wondering…

2 months into the start of this blog the Lord spoke to me about turning it into a book.  He showed it to me in hospital gift shops, in church bookstores, in regular bookstores, on Kindle and in the hands of hurting moms all over the world.   It was exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.  I know nothing about turning a blog into a book or how to go about getting a book published and printed, but I know God wants me to do those things, so I’m going to find out how.  I have done a little research and talked to a few people, but I’ve been waiting until the blog was complete to really dive in and now the time has come.  I’m finishing up one project and getting ready to start the next.

Psalm 145:6 (MSG) Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

I know there are more people who need to hear about His marvelous doings and the details of His greatness, so be praying for me as I launch into the book phase of 10kreasons.

In September, I will be sharing my story with the ladies of Tascosa Road Fellowship in Amarillo.  My father-in-law told me the Pastor there would like to have me come and speak and I told him I would have to pray about it.  I feel way more comfortable behind my computer screen than I do up speaking in front of a group of strangers, so God was really going to have to give me a loud and clear “Yes, I want you to do it!” before I said, “Yes, I’ll do it!”  When I asked Him about it, He reminded me of the word He gave me at the beginning of this year;

Psalm 81:10 …Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.

I wrote all about it on Day 146.  “I am entering 2013 with a wide open mouth.  I’m saying to the Lord, I trust you and your plans for my life.  I won’t miss out on the good things you have for me and my family because I don’t want to get uncomfortable.  I know you would never do anything just to mess with me.  I want what you want.  I know that if I open wide you will fill my life with blessing.  I believe 2013 is wide open, if I’ll agree to open wide.”

I meant what I wrote and what I prayed that day, so be praying for me as I launch into the speaking phase of 10kreasons.

In December, we will welcome our little girl Sunny Joone into the world and that’s where most of my focus is getting ready to shift to.  I’ve got a nursery to decorate, baby clothes to sort through, nesting to do and naps to take!  I’m so thankful that that sweet little girl is part of the answer to the question, “what’s next?”

So, I’ve got the book, the speaking, and the baby on the way, but I will continue to write and post to 10kreasons.  I’m not sure how often, but as often as I can, because I absolutely love being able to share the things that God is showing me through writing.  I’ll also continue to list, not publicly and not until I reach a certain number, but in my journal every night before bed.

I will have found 10,000 reasons upon the completion of my last post tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep looking for more.  It’s like the last verse to the song that started this journey says,

“Still my soul will sing your praise unending.  Ten thousand years and then forevermore.”

I will spend the rest of my life on earth and then my eternity praising His holy name.

  1. The book phase!
  2. The speaking phase!
  3. 19 weeks to prepare for Sunny!
  4. I have all of eternity left to praise my awesome God!
  5. 10kreasons blog project is ending, but my love for writing is not.
  6. The word God gave me at the beginning of the year.  Just what I needed to help me get out of my comfort zone and say yes to a great opportunity to share my testimony.
  7. Gus woke up upset at 2:00 a.m. after a bad dream and Josh went to check on him and slept in his little twin bed with him the rest of the night.
  8. Great morning at church with a happy group of 4 year olds and the sweet girls I get to work with!
  9. Teaching the kids such a powerful truth – The Lord is our helper!  Heb 13:6
  10. Mrs. Tammy brought Beau a Mickey & Minnie Mouse purse full of some of her daughters old dress up things.  Beau was so excited and spent the whole afternoon in her flower headbands, bracelets, and rings.
  11. My big sister Mindy is celebrating her birthday today!!
  12. Mindy is one of the most selfless people I know.  She would do anything for anyone.  Her husband and 3 girls are so blessed to have her.
  13. Mindy is an awesome photographer!  She is good at making people look good!
  14. Football was on tonight… just preseason, but that means that fall is approaching quickly.
  15. Pastor Adana is celebrating her birthday today.  Love her heart for women and the way she is able to balance being in full time ministry, raising her 3 boys, and loving her husband.
  16. The good watermelon and pineapple I cut up this morning.
  17. Josh home in time for dinner, bath and bed time!
  18. Beau ended her prayer tonight, “and… happily ever after!  amen!”
  19. My family was satisfied with frozen pizza for dinner tonight.
  20. The Next Food Network Star with Josh… he loves me more than football.
  21. When I get Josh to laugh out loud.
  22. Every night I put the big kids down for bed and then Sunny decides to wake up and play for a bit.  So sweet!
  23. Had a good visit with my mom and dad over the weekend.  Happy they took time to come see us before they headed to San Antonio for vacation.
  24. Beau has Josh wrapped around her chubby little finger.
  25. I had to wake Beau up after she had been asleep for two hours and give her some tylenol.  She took it all in and then went right back to sleep!
  26. Humidifier + eucalyptus oil.
  27. Jesus is our healer!  Thanking Him in advance for working on Beau and the little cough that’s been bothering her.

Day 363

Yesterday, I wrote about the night I started this blog and about how important it is to take the first step in doing what it is that you know God has called you to do.  If you never take the first natural step, He can never follow with supernatural steps.  Today, I came across this verse and God spoke to me about being a finisher, someone who takes the first step and then keeps on stepping until they reach the finish line.

John 17:4  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

Jesus was a finisher.  He started something great when He agreed to leave His father and His kingdom in heaven behind, downsize to the confines on a young girls womb, and enter into a world that He knew would reject Him on that first Christmas morning.  He didn’t stop there though.  He knew to bring His father glory on the earth He had to do more than just start, He had to finish.

And that’s exactly what He did when He gave His life for us, hanging from the cross.

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

After He completed the work His father had given Him to do, He shouted in victory, “It is finished!”.

Jesus is not the only one who has ever received an assignment from His father.  God has assigned each one of us to do something or somethings to bring Him glory during our time here on earth.

Last August, He gave me one of my “somethings” when He shared the idea for this blog with me.  I took the first step in the natural and wrote and published my first post and after that I determined that I would finish strong 364 days later.  In just 2 more days I will cross that finish line and I’ll do it with joy.  All the time, energy, and dedication I’ve poured into this project will have been worth it, because I have glorified God on the earth and finished the work He gave me to do.

Whether you are at the starting line, somewhere in the middle, or so close to the finish line you can taste it, determine that you are going to be like Jesus, you are going to do more than just start the work God has called you to, you are going to finish it and finish strong.

Acts 20:24 (NLT) But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…

  1. Jesus finished!
  2. The completed work of the cross.
  3. We have all been given special assignments from God, that when finished, will bring Him glory!
  4. 2 posts away from finishing 10kreasons!
  5. Phil 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  6. Beau slept until 7 this morning!  Was hoping that 5:30 wakeup call yesterday was just a fluke.
  7. Awesome morning playing lunar putt-putt golf with Grammy & Grampy.
  8. We finished all 18 holes just before Josh had to leave for work.
  9. When I ran into my friend Sayra yesterday she mentioned the Collin Creek Mall and the area where we ate lunch today.  It was so nice having something new and different to try.
  10. Yummy lunch at Frankie’s Mexican Cafe.
  11. Sweet Firefly Ice Cream.  Cute little store and really, really good ice cream!
  12. The blue tongue Beau got from her Cookie Monster ice cream.
  13. Ice cream and putt putt were Grammy & Grampy’s treat.
  14. Beau fell asleep in the car on the way back, but finished her long nap in her bed when we got home.
  15. Grampy was here to help me carry Beau’s sleepy head up the stairs.
  16. Got to have my mom and dad sitting with me at church tonight.
  17. Great worship!  Everyone seemed so entered in tonight.
  18. Crown Him by Chris Tomlin.  What a song!
  19. Pastor Robert’s message on how easy it is to witness to someone.  Good stuff!
  20. The mechanic that witnessed to Pastor Robert’s grandfather.
  21. Palio’s Pizza for dinner.
  22. The way a spanking can change a kid’s attitude!
  23. Beau is learning about how Jesus is our healer in her class at church this month.
  24. Grammy got to read Gus all of his bed time stories tonight.
  25. The silly good knight/bad knight game Gus was playing with Grammy.  He was having such a good time.
  26. Bath time with Beau and Charlie Hope songs.
  27. My niece Maleah made it safely to her new home for the next year, China!!

Day 362

With just four posts left to write and 108 reasons left to find, I can’t help but think back to the night I wrote my first post and made my first list.  August 6, 2012.  About a week before that, while I was making dinner, God gave me the idea to be thankful for 10,000 reasons over the span of 365 days by listing 27-28 reason each day.  I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I found myself thinking about it all of the time and every time I thought about it, I felt like I should share the idea and my lists through a blog.

I knew nothing about blogs, except that a few of my hipster friends used to have them and they would post about their favorite new albums and weird independent films on them.  I wasn’t sure how to set one up for myself or if anyone even read blogs anymore, but I couldn’t get that word out of my spirit.  I hadn’t shared my idea with Josh yet, because I wanted to hash it out a bit more, so one night while he was away on a staff retreat, I started hashing.

I tucked the kids in, made myself comfortable on the couch, grabbed my laptop, opened it up and started to google “free blog” when a list of suggestions popped up, I clicked on the one that said “free blog hosting” and the first site that appeared was wordpress.com.  I clicked on it and within 10 minutes I had set up my own blog.  “10,000 Reasons” was taken by a food blogger, so I went with “10kreasons”.   Everything was ready to go, I just needed to write my very first post.  I started to type away and was amazed at how quickly the idea that had been stirring in my heart for a week came together.  I was excited.  It felt great to get everything down on “paper”, but now I had to decide if I wanted to publish it.  I had to decide if I wanted to share my heart with my social networks or whoever happened to come across the site.  I had to decide if I could commit to taking the time to make lists every night.  I had to decide if I was going to obey God.

I re-read what I had written about 25 times and then I did it.  I clicked publish.  A banner popped up that said, you published your 1st post.  Last night the same banner popped up, but this time it read, you published your 361st post.  The next morning I posted a link to my blog via Facebook.  It was another nerve racking moment for me, but I knew God hadn’t given the idea to me just for me… He gave it to me so I could share it with others.

I had NO idea what the time commitment was going to be, if people would even bother reading it, or if I would be able to think of things to list every night.  I never considered the fact that I would have to make lists while I was on vacation or in the middle of a super busy week.  I kinda forgot about the fact that I had a part time job, a 17 month old daughter, and a 4 year old son to take care of.  I didn’t think about any of that and I’m glad I didn’t, because I probably would have talked myself out of the whole thing.

When God calls you to do something, don’t over think it.  If it’s His idea, He will work out every single detail in your favor.  Looking back none of those things I forgot to think about ended up mattering.  God graced me with extra time, I did think of things to list every night, listing on vacations was really easy and now I have all of the highlights of our trips recorded. Somehow I was able to keep up with my part time job and never had to neglect my most important job, being a mother.  And people did read it, lots of people, and those people were blessed!  God made it all possible, but I had to take the first step.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT) Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

God trusted me with an idea, and I trusted Him to make it a reality.  I didn’t wait for everything to be perfect before I started, I just took a step in the natural, I posted my first blog entry, and He’s been with me every supernatural step since then!

  1. 10kreasons.wordpress.com, so glad I took that first step!
  2.  The encouraging little banner that pops up every time a blog gets published.
  3. When God gives us an idea and we start taking steps in the natural, supernatural things begin to happen.
  4. I didn’t over think it.
  5. The extra time God has graced me with over the last year!
  6. I was able to keep up with my part time job.
  7. I found times to write during the day and in the evenings so I never had to neglect my sweet kids.
  8. I was able to think of things to list everyday.
  9. Beau decided it was a good idea to wake up at 5:30 a.m.  this morning.. I decided to wake up with her and get some writing done because I knew today was going to be very busy!
  10. Safe drive home from Tulsa.
  11. 4 hours of hanging out and talking with Josh with very few interruptions.
  12. What-a-burger lunch.
  13. Our batteries got recharged while we were in Tulsa.
  14. Received some wonderful news from some wonderful friends!!
  15. I got to go grocery shopping alone this afternoon.
  16. Ran into two sweet friends from church at the store, Sayra first and then Karleigh.
  17. Fridge and pantry are full!
  18. Started my 21st week of pregnancy!
  19. Sunny” by Bobby Hebb.
  20. Josh was home to help me unload the groceries on this very hot Texas day.
  21. My mom and dad made it safely to our house.
  22. Yummy dinner at Rudy’s BBQ, mom and dad’s treat!
  23. Settlers of Catan game night.  My mom finally won one!
  24. Josh unpacked all of our suitcases while I was grocery shopping.
  25. The way Gus looks in his Jedi costume.  He’s so cute and so serious.
  26. Beau was in a very sing-y and very chatty mood tonight.  She was happy to have Grammy & Grampy at her house.
  27. My mom noticed the loud, clicking sound our car used to make when the air conditioner was on in the back of the car was gone.  I forgot it used to do that.  We took it in last year and the car shop said it would be $800 to fix, so we decided to stick it out.  How nice that it’s gone and it didn’t cost us anything!

 

Day 361

Remember when silence used to be golden?  Nowadays, I think most people think silence is awkward… and sometimes it is.  Like when you have some new friends over to your house for the first time and conversation seems to be going good and then all of sudden it comes to a screeching halt and no one knows what to say to start it back up.  That can be awkward.  Or when you are used to sleeping with a loud box fan right beside your bed, turned to it’s highest setting, and the power cuts off in the middle of the night.  That too, can be awkward.

Silence can be deafening, but it can also still be golden.

Psalm 65:1 (AMP) To You belongs silence (the submissive wonder of reverence which bursts forth into praise) and praise is due and fitting to You, O God, in Zion;…

I know for me there are times when I am overwhelmed by the greatness of my God, so overwhelmed, the words that I am using to tell Him just how great I think He is seem so inadequate.   The Message version of Psalm 65:1 says, “Silence is Praise to you.”

Silence is never awkward between me and my husband because we have such a close relationship.  We don’t have to fill every second of our time together with chatter.  We are comfortable enough around each other to know that just because one of us isn’t saying much doesn’t mean we aren’t having a good time.  The fact that we can be silent around each other solidifies our relationship.

The same is true with us and our relationship with God.  We can praise Him with our silence and he won’t think it’s awkward at all.  We can sit and just quietly think about how amazing He is and how worthy He is, and those quiet thoughts will burst forth into praise.

After 9/11 happened there were moments of silence that took place all over the country.  There was so much people could have said to honor the lives of the people that were lost, but even the most eloquent speech ever given wouldn’t have been enough, so we honored them with silence.

Sometimes it’s good for us to have a moment of silence in honor of the Lord; to stop talking for a few minutes and just quietly reflect on the price He paid for us, the love He has for us, and how holy He is.  Yes, daily make a joyful noise unto Him, and yes, daily tell Him with your mouth how good He is, but don’t be afraid to let your silent adoration honor Him when you feel like you are at a loss for words…. He can have that effect on people!  Your moments of silence will be music to His ears.

  1. When we are rendered speechless by God’s goodness, our silence sounds like praise!
  2. He is so much more than words could ever say.
  3. Moments of silence don’t have to be awkward… they can be golden.
  4. Our loud fans.  I don’t know how people sleep in silence.
  5. I got to sleep ’til 9 this morning.
  6. Since Gus & Beau are sleeping in the same room we told Gus if he woke up first to tap three times on the baby monitor so he wouldn’t wake up Beau trying to get over the baby gate and he did it.  I can’t believe he remembered.  He thought having a “secret code” was pretty cool.
  7. Beau woke up happy and healthy… no sign of whatever was making her feel bad yesterday!
  8. Discovered “The Wonder Years” is on Amazon Prime and all episodes are free to watch.
  9. “The Wonder Years” intro.  Best intro to a show ever.
  10. Beau teaching us all the story of Noah and the arc this morning.
  11. Chic Fil A cobb salad.
  12. Had a fun afternoon cooking and prepping for grilling this evening.
  13. Homemade garden salsa!  Very tasty!
  14. Beau woke up early from her nap, went in and covered her back up and she slept another hour and forty five minutes.
  15. Josh got Beau to get in the big pool with him even though it was colder than what she prefers.
  16. The little faces Beau makes when she swims.  She is so pretty!!!
  17. The awesome bacon cheeseburger Josh grilled for us.
  18. Nana & Papa’s pool.  It’s so nice to be able to sit around it and visit while the kids play.
  19. Lots of big, beautiful trees shading the backyard.
  20. Gus & Beau playing Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
  21. Josh got his haircut by his dad tonight.  Looks great and saved us $30!
  22. Kids enjoyed making homemade fudgesicles with Nana’s Zoku popsicle maker machine.
  23. Sweet hugs and kisses for Sunny from her big brother and sister tonight.
  24. “42” Movie night with Nana & Papa.
  25. Suitcases are packed with clean clothes.
  26. Received a really encouraging e-mail from a literary agent in Dallas that I emailed several months ago about turning the blog into a book.
  27. The sound on my iPhone seems to be back for good!  Nice to be able to hear it when it rings or when I get a text and it’s not on silent!