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 360

I grew up in the great state of Oklahoma and when I was in 4th grade I spent a lot of time learning about the state’s history in my Social Studies class.  We studied Indians and Sooners and even had our own land run on the front lawn of the school… everyone dressed in settler clothes and carried lunch pails made out of coffee cans.  I got to do a lot of fun projects that year and this morning when I was reading my Bible I was reminded of one in particular.  Buffalo branding.

Indians would take a steel rod that they had carved their trademark symbol on, get it blazing hot, and then press it into the hide of their buffalo, leaving a permanent brand on the animal so everyone would know who it belonged to.  Our class books had pictures of what some of the symbols looked like and our assignment after the lesson was to design our own trademark symbol.  I can still see in my head the brand I created.  I used my initials at the time, S.N.

Animals aren’t the only things that used to get branded by a red hot piece of steel.  Slaves, human being slaves, used to get branded too.  For the same reason, their owners wanted everyone to know who owned them.

Galatians 6:17 (AMP) …for I bear on my body the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]!

Paul had been branded.  Not by a steel rod, but by the stones that had been thrown at him and the beatings that had wounded him as he spread the good news of Jesus.  He had some serious battle scars, but he wore them proudly, much like a war veteran wears the scars he received while in combat for his country.

Why was Paul proud of the ugly marks that He bore on His body?  Because they let everyone know that He belonged to Jesus.  He was branded, like a slave or like livestock with a “J.C.” trademark symbol and it testified to Jesus’ ownership of Him.

John 16:33 promises us that in this world we will have trials and tribulation.  In other words, we most definitely will go through things that leave marks on us; things that hurt us, that scar us, that wound us, BUT the same verse also tells us to take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world.

As a believer you have two options when trials come your way.  You can let the enemy mark you by running from God, blaming God, and getting bitter toward God OR you can let Jesus mark you by running to God, believing He is good and only does good, and depending on Him to see you through whatever the devil has thrown at you.

How you respond in the face of adversity determines who you really belong to, who really owns your heart.

We are in a war, a war that has already been won, but a war in which we will receive some battle scars in.  If you are walking with God and He is truly the Lord of your life and you go through a trial that leaves a mark, you are in good company, you are among those who Satan hates the most.  You are one of the ones that threaten him because you remind him so much of Jesus.  He wants to wear you down and mark you as his own… don’t let him.  Let every wound, every scar, every hurt transform into a permanent brand that reminds you and everyone else who sees it that you belong to the Lord!

1 Peter 4:13 Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

  1. The scars in my life are proof that I belong to Jesus.
  2. Trials make us partners with Christ.
  3. He has overcome the world!
  4. We don’t have to try to hide the trials we go through, but we can turn them into testimonies that helps us lead people to Jesus!
  5. WE get to choose whose brand we want stamped on our lives.
  6. 4th grade Social Studies.  That was a neat class.
  7. Breakfast by the pool at Nana & Papa’s.
  8. Papa always has the best tasting fruit.  Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches were all very good today!
  9. Gussy did some preaching and praise and worship for everyone this morning.
  10. Papa fixed Gus’ messed up haircut he got in Texas yesterday.  It looks great now!
  11. Gus did good when the clippers came out!  Those used to scare him quite a bit.
  12. Kids got to swim for a while this morning.
  13. Listened to a great message on hearing God’s voice.  I can never be reminded enough about how important it is to listen for that still small voice.
  14. Taco Bueno, Papa’s treat.
  15. I got to take an awesome nap in a big cozy recliner.
  16. This last minute trip to Tulsa worked out.  We really needed some down time.
  17. Utica Square.  I always love being there with the trees, the bells, the squirrels, the fountains, and the shopping.
  18. Nana & Papa got Gus a new Lego Star Wars book complete with a mini Lego Han Solo Figure.
  19. Gus was overly thankful!  The whole store knew that that little guy received something that made his heart very happy!  Made me want to buy him every Lego book and mini figure available.
  20. Nana & Papa got Beau some Melissa & Doug wooden slicing fruit… perfect for her new passion for cooking.
  21. Yummy dinner at Pei Wei.  Another Papa treat.
  22. Josh got to spend his night doing one of his very favorite things, producing music!
  23. The next Ken Blount Ministries album is going to be awesome!  Got to hear all of the songs Josh has been writing and they were all so good.
  24. Beau was acting like she was starting to not feel good, but by the end of the night she seemed to back to her happy little self again!
  25. Found a Starbucks giftcard!
  26. Gus told me he wasn’t sure what Sunny wasn’t going to look like but he was sure she would be beautiful!  Such a sweet brother.
  27. My 13 year old niece Ryan saw an angel a few nights ago.  Such a cool story!

Day 358

When I was in 5th grade a group of cheerleaders from the high school I would eventually attend came to my elementary school.  Dressed in their uniforms, complete with red striped Asic tennis shoes, they did a cheer in our cafeteria and talked about how much fun it was to be on the cheerleading squad.  They handed out fliers with information about 6th grade cheer tryouts.  I was mesmerized.  I didn’t know anything about cheerleading, but I wanted to give it a shot.  I tried out that year with girls from all over my 6A school district and I made it!  I loved everything about it.  The friends, the ribbons, the pom poms, the uniforms, and the fun.  But each year the dreaded try out week would roll around agains and each year the squads got smaller and smaller.  In 6th grade close to 50 girls made the cut, but in 9th grade only 16 girls made it.  We had the best varsity squad in the nation when I was in 8th grade.  I was there at Disney World when they competed for the title and won first place, so it was very competitive.

I couldn’t wait to be on the varsity squad… Friday night football at the big stadium, going to the elementary schools to recruit future cheerleaders, Disney World trips, going to state with the football team… varsity was a big deal, but I never made it past JV.  At the end of my 10th grade year I tried out and didn’t make the cut.  I was beyond crushed.  I had one of those shirts that said “Cheerleading Is Life… the rest is just details” and it wasn’t far from the truth, so I was pretty much devestated.

My whole family knew how much I loved being a cheerleader and they knew how important the varsity tryouts were to me, so I had a lot of prayer going into that week.  When my Grandma Wagner heard the news she said to my mom, “Well, I haven’t been praying that Sarah would make the squad, I’ve been praying that God’s Will would be done in her life.  He must have other plans for her.”  My mom shared that with me and I’ve never forgotten it.

I remember thinking to myself, “Hmmm.  That’s interesting.  Maybe Grandma has the right idea.”  Maybe my “help me make the squad” prayer wasn’t what I should have been praying, because I didn’t even know if making the squad was part of His will for my life because I had never taken the time to ask Him about it.  I wish I would have.  I know He would have told me I wasn’t going to make it and not to even bother trying out.  I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and embarassment, but nevertheless I learned a great lesson through all of that high school drama; His will should always be top priority when I pray.

Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.

There are certain things in the Bible that we know without a doubt are His will.  Salvation, healing, peace, forgiveness, joy, etc., but then there are things like, should I buy this house or that house, should I take this job or that job, should I go to this university or that one, that we can’t look up scriptures on to find the exact answer we need.  There was nothing in the old or new testament about the varsity cheerleading squad, but my Grandma knew the Lord’s prayer and she knew that the best thing she could pray for me was that God’s will would be done in my life, and it was.

I ended up graduating a year early and getting married the very next year; something that never would have happened if I had made varsity.  I’m glad God doesn’t answer all of our prayers, because sometimes we pray the wrong ones.

Your will, will disapoint you.  His will, will not, so when you come before God in prayer, let Him know that what you value most is HIS will being perfected in your life.

  1. His will!
  2. Unanswered prayers.
  3. My praying Grandma.
  4. I got to graduate in 2002 instead of 2003.
  5. I got to get married in 2003!
  6. Cheerleading is what gave me the extra credits I needed to be able to graduate early.
  7. Breakfast in bed!
  8. Gus turned the tent Josh made them a few days ago into the Bat Cave.  I love watching his imagination run wild.
  9. Got to see Sunny at the 20 week anatomy scan today and the doctor said she looks great!
  10. Ultrasound technology.  It really is so neat to be able to see what’s she is up to in there.
  11. Got to put some pictures of the scan on a flash drive, not sure what most of them are, but I did get a few of her pretty face!
  12. Her sweet little hands that were moving around a lot next to her sweet little mouth.
  13. Gus & Beau came with us today and Gus really liked getting to his little sisters face in black and white.
  14. Had such a peaceful day today.  No fear at all going into the check up.
  15. Bubble Guppies coloring pages.  They kept the kids busy while we were waiting.
  16. My doctor never keeps us waiting long!  When I was pregnant with Beau and Felix I had to wait 45 minutes to an hour every single visit.
  17. I’m well on my way to my New Year’s Resolution of gaining 35 pounds by the end of this year!!  Praise God for my healthy, growing girl!
  18. My cousin in law Jordan is celebrating his birthday today!  He’s one cool dude!
  19. My pastor, Robert Morris, is celebrating his birthday today!!
  20. Brandon Anderson is celebrating his birthday today.  A faithful friend and a faithful ministry partner.
  21. Brandon helped us redo our bathroom at our old house in Tulsa.  He did a beautiful job and didn’t charge us a dime for his time.
  22. Beau saw 10 minutes of Bobby Flay on Food Network which inspired her to get our her little kitchen and pretend to cook for the next 45 minutes.  She had so much fun using some of my real kitchen whisks, measuring cups, and colanders.
  23. The kids got to run around in the backyard while I cleaned and Josh mowed.  They came in with pink faces, smelling like wet dogs, and smiling from ear to ear.
  24. Mexican hoagies for dinner.  Not as good as my mom’s used to be, but still tasty.
  25. Unexpected check in the mail!
  26. Got my hair washed and dried this morning so I wouldn’t have to do that and pack for Tulsa all in the same night.
  27. 358 posts written, 7 to go!!

Day 356

In Galatians 4 Paul writes to the Galatians to let them know that he is concerned about them and their walk with God.  He feels like he’s going through labor pains with them all over again.  The first time he went through the laboring process for them it was more like a miscarriage because Jesus wasn’t fully formed in them, and Paul doesn’t want that to happen again.  He let’s them know He will labor for them until Christ is fully formed in their lives, and then in verse 20 he writes something that totally captured my attention this morning,  I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.

Paul wished he could address the Galatians face to face so that he had the option to change his tone.  He knew they wouldn’t be able to pick up on his emotions correctly just by reading the words he had written.  Instead of concerned, they might of thought he was angry.  They might have mistaken his love for them as disappointment in them.  He may have wanted to convey a since of urgency and seriousness, but it’s not easy to pick up on how serious someone is without hearing their voice.   If he could see the people and they could see his facial expressions and hear the sweetness or the concern or the anger behind his voice, they might understand his heart better, but he didn’t know how else to help them, so he went with the letter.

We all have people in our lives that are close to us.   People that live under the same roof as us, people that work in the same office space as we do, people that we come into contact with pretty much every day of the week.  There is not a great distance between us and them and so we, unlike Paul, have the luxury of changing our tone.  We have the option to express our hearts through the tone of our voices.  We can look into the faces of the people we are closest too and decide which tone we need to use as we address them… which tone will minister to them most effectively.

This morning in my quiet time I prayed that God would help me to set the tone for my home today.  That He would use me to see to it that my family would wake up to a wonderful morning filled with His presence, because in his presence is fullness of joy.  To set a tone, you have to watch your tone.  If you want the presence of God to continue to linger after your quiet time is over you have to guard it.  You have to watch what you say and how you say it.

You can set the tone for yourself and for the people that you are in close proximity with just by being more mindful of how you speak.  The sweeter I am to my kids the sweeter they are to me.  If I make a point to speak kind words to my husband throughout the day, the vibe between the two of us is going to be a good one.  If I join in with people who are griping and complaining, the wonderful presence of God is going to become a lot harder to pick up on.

Paul wished he could change the tone of his voice, you don’t have to wish that.  You are not in a long distance relationship with the people you come into contact with everyday.  Set the tone for yourself by waking up each day and getting into God’s presence and then use your voice to set the tone or to change the tone if it needs to changed for the people that you do life with.

  1. In His presence is fullness of joy.
  2. I can set the tone or change the tone with my voice.
  3. That one little verse really changed the way I went about my day.
  4. I get to do life with my favorite people in all of the world.
  5. Gus came out of his room first thing this morning fully decked in his batman costume.  He was setting a tone for sure.
  6. Got some good Bible reading in last night when I woke up wide awake at 2 a.m.
  7. Bills paid!
  8. Have yet to pay anything for all of my pregnancy check ups and ultrasounds.
  9. Josh took the kids to run errands with him this morning so I could have a few hours of alone time.
  10. Enjoyed getting dinner ready and in the crock pot and listening to a great message servanthood.
  11. Gus is doing great two days into his 7 day break from video games.  I am really proud of him!
  12. Gus loves books.  He spent a good 45 minutes just looking through some of his favorite picture books this afternoon.
  13. Pastor Robert is back in the pulpit!
  14. Feeling Sunny move around during the message.
  15. Great, challenging message tonight.
  16. Wonderful worship.
  17. Over 100 kids got saved at Wacky Week.
  18. The hilarious conversation I had with Gus on the way home from church about what kind of girl he wants to marry.
  19. Mikayla Corbo.  Gus’ first crush!  Too bad she’s 13 years older than him and taken, but he knows how to pick em.  She’s beautiful inside and out, so cute to me that he’s picked up on that.
  20. Kids both had a great night at church and were so full of joy for the rest of the night.
  21. My friends John & Dana had their little boy Frankie this morning!  Loved waking up to see his cute little face on Facebook.
  22. So many of my friends on FB have newborn babies.  Seeing all the pictures of them makes me so excited about Sunny!  Newborns are so fun!
  23. My first attempt at BBQ ribs was a success!
  24. Tried a new cucumber salad recipe and it was a hit.
  25. My healthy, growing boy who is all of a sudden too tall for his church pants.
  26. Josh found a shirt he really liked yesterday and last night when he was hanging it up he realized he got the wrong size, went to take it back and was able to exchange it the size he needed.
  27. Beau is in a contant state of skip, hop, or bounce.

Day 351

This morning I read that a 78 year old man has been sleeping on a bench outside of St. Mary’s hospital for the past 12 nights in hopes that he can be at the front door when the duke and duchess come out with their new baby, Britain’s future monarch and head of state, wrapped in their arms.  He would like to give them a card and even dreams about holding the royal baby.  Seems creepy to me, but to each his own I guess.

On a day like today when so many people around the world are awaiting the birth of William & Kate’s baby, I can’t help but think of the birth of Jesus and how simple and understated it was.

There was no pomp.  No ceremony.  No media coverage.  No hashtags and No stay at home moms glued to their television sets.  It was the most important moment in the history of the world and it was totally hype free.  No one even knew it was happening, except of course Mary & Joseph.

Once baby Jesus arrived and had been swaddled and put to sleep in a manger, God wanted to announce it… like a new dad who has family waiting in the waiting room after his wife delivers their baby.  He can’t wait to call them and tell them the baby is here and he’s perfect and mom is doing great and that he weighed this much and that that’s him crying in the back ground.

God wanted to call some people and tell them that His son was here.  He didn’t call ABC or NBC or Zion 7, He called some shepherds who were working the night shift.  He sent an angel to tell them this,

“Don’t be afraid!  I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

This was something to celebrate!  This is still something to celebrate!  Not just every year in December, but every day.

Luke 2:20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Those excited shepherds spent their lunch break going to visit the new baby and then they had to get back to work, but they didn’t just go back to work, they went back to work and began to glorify and praise God for all they had heard and seen!  They knew what the angel had told them earlier was true.  The joy bringing savior was here!  They had no idea what all Jesus would do during his time here on the earth.  They didn’t know he would heal the blind, raise the dead, cast out demons, or give his life away for them, yet they knew he was worthy to be praised, and so there among their flocks, they praised!

I wonder how many people waiting outside that hospital in London today hoping to get a glimpse of the royal baby realize that 2,000 something years ago THE royal baby was born and 33 years later He gave His life for them.  His mom wasn’t a fashion icon, his father wasn’t a former heart throb, his birth was overlooked, but he was indeed royal and he went to the cross so those who wanted to be apart of his royal family, could be.

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

If Jesus is your King, you don’t have to spend your nights sleeping on a bench in hopes that you can be apart of something royal for a few seconds of your life, because God has made you part of His royal priesthood.  You are a part of a royal family that will reign throughout eternity.  Glory to God in the Highest!

  1. THE royal baby.  God’s only son who left His home in heaven and put on flesh so we could become God’s family.
  2. I am part of the royal priesthood.
  3. God had to tell someone His news that night.  How sweet that he chose the shepherds.
  4. All that the shepherds heard and saw was just as the angel said it would be.
  5. “He will bring great joy to all people!”
  6. Zion 7.  Used to love it when we got to watch those at church on Wednesday nights.
  7. Nice, hot shower to clear out my head this morning.
  8. Didn’t sleep very well last night, so we had a movie morning.  The kids watched Madagascar 2 and I slept through Madagascar 2.
  9. I felt much better after my little nap.
  10. My eye doctor had a pair of contacts to tide me over until the rest of my order arrives.
  11. I let Beau walk through the grocery store instead of riding in a car since I only had one thing to grab and she was so sweet holding my hand and talking to me about all the stuff she saw.  I don’t get the terrible twos thing… she is so fun right now!
  12. Butterfly and dinosaur shaped sandwich cutters make PB&Js way more exciting.
  13. Happy hour at Sonic and the kid’s first slushies.
  14. Got our vacuum cleaner back from the repair shop!
  15. The guy at the repair shop loaded the vacuum in the trunk for me.
  16. The kids did really great on the 30 minute drive to and from the shop.  They were content to just look out their windows and sip on their slushies.
  17. We made it safely to the shop and did not get lost!
  18. AC!  AC!  AC!  Super hot in Texas today.
  19. Yummy taco salad for dinner.
  20. The kids had so much fun running through the sprinkler together.  I loved watching them play while I cleaned up the kitchen.
  21. Beau singing “Your Love Is Deep” and doing all the motions that they do in her class at church.
  22. The kids laughing the hardest they’ve ever laughed at a book while we read “Olivia and the Missing Toy” before bed.  They were literally rolling over Olivia’s baby brother.
  23. Big day yesterday on 10kreasons.  So glad God led me to share on shame.
  24. Made $47 on e-bay this week!
  25. Gus got a sneak peak at the Wacky Week decorations.  They looked awesome.  He’s so excited about tomorrow!
  26. Two more months until the first day of fall!
  27. Sunny is going to be a fall baby!  Looking forward to having a new baby around during my favorite time of year.

Day 350

Last July when I found out the baby I was expecting in November was going to have be delivered stillborn I went through a wide range of emotions.  Shock, sadness, confusion, anger, and one I haven’t talked much about, shame.  I felt inadequate as a woman.  I wondered what was wrong with me.  How did I mess this up?

I remember experiencing the same type of shameful feelings when we were trying to get pregnant with our first born.  We tried off and on for about a year and a half and my body was just not cooperating.  It’s a bit hard to conceive when ovulation is not occurring on a regular basis.  I felt like less of a woman because I couldn’t do what women are supposed to be able to do… make babies.  Glory to God, I finally got pregnant with my sweet little boy Gus!  My confidence was back.  I no longer felt like I had a defect… until that day at the doctor’s office last year when we found out our third baby’s heart was no longer beating.

I not only felt like I had failed as a woman, but as a Christian.  I was embarrassed about having to tell people that we lost a baby.  That something terrible had happened to us.  I wondered what people would think.  I worried they might assume we had done something bad to open the door to an attack from the devil.  I didn’t want to be a smudge on God’s goodness masterpiece.  I didn’t want people to doubt Him, because things didn’t go according to plan for me.  I was ashamed.

I took a few weeks off from serving in the kid’s classes at my church and the first weekend back I was nervous that some of the parents who aren’t friends with me or my husband on Facebook and had not heard the news were going to ask about the baby.  And rightly so.  Several parents that day who had no idea what had happened, saw me and were excited that I was back and excited to hear about the new baby.  I hated having to tell them the sad news.  I felt like I was letting people down.  My very wise, very wonderful husband came by to check on me and to see how things were going and he could tell I was having a hard time.  He told me this was my chance to show people how good and gracious God has been.  He said when someone asks, tell them we lost the baby, but tell them how God is miraculously healing our hearts.  Give God more glory than the devil.

His little pep talked worked.  I felt different.  Instead of hoping no one asked me, I was hoping that if they did that I would be able to answer in a way that magnified God.  I got my focus off of myself and what I thought people may think of me and fixed it on God and what I wanted people to think of Him.

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

When I stopped looking at me and started looking at Him, shame left.  None of it’s shadows darken my face today.  I don’t feel embarrassed about what happened, I feel like sharing my story with as many people as I can, because God changed it from a sad story to a happy one, and there are people all over the world who are in the middle of their own sad story and need to know that God is a finisher and that He loves happily ever afters.

Whatever is causing you to feel ashamed- a miscarriage, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy, an abortion, a weight problem, etc., look to Him for help.  He will cause your face to be radiant with joy, instead of darkened by shameful shadows.  Purpose to give God more glory than the devil.  Purpose to get to your happy ending.  Purpose to let God use what once caused you shame to help other people.

  1. My very wise, very wonderful husband.
  2. No shadow of shame darkens my face.
  3. I am radiant with joy!
  4. God can take what used to cause us shame and turn it around in such a way that it brings Him glory.
  5. God loves happily ever afters.
  6. I enjoy sharing my story now that I know it’s not a smudge on God’s goodness masterpiece, but that it brings out details in the masterpiece that people might have overlooked.
  7. Contact lenses.  I threw away a pair last night thinking I had one more pair I could use before ordering a new box… I was wrong!  Had to wear my glasses all day and I really, really missed my contacts.
  8. Glasses.  If I didn’t have a pair of glasses I would have not been able to go anywhere or do anything today.
  9. Got to teach the 4 year olds at church about how God can take bad things and turn them into good things.
  10. Get to serve with some of the sweetest girls every week.
  11. Our preschool team is growing!
  12. A little boy was touching my baby belly after church while I was talking to someone and I heard Beau yell at him, “You stop touching my mammas tummy!”  She’s feisty and I love it.
  13. Sunday afternoon nap.
  14. Cuddling and watching Ninja Turtles with Gussy.
  15. Chicken Express satisfied my mashed potatoes craving.
  16. Our key card to the neighborhood pool would not work so my friend Cheri told us we could use their neighborhood pool.
  17. Gus & Beau loved being at a different pool!  They had so much fun.
  18. Pretty much had the pool to ourselves.  It was very relaxing.
  19. Josh got home in time to eat dinner with us.
  20. Bubble Guppies.  My kid’s new favorite show.
  21. Sunglasses.  I really missed mine at the pool!
  22. Left overs for dinner.
  23. Beau said “ew, ew!” when she found out it was my night to read to her.
  24. Cuddling with Josh and watching some Food Network Star.
  25. Ice cream… in honor of ice cream day of course!
  26. Josh had me laughing so hard tonight I couldn’t breathe.
  27. Feeling sweet Sunny move around as I write this.

Day 349

A young girl sitting in her 8th grade English class is gazing out the window while her teacher talks about subordinate clauses.  She is present in the classroom , but her mind is elsewhere.  She’s not hearing what her teacher is saying, instead she’s thinking about the smile her crush gave her at the bus stop a few hours ago.  Her teacher calls on her and asks her to give her an example of a relative pronoun and she can’t.  She is told to get her head out of the clouds.

To have one’s head in the clouds is generally frowned upon.  People, especially teachers, don’t like it when you aren’t aware of what is going on around you because you are somewhere else in your head.  It’s much better to be “down to earth” than it is to be “in the clouds”, at least according to the world’s definition of the two phrases.  These verses makes me think differently,

Colossians 3:1-2 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

According to that, the best place our heads could ever be is in the clouds!

Our physical bodies live in the world, but our minds should be set on things above.  We have been assigned to this classroom, but it’s okay for us to gaze out the window and think about the things of heaven and tune out the things of the earth.  In a spiritual sense we don’t want to be “down to earth” people.  We don’t want to live at the level that the fallen world lives at, we want our heads to be in the clouds with our risen savior.

We shouldn’t ignore the things that are happening around us- abortion, sex trafficking, violence, racism, sickness, and loads of other messed up stuff, but our minds should not be fixed on those things.  Our minds should be fixed on the One who sits at the right hand of God and the fact that He redeemed us from the curse of the law when He went to the cross and hung there for us.  He didn’t redeem us from the curse so we would sit around and be consumed by it’s effects.  It’s overwhelming to watch the 6:00 news and see all of the wickedness that takes place around us everyday, but if we set our sights on Jesus, we can walk in peace.

How can you set your sights on Jesus?  Read His word instead of the newspaper when you wake up.  Load your phone with podcasts from your favorite churches and listen to message on the way to work.  Listen to praise and worship more than you listen to sports radio or Carrie Underwood.  Spend more time talking to Him than checking your Facebook.  Go to bed reading more of His word instead of watching re runs of “King Of The Hill.”  It’s simple really, just value Him and things that draw you closer to Him more than you value the things of the world.

Isaiah 55:9 (VOICE) My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth.

Take time today and everyday to get your head in the clouds.  Focus more on the things of heaven than you do on the things of earth, because as you know, earth will not be your assigned classroom forever!

  1. I have been raised to new life with Christ.
  2. I’m encouraged to have my head in the clouds and my sights set on Jesus.
  3. I am redeemed from the curse of the law.
  4. Earth will not be my assigned classroom forever.
  5. It’s easier than it has ever been before to have praise and worship, your bible, and church messages with you to read/listen to wherever you go.
  6. My husband gave me the idea for this blog… and God gave the idea to him while he was running a few days ago.
  7. Lazy and relaxing Saturday morning.
  8. Josh picked up more fruit for us and washed it all… and I didn’t even have to ask about either.
  9. Josh voluntarily unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it back up with all the dishes that I had piled in the sink.
  10. I stayed in my pajamas until 5 minutes before time to leave for church this afternoon.
  11. I got to listen to a great message from Trinity Fellowship in Amarillo while I did my make up.
  12. Gateway’s North Fort Worth campus got to be in their new building for the first time tonight.
  13. Sweet worship at Gateway Frisco tonight.
  14. Love seeing the kids dressed in their “church” clothes every weekend.
  15. Dave Ramsey really encouraged me to start saving more seriously for retirement and the kid’s college during his message tonight.
  16. Pastor Robert returns next weekend!
  17. Chicken bacon ranch pasta waiting on us in the crock pot when we got home from church.
  18. Left over pudding and an Oreo from the boy’s worms and dirt for my after dinner snack.
  19. Beau and Gus playing hot wheels together before bed.  Lots of “vrooming” coming from upstairs.
  20. Beau running around in just her little panties.
  21. Gus was excited about spinach pizza for lunch and side salad for dinner!  I’m glad he likes his veggies!
  22. Josh just finished Ken Burn’s War documentary and was saying he wished my grandpa was still alive to he could ask him about his time at a tail gunner in the war.  I remembered my mom gave me a DVD of an interview he did a few years before he died about his time serving.  So we watched it tonight.
  23. So sweet to hear his voice.
  24. He enlisted for the war on his 18th birthday.
  25. He talked several times in the video through tears about how God protected him while he was there.
  26. God did protect him!  And I’m hear because of that!
  27. He had on a classic Grandpa Wagner outfit for the interview.  Little cardigan and button up shirt.  Adorable.

Day 348

Wednesday, my niece Courtney sent me this text message:  “I am so thankful that your leaf never withered under the flame!”

The flame she was referring to was when I had to deliver my son still born last July.  I thought about how to reply, I knew I couldn’t take the credit.  I knew I couldn’t text back “thank you!” because it wasn’t something I did on my own.  I didn’t keep my leaf from withering, the grace of God did.  So I texted back, “And I am thankful for God’s grace!  Couldn’t have done it without Him!  Love You!!”

Psalm 84:5-7 (NLT) What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.  The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

The strength I had to stand up and recover from such a devestating blow came from the Lord.  I knew there was no getting through my valley of weeping without Him, so I set my eyes on His eyes and my heart on His heart, and before I knew it that valley of weeping was transformed into a place of refreshing springs.  A place where my leaf not only avoided withering, but was watered and grew bigger and healthier than ever before.

In 2011 Disney came out with a new Winnie The Pooh movie, that was an absolute treat from start to finish; even the short, “The Ballad Of Nessie” that played before the actual movie started was superb!  Nessie was a sweet monster who lived in a small pond that was just the right size for her and her little rubber ducky.  One day their pond was taken over and turned into a miniature golf course.  Nessie was left homeless.  She searched everywhere for a new place to live, but all of the other ponds were already occupied.  She felt hopeless.  She sat down and began to cry.  She cried and cried and cried, until she had no more tears to cry.  When she opened her eyes she saw her rubber ducky bobbing up in down in water.  Her tears had filled the land around her and a great loch had formed.  Nessie’s weeping had turned into a place of refreshing springs, a new home for her and ducky.  The lesson she learned that day was “Don’t ever be afraid to cry.  It really is okay.  Sometimes it’s through our tears, we find a better way.”

When you walk through the Valley of Weeping, set your eyes and heart on the Lord and he will turn your valley into a refreshing spring.  He will give you the strength you need to get up and get through and cause you to grow stronger along the way.  He’ll do what only He can do, turn something heartbreaking into something that revitalizes you.

When God is in you and before you, your leaf will not wither.  His grace is more than enough.

  1. God turned my valley of weeping into a place of refreshing springs.
  2. My leaf did not wither, but grew stronger and healthier.
  3. God’s more than enough grace.
  4. We go from strength to strength.
  5. Sweet Courtney!
  6. Psalm 1:1-3
  7. “The Ballad of Nessie” what a sweet little short.  One that I’ll never watch again without thinking about how God turned my tears into something refreshing.
  8. Winnie The Pooh.  I have always loved that silly old bear.
  9. Got to sleep in this morning.
  10. My wake up call was two little Jedi’s coming in to show me their light saber moves.
  11. My eye doctor appointment was only $10!  I thought it was going to be more like $100!
  12. I left for my appointment without my glasses but wasn’t very far from the house before realizing it.  I’m so glad I went back to get them or  I would have been waiting in the waiting room for 45 minutes without being able to see, since they had me take my contacts out right when I got there.
  13. My appointment took way longer than I thought, but when I got home Josh was already fixing the kids lunch and taking care of business!
  14. Free trial contacts.
  15. While Beau was napping me and Gussy played some Donkey Kong Country together.  I had so much fun hanging out with my little buddy and doing one of his favorite things with him.
  16. Josh got the lawn mowed.
  17. Got a whole tub of Gus’ baby clothes 6-18 months sorted through.  Some to keep, some to sell, some to give away.
  18. Gus was one blessed little guy.  He had so much cute stuff to wear when he was little and I can remember how he looked in almost all of it.
  19. A storm rolled in right when we were on the way to the pool, the kids weren’t happy about it, but a trip to the McDonald’s play place made it better.
  20. Friday family dinner at Kenny’s Burger Joint.
  21. The amount of joy a little cup of ice cream for dessert brings to the kids.
  22. Beautiful weather tonight at the park.
  23. “Being Elmo:  A Puppeteers Journey.”  What a captivating movie.  Josh and I both loved it.
  24. God will put desires in peoples hearts for what they are supposed to do with their lives at such early ages.
  25. The movie reminded me how important it is for parents to be supportive of their kid’s interests.
  26. My parents were always supportive of whatever I was interested it.
  27. Being able to rent movies without having to go to Blockbuster, which is not easy with a two year old who likes to take every movie off of the shelf.

Day 343

One of my older sisters used to love watching the television show “Cops”.  You know?  Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when they come from you?  I apologize in advance for getting that stuck in your head the rest of the day.  She would watch it on Saturday nights and me and my little brother would watch it with her.  It was entertaining to see german shepherds chase down drug dealers and then listen to the ridiculous story they told after being caught.  They didn’t even know they had drugs in their car.  They just magically appeared.  Seems like “Cops” was good for one of those cases at least once an episode and they always featured a “disturbing the peace” case too.  Neighbors would call in about something like a couple fighting in their front yard over who took the last can of beer quite loudly and violently, so much so, that they had disturbed the peace of those around them.  The cops would show up, try to figure out what was going on and do what they had to do to make things peaceful again.

It’s against the law to disturb peace.  If you play your music too loudly, break into a fight at a restaurant, or throw your boyfriend’s belongings out into the yard while you’re yelling about how much of a loser he is, you could end up with a misdemeanor or an infraction.  It could go on your permanent record and depending on the severity you could have to pay a fine or even serve jail time.

No one wants their peace disturbed.  No one enjoys a 9 year old kicking their seat for the duration of a two hour flight, so when the 9 year old starts you either ask him to stop or ask a flight attendant to tell him to stop.   No one enjoys a crying baby in a church service, so an usher will escort the mother and baby out of the service, if they aren’t polite enough to leave on their own.  No one enjoys neighbors who like to play loud music at midnight, so you ask them to turn it down and if they don’t, you can call the cops.

But what do you do when your inward peace gets disturbed?  You can’t call the cops or ask a flight attendant to take care of it for you, you’ve got to do something about it yourself.  You are not fighting against something that is of this world, so you can’t play by the world’s rules.  You can try yoga, ice cream, taking a beach vacation, or shopping, all of which may help a little, but when you really want to restore the peace, you’ve gotta transform into a cop.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (VOICE)  …We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One. 

You can’t just let whatever it is that is disturbing your peace keep disturbing you while you try to ignore it by busying yourself with other things, you have to hunt it down, handcuff it, throw it in the back of your cop car, drop it off at the jail, and then leave it there for the judge to deal with.  The  judge being the Anointed One, the Anointed One being JESUS!

When your peace is being disturbed, stop whatever you are doing and take a moment to visualize yourself arresting that thought.  See yourself taking it to Jesus, and then see that thought on trial.  Watch it squirm around as the judge opens his mouth and peace fills the room.  Watch it shrink down smaller and smaller as it’s confronted by the word of God, until it’s so small you can’t see it anymore.

If you do not take your thoughts captive, they will take you captive.  When the “bad boys” are disturbing your peace, you gotta go after them and give them no breaks.

  1. We have been given authority to take thoughts that disturb our peace captive.
  2. Jesus is the prince of peace so He will always rule in favor of peace!
  3. Cops… not so much the show, but for the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect their communities.
  4. Lovely, rainy day!
  5. High of 77 today!
  6. No 100+ degree days in the forecast all week.
  7. Went back to sleep for an hour after my quiet time with Beau snuggled up next to me on the couch.
  8. Beau found an old pirate ship of Gussy’s and the two of them played with it all morning like it was a brand new toy.
  9. The air conditioner was back on in the kid’s classes that it was not working in last night at church.
  10. Gus was teaching Beau his new memory verse on the way to church this morning.
  11. Got to teach some sweet four year olds about the good and perfect plan that God has for their lives.
  12. Left overs for lunch.
  13. Good rainy day nap!
  14. Bills paid.
  15. Gave every dollar an assignment for the next two weeks.  Having Dave Ramsey at Gateway the last four weeks has been great!
  16. Colored in a little bit more on our Disney 2014 savings thermometer.
  17. The kids took an imaginary trip to Hawaii.  I love watching them pretend together.  Gus has such a great imagination.
  18. I got to spend the afternoon hanging out with Minnie Mouse and Raphael who was protecting Minnie’s Bow-tique from Shredder.
  19. I got some incredible video of Beau dancing to Gus rapping.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!
  20. Josh grilled yummy burgers and corn on the cob for dinner tonight… in the rain.
  21. Still enjoying our S’mores Ice Cream Cake!
  22. “Over The Hedge” soundtrack.
  23. AFV on a relaxing Sunday evening.  I love having the whole family on the couch hanging out together.
  24. Made Gus his first official chore chart.  He’s excited about two bucks a week and starting to save for some toys he has been eyeing.
  25. Food Network Star + Karate Kid alongside my favorite person.
  26. Pro-life bill HB2 passes in the Texas senate.
  27. Got in bed and remembered the amazing video I took of Gus rapping and Beau dancing and I got to share it with Josh.  I laughed so hard I cried… all 5 times that we watched it.