Friday, May 26, 2017

patience, perfect, + entire

Waiting seems to be our lot these days. Baby is coming, the berries are coming, we look ahead to a place of our own. But waiting doesn't mean stagnancy or that where we are isn't an end in and of itself. I dream of a little farmhouse or bungalow where my children will grow & Dar & I will grow old together, & the trim is all original & wide, & the wooden floors tell stories of lives & loves gone by, & the trees are all old & healthy, & the stream back behind the house whispers us to sleep during crisp nights with the windows open, & guests come & go comfortably, nourished by berry turnovers & good coffee & conversation. I've been realizing lately though, how swiftly time passes, & how my dreams won't all be realized, & that in the end, I won't mind at all. 
It was just yesterday that I had my hospital bag packed, the changing table stocked & ready, the bassinet ready to go, for Fee. (This time around, not so much...I just can't seem to get into "nesting") Seeing her change so much, so fast in the two years she's been here makes me a little panicky that tomorrow I'll wake up & she'll be graduating high school.  "The days are long, but the years are short" has SO much truth in it. It feels like everytime I have a chance to pause & catch my breath, she's learned some new sassy phrase or a new way to climb on the counter. And I know it just has to become more of a blur with multiples! As much as I love making pretty things & painting watercolor, I'm looking forward to taking some time off from the etsy shop to just be with my two littles. 

Yesterday, I spent 4.5 hours at the hospital getting a non stress test for the baby (everything checked out great). More waiting. But the steady rhythm of the baby's heart kept me company, & I got a chance to think & reflect. (MANNA for this introvert's soul!) At one point, I opened up a Bible app on my phone to read, & the daily reading was of rejoicing in suffering. James 1: "knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect & entire, wanting nothing". Patience. Wanting nothing. (Isn't He so good to us, to give us words when we need them?)

I've been trying to consciously take it a little slower, & savor. To quote Anne, "I smack my lips over life". And I do. This new little home we live in on the farm has been a little Eden to us. To be so close to the activity, the berries, the family has been a huge blessing to all three of us. I can't think of anything that would make life more complete, not even a quaint farmhouse with loads of charm & character & enough space for all the guests we get:). Sometimes I think Grammy's contentment with her little home must've soaked into the walls & we're somehow absorbing it simply by living where she shared so much love.

So, while now feels like a time of waiting-for baby, for berries, for the "forever home"-it's anything but stale & wearisome. It is a time of shaping & molding, of becoming perfect & entire, learning to want nothing more than what we have.

And we want to thank you again for all the prayers for this baby's safe & healthy arrival! So far, things continue to look normal, & we can't wait to meet this little one!

Friday, May 19, 2017

God is good

 Yesterday, I posted this on Instagram.

I got so much feedback, promises of prayers, & concerned messages from friends & family, that I felt the need to elaborate here. To be honest, I feel a little sheepish that it caused so much concern. Let me state up front: the baby appears to be healthy & I am just being monitored weekly from here on out via ultrasounds & stress testing to keep track of the baby's vitals. And yet, there were a few days where we weren't sure what the outcome was going to be. And I felt so much peace. It's easy to say this side of it, with the outcome being health & life, that I would've totally accepted the other outcome with as much peace. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I do know this: God is good.

Here is a my journal entry from a few days ago, in the middle of the unknown. It says it better than I could say it now, knowing the outcome.

3/18/17: Yesterday, I had a routine doctor's appointment for the baby. It's been measuring small, and measured even further behind, so they sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay. And they made an appointment for me to see a fetal high risk doctor in Portland at 3 pm. A little intense. They were/are worried it isn't getting enough oxygen and could go acidemic (?). When I asked what that meant, the doctor looked at me, and slowly said, "It would die". I have such peace with the situation though. I have no fear of the future. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away: blessed be the name of the Lord" keeps running through my head. Since Janella died, death has been on my mind frequently. It is so near, every day. But it isn't to be feared. Not my death, not the death of the three I love best (Dar, Fee, & baby). We are all heaven-bound. It would be hard to leave, or be left for the rest of my earthly life. The separation is real, and hurts, & won't go away. But praise Jesus, it isn't the end! If this little one doesn't make it, I'll see them again one day. Although my silly human mind has had fleeting thoughts, "If it does die right now, what will the purpose of its life have been? It won't have accomplished a thing for the kingdom of God. It won't even have a chance to love or know anyone! Why even create it?" But. But God creates us for His glory. Not so we can do for Him. Yes, He uses us to accomplish His means. But a stillborn is just as glorifying to Him as a full, long life of service, I believe. Somehow, some way, I don't understand it all, God is glorified simply by our existence. And He doesn't need our feeble efforts to bring Him validation or glory. Makes me feel pretty silly for some of my goals, mindset, & agenda. It's not me. And never has been. Like when I let Fee fold washcloths: I don't need her to. I'd do a better job doing it by myself. But it brings me joy & pleasure knowing she wants to help me. And I love the look of delight on her face when I praise her for a "well-folded" towel. God lets us do His work because it brings Him joy & pleasure to have His children want to help His kingdom. He could do it (and far better) without us. But He wants to include us because He loves us. 

That was all I wrote. And the tests up in Portland & the visit with the fetal high risk doctor concluded that the baby is getting a normal amount of oxygen, has a healthy heart, is practicing breathing like a champ, & I am free to carry on normally til my appointment next week. The baby is very active, which is SO comforting, & I feel movement frequently.

I am thankful for this experience. God uses these situations to prove us, to show us that He'll come through in the hard times. And it's very comforting to know I have hundreds (thousands) of people praying for me & my little one. You all are very dear & I hope I can pray for you as mightily!

I share this because I want to assuage your worries:). I share this because it speaks of God's goodness, in every situation. I share this because perhaps it is what someone needs to hear today.

 And a post needs a few photos, & I snapped a few of Fee the other day, methodically folding towels. It is really just too sweet!

I pray your week finishes with the assurance that God is good, & He loves you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shop Sale

 In order to make my studio presentable for the break I'll be taking from the etsy shop June 1-Aug 15 for the baby & berry harvest, I'm having a big sale on all cards. I'll also be pulling some designs out of the shop forever, so get one if you've had your eye on it! It's been so exciting to see how my style has grown & evolved, (and how much better my lettering & photos have gotten!) thanks for supporting my little shop! My family & friends are BY FAR my biggest customers. Never feel obligated, but know I do appreciate it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tulip Festival 2017

Every spring, I look forward to going to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. This year, after months & months of rain (we're a stuck record here in the PNW on this winter's rain), a glorious day of sunshine & warmth & brilliant tulips was balm to a sodden, weary soul. I'll never tire of flowers.

(This photo below is Livy two years ago at the Tulips. Mind-blowing how fast time flies!)

And, because I am now an Oregonian, I must point out how gorgeous Mt. Hood is ;).

I've been sitting on this post for a week, but words just aren't coming. It was a good day. I'm so glad the sun was shining. I'm so glad I have people that ask me to go on a random Friday. I'm so glad I have a little girl to take that loves the flowers as much as I do. So I'll just end it there, & let you enjoy the photos.