Feeling a bit unsettled? Emotionally tossed around? Me too.
Have things that you're praying for, but you've prayed those same prayers for so long you're not even sure if you mean them anymore? Me too.
Love a person who is making choices that worry you? So you pray for them... but then still worry? Me too.
I'm asking the Lord for greater faith in my prayer life. I'm tired of being tossed around.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5
Ask and not doubt. Uh-huh James, you make it sound so easy. Just ask in faith with no doubting! Hmph and hmph. That's how I feel about you today, Sir James. Praise you God for including Mark 9:23-24 in the stories You've given us:
And Jesus said to him..."All things are possible for one who believes."Immediately the father of the child cried outand said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
I believe. Help my unbelief.
I believe you are able to melt hardened hearts. I believe you are able to draw people to yourself. I believe you are near the broken-hearted. I believe you have a plan for the most screwed up of lives. I believe you are writing a story of redemption even if the pages seem blank right now. I believe you grant hope and peace beyond understanding.
"I believe Lord! Help my unbelief!"
He answers that prayer. Me and that dad in Mark who also cried out for help, we know for sure. He answers that prayer.
Are you on Instagram? It's a fun photo editing app that also has a social element. You can follow your friends' photo streams, leave comments, etc.
I think I've realized it's appeal: The filters are so darn forgiving. Slap a filter on a photo...it instantly evens up skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles are softened, and BAM!!!! Just like that, I look like I do in my mind instead of what I look like in real life. Well done Instagram. Well done.
Before and after.
Who else suffers from looking so much better in a dimly lit mirror and in your mind's eye than you look on camera? I was talking to a friend about this, and she admitted that in her mind she has perfect posture and never has a tummy pooch. Just how how looks when she stands up straight and sucks in her tummy in front of the mirror!
I like my mind's reality. I choose to live there, and avoid cameras and unfiltered photos that drag me back to the truth....
All the cute DIY wreaths on Pinterest inspired my friends and I to have a wreath-making party! Jonathan was out of town this week, so I hosted our crafty evening here at the house, and we coffee-ed and talked and wreath-ed until the wee hours. Good times.
I have amazing friends. I remember a time not so long ago when I was longing for just ONE true friend I could be real with (and who would return the favor), and now I'm blessed with many. God has lavished me with His love in the form of these girls. (Not to mention other ladies that may not meet me for coffee every week, but connect with me at church and in other ways. Grateful.)
For the wreath form, I bought foam pipe insulation as seen here, and I used fabric from a stash given to me by my Grandma. Grand total of my homespun, slightly Grandma-ish wreath: $1.26
Wondering what DIY project I can foist upon my friends next....
Lauryn's most loved birthday present this year is a Hello Kitty sewing machine she received from her new friend Violet. OH MY WORD the excitement. She waited (not so) patiently until the day after her birthday party for me to figure out how to run this little treasure, then she was off and sewing.
How cute is she? I love it. I'm willing to share my sewing table with this cutie pie anytime. I present her first project:
A girl can never have too many cute bags. This one is currently holding her lip glosses. That's a pretty high honor. The girl loves her some lip gloss.
The only worrisome thing is that now that she can sew a straight line, she's pretty much matched my skill level! We'll learn together.
I have been singing the praises of my favorite new web find: Spotify. I am quite the Spotify apostle, but I've only successfully proselytized ONE of my friends into using it... you really must check it out!
It's an awesome free service that allows you to access and listen to most any and all songs, for free, from your PC or Mac. Search by song, artist, or album. (If you pay $9.99 a month, you can get it on your smart phone, without ads.)
One cool part is that you can share playlists with friends! Except, I only have like 5 people I know who are sharing their playlists!
Create playlists for your listening pleasure, and mine. Here are some I've created:
This post is all about birthin' babies. How apt that it should come on "labor" day!
My girlfriends and I were talking this week at coffee about how hearing birth stories and telling birth stories NEVER gets old, no matter how far removed you are from the actual event. I wanna know details of how each and every one of my friends babies came into this world, and I'm totally not alone in this desire. It's just a thing with girlfriends. One person starts talking about when her baby was born...and 30 minutes later everyone at the table has joyfully added to the conversation.
Amongst my friends there are home births, water births, hospital births. Natural, C-Section, Epidural. Great doctors and terrible doctors. Good midwives and bad midwives and angelic nurses and really, really mean nurses. Gimme details about each and every one - I love it!!!!
I'm linking up with my friend Daja for her "Empowered Birth Week", and using this post to record for posterity some of my favorite memories from each of the Cliff babes. Click on over to her site, and join the fun!
During my first pregnancy, I read every pregnancy book I could get my hands on and then re-read them just for good measure.
When I was about 38 weeks along, the Dr. assured me "any day now...you probably won't make it to your next visit....see you at the hospital...."
That was so very cruel of her. I left that visit thinking it would be "any day", and Ryan didn't decide to arrive until 7 days AFTER his due date...three long weeks after the Dr. gave the "any day now" declaration! Lesson: Due dates are dumb. Just enjoy each day of pregnancy and know the baby will come when it's time.
Jonathan and my mom were both present for Ryan's birth. It was a great experience, with both of them tearfully telling me how proud they were of me and cheering me on. After a lot of hard work, Ryan finally entered the world "sunny side up" (explaining my back labor and the huge knot on his head) weighing in at 8 lbs 3 oz.
A word about epidurals: Upon hospital check-in I signed my name "Starr Epidural Cliff" (not really) and had great medicated labor and delivery experiences with all three kids. My pain was controlled but I was not completely absent of feeling; I could move my legs, turn-over, walk around immediately after birth, feel when it was time to push, etc. My babies all made their arrivals active, alert, and nursing well! I say, if you want to have a natural delivery, do it! But if you want to have pain medication, do it! Don't let anyone make you feel like less of a woman or less of a mama for the choice you make. Having a baby is beautiful work. Period.
I got pregnant with Dylan when Ryan was 8 months old. So, having just had a baby 8 months prior, I read zero pregnancy books during my pregnancy with Dylan. Already the poor kid was suffering from 2nd child syndrome!
When it was time for Dylan to arrive, the hospital was crazy crowded, and we were put in a triage area to await a delivery room. A lady on the other side of the curtain dividing up the area started yelling "I am having this baby RIGHT NOW!", and a few minutes later there was a guttural scream from the mother, a profanity laced outburst from the father, then a nurse screaming "I've got a baby in the bed!" It was wild and awesome. I've never had the opportunity to attend someone else's delivery, so that stranger on the other side of the curtain is as close as I've come.
We finally got a delivery room, and I was given my epidural and told it would probably be a few hours before Dylan arrived. I sent Jonathan down to the cafeteria to get himself some dinner. About 2 minutes later, alone in the hospital room, I knew, "Um. It's not gonna be a few hours. It's gonna be right now." I called Jonathan on his cell and told him to get back up to the room IMMEDIATELY. The nurse finally came after repeated buzzings. She seemed skeptical that the baby was imminent, but when she finally took a peek she said, "Oh my goodness! There he is! I see his hair!" She told me to wait on the doctor, and I promptly screamed at her to "GET AN INTERN, OR GET READY TO CATCH THIS BABY YOURSELF!" About that time the doctor strolled in, and one push later Dylan made his arrival. 7 lbs, 11 oz. It was perfect.
My doctor with Dylan was incredible. He was empathetic and kind and wise and awesome. I've never had a better doctor before or since. If you live in the Dallas area, I highly recommend Dr. Blair.
My father-in-law was in town playing a softball tournament, and came to take us out to dinner at Denny's. I was craving breakfast for dinner, and devoured a plate full of fried eggs over easy. We talked that night at dinner with my father-in-law about how great it would be if Lauryn made her arrival while he was in town...and she must have been listening!
Remembering how quickly Dylan was born, I was just SURE Lauryn's delivery would happen at lightening fast speed. I remember making Jonathan rush to the hospital for fear she might be born en route. Nope. Lauryn took her sweet time in arriving. After only pushing one time with Dylan, I felt kinda put out at how much that little girl was making me work! She was the smallest of my babies at 7 lbs 3 oz, and she was so dainty and perfect.
With each of my babies, I distinctly remember feeling so very grateful and humbled that I was able to be a participant in the magic of their arrival. How do you describe welcoming a human being to the planet? How can you convey the joy of witnessing someone's first breath? You just can't. It felt, and still feels, so very weighty and supernatural and magical.
I was holding Ryan when he was mere hours old, and I said outloud to Jonathan, "I can't wait to do this again." I'm so privileged I got my wish two more times.
If there are any more Cliff babies, they will come via adoption. Jonathan and I both feel like adding to our family that way is a huge possibility. We'll see what kind of story God writes for us as we continue in our foster-care adventures. I can't wait to tell that story.