My Walk Through a Season of Loss

Today is the day. Glory would have been one year old. Anna would likely have been born within the last week.

If our guesses were right, I would now be raising two daughters. Our two sons would have two little sisters to tease and look out for.


But instead of having 4 kids under 4, today we remain a family of four. And so today as we again say goodbye to the babies that we never got to hold, I am telling their stories. Their stories…which have become so deeply intertwined with my own.

In May 2016 I was surprised and delighted to see two faint lines on a pregnancy test. For some reason I just felt…different this time. And so I assumed this pregnancy was different than my first two…It must be a girl!

Only a week later I miscarried. “Different” may not have been about the baby’s sex at all. It was likely a sign of something wrong.

Walk Through Loss

I was sad and quiet much of that first day, but over the next several days I simply sought the Lord. What many described as the most hopeless and lonely time in their lives, I was experiencing quite differently.

God’s presence in my life almost felt tangible. People from near and far reached out to me and mourned with me. I felt surrounded by love and grace and mercy. I felt confident that God would use our Glory for His glory. I felt HOPE, that He truly was building our family well.

Though I felt sadness, I did not despair. I rested in the arms of my Savior, and sought comfort at His feet.

Many months passed, and I began to feel a deep longing for another baby. It was hard to shake, and I began praying for God to bless us in this way. I prayed, crying out to the Lord, almost daily. After several weeks of pleading with God, I felt His Spirit within me calling, “Trust me.” From that point on, each time I began a prayer of asking God for a child I was met with a sharp conviction deep in my gut. A conviction that I was sinning against God through refusing to hand over this desire to Him.

With much prayer, I gave my desire over to the Lord. Day after day as the desire sprang up in my heart, I clenched it in my fist before releasing it to my Savior, saying “I trust you Lord. I want YOU to build my family as you see fit.”

As time passed it felt more natural to trust Him, and I began to trust that He would bless us with a child when the time was right.

Fast forward a few more months. I was ecstatic to find out that I was pregnant! Immediately upon seeing those two pink lines, I cried out in praise to God! I truly gave Him all the glory!

Through releasing my desires and choosing to trust Him, He really was going to bless our family abundantly! The pregnancy test, to me, was proof of God’s goodness!

We could barely keep the news quiet. We announced to my family, and then to my husband’s family, and then to several of our Texas seminary and church friends.


We had our first ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat, and then we bursted with the good news to everyone! We went public with our pregnancy.


The very next day my morning sickness disappeared. At first I thought it must just be a good day, but the good days kept coming. A week later I knew something was wrong. I went in to my OB’s office, who said I could come in for “peace of mind”.

Once there, my fears were confirmed. Our precious baby had passed away in my womb, just one day after we had “seen” him or her on the ultrasound.

I cried and felt so broken inside. Why would God answer my prayers just to grab this child away from me? Why would God allow us to find “hope” in the hearing of our child’s ‘healthy’ heartbeat, if the baby would only live for one more day?

In my heart and mind, this baby was God telling me YES. So why did He change His mind? Would His plans really work out to what is best for me? Did He have some other reason for this? But I could come up with no answers.  I felt like God had let me down.  God….the only One whom I thought would never let me down.

As I woke up each day after the miscarriage, I would look at my Bible and say, “I really don’t want to seek You right now, God. I know I’m horrible for it, but I’m just not sure if I can trust You.”

And I would go about my day “in my own strength.” Or so I tried. All throughout each day, I kept hearing His still small voice whispering to me. “I am with you, my child. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” I brushed the “thoughts” aside, as I was unwilling to hear His voice. I was living in fear of Him, but also in fear of trusting Him again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” He would whisper. For months my Lord pursued me, and yet as I built walls around myself I never felt a rebuke from Him. He gently called to me, proving His love to me. He never left my side–not even for a second.

After about four months, I was shocked to receive a message from a woman asking me if I would like to join a women’s ministry team in our area.  I looked into my heart, and the struggles with doubt I had been walking through, and my first thought was, “I am unworthy to serve anyone right now.”

That still small voice piped up inside me again, “Rise and pray.”

And this time, I did. I spent three hours seeking the Lord and diving into His Word. He clearly spoke through His Word.

“Come out of the darkness and into my marvelous light.”

“It is time to awake out of sleep.”

“There is a time to mourn….and a time to BUILD UP.”

It was as if God was saying to me, “I have given you this time to grieve, and now it is time to climb out of this darkness and walk with Me once more.”

For the first time in four months, I felt hope. I realized for the first time that He had been holding me for the past 4 months. He had been nurturing me, wooing me, pursuing me, and earning back my love.

Humility washed over me, and gratitude like never before flew into my heart. ‘What did I ever do to deserve such great love? How can I ever re-pay?’  To think that GOD Almighty proved Himself to me rather than rebuking me is something that I can never express in a grand enough way. He owes none of us any proof, or explanation, or blessings. And yet He took the time to just hold me when I was broken.

This is the God I serve. This is why He is worthy of our love and service, worship and adoration, praise and gratitude.

As I search the Scriptures daily now, I keep finding more and more this character of God that I hadn’t quite experienced before.

In the grand story of the world, God has done this exact thing. Though the world has largely turned against Him and chosen to ignore Him, He has not left us. Instead He calls to us, seeking to restore us and hold us in His hand for all of eternity.

God. Is. Love. And He loves us so deeply that, while we were still sinners, He sent His only Son to die in our place. There is truly no greater love in all the world.

Today I often wonder if we will forever remain a family of four. For someone who has never imagined having less than five children–and those five all close in age–the thought of raising only two seems quite foreign, and quiet. (As if my two boys are ever quiet…)

My family may not look the way I imagined it to be, but wasn’t that the whole point of trusting God to build our family? We know that His plans are better than our own, and that His timing is better than our own.

Yes, I would like to have a large family. I would love the opportunity to raise a daughter. But just maybe, God has something different in mind for our family.

So now, knowing His great love, and knowing He will never forsake me, the choice is mine. Will I trust Him? Today, on this due date of both our lost children, I can say with a full heart, “Yes Lord. I trust You.”

Rachel 🙂

The Children We Never Got to Hold

This teeny tiny blurry spot is the only picture Lane and I will ever have of our 4th child. There are no pictures at all of our 3rd child. She passed away too early for us to even catch a glimpse of her. This 4th child, though, we were blessed to get this beautiful picture. We were blessed to hear her heartbeat.

Anna's Ultrasound Pic

In this picture she measured 7 weeks, 3 days. A week later when we found her heart had stopped beating, she only measured one more day of growth. She had passed away just one day after we were able to “see” her for the first time.

So tiny, but at 7 weeks she already had a beating heart. She wasn’t what many would consider “fully formed,” but she already had a little nose, ears, eyes, arms, and legs.

gestation 7-12 weeks

I would have been 37 weeks pregnant with her yesterday. Our third child would have been about to turn 1 year old. As I look around my home at my first two healthy children playing, I often feel like something/someone is missing. I imagine our third baby chasing these two active boys around. She probably would have been walking by now. I look down at my belly and am very aware that there is no one inside me. None of those giant kicks in the ribs that I experienced from my boys. Or those giant roll-overs where you can see your entire stomach move. I mourn the loss of these two children, and I am so much ever more grateful for the two I am able to raise, cuddle, and laugh with during my days.

On days like today, I mourn so much more. Life is sacred, and I’m angered to live in a culture that murders these precious little ones. I think of the babies who have beating hearts today, but whose mommies will have no one inside them tomorrow. I wonder what those mommies are thinking as they near the due-dates of their babies. Do they feel the same way I do today? Do they have the added pain of guilt? Or are they still happy that they aren’t having to “deal” with that? It simply breaks my heart, both for the babies and for these women. We would LOVE to take one of these “unwanted” babies and raise him or her as our own, and we’d also love the opportunity to help these women make the right choice, and then care for and raise her child.

May we as Christians never forget to #Stand4Life. May we never fail to step in and be a life-line to that struggling single mom. May we always be willing to care for the fatherless. May we be the voice for those who have no way to be heard.
May we always speak and act as though every life is a life worth living–that every life is a life that was ordained by God Himself.


My Word for October

At the beginning of 2017, bloggers all over declared their “Word for the Year”.  One word that they hope to define their year.

Words like…..Create.  Build.  Pursue.  Grow.  Lovely.  Simplify.

I’ve never really joined up with them in that aspect, though I did set a few specific goals for the year 2017.  Today, though, I’m joining them in my own way.

This word will not define my entire year.  It might be part of my life for longer than a month, but I am simply committing that THIS MONTH I will focus on growing in this ONE way.

My word for October?


On the surface, this word will be well-reflected by the fact that I’ve joined a 12-week Kickstart Challenge Group.  I and several other women are challenging ourselves in physical fitness–which includes both strength and cardio training as well as a focus on nutrition.

Below the surface, this word is one that I think I’ve needed for a long time.

Word for October. Strength.

I have never been what I consider a STRONG woman.  I have always been both physcially weak, and emotionally easy to hurt.  I feel pain quickly.  Walking through my second miscarriage recently, I’ve found myself wanting to spend more time than is appropriate lying on my couch.  I’ve had poor motivation for homemaking, fun, and all the other things that I used to have such a great passion for.  I simply feel weak–not in the sense of “Honey, can you open this for me?”–but in the sense of feeling overtaken by all that is going on around me and the inability to handle even the most basic of things.

The simple routines of dishes, laundry, meal planning, and making beds all just seem too much to handle on most days.  Physical fatigue follows my emotional weariness, and keeps me from chasing my boys in the back yard, or walking with them to the park, or even on some days cuddling them on the couch.

Last week I started TWO big things.  First, my kickstart group began and I exercised more than I ever have in my entire LIFE!  And second, I “attended” the Online Homemaking Conference by Jami Balmet’s Homemaking Ministries, and I just feel encouraged.  I feel hope.  I feel like I can be stronger than I was in July, August, or September.  Or maybe even stronger than EVER before.

As I spent the last few days catching up on more Bible reading than normal, I know where my strength is found.  My strength is found in the LORD.  He IS my strength.  Both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As I pursue STRENGTH this month in so many ways, I want to meditate on a few verses.  Verses that I can feed myself when I feel weak or weary.  Verses that build me into a stronger woman.  Not as the world views a strong woman, but as the STRONG woman that God designed me to be.  The woman who walks in the STRENGTH of the LORD.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

-Proverbs 3:7-8

Take-Away:  Be careful about pride.  In order to be strong, I must humble myself and turn from any sin in my life.  Things that I might consider ‘no big deal’.  God says that to depart from those things will be “health” and “strength” for me.

She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.

-Proverbs 31:17

Take-Away:  The virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 is not a naturally-strong woman.  She “girds herself with strength.”  She works hard to become strong!  We see elsewhere in the chapter that she does manual labor in the fields.  She is not a weak woman, and WORKS to build physical strength in her arms.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

-2 Corinthians 12:9b

Take-Away: God gives me GRACE when I am weak.  My weakness is a perfect opportunity to let HIS STRENGTH shine as I submit to HIS leadership and walk by the Spirit rather than my flesh.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

-I Peter 5:10

Take-Away:  God doesn’t promise that my life will be pain free.  He DOES promise, though, to strengthen me afterwards.  I’m not doomed to a lifetime of weakness.  He is still working on me!


So what about you?

Do you consider yourself to be a strong person?  Do you struggle with physical weakness?  Or perhaps you struggle with feeling emotionally or mentally weak?

Do you want to join me in pursuing STRENGTH this month?

Gym Selfie
Rachel 🙂

Finding Normal (Again)

When I started this blog in January, I talked about a previous blog – one that I had quit writing when I was pregnant with my oldest son. Apparently it’s just hard for me to blog while pregnant.

If you were wondering where I have disappeared to, well – it happened again. I was pregnant, and I just couldn’t keep up.

I’m guessing you caught the word “was” in that last sentence. I was pregnant. I’m not anymore. The month of June was joyous for our family.  We traveled and saw friends and family, we hosted VBS at our church, and we celebrated a new life that was growing in my womb.  And I was nauseous, but we’ll just ignore that for this post.

With July came my youngest son’s second birthday and a huge community celebration for Independence Day. The first few days were fun, but something was off. I knew it.  So on Thursday, July 6 I called my OB office. I felt a little silly but I just had a bad feeling.  I knew I would be too worried to wait three weeks for my next appointment.  So I called, and they let me come in just for “peace of mind.”  Only when I got there, I found out what I had suspected. The baby no longer had a heartbeat.

I went home so that I could wait to miscarry.  10 days later I thought my body was finally going to do so,  but five days after that I ended up in the ER late at night. My body wasn’t getting rid of the baby, and I ended up getting a D&C the following day.

The next week and a half was mostly spent sleeping and laying around on the couch, with my heating pad and a blanket–and of course plenty of Coca Cola & chocolate.  I was told to get lots of rest, and to only get up to go to the bathroom for a week to 10 days.

A lovely friend gave me this blanket when she heard we had lost our baby. It came with a sweet story of hope.

Needless to say, the month of July wasn’t as joyous as the month of June.  August was a time of survival mode at my house.  As September has now begun, I am wading back in to life, and working on finding normal, again.

To get back to meal planning and grocery shopping every Thursday afternoon. To cooking homemade meals for my family and then sitting down at the dinner table with them. I’m even looking forward to starting a load of laundry every morning when I wake up.  It’s funny how you can miss something like that, but it’s time. I crave the routines that give my life a sense of calm and order.

So as I wade back into the real world, in search of “normal,” I just wanted to ask for your prayer.  I’m stepping back into my life as I’m still wading through a lot of emotions about this baby.  I’ve missed you all and your posts, and I’m so so glad to be back among you all as I continue to heal from this.  I hope to post more often, but I’m not going to give any guarantees just yet.  

In love to all my friends & readers, 


Meal Plan for May 28-June 3


I’m finally getting back on track with my blog!  I did make meal plans for the past 2 weeks, but did not get around to posting them here.  Sorry if you were looking forward to them!  I will try to do better!  🙂


Sunday, May 28

It’s my Dad’s Birthday today, so I’m not cooking!  We are getting together as a family!

Monday, May 29

Happy Memorial Day!  We are going to try to have a little cookout!  Let me know if you want to join us!

  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Chips
  • Cookies

Tuesday, May 30Beef Roast

Wednesday, May 31

Thursday, June 1

  • Tacos

Friday, June 2IMG_9743

We will be eating our last 2 cans of deer meat with this meal.  I am a little sad to be finished with it!  We won’t be able to have these meals again for a while!

Saturday, June 3

  • Pizza

We will be attending a wedding this afternoon, so the plan is to just pick up some pizza after the wedding.

What’s for dinner at your house this week?




I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Five Years of Marriage

Last weekend my husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. For the first time, we left both of our boys overnight at my parents house and we took a little trip…. just the two of us. We really enjoyed it!

IMG_0436Although we both really missed our children, it was quite nice to have a little time to ourselves. We didn’t do anything super fancy – like a cruise or trip to the beach.  We simply traveled a couple of hours away to a town that most people wouldn’t consider very special. We went to Cookeville, Tennessee. Cookeville is basically a college town, as it is home to Tennessee Tech.  We picked Cookeville because of its proximity to several waterfalls. My husband has always loved hiking, and it’s something we haven’t done very much of since we got married.

IMG_0365Once we settled on a place we did research to find other things to do in the area. We ended up eating at a restaurant called Mauricio’s.  On our first anniversary we ate at a restaurant that should have been much nicer than this one but Mauricio’s definitely topped it.  It was set up as an old house that they had turned into a restaurant, and they had old music playing – the kind you might hear in an old Audrey Hepburn movie.  It was lovely, and the food was some of the best I have ever tasted. If you’re ever in Cookeville, you HAVE to check it out.

It was great to reconnect and enjoy some time together, and we really did enjoy the hiking as well.  On top of that, it was a good chance to look back over our first five years of marriage – and to realize that the time we have spent together so far might only be around 10% of our married life.  We have learned a lot in the past five years, and there are many things we hope to get better at. It is exciting to realize that we more than likely still have plenty of time to learn and grow together.

On our first anniversary I wrote a post on my previous blog about the lessons I had learned as a newlywed. The top lesson that I had learned in my first year of marriage is that I am a selfish sinner.  Today, I’d say that’s still my biggest struggle. Yes, I have grown in this area and there are plenty of ways that I put others ahead of myself. But still, there lives inside me a deep seed of selfishness that God is still working on daily.

If you were to ask me today, four years later, what’s the biggest lessons were that I have learned in marriage, my answer would be very similar. I have learned that selfishness doesn’t pay. I have learned that I have to daily die to myself and my own desires.  I have learned that it’s worth it to humble myself and dig the gross food out of the sink that my husband or children dumped in there. I have learned that it’s worth it to pick up the dirty clothes that my husband left on the floor. I have learned that even when I’m stressed, a smile directed at someone in my family is worth the effort. I don’t always remember these lessons, but I have deeply experienced their truth.

Marriage really is an excellent mirror. It is easy to see someone else’s flaws, but it’s also easy to look into their eyes and realize your own shortcomings.  I might also say that the biggest lesson I have learned is to focus on myself. I know what you’re thinking…..“Ummm, HELLO!  You were just talking about being selfish!”  I know, I know.   But stick with me!

I cannot change my husband. I cannot miraculously make my children obey. I cannot wave my hand or wrinkle my nose and make perfect the other members of my family.  What I can do is work to develop godly character inside myself. I can develop routines that help me to stay calm in the chaos of life. I can prioritize time in God’s Word and in prayer, so that my mind is stayed on the Lord.  I cannot change my family, or fix their flaws, but if I put my trust in the Lord – He can change me.

This isn’t something I have learned because my children or my husband are so horrible that they need to change.  In fact, I do believe I have the best husband that I can imagine in real life. Only, he is human. He is not perfect. Unrealistically, it can be so easy to expect him to be perfect.  To hold him to a higher standard than I hold myself.  This is not what God wants for me or for my marriage. God designed marriage so that a man could lead his family. My husband does this well. God designed marriage so that a woman would respect and honor her husband.  He does not want me to fix my husband. He wants 2 things from me:

  1. God wants me to honor and obey Him above all else, and to grow in godliness as a follower of Christ.
  2. God wants me to honor and obey my husband, and submit to his leadership.

God wants me to focus on HIM, and on my own faith.  As I do that, #2 becomes easier and easier. And as I honor my husband and follow his leadership, My marriage gets better and better.

Five years of marriage. To me it seems like a long time. It’s a huge milestone for us. In five years we’ve had two babies and one miscarriage. My husband graduated from seminary, became a youth minister, and then he became a senior pastor. We have worked together to now be debt-free (WAHOO!), and we’ve been able to do a lot of ministry and long-range vision planning together.

Through the study of Scripture, we’ve been challenged in our beliefs. We have made choices for our family that are different than we would have ever expected. We have seen the Holy Spirit work in each other, in our family as a whole, and in the ministry. We have been through a lot together, and we are truly blessed to have one another. I cannot wait to see what God does with the next 50-ish years.

<3,   Rachel


Just for fun, Take a look at some pics from our first five years!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here Am I: Take My Moments & My Days (#2)

Often when I’m studying God’s Word, a song comes to my heart to sing.  Lately it’s been an old favorite that I first heard in college:  “Take My Life” by Chris Tomlin.

Each line compels me to a deeper level of holiness.  It draws me into dying to myself, giving ALL of myself to the Lord.  This is the second post in a series from the song that focuses on each line.

This week I’m talking about these two lines:

Take my moments and my days.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

More than any other line of the song, this is the one that I pray most often.  As a busy mom of toddlers, it is easy to let my moments get away from me. It is easy to chase my boys around, and get frazzled about messes, and be distracted by all there is to do in our home.

Sometimes I end the day wondering where the time went. I look around the house and see messes, and can barely tell that I did any housework at all.  The moments of the day seem to have slipped away from me as I was more focused on messes and obligations than I was on the Lord.

Here am I

But often, I sing this song to the Lord. I pray to him, “Take my moments. Let them flow in ceaseless praise to you, my Lord.”

And when I start my day in this frame of mind, I spend my day well. I may still have moments that are focused on the mess, but I have more moments that are focused on my Savior. More moments that are focused on pleasing Him.  More moments that are focused on loving my children, showing them grace, and teaching them His Truth.  More moments that are focused on honoring and respecting my husband.  More moments that truly flow in praise to my Lord.

These moments build to form my days.  These days build to form weeks. The weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years. Moments of praise turn into a lifetime spent for the glory of the Lord.  It starts today.  Right now.  In this moment.  Praising the God who created each moment that I’m alive.

He truly deserves ALL the glory, ALL the honor, and ALL the praise.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

-‭‭Psalm ‭100

Rachel  🙂

A New Addition

Where have I been? Life has been busy, and there are actually several posts that I want to write about the things that we’ve been doing over the last few weeks. A lot has happened, but the biggest change has been a new addition to our family.


Meet Jojo!  She is now a 9-week-old “Doberdor” puppy, which means she is part Labrador and part Doberman. She will be a very big dog!

17358608_10103269878484658_378707063417920118_oA couple of months ago, two sweet puppies showed up in our town. I fell in love with the little black one, and it didn’t have a collar on.  I tried to find out if they had an owner, and planned to keep at least one of them if I could not find an owner.  However, I found out that they belonged to a little boy in our town who is about 10 years old.  I was disappointed, but I figured we didn’t need a dog yet anyway. We had decided that we would not get a dog until our oldest son was old enough to take care of it. He just turned three, and I just didn’t think he was quite ready.

After that happened, people came out of the woodwork offering me dogs. Full grown dogs.  Puppies. Pit bulls. Scrangy looking mutts.  It seemed that once they found out I was a dog lover, they thought they could unload just about any dog on me. I kindly explained that we weren’t ready for a dog yet, but that sweet puppies had simply pricked my heart.  They finally let it go, or so I thought.

Three Sundays ago, we were just about to put our boys down for their afternoon nap, and we heard a knock at the door. It was our neighbor and a local girl. In their arms were two very sweet black puppies.

“We brought you some visitors!” he said.  We and our two boys started to play with the puppies. One was very calm, and the other seemed to want to play.

Our neighbor told us, “You can keep one or you can keep both.”  We quickly noticed that keeping neither wasn’t offered as an option. LOL!  We asked a few questions about the dogs breed etc. and then my husband looked over at me to see what I thought. He was inclined to say that we would think about it, but then he saw me cuddling one of them and noticed the smile on my face.  Our neighbor noticed my smile too, and pointed it out.


I had fallen in love again, with the sweet playful puppy. We were able to keep the puppy right then and there! We played with her and got her settled, and then finish getting our boys settled for their naps.  Then we spent well over an hour deliberating on names for her!  It was almost harder than naming our children, LOL!  My husband was reading a list of names online, and when he passed “Jojo,” I smiled.   It just seemed to fit!  Plus, that’s Joanna Gaines nick-name (You know, from HGTV’s Fixer Upper….).  I’m not sure if it’s an honor to have a dog named after you or not.  If not, well….Sorry Joanna!  But Jojo has a sweet and spunky personality that is a lot like Joanna Gaines’, at least as far as I can tell from watching a TV show.  So she has a name, and I’m so excited!

Since then we’ve been trying to train her and get her ready to live in our backyard. We have had to sure up our fence and build a doghouse for her.  She keeps us busy!

She is very small and can get out of our yard easily, so we bring her in for sleep and for when we go places. She is getting better about not peeing in the floor, but it still happens occasionally.  Bleh.  And OH MY……the chewing!  We have to be forever on guard.


But it has been totally worth it. She is sweet and playful, and I have loved watching our two boys play with her in the yard. Though Nathanael is not quite old enough to fully take care of her, he’s already able to feed her when I remind him.  I’m so proud of him!  And as a side note, I’m also kind of liking not being the only female in the family!  😛

So what about you all?  Do you have pets?  Have you ever been blessed with a surprise puppy before?

Rachel  🙂

^Jojo’s first Selfie!

Meal Plan for May 7-13

Last week I was able to spend a lot of time minimalizing our things!  I now have 2 large boxes and 3 trash bags of things to donate this week, and another quite large stack of things to sell in our next Consignment Sale!  There’s something about getting rid of things that really is so freeing!  This week I tackled clothes, and as odd as it might sound–I am now the person in our family who has the LEAST amount of clothes!  I finally whittled my wardrobe down to a true minimal wardrobe of 37 items or less!  I will probably do a post this week on my new minimal wardrobe, and which things I kept.  Minimalism is seriously changing my life, and I still have such a long way to go!

This week I hope to continue the trend of de-cluttering our home, although I do have a couple of plans this week, like attending the last MOPS group for this year!  I will miss going this summer, but I’m also feeling like this means summer break is starting, and I am super excited about summer and all that it holds this year!

Okay, enough about me!  On to our family’s meal plan!


Sunday, May 7

  • Leftovers!  “Clean out the fridge!”

Monday, May 8


Tuesday, May 9IMG_9743

Wednesday, May 10

  • Tacos

Thursday, May 11

Friday, May 12

  • Meat Lover’s Pizza!
    *I’m actually SO excited for this pizza!  A local Mennonite church sold these in a fund-raiser, and we will receive this pizza ready-to-bake on Friday!  We are a pizza-loving family anyway, so I can’t wait to try it!

Saturday, May 13

What’s for dinner at your house this week?




I have a FREE printable meal planner that I designed in January.  I am LOVING using it each week to plan my meals, and it looks cute on my fridge!  There are also printable recipe cards for a few recipes on this page, that you can download.

Here Am I: Take My Life (#1)

Often when I’m studying God’s Word, a song comes to my heart to sing.  Lately it’s been an old favorite that I first heard in college:  “Take My Life” by Chris Tomlin.

Each line compels me to a deeper level of holiness.  It draws me into dying to myself, giving ALL of myself to the Lord.  I’m going to do a series from the song, focusing on each line, and what the Scriptures say about it.

This week I’m starting with the first line:

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.

Take.  My Life.

Here am I

We are singing this song to the Lord, asking Him to “take” our lives.  We are offering to Him our very living.

This is what salvation is.  It isn’t simply “asking Jesus into your heart”, or “accepting Him as your Savior.”  Those things happen at salvation, but becoming a Christian isn’t just about “being saved.”  It’s about dying to yourself, GIVING your very life over to the Lord.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  God loves me.  Jesus gave His very life for me, and in return–He asks for my life, too.  The life that I live today, though in the flesh, is not even supposed to be “me” living.  It is to be CHRIST living inside of me!

Is that how I’m living?  Am I living, as ME, myself, living MY own life?  Or is Christ living in my body?  Is the Holy Spirit in control of my actions and my thoughts?  Am I living, or is Christ?

Romans 12:1 says to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  According to Scripture, it is reasonable that I should sacrifice my entire life for God.  It is reasonable that I should not keep anything for myself, but should present my very existence to God as a holy sacrifice.

So many times when I feel convicted to give up something for the Lord, my first instinct is to think that having to give that up is simply unreasonable.  “Why would God expect me to give that up?  It’s not sinful.”   Yes, sometimes God even asks me to give up things that are not sinful in and of themselves.  Things that I consider perfectly fine.  Things that I think I should be able to enjoy.  But the Holy Spirit pricks my heart and says, “Let it go.”

If I am a living sacrifice, that means that nothing is off limits.  It is completely reasonable for God to ask me to give up everything I own and everything I enjoy.  It is completely reasonable.

The thing is, I don’t want God to have to always be making me give things up to Him.  I want to be a living sacrifice every day, no matter what.  I want to wake up and say to the Lord, “Take my life.”  I want to offer myself, everything I own, everything I do, and everything I think to the Lord as a sacrifice.

And when I give Him my life, I want Him to consecrate it to Himself.  The definition of “consecrate” is to “make or declare something sacred.”

Sacred?  MY LIFE?

The answer is yes.  In and of myself, my life will never be sacred.  But when I offer myself to Christ as a living sacrifice, and when it isn’t actually ME–but Christ–living my life, then it can become sacred.  And so today, and every day, I want to offer up my life to the Lord so that it can be consecrated to Him.  So that my life can be sacred.  So that my life will no longer be mine–but fully belong to God Himself.

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.

This is my prayer.  Is it yours?

Rachel  🙂