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!

Our Simply Special Valentine’s Day

We had the best day yesterday!  It didn’t start out perfect though.  I woke up to Nathanael crying because he had wet the bed.  😦  I cleaned him up, which he hates, and then I cleaned his bed up too, and then we went to the kitchen to get breakfast ready!  Joshua was still sleeping but woke up then, and had a very dirty diaper.  Yuck.  So I cleaned that up.  Then Lane got home from his Tuesday morning men’s Bible study, and so he made pancakes while I cut up strawberries.  Since it was Valentine’s Day we were supposed to have heart-shaped pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream on top, but I forgot about the heart-shaped part, so they were just regular round pancakes.  They boys didn’t know the difference, and they were super excited for the strawberries!


After breakfast Lane went to visit a church member, and I sat down to do my Bible study, but the boys were being really rowdy and fighting with each other.  I got tired of the distractions and turned on a Bible movie for them.  That worked for about 10 minutes, and then Nathanael had to go potty and Joshua followed him back there.  Most of you moms out there probably understand why I can’t let Joshua go with him to the potty.  At 19 months old, Joshua will play with toilet water, unroll the toilet paper & try to flush it all down the potty, put toys in the potty, etc.  He can NOT go with his brother to the bathroom unsupervised.  Never, ever.  So yeah.  It took me over an hour to read 2 chapters in the Bible and jot down some notes, but I finally finished!

Then it was bath-time for the boys, but I then realized that it was already 11:00 and we hadn’t made cookies yet!  Lane got home and I asked him to watch the boys while I folded the boys’ clothes so they’d have their good clothes ready for tonight after their naps.  Then I started the cookies, planning to let the boys help cut and decorate them, only I forgot that I have to let them chill in the fridge for an hour before rolling them out.  So, we just had lunch and put the boys to bed.  And I did the cookies while they were sleeping.


Lane ended up helping me with dinner!  While we were in the kitchen, he came in and said, “Do you want to listen to Michael Buble’?”   Um, YES please!  We ended up dancing around the kitchen together a little while we cooked.  I have a romantic husband sometimes!  🙂

While Lane worked out, I took the leaf out of our table to make it smaller and more intimate.  Then I put the tablecloth on and trimmed the flowers.  I found the candle holder and grabbed a candle from elsewhere in the house.  I put them on a plate and looked for some little clear glass stones to put on the plate, but apparently I’m out of those.  So I had to get creative.  I found some pink ribbon in my craft box, so I curled up a bunch and covered the bottom of the plate with it.  Not exactly fancy, but it was cute!

I put the heart coasters on the table and even got small glasses out for the boys.  I thought they might break them, but they did really well!  I was so proud!  I put wine glasses out for Lane and I to have some sparkling grape juice in.  When the food was ready, I made each person’s plate and set it on the table with their silverware.

I think the table looked great!  And my guys were READY to eat!


The dinner was tasty, and the boys did great with real plates, and even with eating their personal casserole out of the glass bowls.  I couldn’t even finish my plate because I was so full, and then it was time for cookies!  I passed out everyone’s BIG cookie that was decorated just for them, and snapped a picture of each one:

Yummm.  I couldn’t finish my cookie either, LOL.  I only ate half of it and I felt like I was going to go into a sugar coma.  (Exaggerating, but I did feel crazy weird!)

We did a minimal kitchen clean-up and moved to the living room to relax.  We looked on Amazon Video for a cute romantic movie and ended up settling on Runaway Bride.  We watched the movie, and at the end when all the fun music plays, we all slow-danced in the living room.  It was hilarious because Joshua was grabbing my legs so hard and our dancing was incredibly awkward, but it was sweet, and special, and fun!

I seriously think this is the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had, and I’m sure it was because I went into the day wanting to do something special for all 3 of my Valentines, rather than hoping anyone did anything for me.  I could tell that my husband, and our boys, were super blessed by it!  And of course my husband was great too–taking care of the boys, helping prepare the meal, sweeping the kitchen floor, and who could forget the Michael Buble and dancing in the kitchen?  Ahhh, I am blessed!

Rachel  🙂





When God Builds Your Family

When God builds your family, it doesn’t always look the way you think.  There’s so much fear involved with “trusting God with your family size”.  But in all honesty, most of us aren’t going to end up looking like 19 Kids & Counting, driving a big bus full of kids everywhere we go.  Trusting God to build your family is an unknown, even to the Duggar daughters who are now starting their own families.  We just can’t know if God will give us 19 children, or 12, 8, 4, 2, 1, or none.  About 8 months into our marriage, my husband and I felt convicted that we should trust God to plan our fertility.  About 6 months later, I was pregnant with our first child.  Six months after he was born, I was shocked to be expecting AGAIN!


In June of last year, my husband and I were excited to find out that we were going to have a THIRD new sweet baby!  Right away, I could tell that this pregnancy was different than the others, and I assumed the baby must be a girl.  Our first daughter!  Only a week later, I miscarried.  For a week….only ONE week….I dreamed about this baby, and I loved her {or him} from the moment I saw those 2 pink lines.

This was our pregnancy announcement.  I planned to post it on Facebook around the 8-9 week mark.  We had printed a few in hard copy, and had delivered them to my parents and my sister’s family just the day before I started to miscarry.

The day after our miscarriage, I posted a long Facebook post to tell our friends and family about our loss.  Here’s an excerpt, or you can read the full post here:

Last week Lane and I found out we would welcome a third child into our family next February. And this week, we found out we would never get to meet that child…I know everyone grieves these things differently. As for me, I don’t want to just forget. I don’t want to dismiss this child as if she never existed. I want to remember. We can’t know for sure, but we imagined this baby was a girl. Our first daughter. We’re going to call her Glory. The name comes from a not-so-encouraging verse in Hosea about miscarriages being part of God’s judgment on Israel. It says “Their glory shall fly away like a bird.”

When I read it, it just seemed to fit. A bird can fly away in an instant, and all we can do is stand there and watch it go.

I know it doesn’t seem happy but it fits, in more ways than one. Our Glory has flown away, but through her life we want to give Glory to God. Before we knew for sure today, I prayed to God for a miracle. I asked Him to save her. Then I said, “But either way, God, she’s YOURS. I trust You. Just let her life bring you glory!”

In the days that followed, I went back and forth in my emotions.  I cried.  But I also felt this odd sense of peace, hope, and what I could only describe as gratefulness.  I would sit on the couch in tears, and then look up at my two precious boys playing in the floor and I would just feel…..grateful.  It was as if I had just realized how fragile life is, and seeing these two vibrant healthy boys playing was suddenly a greater blessing than I ever realized.

Friends and strangers messaged me online, saying things like, “That was the most lonely time in my life.” or “It felt so hopeless.”  I appreciated their messages and their love for me, but I honestly did not feel those things.  I felt loved, cherished, and grateful.  I felt hopeful that God was building our family in a way that would bring Him glory, and that His plans for our family were greater than any I could imagine.  I almost felt embarrassed to tell people that I only felt “slightly sad.”

Throughout the past 8 months, I’ve often noted on the calendar where I would have been in my pregnancy.  “Today I would be 20 weeks.  We’d be finding out if the baby was a boy or girl.”  “Today I’d be starting my 3rd trimester.”  “Today the baby would be considered far-enough along to be born.”  These thoughts were always slightly sad, but not despairing.

Then 39 weeks hit last Friday. Because of an issue in my first birth, we scheduled my second at 39 weeks.  I assumed we would have done the same with this one.  The doctor we prefer has his surgery day on Fridays, and so I knew we either would have had the baby last Friday the 3rd or this Friday the 10th.  Suddenly I’m not missing out on a pregnancy anymore.  I’m missing out on hearing the baby’s first cry.  Seeing her daddy hold her just after she’s born.  Holding her in my arms for the first time.  Introducing her to her 2 big brothers.  To her Papaw and Mamaw, aunt and uncle, and cousins.  Learning how to breastfeed all over again.  Bringing her home from the hospital, to a nursery that’s all prepared and perfect just for her.

Last Saturday I had an appointment in Jackson and decided to hit up Old Navy to spend some Super Cash I’d gotten before Christmas.  I looked at a few things for myself and then was drawn back to the baby section.  They had tons of Valentine’s day onesies and outfits that would have been perfect for the baby’s “Coming Home” outfit.  I allowed myself to daydream and picked out the perfect one.  I rested my hand on it, and then had to walk away.  I headed to the fitting room to hide my tears to try on the clothes I had picked out for myself.

I have this small sign on my desk as a reminder of our Glory baby, and of Christ’s call to offer EVERYTHING for HIS Glory.

Going through the miscarriage was sad, but not devastatingly hard.  8 months later it’s hitting me in a whole new way.  This Friday is the due date, and I plan to turn off my computer and phone, and spend the day cherishing my family of 4.  We’re going to go out and do something fun as a family!

In the early days after our miscarriage, I began writing a song.  It’s still unfinished, but throughout the last 8 months I have sung the song often.  In the past week, I’ve sung it all throughout my days:

“My Glory flew away, but your peace flew in.
Glory to God!  I’m breathing You in.
My dreams and plans may fail, but Lord–Your will prevails.  Even in pain You’re building me for Your name.
Glory to my King!

Early in our marriage, my husband I decided to let God build our family however He sees fit.  He’s laid adoption on our hearts, and it’s something we started looking into even before I found out I was pregnant.  We don’t know if our next baby will be biological or adopted, but we do know that God is building our family.  He’s piecing us together for His glory, and I see our Glory baby as a part of that.  In my song, there’s a line that says, “Glory to God!  I’m breathing You in.”  I have clung to those words lately.  They challenge me to lay down my own desires, loves, and plans; and to ‘breathe in’ my Lord.  They inspire me to let Him live through me in every moment–every breath.  I’m taking in His truth, His love, and His grace just as often as I breathe.  Without Him, I’d fall apart.  I’d have spent an hour crying in the Old Navy fitting room.  Instead–after a few moments of prayer, I looked in the mirror, looked myself in the eyes, and whispered truths from His Word into my heart.

Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory.”

I trust that God is building my family WELL.  I trust it, but at the same time I recognize that it’s not about me.  He isn’t building my family in order to give me fulfillment or joy.  He’s building my family in the way that we can best bring HIM glory.  I can look at my family of four and know that He has blessed me beyond what He had to.  I can receive His blessings with gladness, and celebrate His goodness.  At the same time, I can choose to see that same goodness when He continues building my family in a way that brings sadness or pain.  I KNOW He holds our future, and I KNOW that His ways are better than mine.  Even more so, I am honored that He chooses to let me be active in His story.

Through this journey, I’m learning what it feels like to be held in His hands.  To let Him use me for HIS glory, apart from my own works or plans.

Thank you Lord, for holding me in Your hands.  You truly deserve ALL the Glory.

Love, Rachel

P.S.–Sorry if I don’t get back to comments today (Friday).  I’m posting this Thursday night before bed, and my plan is to turn off social media for a day & spend some extra time cherishing the blessings that God has given me!

Baby: Blessing or Inconvenience?

Note: This was originally posted on my former blog, “One True Wife,” on May 7, 2013.  In honor of Sanctity of Human Life Day & the upcoming anniversary of Roe V. Wade, I decided to re-post it.  I have updated it and edited it for grammar.

The debate on abortion can get pretty heated.  Pro-choicers say that it isn’t right to force a woman to have a baby.  They claim that a woman has a right to choose whether this baby is coming at a convenient time for her, and to make a decision about whether or not to “keep” the baby.  They say that it isn’t our place to punish her sin of promiscuity with a baby, and that the baby isn’t a baby at all–but only a blob of cells.  And because that baby is not yet viable, it’s not a life worth saving.sanctity-of-human-life-post-02

Pro-lifers argue that the “blob of cells” is already a human being.  It is life, and it deserves the opportunity to live.  They argue that a baby is not punishment, and that it is not inconvenient at all.  Instead, a baby is a blessing.

At the #Stand4Life Rally at the Texas State Capitol.    July 2013.

When my husband and I were engaged, he told me that he had a heart for adoption someday.  He believed that being pro-life had to go beyond holding picket signs (although we’ve done that), participating in the “Walk for Life”, and wearing a ribbon on “Sanctity of Life Sunday”.  He believed that if we were pro-life, we needed to be willing to step up to the plate and walk with the mothers who are “inconvenienced” with a baby.  For him, this meant that we should be open to adopt those “unwanted” babies.  It was at that conversation that my heart began to be pulled in the same direction.  And I began to be confronted by many contradictions in my own life.

“A baby is a BLESSING!  Not an inconvenience!”  I’ve heard this phrase many times, and have even used it myself.  “A baby is a blessing…”  It’s hard to argue with, and so it’s become our trump card.  Maybe we use the “blessing” card because we know that no one can honestly say it’s not true.  But do I truly BELIEVE that babies are not inconvenient?  And does that belief carry out into every aspect of my life?

Many people have thrown the “blessing-card” at a Pro-choice friend, in an effort to stump them.  We’re trying to win an argument, and this is just the card to help us win.  We say they shouldn’t abort a baby because it’s a blessing!  But then many of us will contradict ourselves as we go through our day-to-day life.

For example:

  • When someone gets married young, or during college, we may advise them to wait a few years to have children.  Why?  Because a baby might get in the way of them finishing college.  It COULD hinder their plans.
  • Even if someone doesn’t get married young, we may advise them to wait 2-4 years to have kids, so that they can ENJOY their first few years of married life.  As if children bring an end to that enjoyment.
  • When a couple already has two children (especially if they have one boy and one girl), they’re told “Now you have one of each, so you don’t have to have any more!”  Because apparently having a third child would just be torture…
  • When someone wants more than two children, they’re asked a myriad of questions:
    • “Aren’t you happy with your two?”
    • “Don’t you think two kids is enough?”
    • “Aren’t you satisfied with what God’s already given you?”
    • “You know what causes that, right?”  Is this a suggestion that they should abstain from married intimacy?
    • “If you’re bored for entertainment, you could just get a television.”
  • When a mother of one who has had a few miscarriages wants to try again for a second child, she’s told that she’s selfish for wanting another child.
  • When a woman is pregnant, we feel the need to remind her of all the sleepless nights ahead and of the sassy teen that she’ll have to deal with after her baby grows up.  After all, we wouldn’t want her to be TOO EXCITED about this baby…

We’ve failed to even notice these inconsistencies.  When a baby’s life is in danger, we call the baby a blessing.  When the child has already been conceived, it’s a blessing.  But when someone actually wants a baby, we want to make sure they’re prepared for the huge inconvenience they’re going to face.

So which is it?  Do we REALLY believe that a baby is a blessing?  Or do we believe it’s inconvenient?

Copyright: marysmn / 123RF Stock PhotoWell, truth be told–it’s both.  It may sound like a great paradox, but a baby is an inconvenient blessing.  Having a child WILL change your life forever.  You MIGHT need to give up a degree that you’re seeking, or a promotion you might have earned in your job.  You MAY end up quitting your job altogether to stay home with this little one.  Your life will no longer be just about you, or just about you & your husband.  Now, every decision will be affected by this child.  You will sacrifice for this child.  You will pour yourself out in love, and be exhausted on a pretty regular basis.  You will feel unappreciated at times.

I don’t think it really serves our case to say your child will never be inconvenient.  In fact, our “blessing” card does little more for our argument, than to make stressed mothers feel a little less valuable.  Yes, a baby is a blessing.  But it’s also one of the biggest responsibilities you can take on.  Of course, according to most moms I know, the inconvenience of a child is GREATLY outweighed by the blessings you can experience as a mother.

With all of this in mind, we need to realize that while our pro-life stances seek to save the life of a child (as we should), they can also cause much grief to the pregnant woman who doesn’t feel ready for a child.  To brashly throw in her face, “A baby is NOT an inconvenience!!” will leave her feeling like a bad woman.  Even if she wasn’t considering abortion, she’ll feel guilty for her fear.  And so we should offer her HOPE rather than guilt.

We should be willing to walk alongside her to support her on this journey.  We should tell her, “This is going to be hard, but you can do it.”  We should love her.  If she doesn’t feel she can keep the child, we should help her on the road to adoption.  We should be willing to step up and adopt ourselves!  If she doesn’t have the funds to provide for her baby, we should–as Christians–join together to give her whatever help we can.  We can babysit.  We can help her find baby clothes, a crib, a car seat and blankets.  We can simply be her friend.  Her support system.

And finally, we can choose to see the JOY that comes through having a child.  We can choose to believe that the blessing greatly outweighs the inconvenience.  And we can rejoice at the thought of a new baby, while we offer our help when it gets hard.  Our enthusiasm just may translate to her life in a way that ushers in the hope and joy that she didn’t seem to feel about this child before.  And our friendship and selfless service will let her know that she’ll be okay.

Practical Application:

  1. If you’re Pro-Life, be willing to help other Moms who struggle.
  2. When a woman miscarries, choose to view her loss as the loss of a child, no matter how early the miscarriage occurred.  Allow her to grieve in whatever way she needs–whether that’s private or open.
  3. If you challenge women to choose adoption over abortion, be open to adopting a child into your family.  If you are open to adoption but don’t have the funds for it, look into the many inexpensive options that are out there!  (They exist!)
  4. If you believe a baby is a blessing, then don’t dwell on the inconveniences that come along with children.  Don’t act as if people are unwise for trying to have a child.  Even if they are young, even if they’re in school, and even if they already have several children.  Remember, Child #8 is just as much of a blessing as Child #1!


Rachel & Boys