keep adding to your story

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 Anyone who knows me, knows that I love t-shirts. This is one of my favorites.

The story isn’t over yet.

A simple sentence full of truth and determination. It screams tenacity and grit, endurance and sweat, achy muscles and tears and exhaustion. It’s a phrase of hope for the future. There is commitment and faith in what’s to come. There isn’t any weakness in this phrase, but total and complete strength.

To you….. the broken, the hurting, the exhausted, the lonely, the forgotten, the overlooked.
To you… who is struggling with what no one knows about, to the one who doesn’t feel like she can quite hold it together any longer, to the frustrated, to the weary one. To the who is shiny on the outside, but totally broken on the inside.

Your story isn’t over yet. 

You are becoming the person you are working hard to be. You will laugh again. You will be loved again.
You will pick up the pieces and create new goals and dreams for yourself.
This isn’t the end. This isn’t how it will always be.

Give yourself a break. Be gentle and gracious with yourself. Remember that in order for the next chapter to be written, you have to participate in the story. Your level participation determines the quality of the storyline. Accept what happened in the pages before… Accept your anger and work through it. Do the work in figuring out why you’re hurt and upset and forgiving that person. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not seeing it, for putting up with it, for allowing it to happen again, for not speaking up, for whatever you’re beating yourself up about…. then, let it go. Forgive the one who hurt you – whether they care or not. whether they have apologized or not. whether they know it or not. whether they intended to hurt you or not. Forgive them so your heart and mind will be free, so you won’t keep pressing replay and rewind on what has hurt you. Train your mind to think on other things and pray when something triggers negative or hard memories.

Then, move on.

Sometimes very hard things happen in our lives and we will not always understand why God allowed us to walk through such difficult circumstances. But, when you trust his sovereignty and his love for you, the difficult things are a bit easier to take in stride. I may have said this before, but I literally forgot that God goes before me. I didn’t even consider what that meant and how him walking with me as he/after he has gone before me is such a benefit. He has already been where I am right now, he knows what is happening, he has come to put things in place so that I will experience exactly what I need to in order to grow in him, bear fruit, deepen my understanding of who he is and stretch my faith. He is working the next moments, hours, days, weeks, etc out for my good as he walks with me through it. I think of it as the ultimate surprise…. how someone goes ahead of you preparing a surprise or sweet little search … they know where everything is. They probably know who you will respond to each stop, each fumble, every turn and hint as they prepare this surprise. Then, of course, they’re walking with you through it or watching you as you figure this whole thing out and sometimes give you hints. They steer you in the right direction when you’re going too far off course, they enjoy watching your anticipation, they hold on to you and guide you when you can’t see. Then, they wait for you as you near the end. They are standing right there as you put it all together, as you uncover your eyes, as you make it through the end. They’re right there to celebrate you, to celebrate with you. They are there as you look back at everything you went through, as you see what all was prepared. They’re saying “yes! And, you almost missed this… you bumped into a wall here… you did so good there… ” as you see how everything was put together from the end. As you learn why this was kept from you, why you weren’t allowed in this room…. as you learn the why’s of every detail of the planning phase after the fact. They are there. They were always there. There was forethought. There was understanding of you, your personality, your routines. In order to pull off the best of surprises, you had to be known. Well…. The Lord knows you. He has a plan for you and he knows exactly what you need to go through in order to receive his best, in order to grow through what you must, in order to become who he wants you to be.
Doesn’t that make you smile?

Yes, it’s hard now. It is difficult and heartbreaking but the Lord has gone before you preparing this moment to work together with every other moment for your good and his glory. We couldn’t avoid this or we would miss out on some much needed growth and a pretty amazing ending – becoming more like the Lord an serving his people…… in whatever ways the Lord has for you.

God has and will always offer us joy and peace. Two things that can remain in the midst of the hardest circumstances. But, one day you will wake up and realize how happy you are. No matter what decision you made, even if no one understands it, if you are following the Lord, he will keep you through the bad but will also bless you with the good. You’ll be shocked at the peace that resides in your heart. You’ll have good days and you’ll have harder days. But, understand that they’re just days – not your life. A bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life.  The days to come will be difficult, but soon, things will calm and your new normal won’t feel so mechanic and awkward. Your new routines will soon be habit and you’ll find yourself settling quietly there without your mind racing. Or…. you’ll learn to find some good in each day, you’ll draw closer to the Lord and as you grow in him your perspective will change. Joy, peace, and strength from the Lord will keep you. He will allow people to see that there is something in you that is not of this world, even when you don’t see it or feel it. You’ll walk with your eyes on the Lord which will make going through the difficult much easier that it would be if your eyes were on what is happening.

The Lord is good, y’all. And, he loves us. He has a heart for us.
A plan for us and will heal us.

He will redeem, he will comfort, he rejoices over us with singing, and he surrounds us with his unfailing love.

He who puts their hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and will not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

There are lines, paragraphs, pages, and chapters added to our stories daily.
We determine how they will read.
Trust in the Lord and be brave.

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… one stage down, too many more to go

sweet babies(Rhy is fine…. caught her in the middle of a head turn. lol. No babe was harmed during our morning picture taking sesh!)

My babies will be 3 months old in a matter of days…. and, I’m definitely emotional about it.

Yes, of course, they grow. It’s no surprise.
That shouldn’t be a cause for tears and sadness.
Or, extra snuggles.

But, it’s worth that and more.

If you’ve been around awhile, you may remember quite a bit of this….. but, honestly so much of it has been stuffed so deep, I choose not to go back there.

But, I can’t forget this, and THIS!!!!!!!, and this… and, sadly,  this.
….. and, the years worth of heartache and sadness that came before May 2014…
When I posted this then this…. then, ultimately, this after everything was confirmed.
What a month that was… It’s amazing how quickly (“quickly”) things can change.

littlebitsThe fact that my babies have grown out of their newborn clothes, clothes that were so baggy on them when they came home….
and, their 0-3 month clothes are getting snug.
Their first headbands are getting a bit tight.
Their first shoes have the teensiest room left in the foot.
4oz of milk is becoming quite the joke.

Babies I weren’t supposed to be able to have are here. They are thriving. They are growing so well.
These girls have the best personalities. One’s personality is gigantic and literally comedic. The other more laid back and serious. Her facial expressions and smiles are the sweetest because you know when she smiles, she means it.

I have a couple of sweet friends, specifically, who struggled with me through our experiences of infertility and loss. And, it’s beyond beautiful to see them preparing to welcome their sweet babies.

All mamas are crazy emotional about their babes. All mamas can’t believe they grow so fast and time races as quickly as it does. I’m not minimizing any mamas love for their child. But, as with anything else, when you struggle and struggle and lose and work so very hard for something you want from you core, there’s a different type of appreciation. A different type of emotion that wells up about everything.

shoesBecause it wasn’t supposed to be.
But, God’s plan turned out to be very different and much more amazing than what we could see.
It resounded louder than all that we’d heard.
It redeemed all of the pain we’d felt.

And, how can you not be emotional over such a miracle?

While I’m sad about what’s behind us, I’m so gun shy and timid about what’s in front of us. I almost separate their age/development in 3m intervals. Kinda like their clothes! lol.
While 0-3m was a learning curve for us, I’m somewhat looking forward to investing in more clothing/shoes for them. They have a couple of more pairs of shoes and NB headbands outside of what’s been pictured because I chose not to purchase so much when I knew they wouldn’t be going out much for most of that time span and also they grow so quickly. We didn’t wear a few NB items and a lot of their NB size clothes I was able to donate to another preemie mama friend. Which was really fun. The bonus, I still have another kid’s worth of clothes I will probably donate! Lol.
So, 3-6 months…. We’ll be able to wear spring/summer clothes & shoes which I’m really pumped about. I’m sure they’ll end up with much more clothes/shoes this time!! I’m also anticipating the developments that come with having two 3-6m olds! (I can’t believe I’m saying that!) I’m so ready to see how these girls interact with each other as they grow! Sitting up, crawling, little baby teeth, real food (!!!), more cooing/babbling, more twin interactions, more of everything.

bocobaby
I’ll definitely miss the newness of everything. Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve started to hold on to you when you hold them. They wrap their little baby arms around you while they hold their heads up and look around and it makes me melt. They aren’t limp newbies anymore who aren’t able to actively participate in their world. They are learning to effect and control. The first time they reach their arms out for me I’ll probably burst. I think the little “hugs”, responding to kisses & letting you know they want more,  along with both of them smiling consistently and responsively were my favorite parts of this last stage. Oh, and of course, sleeping longer through the night!

One thing I am a bit undecided about, but at the same time very excited to start in this new stage is feeding these babies real food! We tried giving them a bit of applesauce on a spoon and they totally aren’t ready for a spoon! I’ll give them another few weeks, then see where we are after that! We were gifted a Baby Bullet and I have a good friend who owns Southern Cadence Cuisine that has offered to help me with preparing natural, tasty foods for the girls! She offers lessons in preparing your cuties nutritious meals that are age appropriate. She starts at 5 months, so if your babe is nearing that age, definitely contact her and let her know you’re interested in Cooking for Cuties!! I’m going to start lessons soon so I’ll know what I’m doing when we’re ready for the girls to have food!! (If you visit, tell her Alaina sent you!)

These last three months flew by so insanely fast…….. Can’t wait for the next 3!

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a multitude of gifts

christmas ornaments

{{The most adorable Christmas ornaments EVER…. complete with personalization and crowns!!! Swoon! … this anonymous gifter knows me well!!}}

Let’s be real.

People don’t have to like us. And, people don’t have to like our kids.

Because, truth be told, we aren’t always all that likeable and every kid isn’t either.

They don’t have to stick through the rough and tough, deal with the less than desirable sides of our personality, our awkward quirks, and the days we aren’t the most fun. We aren’t always all that likeable.

And, honestly, I know I’m not always that super friendly, incredibly kind gal who always has everything together. I can be very “hard” and bound to rules (when I want to be! lol). I’m not always easy to get along with, I’m not the funniest person in the room with the biggest personality. I’m a real and true introvert, creative, blunt, and mouthy kinda chick who has high expectations and expects everyone around me to work as hard and do as much as I do. But, on the flip side, I am also kind, giving, sacrificial, and sensitive. Sadly, the good doesn’t always overshadow the bad, especially when it should. I thank Jesus daily that grace abounds, that He has given me a heart to seek Him & follow the example He has set… to soften, to be more gentle, more patient, and more relaxed. So, I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I’ve had some die hard friends who have stuck by me, who have been there and done that with me…. I have friends who have shown up in incredibly major ways over the past few years, specifically during our adoption and this pregnancy. I’ve made some pretty awesome friends over the past year who have been more than wonderful….. Older relationships that have gotten sweeter over time, new relationships that are easy to embrace, the kind where you’re able to be transparent and give/receive encouragement & support….  Strangers who only know this little space and my Insta have been so encouraging in our journey. It’s been beautiful.

These people love me… love us… love our girls. And, for that I will never be able to find the words that truly express how it makes me feel. To know that there are people who’re invested in your children and genuinely care for them is indescribable. You’re proud, humbled, and thankful – because you know people don’t have to.

There’s a confidence and a safety felt when you know people love you – the real you. When you’re angry. When you’re sad. When you’re going through hard times and just don’t feel like it. They don’t mind the quirks, the effort, the clumsiness, the imperfectness of your being.

It’s beautiful….
And, just realizing that it’s exactly what is asked of us to do. Love our neighbor as ourselves… to forgive and to give grace and patient and endure the tough and not so fun.

Working on being all of these things when I don’t quite “click” with the person and when I feel it’s undeserved. Working on it because you deserve it. Because there are other friends, women, and mamas who are struggling, who aren’t always at their best, who have some growing and maturing to do, girls who need a friend.

… here’s to sisters loving on sisters. Day in, day out. Loving hard, loving gently, loving relentlessly and reliably… no matter what!

Post Jam: Taylor Swift Shake It Off (because it’s fun, ok?!?!)

 

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