Monday, November 23, 2020

A Little Blessing

William, Adelaide, and Stafford. Stafford is wearing a Big Brother t-shirt.

I am not usually a fan of surprises. But I have come to realize there is at least one kind of surprise that I am always excited about... a new baby!

In our family we love babies and toddlers. The unexpected blessing of Stafford has been wonderful. It has been hard, but also truly wonderful. We cannot imagine our family without this delightful child. 

William and Adelaide have been asking for another baby for well over a year now. Even with all of the work they have to do to help me take care of Stafford every day, they wanted another baby to take care of too! I told them that they needed to ask God for a baby. Well... they did! This summer God answered their prayers. We have another little one on the way! 

It's a Boy cake!

We are having a baby boy! We will be welcoming Gresham into our family sometime in March!

We are all very excited to have a baby again. It will be hard, but we are looking forward to having another little one in our home. William and Adelaide are ready to help me out every day with baby care. Stafford is excited to have a little brother. He talks about Gresham every day, and when he prays he thanks God for Gresham. We all thank the Lord for this precious gift!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Grateful for 40 Years

Will and Rachel at Split Rock Creek State Park

November is my birthday month, and this year I turn 40, so we are celebrating all month long! I'm actually excited about turning 40. Not everyone gets this opportunity. While it might not be pleasant to have aging joints and aging skin and declining energy levels (along with a chronic illness), I recognize that it is a privilege to have more time on this earth to be with my family and to serve the Lord. 

Our children at Split Rock Creek State Park

We began birthday month celebrations on November 1 by taking a day trip to Split Rock Creek State Park here in Minnesota. It is a park I had been wanting to visit this year, and we hadn't made it yet, so getting to see the park for the first time was exciting. We enjoyed our family time at the lake, and we took lots of pictures of our fun afternoon.

Split Rock Creek State Park

As I celebrate turning 40, Sara Frankl and Kara Tippetts are often in my thoughts. These women both impacted me through their blogs and their books. Neither woman made it to the age of 40, the milestone I have been given to celebrate this year.

Sara Frankl

Sara Frankl had Ankylosing Spondylitis, and she lived in extreme pain every single day. She was completely confined to her small condo due to her illness. Yet she lived with joy, and she reached out to others from her small corner of the world. Through her blog, Sara showed me how to live a homebound life with joy. Sara was only 38 when she passed away in 2011.

Kara Tippetts

Kara Tippetts fought breast cancer, and she encouraged many through her books and through her blog, Mundane Faithfulness. Kara turned 38 on the last birthday she celebrated on this earth. She told her friends, “I hope I live long enough to have wrinkles. I hope I live to see 40.” Kara died a year and a half before that milestone birthday she wanted so much to reach. She left behind her husband and four children when she died in 2015.

Split Rock Creek State Park

Turning 40 isn't something I take lightly. As I celebrate throughout this month, I am filled with gratitude. I am living long enough to get a few wrinkles and have some gray hair. I feel the weight of this gift.

I am grateful for the years I have had with my husband and my children. I am thankful for my life, my family, and the God who makes this life worth living. I am grateful for 40 years.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Diamonds 2021 Conference

The Diamonds Conference is coming again in 2021, and I would love to invite you to join us! Two years ago Sara Willoughby started the Diamonds Conference, and it has become an annual conference that many of us enjoy. Diamonds 2021 will be January 22-24, 2021. 

If you have a chronic illness, this will be a helpful and encouraging conference for you to attend. And even if you don't have a chronic illness yourself, but you have a friend or family member with chronic illness, you may find helpful information and encouragement during the conference as well!

We want the conference to be as accessible as possible to those with chronic illness, so the conference is completely online, and it is free during the conference weekend! After the conference weekend is over, you will have the option to purchase an all-access pass so that you can have lifetime access to the videos. There will also be some scholarships available for the all-access pass.

The theme this year is Purpose in Affliction. Speakers will be sharing about God's purposes in affliction, purpose we have in the midst of suffering, ways we have seen God use affliction for good, serving the Lord when we are chronically ill, and much more!

There are about twenty different speakers this year! These are all people who are affected by chronic illness, so you get to hear from those who understand what life is like with a long-term physical affliction.

My husband and I are excited to be speaking at the conference this year. On January 22nd, we will be speaking together about marriage with a chronic illness. We will share a glimpse into our marriage and talk about ways God has used affliction for good in our marriage and in our family. There will be a short Q&A session after we speak for those who have questions. We hope this session will be an encouragement to others that God is working in your marriage for your good and His glory.

I will also be speaking during another session. On Sunday evening I will be sharing about suffering from a biblical perspective. This will be a big picture look at suffering, from beginning to end in the Bible, including ways God uses suffering for good in the life of a believer. The title of my talk is "An Eternal Weight of Glory: A Biblical Theology of Suffering."

You can learn more about the conference here! You can see a list of the speakers, find a conference schedule, and find more information as the conference draws closer.

If you want to attend the conference, I recommend registering right away! There will be more information in the coming weeks, and you don't want to miss it!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Busy Hands: Ewok Hoodie

My Little Ewok!

Some of my favorite Star Wars characters are the Ewoks, so when I found this pattern for an Ewok hoodie, I knew I wanted to make one for Stafford! 

I found a free pattern on Ravelry for the Yub Nub Scoodie. The pattern makes an adult size scoodie, but I found a crocheter who wrote about making one of these for her son. She used worsted weight yarn instead of the chunky weight yarn in the original pattern, and she shortened the length. I did the same, and it turned out well for Stafford.

I used a fuzzy yarn for the ears and for the tie in the front. This fuzzy yarn was leftover from Stafford's baby blanket that I made before he was born.

Stafford wore this in the fall, and I think it will still fit him so that he can wear it again this coming fall. I can't wait to see Stafford as a little Ewok again!

I haven't done much crocheting since making this hoodie. My evening energy has been going to other things lately. Sometimes I keep my hands busy by writing cards, texting a friend, or taking notes while studying. But on most evenings I read, nap, or rest my arms while watching tv. Now that I have a toddler again, my arms usually need to just rest when I go to bed in the evenings!

Have you been working on any projects lately? I'd love to hear what you are doing to keep your hands busy.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Five Minute Friday: Perspective

I have not participated in Five Minute Friday since before Stafford was born! It is time for me to join the writing crew again! Every Friday, writers gather together to all write on the same writing prompt for just 5 minutes. It is quick and easy blogging! This week the word is: Perspective.

Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, "Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows." Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. 
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon
excerpt from Morning and Evening Devotions, Evening, November 11

Many of us currently find ourselves in situations we would not choose if were it up to us. We would not choose to be sick, to lose our jobs, or to have a global pandemic. We would not choose to have nurses and doctors and medical professionals in such danger. We would not choose to have loved ones die. We would not choose to lose the ability to safely gather in groups at our schools, churches, and in our communities. We would not choose many of the trials we find ourselves in right now as a result of COVID-19.

We live in a world that is under a curse, so we face suffering and pandemics in this life. From our perspective, our circumstances may not seem best. But we serve a God who is sovereign and powerful and who works all things for our good, even in the midst of suffering. We can be certain that He is working the circumstances of this pandemic for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The trials we are facing right now have have been chosen for us by a wise and loving God. He has a perspective that we do not have, and we can trust that He has placed us in the right circumstances for us right now.

Keep on keeping on, dear soldier of Christ. God has a purpose for you in this pandemic. He has a way He wants to use you. He has a way He wants to grow you. God has chosen to have you live in this time and place in history. Divine love has put you here.

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