Monday, October 26, 2015

Love Ran Red

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the Women of Faith conference which included a performance by the awesome Christian band, Building 429. That was my first ever "Christian concert" and it was incredible! I've been to lots of concerts over the years (thanks, Mom, for taking me to see NSYNC and not complaining about your ears bleeding), but that one was a totally new experience. As luck would have it one of my most favorite acts was performing later that week in Raleigh. I had been bitten by the concert bug and knew I needed to go. I talked to David about it and while he would have gone if I had begged and pleaded it wasn't really his thing, but my mom on the other hand was totally up for it, so later that night I bought tickets for us to see Rend Collective and Chris Tomlin!

You may remember me mentioning Rend Collective a few months ago when I wrote about "Amelia Grace's song". She and I would rock out every morning to "My Lighthouse" this summer while living in the apartment so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Aside from that spectacular work of music, they have a bunch of wonderful, Christ-focused words put to music that reminds me of Mumford & Sons. That's a win-win if I ever saw one. So while I was "eh" about seeing Chris Tomlin I was stoked to see Rend Collective! 

Neither act disappointed as we spent the evening worshipping the Lord with a couple hundred other friends. Rend Collective kicked off a great show with a few of their classics (including "My Lighthouse"!) and Chris Tomlin rounded out the evening with a few songs of his own. Both acts were great and well worth the money! If you have the chance to see either I would highly recommend taking that chance!

Me and Mama!

My Lighthouse!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Got To Be NC!

Every year for as long as I can remember I have gone to the Carolina Renaissance Festival in the Fall. When David and I got married he joined in and it became one of our favorite traditions (recaps can be found here and here) and last year we added Amelia Grace to the adventure! Following our big move this summer we knew we would have to replace this year's Renaissance Festival visit with something a little different-the North Carolina State Fair! Many moons ago (okay, like 8 years ago) David and I started going together when we were in college. Little did we know that we would be returning with our sweet girl down the road! 

My two sisters heard we were going and decided to join us for the adventure. Mandy and her husband, Tyler, provided the trip with the awesome camera that took the following pictures. Abby and her boyfriend, Mark, brought his kids who provided lots of entertainment. It's definitely more fun to go with kids who appreciate the fair with a child-like wonder that is often lost on adults. 

Rides were ridden, food was eaten, and lots of fun was had! Here are a few pictures from the day. . .

We all paid for our adventures dearly as we are all fighting a nasty cold but it was worth it. Hopefully the next time we go we will all stay healthy!

Monday, October 12, 2015


This past weekend I had the incredible experience of attending my first Women of Faith Conference and less than 48 hours afterwards I am already getting excited about the next one. Heck, I was excited before I even left the first one! 
It all came about earlier this year when it was brought up at a MOPS meeting. My friend, Jess, and I heard that one of our most favorite people on the face of planet earth (Jen Hatmaker!) was going to be there so we immediately signed up. We later learned she would not be at the Charlotte weekend, but were still excited to go any way. Jess brought it up one afternoon when we had gotten together with two of our other best gal pals for one of our regular soul-restoring gab sessions. The four of us had been meeting monthly for the past few months after we realized we had all read Hatmaker's book, Seven, independently of each other but knew we needed to hash it out with other believers. Maria and Lauren jumped on board and the ball began rolling on a great weekend!

Fast forward a few months and it's FINALLY here. We all said sayonara to our kids and headed to downtown Charlotte to refill our hearts with the word of Jesus. Maria's husband booked us a FABULOUS hotel room in downtown too so we didn't have to worry about going home and getting our groove messed up :-P

Friday night kicked off the weekend with some worship and a few speakers who brought truth in a big way. Afterwards we headed back to our hotel for drinks, a snack, and girl talk. It was fantastic. Once we realized how late it was we forced ourselves to go to sleep so we would be well-rested for the next day. Easier said than done for four women who haven't seen each other in a while and without the distraction of littles! Somehow we managed to all get a few hours.

Me, Jess, Lauren, and Maria 

The next morning we were back at it again with more wonderful women preaching the word in profound ways. Saturday also brought an incredible performance by Building 429. I had never been to a worship concert before so having the chance to praise the Lord with so many other people was a mind-blowing experience. 

Building 429!

Returning to reality was a little very difficult, but well worth it when I got to share some of what I learned with others. We've already got reservations for next year-who's coming with us?!?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen my post about the butternut squash soup I made the other day. With all the dreary weather Hurricane Joaquin has brought up the Carolinas I have been craving cozy clothes, cups of coffee, and soups. All the soups. I've had a butternut squash hanging out since we went to the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago and I knew I needed to do something with it. Enter the delicious soup below. . .

1 large butternut squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water

Cut squash in 1 inch chunks.
Melt butter.
Add chopped onion and cook until soft
Add squash and stock.
Cook until squash is soft (mine took around 20 minutes).
Remove squash chunks and puree.
Pour blended squash back in pot.
Sprinkle with spices and enjoy!

This tasted even yummier with a little Greek Yogurt on top!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mommy Contract Part 2

Since writing part 1 of the Mommy Contract my sweet child has reminded me of so many other components that should be added. A few more that came to mind. . .

You are never alone
Whether you are in the bathroom or the kitchen, your child will find you. Why they don't send children in to look for hiding terrorists is beyond me.

Your child will embarrass you
Children have a keen sense of what will send their parents hiding in a corner and love to perform those acts. It may be farting extremely loud in front of the new neighbors or it could be throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the aisle at Target. It will happen so batten down the hatches and prepare yourself.

Your child will behave the worst for you
You'll hear stories of how wonderful and kind your spawn is and wonder if it's the same child who threw themselves on the floor and prevented you from making them the breakfast they requested. It is. Children behave the worse for their parents. Fact.

Your brain will never be the same
I don't care if you have a PhD in rocket science AND brain surgery, your brain will never be the same after having children. Everything you thought you knew becomes mush.

You will memorize the most random things
And while you won't be able to remember why you came into the room and what you were looking for you will have a great selection of children's songs and books memorized and ready to be recited when your child starts to melt down in the back of the car.

You will never look the same again
This goes for more than just your body, folks. Things settle differently after kids and I don't care if you weigh less than you did before kids, it's just different. I'm also talking about the clothes you put on that body. Your child will find the one spot you don't cover up with a burp cloth and ruin your favorite outfit. They will also grab that cute tunic you just bought and smear strawberry juice all over it. Or wipe their mouth on the shoulder of that fantastic new sweater that just came in the mail. Once you have children you suddenly understand why moms only wear bum clothes.

You could watch them for hours
Go ahead and set a timer and then marvel at how long you spend watching them do absolutely nothing. Taking beaded necklaces on and off was never as exciting as it is when your toddler does it for 30 minutes straight.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness

One of the worst things one can experience is the loss of a child. It doesn't matter if that child was 5 weeks along in pregnancy or 15 years old-it hurts no matter when it happens. The ache is different, but it's still there. I remember the crushing feeling when we learned Emerson no longer had a heartbeat. That feeling will never go away. It has certainly faded, but has not disappeared. I never thought that losing Emerson would bring any good, but I have learned otherwise.

Recently I was connected with a young woman who lost her child halfway through the pregnancy. While I am no professional I was able to offer a few things that helped us as we grieved and healed. This past week at Bible Study Fellowship I got to talking to another young mom in my group and found out she too had lost a little girl in early 2013. We were able to share our experiences and offer each other help two years later. And then just yesterday a woman posted in a local Facebook group that her friend just found out she lost her baby halfway through her pregnancy and was seeking advice on how to help her. I was able to reach out and offer some suggestions on what helped us.

We cannot forget the children we have lost. We cannot pretend they didn't exist and we didn't love them. We cannot erase them from our lives. We must remember these precious loves and celebrate the time we had with them. October is Infant Loss Awareness Month, but the big feelings that come along with this cannot be squeezed into one short month. We must remember all year around. So, next time you hear of someone who lost their littlest love don't brush it off, remember that precious gift and the impact he or she already had in their parents' lives.

If you have lost a baby prematurely, or know someone who has, PLEASE let me know. I would love to connect with them, pray for them, and offer whatever support I can.