Friday, December 18, 2009


Yep! I said it!!! Though it was a battle and a nightmare the first time around, I learned something VERY valuable...   follow the leader!!!  (And, the leader is..... YOUR CHILD!!!)  THE RESULT?!.....   Quite possibly the BEST POTTY TRAINING EXPERIENCE EVER!!!!

Yes folks, I am happy to announce that JP is officially potty trained!!!! And how many days' struggle  effort did it take?   0!!!! Yep... that's a big fat goose egg you see!!!!!

HOW DID WE DO IT? Well, let me tell ya....

After my first battle with potty training left us all feeling like we were railroaded with everyone else's "you should's" and "Do this" and "you musts", this time around I felt like I was going to be in charge. I was NOT going to let peer pressure make me force JP into potty training, just because everyone jumps off a bridge doesn't mean we have to, right? I was also NOT going to let a preschool determine when my son was ready, NO... I was going to let HIM tell ME.  Oh sure, I encouraged it: we read books about potty training, and we talked about what a big boy he would be when he finally decided he is ready, and what big boy privileges will come with that decision. He really wanted Spider Man underwear, so we bought him some and told him when he was ready, he could put them on. But not until he was SURE he was ready.

Low and behold, I come home from work last Friday and guess what ?! My BABY BOY IS WEARING UNDERWEAR!!!!   How did this happen? I asked Granny, my awesome mother-in-law who keeps the kids for me while I am at work.

"Well," she said, "he came up to me this morning and said he was a big boy now and he did not need diapers anymore, that he wanted to wear his big boy Spider Man underwear."

"AND? How did he do? Any accidents today?!" I timidly asked.

"Not a one!" She declared!!! "He has diligently told me each time he needs to go, #1 AND #2, with perfect timing all day!"

I COULD NOT believe my eyes or ears. But surely there would be a learning curve, I thought to myself.

YET... here we are a week later and still.... NO ACCIDENTS!!!! I am in shock as I did not expect it to go this easy. Sure I was told it would be easier this time around, especially since he has a big brother to watch. But secretly, I feared because we are still having issues with HC's timing. He still has accidents and he is 5! So I was unsure how JP would do. But I just had to go ahead and post this because I think in this case, the potty has been conquered quite effortlessly, and I hope it is an encouragement to those moms like I used to be who are unsure if this day will ever come for them. I really, truly believe the key was letting K take the lead in this one.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Call

How do you know when God calls you? This is not a rhetorical question. If you have an experience that might answer this, please, leave a comment below and share it with us. We are eager to know.

I wish it was as obvious as this picture. Or Bill Engvall's "Here's your Sign". 

You see, Chris and I have been on a journey for about 6 years now. A journey we thought was culminating soon to the purpose God had planned all along, but now we feel as lost as we did 5 years ago. It seems the closer we get, the farther we are. The more time we spend with Him, the less we understand. Though, you would think it would be the other way around.

I'm going to do my best to explain this, but, you see, it is a general overwhelming feeling that is really tough to put into words. This is going to be a long, seemingly random hodgepodge of stories. Nevertheless, if you feel like reading, here goes:

Six years ago, Chris and I were still fairly newlyweds: 3 years, but no kids, enjoying married life, our jobs  and  hanging out with friends. But we started to feel unsettled. There has to be more to life. Yes, we wanted kids, and they would come, in time. But we felt like God wanted us to do even more. We are both shy by nature, uncomfortable until we really get to know someone, yet we both have this passion for people. Especially youth. We were working for a church, Chris as a youth leader and I was the part-time secretary. We were building our new Real Estate business. Chris was also teaching and I was finishing school to become a teacher as well as working a great local small business getting to use my Spanish. Yes, we were juggling many balls in the air. Still, we felt like God wanted MORE.

Since then, we've added three kids here and one in heaven. Plus two in Colombia we feel are our own though we can't bring them home due to immigration's red tape. We have served in various churches and made a full circle coming back to our home church at Burnt Hickory Baptist. And the feeling that God wants MORE has only gotten stronger.

We thought it would be fulfilled by adopting Brayan and Yorely, but the more we obeyed the more red tape we were dealt.

When Chris was layed off we thought maybe God wanted to send us elsewhere for a job. In an attempt at obedience, Chris sent out applications all over. No reply.

Before we get any farther, let me explain that I do know that God has given us one of the most important ministries you could have: our kids. We value that tremendously and do not take it lightly. However, as we go about our day-to-day activities, I still have this incredibly unsettled feeling that He wants me to do MORE.

We have inside us a burning passion for three major groups of souls:
  1. Kids & teens who need love.
  2. Young people who are bombarded through music, TV and movies with the cultural message that pre-marital sex is not only OK, but necessary in a relationship in today's modern world.
  3. Married couples who face struggles with sexual temptation outside of God's beautiful design.
This passion is an all-consuming, deep-burning fire inside both of us. And so far, with no outlet. What happens to a building when an all-consuming fire burns within it? It implodes and falls apart. That is pretty much where we are today.

***Don't get me wrong, we love our life and we realize we are greatly blessed. And we are GRATEFUL.***

 But it is this very grattitude that creates in us the desire to give back. To serve our Father who has lavished so many blessings upon us.

Yet we remain lost in the dark. So many paths we thought He was guiding us on have failed:
  • Real Estate: We sincerely thought we were called to provide a much needed service (Real Estate) in a much needed different way (with honesty, integrity and no-compromise dedication) - not that there aren't any such Realtors already, however, we know from experience, there are not many. The industry is overrun with deciet, selfishness, and general lack of customer service. It has been tough holding the line of black & white, right and wrong. So many in this industry believe in "gray areas". However, as much as we have poured into this business, it has yet to succeed. And I am not sure how much longer I wish to pursue it.

  • Other Careers: Besides Real Estate, I have also had the dream, desire, or calling (?) to:
    • be a history, music or drama teacher
    • pursue photography
    • write fiction novels
    • write books about God's beautiful amazing design for sex

      All of these are paths I could see God leading me on to reach people for Him. I have unfinished pieces, schooling, or projects for all of the above, and more. Many people struggle with finding what they "want to be when they grow up." Though I genuninely love what I do as a part-time stay at home mom, sales rep and Realtor, I still feel like I am not where God wants me.

  • Adoption: We both knew we were called to adopt since we got married. We trusted God would show us the who, when, where and how when His time was right. We were sure this was confirmed in July with Yorely and Brayan. However, since then, one road block after another, it seems like perhaps He is still saying "not yet." With Yorely's 16th birthday arriving in March, the deadline is quickly approaching.

  • Youth Work: We have lovingly and excitedly served in various churches. Just when it seems like things were about to "take off" God gave us a clear sign it was time to move on. We have had to leave so many students we had fallen in love with, churches we grew to be family with, and goals we were about to see met. It was all in God's timing and we heard of wonderful, great things that occurred with each group after we left. Still, it hurt to not be a part of that.

I know it may seem like I am being ungrateful, and I assure you I am not. I truly love my life. I feel genuinely spoiled by my Abba Daddy. Precisely so, I want to serve Him. I want to share this love inside me that feels about ready to explode. I was to let this burning passion consume others for Him. But how? This is a question I have yet to clearly hear Him answer. I have so many ideas coming at me a hundred miles an hour, but no outlet. No confirmation from Him where and how to do them.

I am about ready to implode, so I had to let it out somehow. This post was more a therapeutic one than a purposeful one. Unless, of course you know how to answer the question. = )

********************UPDATE: 2/5/10***********************


Since posting this, I had many friends and family members make suggestions, and I thank you! I was humbled by your suggestions, and honored by the idea of some of the things you could see me doing. And your encouragements let me to seriously think about your suggestions. Then after a series of events, I suddenly find myself studying photography and getting help from two professional portrait photographers! I AM BLOWN AWAY!

It is amazing how God leads us, step by step through the plan He already has for us. When I posted this I was feeling stuck in a rut, and with no direction to go in. Now, I am thoroughly enjoying my photography studies, and thrilled at the idea that this may really be my calling. I have met so many people already and can see how this could lead to meeting many, many more. And since life is all about relationships to me, what a perfect avenue this could be! I can't wait to see where God takes me from here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Strange" Peace?

This is going to be a tough post to write, but it is one many of you have encouraged me to write, so here goes.

Many of us walk through storms, and our Father in Heaven promises to see us through. Last week, I walked through a storm. However, I know I wasn't alone. It was one of those experiences that  no one can ever take away from me. One of those experiences that I will remember forever, and for that I am grateful. No, the circumstances weren't good. They were awful in fact. But the closeness I felt with God is irreplaceable.

On October 10, 2009, we found out I was expecting again! Baby #4!!! We were shocked, surprised, nervous and very excited. It wasn't planned, but we relished the idea anyway. Already, we all started dreaming about this new little bundle of joy. The boys were thrilled and started coming up with names! They were sure it was another baby sister.

However, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I started bleeding. My sweet husband researched it online and found that though bleeding during pregnancy is not good, it does not always mean trouble. I called my doctor and she put me on bedrest. "If anything changes, go to the hospital. Otherwise, stay resting until we can see you on Monday," she said. Of course, this occurs over a holiday weekend! 4 days I had to wait to see my doctor, unless something changed, which, of course, I didn't want it too. Things didn't look too bad so I resolved myself to remain optimistic.

I started focusing on wonderful dream I had the week before, the night before my birthday. In that dream, all my family and friends had come over to celebrate with me, and we were grilling on the back deck. I excused myself to go lay down as I was still in the very tired stage of the pregnancy, and when I layed down I fell asleep and had a dream. In the dream I got up and re-joined my family and friends on the back deck and I saw an old dear friend. He was one of my best friends, someone we all still love very much. He passed away too young in the year 2000, but he still effects our lives to this day, as I still find myself mourning the physical loss and all I have not been able to share with him. Andy Parish. God has used him and his memory to speak to me before though. But this time, I thought to myself, as the dream felt so real... how are you here? And he replied, "I want to introduce you to your daughter," and he held her out for me. They were both so real. I touched them both, their hair, their hands, and they felt as real as if I touched yours. What a joy!

I woke up startled but realized it wasn't just a dream. It was confirmation that my good friend Andy was still with us, though in Spirit and waiting for us in Heaven. And he had already met my baby girl!!! I held on to this as confirmation that everything would be ok.

I think I drove Chris crazy though, because he could tell I wasn't fully letting go. I was obsessing, as I tend to do. So, I started praying.

"Please God, help this baby be OK. Please make the bleeding stop. Please help us get better."

That was all I could do. I felt so helpless.

By Friday, the bleeding had not stopped. Actually, it had increased.  I began to fear the worst. I called the doctor again:

"Are you in pain?"  No.
"Are you bleeding a lot in 1 hour?" No.
"Then you're fine. No need to worry. The fact that we saw the baby on a sonogram on November 13th is a very good sign. Just rest and we'll see you first thing Monday morning."

"OK, calm down Dianne" I thought to myself. But I knew. I felt what was happening.

Sunday morning came, and I was not allowed to go to church. Bored out of my mind, I picked up my Bible and started to read, mostly to distract myself. Not because I was feeling super-godly. Then, I read something that stopped me in my tracks: Ezekiel.

God is giving Ezekiel instructions about a very specific message He wanted Ezekiel to deliver to Israel. But, one particular set of instructions just horrified Ezekiel. "Not so Sovereign Lord!!" He cried out, and begged God not to make him do that particular thing. (I'll spare you the really gross details, but if you're curious you can read it in chapter 4 of Ezekiel.)

What happened next blew me away though: God said "Very well, I will let you do it this way instead of that way."


What was this? A MAN changed the mind of the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE??

Immediately, I dropped to my knees. Horrified at what was obviously happening inside of me, I cried out to God: "NOT SO, SOVEREIGN LORD! YOU CAN STOP THIS!! PLEASE, PLEASE STOP THIS! PLEASE, SAVE MY BABY! PLEASE, HELP ME CARRY THIS BABY TO TERM. PLEASE, MAKE THIS PREGNANCY STICK! PLEASE GOD!"

Then came the very, VERY clear response: "OR, I can promise you that you WILL meet her one day."

I looked up. What? Did I just hear that? Did I think that? WHY would I THINK THAT!?

No, that was an answer, directly from the Lord, God Almighty HIMSELF!

Yes, I cried.

But, I also surrendered

 There was nothing I could do to stop it. Also, I was worrying my other three kids sick. Besides. God just made me the BEST PROMISE possible.


That is when it arrived. The strange peace. I will be OK. I have three beautiful, healthy children here on earth to continue caring for. And I have one beautiful baby girl waiting for us in heaven.

Yes, I had to continue the path I was on. I still wasn't bleeding much. I wasn't really in pain. But I knew how it would end. And yet, somehow, I was OK with that.

Then, at 5:30 that evening, it hit me. A crashing wave of pain like I have never felt before. I didn't even hurt this bad when I went into labor with my two boys. WOW. Now my prayer changed:

"God, help me through this!" to "GOD! PLEASE HELP ME! MAKE IT STOP!"

And suddenly, it did. I knew it was over. November, 29th at 6:30 pm, my baby was gone. No longer here on earth anyway, but somewhere MUCH, MUCH better. And I am OK with it.

I really am. I keep saying this in answer to all the inevitable questions: "I have a strange peace about it all."

Then I realized, why is it so strange? I know where it comes from! And it is not strange that our loving God would have mercy on a child of His and grant her peace over such a loss, instead of allowing her to wallow in deep sadness. No, instead He gave me the dream of Andy holding my daughter to SHOW me she IS OK. And He SPOKE to me the words of promise, that I WILL SEE HER one day.

And believe me, I KNOW it came from God Himself. How? Because if you know me even a tiny bit, you know I am waaaaaay emotional! I cannot control my emotions INSIDE of me for anything. I can control how I show them to the world, but inside of me, no way. And yet. Deep down, inside, I am really at peace. Yes, I lost my baby. My baby (girl?) that I dreamed of giving birth to in June 2010, that I already saw playing and running and dancing with her big sister and big brothers, will not experience any of those things.

But, I have a very real peace. The only reason I call it a Strange Peace is because to the everyone else, I should not be OK with this.  At least, not yet. Not just days after it happened at least. I had a kind co-worker tell me yesterday when I went to the office that she was worried about me. She didn't expect to see me this week. Not even next week. She was surprised I was there yesterday.

I don't say that to pat myself on the back - not at all. If it was up to me, I'd still be in bed bawling. But no, God replaced the grief in my heart with peace, hope, and yes, even joy. I HAVE ANOTHER BABY GIRL!  She will never suffer heartache, physical pain or sorrow. (As my sweet hubby gently reminded me.) She is with Jesus, celebrating His Love and Life this Christmas like we could only dream! And she is waiting.

Until we can all be together, forever.

We love you, baby Camryn.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Hello" Said the Strange Little Boy

What makes him strange? That he said "Hello" to a stranger? Why does that make him odd? We thought it made him extraordinary. Not many people are that friendly anymore. Especially to strangers.

Yes, I am talking about my oldest. He is 5 and not shy in the least. How he came from his dad and me is beyond us! Anyone who knew us as kids knows we were painfully shy. But not HC. He will walk up to people with a big smile and say "Hello! I'm HC". Often, the people he just cordially greeted will look at him like he is an alien, and turn away. Sometimes they smile and say hi back. Always they get a look in their eyes of utter surprise.

Why is that?

Now, don't get me wrong. We've talked to him about stranger danger, and he knows all the safety rules abut talking to strangers. On this particular day, we were at the playground having a picnic lunch and another family sat at the table in front of us. He was with family and within arms distance from me, so he knew it was safe to approach the other mom. He took his two steps forward and smiled his biggest smile and said "HI! I'm HC!" and just grinned at her waiting for a response. She literally did a double take. Saw me kind of watching the scenario then smiled back tentatively and said "Oh, hello!" 

Chris and I just stared in awe of our son. He inspires me everyday to try and be more like him. Furthermore, despite the less-than friendly reactions received, he continues to do it! We worried about his sweet spirit getting broken, but actually, I believe it is growing! He's amazing.

What if we were all like HC? What if we were all just so excited to make new friends and be nice to everyone we meet that we could hardly hold it back like him? That would be a beautiful place.

Then again. I believe that's what heaven is promised to be =)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reverting to Childhood

"I am digressing into a screaming teenage girl for the evening and will be thoroughly enjoying a NKOTB concert!!"  I texted to my facebook profile. OH the comments I received!

First of all, what's wrong with New Kids on the Block? OK, that needs no answer, but still, haven't you ever wanted to relive an exciting moment from your childhood?  It all goes by so fast.... and we don't even realize the treasure childhood is until we're out of it!

So, yes, I digressed into a screaming teenage girl for about 3 hours tonight. (With a certain friend who shall remain unnamed, per her request!!) It was silly. It was fun. It was freeing. I had no other responsibilities to worry about (thanks to my LOVELY hubby for that!!!). Ahh. It was refreshing!! THEY SANG 3 SONGS FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE AUDIENCE ARENA! They like disappeared off the stage and then reappeared just 5 rows behind us, coming up from the audience! It was so fun!

But it also made me realize one HUGE thing: My own kids are growing up waaaaaay too fast. My wonderful boss tells me often: "Have I ever told you life is like a roll of toilet paper? It goes faster as you get to the end!" So true! But our kids are in such a hurry to grow up, they don't realize it. (I was too, always looking to my next big birthday.... "when I turn 6 I'll be a big kid! When I turn 13 I'll be a teenager! When I turn 16 I'll be free! When I turn 18 I'll be an adult!" - WHY was I in such a hurry?!?)

Now my 4 year old is excited about his 6th birthday. HE  IS JUST ABOUT TO TURN 5!!!! But since we have his 5th birthday planned out, he's ready to start planning his 6th. I remind him. Slow down, let's enjoy being 5, I tell him. 6 will come soon enough. (Tomorrow? He asked!)  He's always one step ahead :) But this is one of my favorite things about being a mom: reliving a 2nd childhood!!

How can we make ourselves slow down and enjoy the moment? We should savor each one, the good and the not-so-good because each will pass quickly. And the not-so-good make us treasure the good!

By they way, the NKOTB concert rocked!

Slow down everyone. Savor the moment!  =)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Did Someone Say **FREE** Movies?!

Yes! I only found out about this at the end of last summer so I was THRILLED to see it offered again!! In effort to help spread the word, I thought I would post the info here on my blog!

Apparently, several theaters in the area have offered free movies during the summers for the past several years! That's right! FREE MOVIES! This is incredible on so many levels:

  1. First of all, who couldn't use more FREE fun this summer with the kids?!

  2. Second of all, if you have small kids, you never really know if they will be able to sit through an entire movie in the theatre. While it would be an exciting experience for them, you may not feel like shelling out $20 or more to "see" if they can. BUT - if it's free, WHY NOT?!

  3. An entire theatre of bouncing children ready to watch a fun family-friendly film, suddenly you realize you don't have to worry if they are overly excited (ie: a bit loud) - all the kids are! And, oh yeah - IT WAS FREE!!
Families in Cobb County can click here for information on Regal Cinemas' "Free Family Film Festival" and to find the theatre near you and the list of movies they are showing . Fellow Kennesaw/Acworth families - YES - Regal at Town Center IS ON THAT LIST!!! They show the Free Family Films on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM.

Families in Paulding County, Hiram / Dallas area the 278 Theatre is also showing Summer Family Films! Click here to see their list of movies. Movies 278 does their Free Family Films on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00. They take the fun even further by offering FREE popcorn in exchange for a canned food donation! If you forget your can- don't worry, they offer popcorn & drinks for just $1.00 during the Free Family Films! How cool is that?

If you know of other theaters showing free family movies this summer or other fun and free family events, let us know! Leave a comment below!

Have a Fun & Safe Summer!!