Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A letter from Chloe's mom...

As I sit and soak up all the perfection of this sweet little newborn, I can't help but think of what it took to get me here. To think of all of the aches and pains and struggles... The long days and nights begging God to let her come early. The countless cries of, "I can't do this any longer!" And, "God, please take the pain away and just let it be DONE!"... And, yet... Here I am, just 10 days later... No longer pregnant, no longer feeling the tremendous weight of pain bearing down on me... Instead, feeling overwhelmingly blessed. Happy. Thankful. So undeserving. Content. Full of so much JOY.
God has taught me so much through this journey... How parallel this process to new life has been in my own life. This pregnancy was by far the hardest out of all of my pregnancies. I was so sick with all day sickness, and my body was in SO much physical pain while carrying her... Towards the end of the night, I would have to completely rely on my husband to help me even walk or stand after I had been laying or sitting down. Too many times to count, I would ask my husband and God-- "Why am I going through so much pain with this one?"... But, here I am... on the other side... Spending quiet time rocking and just breathing in every part of her new life. As I rock, I can hear my Savior whisper these words... "When the pain becomes so unbearable, and life seems to hard to even make it one more day... and you are leaning on me just to be able to stand... Remember, remember... that new life is just around the corner. That the struggle always comes before the breakthrough. That it is always darkest before the dawn."

These last few days, I just keep repeating these same words, "I would go through this hard pregnancy all over again tomorrow... She was so, so worth it."

Not that I ever thought she wouldn't be. But... having her here. In my arms. Feeling her warm breath on my chest. Studying every perfect feature that God created her with. Breathing it all in. Her soft skin, her newborn scent. Her perfect cheeks. And... oh, my. THOSE DIMPLES! 

                                                            It was All. Worth. It.

                               I would do it again a thousand times over if it brought me her.

Life can be hard sometimes. The pain of it all can be too much to bear. The dark times can feel REALLY dark... But, the other side... The breakthroughs. The healing. The promises restored. The beauty from ashes, and the miracles of Jesus' hand on your life...

Remind me when I forget... That your ways are perfect. That when I see the here and now, you see the whole picture. When I dwell on the pain, you see the breakthrough. When I dwell on the darkness, you are already preparing the dawn.

                                                            I am forever grateful.
                                                                            Chloe's mom

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm a good mom.

  1. Growing up,
              I dreamed of being a mom.  Seriously. I would play with dolls all day long- carting them around with me wherever I would go.  All of them had names, and to this day, I have kept them all safely packed up for the day I feel my girls can carry out the huge responsibility of taking this job over... :) As I got a little older, I would lay on my bed and daydream of what it would be like when I started my family.  I had my kids names all picked out-- Nadia Rose and Isaiah James. (Those would be the first two and then I was planning on having (or adopting) at least 5 more)... ;-)

    I had everything perfectly planned out-- I would get my teaching degree, stay at home with my kids until they were all in school, an then I would teach a kindergarten class at the same private school my kids were attending-- all seven of them. My husband and I would travel and sing) to pay for the private school education, of course), we would live in our absolute dream home-- a farm house with a wrap around porch, a tire swing, and (obviously) a few horses.  My husband would be a pastor (which would basically mean he would love every single second of his job). :) My kids would be in gymnastics, piano, violin, dance, baseball, basketball, football, theater, Spanish Immerson class, and anything else I could think up in that moment.

    Basically, my life (and theirs) would be perfect. Picture perfect. So perfect there would be no trace of problems whatsoever. No money problems, marriage problems, parenting problems. No car problems, house problems, or kid problems. Nope, we would be living the DREAM.

    I journaled about this. I wrote short stories and poetry about this. I even collaborated a few songs about this. I was absolutely, positively convinced that my life would look like a storybook fairytale.

    .... Instead, here I am tonight, tucked away in my room (with the door locked), because I desperately needed time away from my little ones--(there are four of them, (not 7) and I homeschool them-- in case you were wondering) :) I'm hiding away, because every part of my soul cries out for introvert time when I have not had it for awhile. (And let me tell you... I have not had it in awhile.)

    I was impatient with my kids more times than I can count today. "PLEASE make your bed, PLEASE get dressed in actual clothes-- not pajama pants and a fairy costume! Please don't throw the baggie of gold fish crackers all over the floor that I literally just swept up ten minutes ago. Please don't use that tone of voice-- (never mind if I am using it on you right now) Please don't bite, don't hit, don't shout, and for goodness sake-- don't cry!!" (Yes, I really just confessed that all to you.)


    Being a mom is hard. Period. End of sentence.
    It is tiring. It is exhausting. It is stressful.

    Some nights (well, a lot of nights) I lay in my bed and think of all the ways I was not a perfect mother that day. I beat myself up. I point a finger at myself and ask, "Why couldn't you have been better??" ... "Why couldn't you be perfect."


    That is a very tall order to live up to. Perfect in its Webster dictionary form looks like this:


    1. having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

              2. Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a                 condition as possible.

    "As good as it is possible to be"-- "Free from faults or defects"

    If I'm honest with myself, that is what I want. I want to be as good as it is absolutely possible to be.

    I want there to be no speck of dust on my floor, (I must sweep those hardwood floors 10x a day) No piece of furniture out of place, (they love to do gymnastics on my chairs and couches.) No hair left un-brushed, (can you pleeeeeease put on a hat, or at least brush your hair today, buddy?) No outfit needing cleaned, (OK, let's try a different shirt- I think that hasn't been washed since you spilled applesauce on it... last week?) No attitudes adjusted. (Would you be talking that way if Jesus was in the room?)... (Insert huge eyebrow lift)
    I want my body to be in the best shape possible. (Why oh why did we let the Y membership lapse?) My hair NOT to be needing to be re-done (Yikes--it has been months.) My van to have no scratches on the outside, (how did they get there?!) And no disaster on the inside. (Where did all those crumbs... and sippy cups, and shoes come from?!) My dinner to be perfectly made and then perfectly delivered. (Would everyone please sit down-- we are not doing cartwheels and somersaults right now... we are done singing... Babe, where do I find that relaxing Pandora station again??)

    Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

    Oh, it is exhausting. Oh, is it draining. And, oh, does it make you feel like the exact opposite...



    1. lack of success. the omission of expected or required action. an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.

    In case it isn't obvious. And, in case my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram world paints me in a different light...

    I. am. not. perfect. (reminder-- NO-one is perfect.)

    Nope. I'm not a perfect mom or perfect wife. I don't have the perfect body, I don't dress in the perfect clothes, and my house is NOT always perfectly spotless.

    I make mistake after mistake after mistake. I mess up. I FAIL.

             (I'm so thankful there is an 'however'...)

    I also succeed.

    I give my kids hugs and kisses every day.

    I make them yummy food... So when they are older, it will (hopefully) bring them back to when they were small... (We had meatloaf tonight, and it brought back the best memories of when I was a kid.)

    Today-- Today I made sack lunches, and we sat outside in this beautiful autumn weather while I read them a chapter book.

    Today I played the game of marbles with my son at 8:30am-- before I had even drank 4 sips of coffee.

    Today I let my kids wear whatever they felt like wearing-- applesauce-stained shirt and all.

    Today I held my daughter close after she stubbed her toe and would not stop crying until we had found the exact band aid that would do the trick.

    Today I tucked my little guy in for his nap-- snuggled him up so tight- that he would feel safe and sound as he drifted off to sleep.

    Today I reviewed where Ireland, France and England are located on the map...

    I answered questions about the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Adriatic Sea...

    Today I snuggled close to my oldest daughter as she rattled off the Seven Types of Biomes to me.

    Today I played tag in the leaves with my (almost) 2 year old.

    TODAY I am a good mom...

    NOT a perfect mom.

    I am a mom that lays in bed and prays for a better day tomorrow than we had today.

    I am a mom who worries over the health and safety, and choices of her children.

    I am a mom who cries at the thought of sending them off to college.

    I am a mom that absolutely can not sleep until I have checked on all of my babies; to be absolutely sure that they are sleeping peacefully.

    I am a mom that was chosen for these kids. Hand-picked to be THEIRS.

    I am in need of forgiveness. And grace. And do-overs.

    And most of all, I am in need of the constant reminder that I was not called to have everything perfect in my life...

    I was just called to be their mama.

    To love them unconditionally. To let the facade of perfectionism go. To wake up every morning, knowing that my life won't be perfect-- but to embrace the reality that it will be real, it will be messy, it will need do-overs... but most of all,

    It will be beautiful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm turning thirty.

In three days, I will turn the number that always seemed such a pivotal turning point in a person’s life. 30. Just saying it makes me chuckle a little bit. I’m going to be THIRTY. I remember being in junior high, and having teachers that were 30. They were SO. OLD. to me! Looking back however, I’ve realized, that half of those teachers weren’t even married yet, let alone parents. A lot of people tell me how “fun” the 30’s are… a different kind of fun than the 20’s brought. However, if I’m honest, I have felt in the “30’s” category for a long time. Choosing to get married at the age of 20 in today's world is a rarity. Having FOUR kids, before the age of 30? Almost unheard of.  And yet, as I sit here and think about my 20’s, I’m so very ready to close that chapter of my life. 20’s to me, always seemed to hold the title of “discovery”. Discover who you are. Decide who you want to be. Figure out how you are going to get there. You ask yourself the question of, “what makes me happy." You figure out life on your “own." You slowly grow up. (or, at least start the process in that direction). I remember talking to my sister, and her explaining the 30’s. It was almost as if she was able to let out a big sigh, and live the life she had imagined.

I’m ready.

My husband asked me how I felt about turning 30. My reply was, “Honestly? I’m so ready. I think I have been waiting for this day for years.”
It is one thing to gain credibility, just by being parents to four children… but, still to be in your 20’s, and be parents of four children? It is interesting. It is like we are the “old people” with the younger 20’s, but, still “too young," and “un-experienced” for the 30’s+ age groups.  

I feel like in my short 30 years of life, I have done a lot of living, and even more amounts of growing. I feel I have over-come a lot of battles, experienced a lot of “firsts," and come to realize who I am a little more.

If I’m honest with myself, I always pictured myself married, with a home, and lots of little ones surrounding me by the age of 30. I used to tell people I wanted to be “done” having kids before I turned 30. Well… that’s a whole 'nother conversation. ;-) But, here I am, a mom of four beautiful kids, married to a man I truly, whole-heartedly adore, and being able to live the life I always imagined.

Life is good.

Looking back, there were the, “too many to even count," beautiful moments.

My wedding day was beautiful. A young bride of just twenty, ready to take on the world… Only two years removed of leaving my parent’s nest, and there I was, beginning to build my own.  The birth of my firstborn son was a beautiful moment. Not even 22 years old yet, and there we were, looking as young as teenagers in the delivery room, getting ready to embark on the greatest journey of our lives. Then there were the memories of buying our first home, buying our first family car- trading in the sporty Honda civic, for a roomier, could fit two children, Honda CRV. There were the beautiful births of our first baby girl, our 2nd baby girl, and our 4th, a boy, who perfectly evened us out.  There are the memories of prayerfully deciding to become those, “homeschool families," and learning how to live life in full-time ministry.

Life is sweet.

Life is sweet, but it is also painful. There were a lot of painful memories that helped build and shape who I am today, and who I will become tomorrow.

There was the terrifying car accident, the day after our wedding, just as we were about to turn into our honeymoon destination- an accident that should have left us both dead, and a car that was completely totaled. (We believe that God sent angels to surround our car that day.)

There were the miscarriages. Three precious babies; that we will never meet face to face, until we get to heaven. There were the tear-streaked pillows, the pleading with God, “why’s," and the acceptance that He knew what He was doing.

There were the marriage struggles. The heartaches. The choices we wished we didn’t make, and the love that became stronger than we could ever imagine.

There were the completely “broke” days. The days were we wondered how we would buy Christmas presents for our little ones, and how many home-made gifts we could get by with.

There were the, “Did we get married too young, have kids too early, start life too soon?” days.

There were the searching for God days, the, “have You left us?” days.

All of these days, that made up the months, that shaped this decade, that have made me who I am today. Here I am, three days before I turn 30.

The days that have made up this painfully beautiful, growing-up decade. The decade that I’m about to finally close the chapter on. The decade where I began the process of “growing-up," just a little bit more.

May 26th, 2013, I will be 30.

I will start this new journey. This new decade. This new story.

I am ready.

My thoughts on turning 30? 

Watch out world, here I come.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Me Time.

Tonight was similar to many nights in the Smith household.  By the time dinner was done, kids had gone through their bedtime routine of jammies on, teeth brushed, stories read, fans and nightlights going... I am feeling completely and utterly exhausted.  Tonight was no exception.  I just wanted to sit down.  No more questions, no more "Can I?"... "Mommy, will you?"... "Please may we?"...  My back was aching, my mind was fried, and I just needed ME time.  After putting my girls BACK in their beds for now the fifth time I was about ready to loose my cool.  Tucking Samuel quickly in bed, he asked me to tell him a story-ANY story.  I sighed a heavy sigh, thought of a quick story from when I was a kid and condensed it down to about 10 seconds.  I told him that was the end, and he needed to go to bed- NOW.  In that moment, my little 6 1/2 year old boy looked up at me with eyes that spoke a thousand words.  He quietly said, "I bet if I was there in your story, there would have been more..." I quickly told him something along the lines of "I love you Samuel, but I have to get Katelyn back in her bed (again!), and I am doing the best I can tonight..."  He quietly said OK, and turned his body toward the wall and snuggled down under his covers.  I left his room, feeling defeated, yet still needing to get things done.  I put Katelyn back in her bed, gave Serenity yet another hug and kiss, and headed toward the living room.  I immediately sank down into my comfy chair and sighed a big sigh of relief.... Peace at last!  Closing my eyes for only a split second, I started to re-play Samuel's request in my mind, and all I could see were those little boy eyes starring up at me. Sighing a heavy sigh yet again, only this time for a completely different reason, I immediately got up out of my comfy chair (well, it actually took quite a bit of effort being 8 months pregnant and all...) :) and made my way back to Samuel's room.  I opened his door slowly, tip-toed across his room and crawled in beside my little boy.  He looked completely surprised and relieved and happy to see me all at the same time.  I spent the next several minutes telling him story after story after story of when I was a little girl.  We LAUGHED.  He asked me a hundred questions and finally looked up at me, gave me a kiss on my cheek and said, "You are just the best mom in the entire world".

And to think I almost gave up that moment because I needed some "me time".

May I NEVER forget that tomorrow may not come.  That the little 2 year old becomes the 4 year old, and the 4 year old becomes the 6 year old and soon that little 6 year old will become a grown man....

My mind WILL be fried.  My body WILL be exhausted.  I WILL feel like crying and shouting and giving up.  This is all a part of having the hardest job in the world- being a mommy!

However, I won't get these moments back.  Someday I WILL have a quiet, empty house, and I will wonder why I didn't take the time to tell more stories. Give more hugs. Answer more questions.

I will forever hold tonight's memory in my heart. 

I will choose to remember and remind myself of this often... "These days are long, some days they feel like they will last forever... but these years, they are way too short."

So when you are feeling like you just can't go another minute... remember, this may be a moment your little 6 year old looks up at you and tells you "you are the best mom in the entire world" - and that my friends, is worth more than ANY amount of "me time" you could ever get. <3

Monday, August 1, 2011


OK, it has been FAR too long- I never seem to find the time to blog... and that just has to change!  This summer has seriously FLOWN by! I can't believe it is AUGUST already???!!! WOW! Some highlights of our summer so far~

*Finding out we are having a BOY!!! YAY! We are soooo excited!! (Still deciding on a name!)

*Traveling/Family visiting~ We have had LOTS of family time this summer! Us visiting family and family visiting us!

*Twins games, backyard theater, Parks, DQ trips, playing outside!

*Getting my school room in order~ This has been SO much fun for me!  The family "classroom" is coming along great! I can't wait to start our "fall schedule" (or at least attempt to keep one with a newborn!) ;-)

*Decorating the baby's room!~ How fun it has been to decorate for a baby BOY after two precious GIRLS!  Blues, Greens, Browns! I have loved pulling out Samuel's little newborn outfits and reminiscing after all these years!

*Water Fun~ LOVE being in the water. The beach. Pool. Splash Pads. Kiddie Pools ;-)... It has been SO hot and water fun is JUST what our family has needed!

Those are our highlights so far! We have one more family vacation/family wedding in August, one more wedding in September, and then life will settle down a little... For a few weeks before a new addition to our family arrives! ;-)  I can't wait to hold that little bundle in my arms.  There is NOTHING like breathing in that sweet newborn smell. (more about my excitement in a later blog) :) 

Hope everyone is having an AMAZING summer!  Hoping to blog more in the future!  Homeschooling, babies, parenting, marriage, church, ministry, LIFE... SO many thoughts that float through my head all day long. Must. Write. Them. Down! :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ramblings of a pregnant girl

I feel like this day will never end... So I decided I need to write (or better said, ramble...). Tomorrow is our BIG ultrasound for our number FOUR!... You would THINK it would be no big deal this time... QUITE the opposite! I am SO nervous and giddy and excited and... will tomorrow EVER come?!!!?  I am always a little nervous that everything is okay... (I'm assuming that is very normal for every mommy!)... But I am also DYING to know the gender of this baby!  I have reasons to believe it is a girl (ie:  Chinese calendar- which by the way has been right EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. for the other ones... and I was also pretty nauseous in the beginning- which I was with both girls) However, I craved early on LOTS of proteins (BACON, eggs, etc...) Which is what I craved with Samuel... and I have had a few "it's a boy" dreams...   BUT, this pregnancy feels different then all the rest too (which actually made me wonder if I was having twins, but an early ultrasound told me I was not!)...

I will be honest... for Samuel... I am wanting another boy, so he can have a brother... BUT, I absolutely LOVE girls and I don't want to be disappointed in ANY way at all tomorrow!  I am SO blessed to have both already, but I would love for Samuel to experience a brother... At the same time, the thought of little tiny girl dresses, flower headbands, and more PINK gets me really excited too... So, I can't go wrong either way! ;-)  ( the park today I saw a tiny bundle of blue and I did tear up a little...) Um, can you tell I am just a little PREGNANT?!! ;-)

Jordan is excited for either one, and he keeps my nerves calm by explaining (for multiple reasons) why either one will be amazing (*sigh*, how I love my hubby)

Tomorrow is also my birthday... So, what a FUN present it will be to see our little #4 on the ultrasound screen. (PLEASE baby cooperate for us!)

Well, I am done rambling... (maybe... for now...) And if I can't sleep (which is almost guaranteed)... Then I will be back I'm sure hashing out my thoughts for no-one in particular to read. :)

Most of all I feel SO incredibly blessed to be a mom! (I'm a MOM!!!) of (soon to be)... FOUR!  If you knew me at all growing up, you knew my life-long dream and goal was to be a mommy... and to have lots of little ones around me... I'm so beyond grateful God trusts ME (as un-worthy as I am) to be their mom.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dance

This is something I wrote a few months back... I have a collection of writings that I usually do not share on my blog, but I feel that maybe this will speak to someone today... There are times and seasons in life that all of us have gone through pain or will go through pain. This story reflects in my own words and thoughts, what I believe is a process of healing.  "The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not collapse because its foundation was on the rock." Matthew 7:25

This world is a dance. The music is ever changing. Sometimes slow and beautiful, other times intense and loud, and at times… dark and slow.  And even still, we dance.  Can you feel it? The music that pulls you, captures you, moves you.    My body moves, it spins, it twirls.  It runs, it rocks, and it hides.  The music never stops, only changes from song to song. 
The ground is damp; the grass teases my toes and dances around my ankles.  The rain starts. Slowly first, one drop, then two, then three, then four, then six, then ten… before I know it it is pouring down, like a steady rhythm.  I twirl, my feet moving in perfect symmetrical circles.  I feel my feet touch the earth; I feel the dirt and mud close in around my toes.  I spin, I dance, I move.  The rain making soft pounding noises on my shoulder, on my head. The darkness is closing in, but I feel you.  I feel your presence.  You are dancing around me Your shadow is covering mine.  With each movement and each turn I feel healing wash over my body.  You are smiling at me, encouraging me not to stop. I start out slow, like the rain, and then I get faster and faster with each turn, each movement each stomp into the earth.  My hair is hanging damp around my face now; my eyelids are getting blurry as the rain washes over my body. I turn my eyes up to the heavens, I stretch my arms out as far as I can, and I dance.  My knees bend up and then down, I turn, I stomp, I move.  The rain now turns to tears and I can’t tell which is which streaming down my face… all I feel is healing wash over me.  I don’t want to stop… keep the music playing!  The rhythm of the song starts to synchronize with the rhythm of the rain, and then the rhythm of my tears… together they become a symphony.  The music is like nothing you have ever heard.  It is not of this world, but another, the world that reflects the shadow, Your shadow.  As I continue to dance, I feel your arms around me.  You reach for my hand, and I willingly, desperately take it.  Together, we dance. You spin me, you twirl me, You dance beside me.  The rain slows… Ten drops, then five drops, then four…. Three then two then one… I feel the warmth around my shoulders, as my eyes are closed tight still facing the heavens; I begin to feel the light on my face, the warmth that washes over me. The clouds are parting, the sun is lifting the rain has stopped.  I never stopped dancing.  My tears turn to smiles, my pain to joy, my night to day.  Before I know what has taken over me, I begin to laugh.  Not the small tiny laugh you hear off in a distance, but the deep, from your soul, healing kind of laugh…The un-reserved, uninhibited kind of laugh.  I open my eyes and I see You.   You are more than my heart can bear.  You are beautiful and perfect and one look into your eyes heals my heart of every fear, every pain, every crack and every wound.  Your arms around me feel like a healing balm that no man has ever discovered or invented.  You reach for me.  You place Your hand upon my heart; my hands close in around Yours.  We sway.  The dance has slowed, and the rain has stopped and the earth has begun to dry.  Like a sunrise at daybreak, I feel the shadows disappear.  I feel whole, alive, and new. 
Somewhere in the back of my mind I am convinced the dancing will never stop, and the rain will come again.  The music will shift and change, the seasons will come and go and the sun will rise and fall. 
But one thing will always remain… You.

“Guard me as you would guard your own eyes…Hide me beneath the shadow of your Wings”… Psalm 17:8
“Weeping may endure for a night…but JOY comes in the morning”… Psalm 30:5