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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dearest Selah

My Selah Abigail,

There are things I never want to forget about this stage you're in. The way your eyelashes look when you're sleeping. The way you nuzzle into my arm when you are overtired and fighting sleep. The way you look at me like I'm your favorite person in the whole world. It's such a different love than I ever imagined it would be.

I love that you started sucking your thumb when you sleep. I know I should be trying to get you to stop but I just can't bring myself to. There's just something so sweet about it.

When I put you on my shoulder to burp you I love the sound of your breath in my ear. It's so soft, so sweet. Something I never want to forget.

You're such a determined girl already, I can see it. You've rolled from your belly to your back last week and now you're trying to roll from back to tummy. I just know you will do it soon! I love seeing the determination in you because I know now that these things might be what some would consider the "little things" but I see them as huge things! I know that you will be one determined and outspoken girl when it comes to things of the kingdom and I just love that about you!

Your daddy and I prayed and declared when you were in my belly that you would never be afraid to speak out for Jesus. You will never struggle with being shy like the both of us have. I can already tell how social you are by the fact that you try to "talk" to anyone who gives you so much as a smile. I love it.

 I'm so so glad that we named you Selah! It is so perfect for you because everyday just thinking about you causes me to pause and reflect on what the Lord has done for me! He brought me you, sweet girl. Words cannot express my thankfulness for you.

Sweet pea, you melt me every. single. day. From your contagious smiles to your coos and belly laugh. We love you so much baby girl. You have made our world so much brighter!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To be honest.

To be honest,
 I feel like I don't get enough done in the day. I feel terrible when I see my husband coming home from work and having to do the laundry because I didn't get to it. Or what about the time last week when I asked my hubby to drive through burger king on the way home. Yeah that happened. I wish I could say that this is a one time occurrence but it happens quite often-probably about once a week.

The thing is, my hubby is wonderful about it all. He understands that it isn't easy taking care of Selah and that some days are harder than others.

I feel like there is a certain stereotype of who a stay at home mom is supposed to be and I'm constantly trying to compare myself with others. I know it's not a good thing to do but comparison has always been something I've struggled with as much as I try not to.

I know I'm growing and that's why I try to give myself grace. I've only been doing this mommy thing for three and a half months-these things don't just happen overnight. It makes me wonder sometimes if anyone is really that stereotypical stay at home mom or if we all tend to fake it sometimes. It's easy when what you post on facebook are the smiling pictures of your baby and the one yummy meal you happened to make that week. I know I'm certainly guilty of it.

The Lord has been so good and gracious through this time to me. Through all of the thoughts telling me I'm not good enough, I know God is working on me and I know I'm growing. I've seen it many times. Now to just block out the voices telling me I'm not good enough and listen to the voice that really matters.

2 Corinthians 12:9

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Friday, October 25, 2013

All Together Beautiful.

Ignorance is bliss, or so I’ve heard. I still remember, very vividly the first time I realized that I was fat. I was a na├»ve little first grader and I was standing in lunch line with my best friend, Chelsea. A boy in our class named Andy came up to me and told me I was fat. At this time, fat was a foreign word to me. My family always referred to me a “chunky” and the word fat never existed in my vocabulary. My mom was overweight and so was one of my big sisters, Amanda. As a result I was never put down by them for having to shop in the kids plus size section at JCPenny’s. But the problem with that was I needed help and I would not get it from them.

 I was never self-conscious about my weight until about 6th or 7th grade. When I began middle school I took it upon myself to start dieting. I can remember writing down this diet plan for myself but this attempt would last maybe a day or so, until I found the nutty bars in the cupboard.  I then proceeded to have “just one” but one would lead to two and then three, four, and so on. I was eating my feelings one by one and learning to comfort myself with food. Food was my drug of choice, and I was fully and completely addicted.
One of the worst parts about me being overweight, though was that I wasn’t proportionately overweight. I carried a lot of my weight in my stomach area which caused me to carry some heavy connotations as well. I was in 7th grade the first time someone asked me if I was pregnant, and he did it in front of my entire English class. That hurt a million times worse for me than just being called fat. I never wanted people to think that I had no morals and that I was the type of person who would get pregnant when I was 13 years old. I was a pastor’s daughter for crying out loud!
Although I can’t recall his name, I can still hear his voice in my head-clear as day.
“Are you pregnant?!” he asked loudly.
I sat there at my table in shock for what seemed like an hour but it was probably only a few seconds.
“No!” I retorted back.
And that was that. I could feel my face turning three shades of red under the shame and guilt of being fat-so fat that fat didn’t describe me anymore. Pregnant was now how people defined me. And when I went home that night, I didn’t cry. I went and found my best friend, food. We were kindred spirits you know. Four pieces of pizza and two bowls of cookies and cream ice cream would suffice my feelings for the time being. Food equaled love and that’s all I ever really wanted.
The summer after 9th grade I begged my mom to move me to a different school district. Finally she gave in and I joyfully left Benson and enrolled across the city at Westside High school my sophomore year. I couldn’t wait to escape the monotony that was my life. I had been such a shy girl all my life, held back by my weight for so long and I wanted a fresh start.
I was determined to start sophomore year as a new, skinnier me. I told myself, “This summer I will lose weight!” And I did lose weight that summer, maybe 5 pounds which I could attribute to the 90 dollar workout DVD that I purchased with my hard earned babysitting money. Turbo Jam claimed to have all the answers. But the viscous cycle continued.
Try. Eat. Fail. Eat more.
So I began school at Westside, looking like a pregnant sophomore. “At least I have a pretty face.” I thought. I had been told by so many people that I was pretty, but the thing was they would never say, “Sarah, you’re pretty!” They would say, “Sarah, you have such a pretty face.” I would look at my face in the mirror and gain some self-confidence in myself and sometimes I would start to feel pretty. But then I’d look at my size 18 jeans and my XXL shirt and think, “Never mind. How could anyone ever love this?”
Any prettiness I possessed, I felt was covered up with fat and that was all people would think about me. I thought that if I even raised my hand in class and answered a question people would think to themselves, “ewe she’s fat.  She shouldn’t be talking because she doesn’t deserve to talk.” So I avoided talking in class altogether. I had the few friends I talked to and ate lunch with but didn’t have classes with many of them. So in those classes where I didn’t have anyone to talk to I would only speak if I was spoken to, nothing more. I was trapped in this stupid fat suit, and I despised myself because of it. The cycle continued.
Eat. Eat. Eat. Fail. Eat. Fail.
The next two years at Westside didn’t help my weight at at all. Westside catered in Pizza Hut. Pizza was my one true weakness. I probably could have eaten it for every meal if I had the option.  I ballooned to 211 pounds by the time I was a senior.
Fortunately it was senior year that everything changed. In the midst of the usual decisions about college and career choices I began to regain the relationship with my sister, Amanda that I had lost when she moved to Las Vegas four years prior. The more I talked to her the more I started thinking, “maybe Las Vegas is the place for me. Maybe what I need is to change it up.
When I made the decision that I would really lose weight it was March 2009, nearly the end of my senior year. My sister had told me that if I was strict with myself and determined enough then I would lose the weight. She had lost her weight already through the Atkins diet three years before so I trusted her. No bread. No sugar. No carbs. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. Especially for a self-proclaimed “carbotarian” such as myself.  I was such a foodie that I even invented a word that meant a person who only ate carbs. Bravo, Sarah. Bravo.
The first week on Atkins is unquestionably the most difficult. You aren’t allowed to drink anything except water and you can only eat meat and veggies. But after the first week I had already lost five pounds and I was determined to keep going. It felt so good for the first time in my life to actually start seeing results of what I was doing. So the weeks went by and I kept losing weight. I had lost about 15 pounds by the time I graduated. Going to find my dress for graduation was an awesome experience because I could finally shop in the “normal” stores-the ones that every teenage girl should be able to shop in. I was now 191 pounds and I felt so good! During the summer I stayed strict with myself and kept losing. I developed a new cycle.
Try. Eat. Lose weight. Win.
I worked at Target during this time and had always been the chunky, shy girl for the two years that I had been there. When the weight really dropped off I could see that my red target shirt and khakis were getting very baggy, so baggy that I kind of felt like a thug. I refused for the longest time to get new clothes because I knew that I would be leaving for Vegas in just a few months and new clothes weren’t a necessity for me. Finally, though a month before I left Target I couldn’t stand the baggy clothes so I went and bought a new tight-fitting shirt and size 13 khakis. When I went to work that next day, sporting my new clothes everyone was shocked! I didn’t realize that the baggy clothes were just hiding all of the weight I had lost, I just assumed that my coworkers hadn’t noticed anything different about me. I basked in all the new attention I was receiving. I was no longer hidden in the corner, I was in the spotlight. And I loved it.
The first time I really had a guy notice me was when one of my old coworkers, James came back in to Target to visit after 4 or 5 months of being gone. He walked by the fitting room and did a double take.
“Sarah??” He asked in disbelief.
“Hey James!” I responded, all nonchalant.
“Have you lost weight?!”
“Um Yes!” I laughed.
“You look amazing!” He said with so much feeling, I knew he had to be telling me the truth. I just couldn’t believe how shocked he was. By this time I had already lost about 40 pounds. I was so close to my goal weight of 150, only 15 pounds away.  I felt like I was on top of the world and that I could do anything.
On August 29th 2009, I boarded my plane for Las Vegas, Nevada. When I stepped off that plane I started my new chapter as a brave, skinny, and more outgoing Sarah. While living in Las Vegas I even worked as a Talent Scout! I never would have imagined in a million years that I would ever be able to do something like that. Approaching complete strangers had never been my cup of tea. But I did it and I was good at it.

A year later I moved back to Nebraska. I had never planned to stay in Vegas for long and I had always known that Omaha would always be my one true home. I don’t regret moving, though. Not for even a second. I did so many things I never thought I could and broke down so many barriers that had been built up for 18 years of my life. I know I'm no twig, which was kind of my goal in the beginning but not so much anymore.

If there's one thing that changed about me, it wasn't my weight. Sure, I lost 60lbs but that wasn't it. Once the weight fell off a mindset fell off too. The idea that I was worthless, unlovable, and ugly. Who God created me to be on the inside never once changed. Sure that girl was hiding for awhile, but Jesus knew me all along. He says I'm beautiful. He says I'm loved. He says I'm worth dying for. And that my friends, is beautiful. All together beautiful.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Selah-3 months old

I know I'm going to say this every month but it's crazy to think that my sweet girl is getting so big! She does something new everyday and I just love the stage she's in right now! She's still so smiley and lovable.

Weight: 10lbs 7oz. We have a little scale at home so I weigh her every week or so. I try to not get too obsessive about it though. I'm always just trying to make sure she's gaining the right amount of weight!

Height: I'm guessing about 22 inches long

Nicknames: Say Say, Little Missy, Missy, Sweet Pea, Silly baby

Eating: She's still eating about every 2 hours. She does take bottles now! woot woot! It feels so good to know that we can take her anywhere with us and if she needs to eat I don't have to whip out the ta-ta's! I'm not a big fan of nursing in public so anytime we have gone anywhere we literally have to keep it to an hour and be back home in time to feed her.

Sleeping: Selah is still a great sleeper! For some reason these last few weeks she was waking up at 5am wanting to eat. Now she's back on her 10-7 sleep schedule. I'm trying to start having her get used to her crib during her naps so we can get her ready for when we decide to put her in there at night. 

Diapers: She is in size 1 diapers. We love the Target brand! 14.99 for a 120ct Target box vs. Huggies for 24.99-I choose Target! :) They work the best for us too!
Clothing: 0-3 months. She's finally out of all of her newborn clothes!
Social: Selah got to have a play date with her baby friend, Jaxson the other day! She kept grabbing his shirt! lol
Likes: laying on her play mat, looking at her mobile, talking, chewing on EVERYTHING!
Dislikes: When she is not being entertained, being in her swing

Mama: Loving being a stay at home mama and so thankful that I've been given this precious gift!
Daddy: Louis is such a good daddy! He can't wait to get home from work so he can spend time with us!

What we're looking forward to: The holidays! I definitely need to start Christmas shopping. Having a baby is making these things so much more exciting! :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2 years later.

2 years ago I married my best friend. I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've never once regretted the decision to say "I do."

So in honor of our anniversary I'm going to share our vows because they're pretty special to us. We decided to write our own and I pray that The Lord would continue to help me to be the wife that I promised to be two years ago.

Here's to you, babe. You are the sweetest man I know and I'm so blessed that when God made you He was thinking about me! You are my soul mate, best friend, perfect match in everyway. It's been the best two years of my life and I can't wait to see what amazing things The Lord has in store for us in the years to come! Mush Mush!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." In that future God spoke of, I know only one thing: it is with you. From the moment when you consoled my grief-stricken heart on the night of my father's death, I knew you truly had great love for me; the love the bible speaks about.  You helped me see that God truly did have a plan and a future for me.  And even more amazing, you made me laugh on that gloomy night. Sarah, I assure you that I will be your rock as you were mine that night.  I will lead our family with Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit as my chief advisors.  I will treat you as an equal because you are my other half, made from my rib.  And I will keep our focus on God at ALL times.  It says in Romans 8:38, "...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither height nor depth...will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 With this promise, I'm reminded of Proverbs 18:22 which says, "The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and favor with the Lord."  You are worth far greater than any earthly treasure; you are indeed a treasure from God.  I promise to love, honor, and cherish you.  I will be faithful to you now until the end of time.  This is my promise to you and to God.

Louis, it is my greatest joy to be standing up here with you today, in the presence of God, our family and friends.
Eight years ago, when I first laid eyes on you as a little 12 year old with braces, I never would've thought that we would be standing up here together-ready to become one. I dreamed, hoped, and prayed for the man who would someday be my husband, not knowing all along that that man would someday be you, my Louie. And I feel so blessed to see God's will come to pass in our lives. I know this love is from our Heavenly Father because every time I look at you I am reminded of how much he loves me and cares for me, because He sent me His very best. He sent me you. 
I promise to try to be the kind of wife that the Bible talks about in proverbs 31.
I promise to always be supportive of your goals, dreams, and ambitions-working alongside you to accomplish them together. I promise to always tell you how much I love you, and I pray that you always feel utterly and completely loved, because you very much are.
I promise to pray alongside you for God to reveal his vision for our family.
I promise to stand with you when you feel strong, and hold you up when you feel weak. I promise to laugh with you in joy, and pray with you in sorrow.
I promise to never let the sun go down on my anger, and to forgive you because God has first forgiven me.
Louie, you are such a blessing to me. I want you to know that you are not only receiving a wife today, but a best friend, a companion, a soul mate, a helper, an encouragement, a smile, a goal setter, an embrace, an ear to listen, and a heart- for my heart is not my own. It belongs to God and it belongs to you.  I pray that you never forget any of these things.

I love you so much babe, and I couldn't have prayed for a better person to share a last name, and more importantly a life with.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My daddy is a healer

I don't know about you but I have the best daddy. He lives in heaven and he cares for me more than all of the stars in the sky. The Bible says He is a provider and a healer. That He is the best father, better than any earthy father could ever hope to be.

Most people would agree on the fact that God is the best father. Yet so many people claim that God picks and chooses who He wants to heal. Some people think that God makes you sick to teach you a lesson. That is the craziest thing I've ever heard! How could the best Father ever want to see his children sick? How?

About a week ago Selah was having pretty constant tummy aches after she ate. She had the saddest cry and there wasn't much Louie and I could do for her besides pray. Every time that bottom lip came out my heart broke for her. If I, an imperfect parent would do anything I could to take away her pain, how much MORE does our Heavenly Father not want us to be sick??

It says in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went about healing ALL! Not some, not a few, not the ones who deserved to be healed, but all. The Bible also says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means if He ever had the compassion and ability to heal then He's got that same compassion and that same ability today! Can I get an Amen? :)

 If you are in need of a healing just keep claiming your healing that was paid for by Jesus when He died on that cross.

There is a reason it says in Isaiah 53:5 by His stripes and wounds we are healed! He took those horrible whips to His back so YOU could be healed!

So start saying. "I believe I receive my healing" and know that the Good Physician will do what He said He would do!

Be healed, friends!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Selah's room tour!

Enjoy! :)

This baby girl loves kicking away in her crib! She's not sleeping in it yet but hey, it's a start! 

This is looking in the doorway of her room. That blue chair is actually one of our photography props! 
You see the quilt on the back of the rocking chair? That was mine when I was a baby. Both mine and the one on her crib were made by my grandma Beverly! I hope to be as good of a quilter as her someday! She is so talented! :)

Her name letters were made by my talented older sister, Faith! I keep telling her she needs to open an Etsy shop!

When we got her dresser/buffet it has brown/bronze handles! We love how the pink turned out! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why babywise didn't work.

Opinions. Everyone's got 'em! Especially when it comes to babies.
As a new mother I've come to find that you get tons of unsolicited advice as soon as people find out youre pregnant.

Eat this.
Don't eat that.
Do this.
Don't do that.

There was tons of advice I received as a new mother. One piece of advice that  I got was to follow the book babywise.

"If you follow this book you're baby will be sleeping through the night in no time!" They said.

For the first month of Selah's life I attempted to follow babywise to a T. The only problem is for it to work your baby should be on a 2 1/2 to 3 hour feeding schedule. I wanted so bad for Selah to do something by the books but nothing seemed to be working.

I was also so frustrated with how breastfeeding was going. I knew that to get her on a set schedule she would have to have long feedings. Well as hard as I tried I couldn't get her to eat for more than 5 minutes! It was so emotionally draining for me because not only was I stressing the fact that I was not able to do babywise but I was also so worried that Selah wasn't getting the amount of food she needed.

Feeding a baby every hour + a hormonal postpartum mama= lots and lots of tears.

After about a month of tears(mine not Selah's) I finally gave up my control and gave it to God. I was done fretting about something I obviously could not change on my own.
And you know what? Things got so much easier after that! No more tears, no more stress. Just feeding my baby whenever she was hungry.

Coincidentally after I gave up control to God, Selah started sleeping through the night. We're talking 8 hours people. No babywise involved. We're blessed for sure.

So although I know that babywise does work for some people, it just didn't work for us.

And you know what? That's okay.

I've come to find since being a mommy that you have to trust your own instincts and go with the flow sometimes. Every baby is different-and so is every mama! ;)