I wonder

After losing 4 babies, 2 of them in the last 6 months, I wonder.
I wonder if I get pregnant again and if I get to carry that baby to term…if I will complain. I have wanted so desperately with my last 2 pregnancies to hold my precious children, I have longed to go to them in the night and snuggle them close. So I wonder…will I embrace it for the blessing it is? Will I begrudge the loss of sleep, the fatigue, the frustration?
i wonder, after spending 30 weeks in the first trimester, if I’m blessed again to become pregnant…will I pray for the nausea to go away? Will I gripe about not being able to eat or the feeling of constant motion? Or will I be thankful that I am carrying and growing a child?
I wonder too, at times, if I will ever be able to experience those things again. I wonder if my first home birth will be my last…my only. I am so very thankful that my very dear friend talked me into taking pregnancy pictures. 2 years ago I was big and pregnant and thought “this is old hat…there will be others…why take pictures?” But…2 years later…2 pregnancies…2 deaths…2 empty arms later and I am so very grateful for those moments captured.
I wonder what lies ahead for me and my family. I wonder if Zeke will ever get his baby sister that he prays for almost every day. I wonder if Otto will be able to talk to and tell stories to another baby in my womb. I wonder if I’ll be able to feel those first flutters for longer than a few days, if I’ll be able to experience labor and anticipate the birth of my child rather than dread what lies ahead. I wonder how God will use my children, my grief, our story for His glory.
I pray often about what lies ahead and I wonder.


We are candidating this weekend at a church. (I say we because it is never just about Kerry).
It’s our *first* one. It is busy. And I feel a little bit like we’re under the microscope. It’s has been a good experience and we’ve met wonderful people. But I constantly wonder if I’m being evaluated and there is going to be secret meeting where score cards are tallied and we’re given a grade. It may come from my dysfunctional upbringing, but I always wonder if I’m getting dinged for behavior or a misstep somewhere.
But I decided before we came that I wasn’t going to put pressure on my children to “behave” any differently than the usual expectation for our family. I didn’t want them to feel like they had to be on display or put on a show for all the nice people.
I decided that we were going to be just us.
For two reasons really, the first is that if we do come here I don’t want to have to keep that show going long term. I mean it’s a lot of work to pretend you’re something you’re not.  And the second is that if the church in general is going to be relevant and authentic to the world around them, then there shouldn’t be any reason to “put on a show” for anyone. Whether they’re interviewing, visiting or have been coming through the doors for years. We should be willing to welcome (and let’s face it sometimes tolerate) each other with our children who run in the hall, our voices that sing off key and personalities that may be too bold for our taste.
Now I have to confess, there have been a couple times I’ve turned around in the car and reminded the boys that we’re going to someone else’s house for dinner and to remember to say please and thank you (and don’t eat the dog biscuits or strip down in your underwear to  play in the water…yes those things have all happened and there are stories behind them). But other than that we are who we are…who God made us. There is always room for growth and there is always something to learn, but we are not show animals. We are people and if we want to reach out to people and share the love of Christ with them we must be willing to be seen as we are without the facade of “good behavior” only pulled out on special occasions like fine china.
For us this weekend isn’t just an opportunity to candidate for a church but it’s also an opportunity for us (me especially) to be comfortable with being who we are and to practice being authentic. To make no apologies for the fact that I have 4 boys who keep going back for animal crackers because you leave the jar wide open on the counter. To be proud of my *little* family and our wackiness, our shyness (and not so shyness). I am reminded that God has brought our family together and is molding it as only He can.
So as we’re “under the microscope” my prayer is that those looking can see the work of Christ in our lives and in our family. That they can see His handiwork more than they can see anything else.


For the first time this week I doubted whether I could be a stay at home mom. I have wanted nothing more for the last several years than to be home with my children. I was ready to walk out the door and go back to work.
I felt so guilty when Kerry got home from work because I so doubted myself. I struggle a bit with thinking I have to “master” this stay at home mom thing. I am a goal oriented person, I like to excel at what I do, I like to master things. So in the last month I have approached being at home the same way I do any thing else. With a plan, a list, an idea of how it *should* be when I’m done.
I forgot to factor in one thing…my “team” isn’t always on board. In fact, my team of children sometimes doesn’t even care what is on my list or that I want to be the best at home mom ever.
Monday was a particularly trying day. No one listened to me, the boys fought, and it seemed like every time I turned around I was brushing my teeth while eating Oreos. I vacuumed the floor only to have a child 5 minutes later roll over a rogue shredded wheat with his car, smushing it into my newly vacuumed carpet. I swept the floor only to have the bird seed get dumped just after I hung up the dust pan. I folded laundry only to have a new pile magically appear after direction was given to clean out from underneath the beds.
So I began to wonder if it was my system that was broken (I would say partly yes and we’re working on it). I questioned my ability to do “job” after job only to have it undone again. I seriously thought I might go nuts if I had to turn circles all day long doing the same thing over and over again. I tend to like projects…do something, get it done and it stays done. It’s just not so when you’re working at home.
I did have small successes though, I didn’t yell. Not once. Not when the dog walked through mud and drug it in on my clean floor (don’t ask how the mud got there, we haven’t had rain in Pueblo for over a week). I didn’t yell when 2 minutes after I corrected for disobedience, it happened again, with the same thing. I didn’t yell when the 3 year old “helped” by taking off the diaper of the 1 year old and didn’t tell me or put a new one on and instead laughed hysterically when said 1 year old peed all over the floor. I also didn’t yell when the dog bowl was used for a swimming pool, in my kitchen. I prayed moment by moment. I made a choice to lower my voice, to be calm when all I really wanted to do was call my husband and work and say “I’m outta here” (for a little while at least).
As I navigated through the trials of the day, I kept thinking “and we’re not even doing school yet, there’s no way I can pull this off”.  But that’s what the enemy wants us to do isn’t it? Doubt? He wants us to doubt ourselves so much that we are disobedient to what we’ve been called to do. I had to remind myself how hard it was to go to work every morning, driving away from my family and missing them. I had to remind myself that here, at home, is where I am called to be. Loving, training, teaching.
I still have a lot to learn, I am still working on my “system” when I’m home, but I have learned that this may be something I never master, because there is always a new lesson to learn. My goal has now become to be the mother and wife I have been created to be. My goal isn’t to be the “expert” stay at home mom, it is to be obedient, to be pliable, to learn as much as I teach and to focus on my reward in Heaven. To work so that when I die and see my God, He will say “Well done good and faithful servant”, even if no one here on earth ever does.

One month

Today is one month since we held our daughter Lily for the first and last time. It seems so long ago. I think of both her and Knox every day. I wonder if I’ve been faithful to what God has called me to do. I wonder if I will ever be able to get past the second trimester with another pregnancy or if Titus was my last live birth. I dream of being able to hold our baby in my arms and not have to say goodbye.
In many ways I am still grieving for both of them. My heart aches for the children I don’t get to hold. My arms long to cradle a tiny baby. I want to smell the freshness of a new little one, to revel in her fingers and toes, to watch her breathe and sleep. I want to fall head over heals in love with a new creation, a gift from our Heavenly Father.
I want desperately to not have to mourn the loss of another child. I don’t want to experience that heart stopping feeling when you learn that the one you carry inside has already gone to be with Jesus. I dig my heals in at the thought of going through another induction, labor and birth only to hold a dead baby again.
I try not to worry about the possibility of it all happening again. I try to cast my cares on Him when they start to creep in and steal my peace. I struggle sometimes to not get lost in “what if” and drown in the unknown of the future.
Some days I have to make a conscious choice to count my blessings instead of my worries. To be thankful instead of angry or scared. There are days when every minute I have to remind myself to let go of the things I can’t control, to trust in the God who created me. There are days when I have to tell myself that my body is not broken. I am not defective. My God knit me together in my mother’s womb, just as He knit each of my children together. He knew this path I would be on before I was every born. He knows where the path leads and He goes before me.
Today I remember the life of my daughter Lily and the life of my son Knox, as well as the two other little babies I lost. Today I am thankful for all of my children, those on earth and those in the arms of Jesus. I am thankful that I am a mother to 8 children, 4 of them born to glory. I am blessed to remember the elation I felt when I learned I was expecting Lily. The thanks I prayed and tears I cried when I saw her heartbeat for the first time. And in a way, I am blessed to have gone through losing a son and a daughter in 6 months. It gives me a perspective many parents don’t have. It has allowed God to work even more powerfully in my life. I pray that I can be faithful to His call. I pray that there will be good that comes out of this grief. I pray that I can bring Him glory in all that I say and do.
I am reminded of a verse and a song.

Psalm 30: 10-12

10 “ Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;

O Lord, be my helper.”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

And a favorite song of mine that has been on my heart yesterday and today.

Beauty For Ashes lyrics

Crystal Lewis, Ron Kenoly

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair 
When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy o’er your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I’ve been set free
I’ve been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair


New Recipe Monday — Granola bars

I’ve been looking for good granola bar recipes. I tried this one last week and it wasn’t too bad. I’m working on taking my favorite granola recipe and turning it into bars.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

** I also added a handful of peanuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

They are a little harder than I would usually like, so I think next time I’ll make them with about 1/2 cup of applesauce to see if that makes them a bit softer. I should also note that the whole pan was gone in less than 24 hours. Very popular at my house.


Five Minute Friday — Path

For five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday.
Write and see what comes out. There’s no right or wrong.
It’s a #FiveMinuteFriday flash mob! <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:


A path lies before our family. We can’t see it and we don’t know where it’s taking us. We trust the One who made the path and who prods us along on this journey.
We can only see what He chooses to reveal, sometimes it stretches out miles in front of us and other times we can only see to the next bend, the next few feet.
In the last year this path has brought us to trials that we would have never imagined. We have lost 2 precious children in 6 months, but our God carried us through and we learned lessons along the way. We have experienced despair, abandonment, betrayal and incredible heartache at the hands of those who shouldn’t inflict such deep wounds. We have had to learn forgiveness, grow thick skin and learn to walk away all while still loving…because no matter what we do or say we can’t make them see.
And now our path has brought us through the future unknown. The “what next” as we wonder where the path leads. At this point in our lives, we can’t see more than a few feet ahead. But out of obedience we continue to walk together, waiting, discovering and learning. We trust that when we look back at the winding twisted path, that it will indeed be straight, it has been carved especially for us by the hand of God who can see exactly where we’re going. Our job is to be obedient His gentle prompting…”Keep walking”

Proverbs 3:6

In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.


If  we could hear a recording of ourselves talking to our children and our family members would it change us? Would we cringe at every harsh word or tone? Would we laugh at the conversations we’d had the day before?
The funny this is, that if we want to know how we talk to our children and what they hear…we just need to listen to them talk to their siblings. What do they say? How do they sound?
I struggle with being overly critical. I grew up with a lot of critique and very high expectations and I knew when I didn’t meet them. I grew up desperately wanting to please those around me and it took me the first few years of our marriage to get out of that habit. I also grew up setting high expectations for myself and for those around me, including my children. I have, at times, struggled with being critical of them in the same way I swore I would never be.
I had a convicting moment this last week. I heard one of my children critiquing his brother about how he had done something. Older brother to younger. Older brother used the same words and the same tone that I have used…and I cringed. I was humbled and convicted. In that moment I prayed for forgiveness for not showing patience and kind words to my children. I prayed for God to stop those words before they come out of my mouth and to change my thoughts before they become words. I prayed it wasn’t too late to soften the harsh edge that has already begun to develop in my son.
Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
It is so easy for the harsh words to just come flying out if we’re not guarding ourselves against frustration, anxiety and busyness. I have learned that when I am trying to “multi-task” too much, when I am trying to do 3 things at once that my patience and tolerance decrease significantly. I have had to be more disciplined with my time and what I allow to pull me away from where I am with my children. When my “work” duties interrupt my “mom” duties or visa versa, I get frustrated and short. I have slowly learned to put up boundaries and to be willing to put some things on the back burner for later. It means I have to be a better manager of my time, but it keeps me from getting so overwhelmed I say things I regret.
I encourage you this week to think about how you’re talking to your children, your family and your spouse. If we can engage our “filter” when we’re at work or church and avoid saying hurtful things there…we should be able to engage it at home too. Ask yourself would I talk to a co-worker or friend the way I’m about to talk to my child or spouse? Would I use this tone with them? Ask God how He would have you communicate with your family and children? What heart issues are there that keep you from using your words to build up your family?
If you really want some insight…ask your spouse how you communicate with your children or them. And remember words can cause deep, long lasting wounds. You’re teaching your children how to be as parents…you’re teaching them how to treat your grandchildren.
Proverbs 14:29-30
He who is slow to anger has great understanding,
But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
30 A tranquil heart is life to the body,
But passion is rottenness to the bones.
Teaching What Is Good

New Recipe Monday — Crazy Chicken

I was a little skeptical that my kids would eat this, especially my oldest, but he really likes it! In fact, he was really excited when I made it again this last week (and he’s my pickiest eater).
Here it is with my side notes…


  • 4 limes, juiced (I have used lemon juice from a bottle, 4 limes might be a little heavy for some, but we liked it)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (I thought this would be too much at first, but it isn’t.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage (I don’t have this on hand usually so I just leave it out)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (ditto with the sage)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I really just use any chicken I have on hand. The chicken breasts are nice because the chicken can be sliced and put on top of a salad or in a taco, but this last week I made it with chicken legs and the boys gobbled it up)


  1. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, sage, oregano, and cumin together in a small bowl.**I take the easy way out and mix the marinade in a gallon plastic bag, then put my chicken in and shift it around*** Arrange the chicken breasts in a shallow glass container; pour the lime juice marinade over the chicken. Cover the container with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 1/2 hours (I’ve marinated it longer), turning the chicken every 30 minutes (I don’t know who does this but it sounds good)
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Remove the chicken to a platter and allow to come to room temperature (I didn’t do this).
  3. Grill the chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Five Minute Friday — Expectation

Fridays are for writing for five minutes.
Only five minutes.
Stream-of-consciousness style. Like you did when you were in 9th grade.
Write and see what comes out. There’s no right or wrong.
Got 5 minutes? Come and spend them writing <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:


Prince charming, happily ever after, no arguments, no trouble…wonderful wedded bliss.
Eleven years ago today (June 9) I married my dear husband. We were young (19), in love and full of expectations. I thought we’d settle down, plant some roots and grow our family. Instead, we’ve moved 10 times in the last 11 years (2 of those to the same house). Our current place of residence is the longest we’ve ever stayed in any house…4 whole years! We’ve grown our family, both here on earth and in Heaven.
Instead of planting roots, I’ve come think of us more as a potted plant…easily movable…at home where we are for the moment.
We always joke that we’ve been married for 11 years, 7 of them have been really wonderful. The first few years were filled with unmet, uncommunicated and unrealistic expectations. As we’ve grown we’ve learned to be flexible a bit. Life has a way of making you change your expectations, your focus, your goals and you as a couple.
When I was first married I expected Kerry to be able to “make it all better”, to make up for my inadequacies and failures, to fill holes left behind. I expected him to carry me away and we would live the end of the fairytale. Boy was I stupid!
We are living a fairy tale though. A true to life fairy tale. Filled with twists and turns. Joys, grief, surprises and lessons that we are learning together. Our fairy tale is what has made us the couple we are. Our expectations have changed.
We were told when we were married, by someone who wasn’t crazy about it, that the person you marry when you’re 19 isn’t the same person you’d marry when you’re 26. Well I hope not! I would hope somewhere between 19 and 26 or 36 that you’d grow, you’d change. For us, though, we’ve had the benefit of growing and changing together. Without a doubt, the person I married at 19 isn’t the same man he is today, but it doesn’t matter because we’ve changed together, neither of us is the same we are so very different from who we were 11 years ago, but we are together, we are happy and we are in love.
My expectations for the rest of my married life are to live out our fairy tale together, until death parts us.
A copy of our marriage vows (and we still mean them):

I, Kerry, take you, Erin, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to understand, till death do us part, according to the design of God in creation and thereto pledge thee my faith.

I, Erin, take you, Kerry, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to understand, till death do us part, according to the design of God in creation and thereto pledge thee my faith.


Kansas Trip Pictures

Not totally wordless, but we’ve had a great trip back to Kansas visiting friends and family. We’ve met new friends and made new connections. It’s been a great trip! And while it wasn’t a “no work” vacation (I finished up teaching 2 classes and started teaching 2 while we were here), it’s been relaxing just the same.
Here are some pictures from our visit…


Zeke couldn't wait to get on the combine! He could have ridden for hours.

Walking back to the farm from the field.


My Gabe. He is such a brilliant young man!

Papa Don is always willing to take the little ones for a ride.

Uncle Scott is a sucker for Zeke when he asks for a ride on the 4 wheeler

My Otto, who is always dreaming.